Last Wednesday was preview night at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), but there was only one place in town with endless arcade games, an open bar, and a whole sea of Pikachus. That place was Coin-Op, an arcade bar in the Gaslamp District where the Pop Insider held its Con Kick-Off Party.

More than 250 guests, including some in awesome cosplay, attended the party, which ran from 7-10 p.m. The party featured an open bar (including themed drinks), food, and free arcade games for the duration. There were also Arcade1Up arcade cabinets and countercades to try out, plus Marvel board games from Spin Master.

A major highlight of the evening was the Pikachu costume relay race when five teams of five attendees raced to get their Pikachu costumes on the fastest. The first two teams to finish received prizes, but everyone got to keep their costumes! And the giveaways didn’t stop there. Everyone got a chance to win a grand prize raffle, and each attendee got a stuffed swag bag on their way out the door.

Plus, of course, there were plenty of copies of our con-exclusive print issue of the Pop Insider to go around.

Check out some photos from the event below, and click here to see a full gallery!

coin-op exterior

coin-op interior

drink menu

dj booth




smash cake

swag bag





pikachus with prizes

spider-girl cosplay

sea of pikachu

pikachus reading pop

team drinks

wakanda forever

Photos: Elyse Frelinger