Nerd HQ 2012 Recap


by Britt Franklin


Nestled in the new addition to San Diego’s Gas Lamp District, Block No. 16 Union and Spirits, The Nerd Machine’s Nerd HQ once again left its mark on Comic-Con weekend. All proceeds from the tech-driven event, with the exception of Nerd Machine merchandise, went toward benefiting Operation Smile, a charity that provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children in developing countries.



With the latest in gaming and technology from sponsors Xbox and Vizio, Nerd HQ visitors were able to get a taste of Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming relaunch of the Tomb Raider franchise, Square Enix’s Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs, and the OverRun mode on Gears of War: Judgment. Vizio also had a line of laptops, PCs, and tablets on hand to demo.



Stan Lee’s World of Heroes and Nerd HQ joined forces to present a live version of Fan Wars. Hosted by producer Jace Hall, fans of all things superhero debated some of the biggest arguments in sci-fi. (Cylons, anyone?) Raffles took place throughout the weekend, and those lucky enough to hold a winning ticket went home with a gift card to Best Buy, Xbox Live memberships, or even an Xbox, including a custom Nerd Machine-themed console.



For a $20 donation to Operation Smile, guests could take part in “Conversations for a Cause,” intimate Q&A’s hosting audiences of no more than 300. The 2012 Conversations line-up included HQ vets Nathan Fillion, Jared Padalecki, Seth Green, Joss Whedon, and cast members of Chuck and Psych, but expanded their reach with the addition of panels featuring comics legend Stan Lee, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, Lost creator Damon Lindelof, Summer Glau (Dollhouse), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Scott Wolf (V) and the casts of Doctor Who, Twilight, Grimm, NTSF: SD: SUV, The Man with the Iron Fists, and Expendables 2. “Conversations for a Cause,” which were live-streamed on, are available to watch here on



Though schedules were jam-packed with panels by day and parties by night (Thursday’s NERD Army party was the largest to date), there was no shortage of ways to donate—from stopping by the Operation Smile table to snagging a $20 photo op with Zac at the Digital Photo Booth. Nathan and Zac both ran auctions on July 15th during their Conversations, selling TV and film memorabilia, Chucks, a scooter, and a couple of thousand-dollar kisses. In all, Nerd HQ 2012 more than tripled the amount raised at last year’s event, pulling in a total of $140,000, enough to provide over 500 smiles.



Thanks to all the panelists, volunteers, and guests who stopped by in support of Nerd HQ and Operation Smile. Your kindness and dedication is helping to change lives one smile at a time.



See you nerds next year!


  1. DakotaOctober 19th, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I wish someone would make an article for people who never been to California before about the best places to stay at and what not. For whenever they are traveling down to go to comic-con or NERD HQ!!

  2. Nerissa CruzJuly 31st, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Please, please, please, keep us posted on your next Nerd HQ panels. Just found out about your organization from Kevin & Bean’s interview with Zachary Levy. Would love to donate money and spend my time at your location rather than standing in line for Hall H!!!

  3. Hope CanadayApril 22nd, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I agree with Dakota! I am planning to come to Nerd HQ this year of 2014 and would love and appreciate information about where to stay and the best ways to get to the Comic Con/Nerd HQ’s location. I will be doing my research on it, but it’s always nice to get an experienced opinion. Plus, I trust you guys! (Nerd Machine Team) (^=^) Thanks!

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