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From virtual reality to stars, five highlights from Comic-Con

By Piya Sinha-Roy

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Every year, around 130,000 comic book fans and entertainment enthusiasts trek to San Diego's Comic-Con International, where thousands of booths and hundreds of panels are set up by industry outlets to cater to attendees.

With the 2014 convention wrapping up on Sunday, here are five highlights from the packed four-day event.

- Experiencing Death in Virtual Reality

Ever wondered what it's like to be killed by a giant alien or a blazing fireball? Movie and television studios harnessed the virtual reality capabilities of the Oculus Rift headset to allow fans to enter the worlds of films and shows with numerous simulations.

For HBO's "Game of Thrones," fans could experience actual death - a terrifying experience for anyone with vertigo - as they 'traveled' up the Wall and stood at the very top, only to be attacked and fall to their inevitable demise. In Legendary's "Pacific Rim" experience, fans were 'placed' inside a giant robot that is attacked by an alien monster.

- Homer Simpson Stops By

From the giant 'Homerdome' of Homer's head to Marge Simpson's makeup range launched at the MAC cosmetics store, Fox's hit animated television show "The Simpsons" celebrated its 25th anniversary by making appearances throughout the convention. On Saturday, show creator Matt Groening was joined on stage by a life-size hologram of Homer making quips about the convention, Stephen King and making Groening do a little dance.

- Stepping Into "Mockingjay"

"Mockingjay - Part 1," the third installment of "The Hunger Games" franchise, was recreated in part with Samsung Galaxy to allow fans to step into the stark world of Panem.

An all-white room provided activities from making customized T-shirts to sitting in President Snow's chair and trying baked goods from Peeta's Bakery. The film's latest trailer also premiered during the convention and fans were able to watch it on tablets in comfort in pod chairs.

- Star Power

Despite a much more muted Comic-Con in comparison to 2013 - not surprising given that last year, the studios brought together major ensemble casts such as those of "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and "The Hunger Games" franchise - there were still some fan favorites in attendance.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Radcliffe both made their Comic-Con debuts, Matthew McConaughey dropped by the Paramount panel to chat about "Interstellar," and the superheroes of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans added star power to the Marvel film panel.

- Glitzy Industry Networking

While Comic-Con is a haven for comic enthusiasts, it is also an opportune place for high-powered industry shindigs. The cast of A&E's horror show "Bates Motel" mingled with Playboy bunnies at a party that looked like the inside of the iconic motel and NBC hosted a rooftop soiree with stars of "Constantine," "Grimm" and "Hannibal."

Entertainment Weekly's annual celebration hosted Comic-Con's high-profile attendees, including those from "The Hobbit," "Game of Thrones" and "American Horror Story," who mingled over drinks and a photo booth session featuring the Iron Throne from "Game of Thrones."

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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