Tuesday, October 28, 2014

GameStart 2014

The first ever GameStart was held from 25-26 October 2014 at the Suntec Convention Centre. It's a gaming convention showcasing the latest upcoming games. Exhibitors for the inaugural event include Sony, Bandai Namco and Blizzard to name a few. We in Singapore have not had such an event in a long time. I don't play much games these days but I was interested in what the event had to offer.  

Random loot bags were given out to the first 300 attendees on each day. I was considering going early to get one. A check on the event's Facebook page made me decide not to. It seemed that by 8am there were already more than 300 people in queue. Okay no biggie. I reached half an hour before noon, which was when the doors opened on the first day. I thought I could just follow the tail end in. Boy was I wrong. The queue snaked and stretched a very, very long way. And more and more people continued to join it. The entry system didn't help matters. Even with a ticket, you had to get a wrist band at the door. I should mention that your ticket is also used for lucky draw purposes. Marshals were deployed to hand out the bands before opening time. But due to the sheer numbers, their efforts made little difference. 

The queue showed no sign of abating so I decided to go take photos of the cosplayers. The event had a cosplay segment so there were quite a number of cosplayers around.

Fast forward about two hours later. The queue seemed even longer. An empty hall had to be opened to ease the congestion in the walkways. According to Facebook some folks queued nearly two hours just to get in. 

I finally went in after 3.30pm. The organisers, Eliphant Pte Ltd may have underestimated the turn out. Only one hall was used for the event. The number of people in attendance could easily fill another. This is definitely a good sign for future editions. I took a moment to take in the sight. The booths were very well decorated and attractive, with spotlights shining and giant banners overshadowing the attendees. The atmosphere was superb. I got a buzz the moment I stepped in. Now if only I could get to the content.

Catching Daigo "The Beast" Umehara in action was one of my objectives. For those who do not know, he is one of the best, if not the best Street Fighter player ever. I was just in time to see him finish of a challenger on the main stage. 

It turned out that was the last match for the open challenge. Players and Street Fighter cosplayers then gathered on stage for a group shot.

It was only on Day 2 where I had the opportunity to really check things out. Though there was a long queue, it cleared pretty quickly. Cosplay guest Yasemin Arslan and Angelus from the Neo Tokyo Project were on the show floor. They were cosplaying as Eliza (from Tekken) and Valeera (Warcraft) respectively. Awesome costumes both!  

Angelus (left), Yasemin

The PlayStation booth was the first place I checked out. I only realised at the event that it was their 20th Anniversary. Some of the games that we could try out there include Bloodborne, Driveclub, Just Dance 2015, Fifa 15 just to name a few. I played Fifa for a bit. And also Lego Batman 3. It was my first time playing a game from that series and it was fun. The characters are cute. They each have unique abilities. I found out that there will be over 150 playable characters which is awesome! 

A highlight at the Playstation booth is The Evil Within photo booth. You can have your face on the cover of the game. The positions of the barb wire are adjustable. I didn't do it. I'm uncomfortable with it... which is probably why I should stay clear of the game. 

Evolve I think was the most popular game at the event. The estimated queue time when I was there was 120 minutes! And this was in the morning. The game pits 4 hunters against a monster. All the characters are controlled by players. The objective is simple. Either the monster or all 4 hunters have to be killed. The monster seems more fun to play. He has to eat and evolve first while avoiding the hunters at the start. I like Goliath. I like how he walks and leaps around. He can throw things and breathe fire. *Update -  the monster can win by destroying a base as well.  

Having only caught a glimpse of "The Beast" the day before. I was happy to be able to see him in action again at the Capcom Pro Tour Asia Tournament. He played as Evil Ryu and made quick work of his opponent. He only lost one round during the match I watched. I noticed that he looked bored while playing. Now that's scary! "The Beast" won the tournament by the way.

I took the opportunity to play Ultra Street Fighter IV at the Razer booth. I haven't touched a Street Fighter game since I think Alpha. I only know the basic special moves. Surprisingly I was able to beat 2 people out of five with "Ken".  

My next stop was the Versus City Retro area where old consoles like FamilyCom, PlayStation and Sega Mega Drive 2 were set up. There were also arcade machines. I felt more comfortable here... I took a turn at Fatal Fury and Marvel vs Capcom.

They had retro game consoles and games for sale. Once upon a time I might have picked something up. Now I think it's better to save the money and buy a PS4.

The Bandai Namco booth now. Some of the games you could try out here were God Eater 2, Gundam Breaker 2, Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dead Island 2. Those were in the enclosed area which required you to queue. Around the booth you could try various titles from the Tales series and Project CARS.

I'm most familiar with Blizzard stuff. I played Warcraft, WOW and the Diablo series. I'm currently playing Hearthstone. You could try Diablo III and Hearthstone at the Blizzard booth. I'm still not keen on Heroes of the Storm. Guess I prefer to chop up minions. Free Hearthstone card packs were given out and I went and got one. Come on Legendary Card! Lol.

It's about time I introduced you to Alyse. She's the Official Mascot for GameStart.

I caught the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Beat the Producer Challenge. The producer, Komoto Daisuke said that he would swim back to Japan if he lost. The matches were fast and exciting with the Ultimate Jutsus successfully performed on several occasions. Komoto Daisuke used many different characters. He seemed to favour Madara Uchiha and the First Hokage. I think he played 11 matches, won 5 and lost 6.

The Game On! Cosplay Competition was up next. It was hosted by the Neo Tokyo Project. The judges were Yasemin Arslan, Yuegene Fay and Tessie, all of whom were Cosplay Guests.

From left: Yasemin, Yuegene, Tessie

We saw some fantastic costumes and great performances. I have to mention Blitzcrank for that giant costume. It was hard to see but there was actually smoke coming out from the stacks on his back. The Halo Shock Trooper was fun to watch for the Singaporean style communication. He could not top Deadpool however who deservedly took the Best Stage Performance Prize. 

There's still a lot which I haven't mentioned. The producers of various games such as Freedom Wars and Bloodborne were present at the event where they talked about and showcased their games. There were game demos and workshops for Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Fifa 15 and LittleBigPlanet 3 to name a few. Attendees could participate in ConQuest where you collected stamps from the various booths and win prizes from Armageddon. You could register and participate in the Ultra Street Fighter IV and Guilty Gear competitions at the PlayStation Arena.

With regards to merchandise, here's a sample of what you could see and pick up. Click images to enlarge.

Want to see more? Check out the galleries:

GameStart 2014

Game On! Cosplay Competition

Day 1 Cosplay

Day 2 Cosplay

GameStart was an awesome event! The exhibitors and content brought in were top notch. I'm already looking forward to it next year. Hopefully it will be bigger and better. More space and consoles are definitely needed judging by the turn out. Queue management could have been better. I think we can do away with the tickets and just have the wrist bands.

Right, that's it for my visit to GameStart. Thanks for viewing!

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