Game Start 2014 – Review
It’s October & my 3rd trip to Singapore in 3 months huhu! The reality is bitter sweet but the feel is always high, anticipating these milestone events in Singapore. What events were they? Let me recap – International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS) 24th August / Singapore Toys Games & Comics Convention (STGCC) 6 & 7 September… and now Game Start Asia 25 & 26 October 2014.
Why bitter sweet? Well the reality is that I fund my own trip to events & this is in Singapore again plus I can’t take my wife and daughter to the event because as much as I would like to enjoy myself at the event, I’m there to WORK first. But that’s the nature of the job description ‘MEDIA’ in the context of event coverage and I understand that… I honour that. So far in Singapore they also honour that. In some of the major events that appreciation is felt in the form of the ‘Media Lounge’ huhu. My first experience of a media lounge was at STGCC and the reaction to it was both strange but with much feels of being appreciated, even ‘assist’ed 🙂
In Malaysia it’s a bit different. Being ‘media’ for an ACG event has various purposes & functions. Most of the time it is a very unappreciated & under valued resource but I’ll save it for another blog post topic in the future.
I heard about Game Start earlier in this year and the very thought of a convention for Video Games is hard for me to ignore. There are 2 most influential elements in my youth. The first was video games & the second would be comics (Marvel / DC). Of course this didn’t start with me as I couldn’t buy any gaming system even if I wanted to back in kindergarden. I owe it to my dad who was the first to share in his purchase of the Phillips TV Game. Then my cousins got themselves a Apple ][ aka Apple II aka Apple 2 in the 80’s. Then my dad decided to get into the pc arena for word processing in the 80s. Enter the Commadore Vic-20 which loaded games & stuff from a cassette tape! No joke! Then later my dad upgraded to the Commadore 64! This one had the all new 5.25″ inch floppy disk drive which could contain a whopping 160kb per side or a high density floppy could hold 1.2MB!! That was amazing in the 80s haha
So after that my dad continued the ‘renegade under dog’ run by getting the Coleco Vision for us as a home video game system, when everybody else was getting the ever popular Atari 2600. At the time the Coleco Vision was known to be the console with almost ‘arcade like’ graphics. Just check out their version of Donkey Kong compared to the others –
Anyways getting back to the topic – Woo hoo International Cosplay Day Singapore in August, then Asia’s premiere comic convention STGCC every September! Now Asia’s debut Video Games convention GAMESTART 2014 in October… yayyyy… back to back to back. Errr the money flying away in currency exchange but still determined to go. So a big thanks to Press Start MY for sponsoring my trip. What an assist for my work 🙂 The guys from Press Start MY!
It was a nice change to fly down to Singapore compared to my usual First Coach bus ride. Not to say that First Coach is not comfy but 5 hours travel compared to 70 minutes… that’s so much time saved.
Game Start publicity team did a great job with a great website & active social media feeds. Demo games were announced, special demos versions of unreleased games were made available to test, Capcom Pro Tour Asia Finals, Special Guest for Cosplay, Game Producers, Interactive Contests and lotsa freebies including 2x Xbox One, 2x PS4, 1x PS VITA.
I arrived at Suntec Singapore at 9:15am and the line was long. Easily 300 – 400 people already in line since they announced that the first 300 each day will receive a goodie bag! ‘Early’ is pretty subjective so I got an inside scoop but asking the 3 guys who were the earliest in line. “We were here since the stroke of midnight (00:00 Sat morning). But since the convention centre is closed from midnight & opens at 7am, the security escorted us to the main entrance where we camped till 7am. Then at 7am the security escorted us in the complex all the way up stairs to the entrance of hall 403.”
These early birds were so hard core because the first 3 people to buy PS4 on Day 1 of Game Start 2014 would also get a SONY Xperia Z3 (Black) + 3 Years Membership Playstation PLUS + a Toro HDD cover + a PS Tee. Yes, the Xperia Z3 is that new uber cool Sony phone that can shoot underwater, like we see in the commercials 🙂 haha. So a special salute to all the youth who were queuing up & patient. Mind you the doors only open for general admission at 12pm so the word ‘camped out’ is aptly used here 🙂
As you enter the hall, you will first notice that the lights are dimmed & the LED screens are like flashing game advertisements of ‘what you are missing out’ if you don’t draw near! Hey, if it works with moths & candle lights, why not not right? Especially when the moths are fire proof!?? Haha Anyways, the special guest & members of the media were allowed to enter in the hall from about 9:45am-ish as the opening ceremony was scheduled to begin at 10am. After 15 mins in the hall I started to settle down as if acclimatizing to amped “I am at this huge VIDEO GAME CONVENTION! The low lights & game sound effects experienced was reminiscing of entering a gigantic video game arcade, only that it was powered by gaming consoles & PCs. By the time the opening ceremony was about to start I’ve dubbed the hall to be “The Bat Cave”! or the party in “The Bat Cave” hah! Nothing like throwing more pop-culture references into pop culture xD haha
As you step into the hall you are welcomed by the Blizzard booth which had Heartstone: Heroes of Warcraft (released earlier this year) for free play as well as the preview demo of Heroes of the Storm which is to be released next year.
Then you are met by the massive PlayStation booth + Gaming Arena (For Mature audience 18+ games & unreleased titles) with racing seat, steering wheel and pedals for you to try out Drive Club! Among the games free to try: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Lego Batman 3, Just Dance 2015, Winning Eleven 2015, FIFA 15, WWE 2K15, NBA 2K15, Sleeping Dogs HD, Little Big Planet 3, Freedom Wars, The Evil Within, Ultra Street Fighter 4, Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN, Far Cry 4, etc. Oh, and did I mention the PlayStation show girls were around too? Haha
Bloodborne, The Order 1886, Until Dawn, and Resident Evil: Revelations 2 are among the special preview of titles that have yet to be released.
This was not publicized but I got to know that at SONY chose Game Start 2014 to unveiled their spiffy new “20th Anniversary PlayStation Logo”. Has it been 20 years already? Wow! The PlayStation (One) was unveiled in Japan on December 3rd, 1994 & was the first video game console to ship 100 million units in 9 years & 6 months after its launch.
In middle of hall 403 is the Namco Bandai Games booth! The booth was huge like a castle as it walls stretched up high like fortified walls. They games highlighted here were: Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Godzilla, Dead Island 2, Final Fantasy Typo-0 HD, God Eater 2:Rage Burst, Project Cars etc. All these titles are just demos as they will only be released next year. Oh! What a treat game fans. Passing by this booth I was fortunate met Sword Art Online: Lost Song producer Mr. Yosuke Futami. So ngam he was walking by the backdrop of his up & coming game 🙂 He was also nice enough to grant me a photo with him 🙂
2K Games had a huge area to demo their new game EVOLVE! No close up photography was allowed so you really have to be there to experience it first hand. This is game is looking to be a BIG hit when it eventually comes out!!
Now all these highlights were great… and exciting but what I was really looking forward too, because it’s nostalgic… was the RETRO DNA booth by Versus City. It’s basically the Retro Gaming area!! Wow, they had the SEGA Megadrive, SEGA Megadrive 2, Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, Nintendo NES, Neo Geo Omega, PC Engine, SEGA Dream Cast, Xbox… they even had CRT Television sets to complete the retro gaming experience haha. What a trip down memory lane!
Special Stage Guest
Despite this being the first event, the stage was not short of special guest. Direct from Japan we had Yosuke Futami (Producer: Sword Art Online), Junichi Yoshizawa (Producer: Freedom Wars), Masaaki Yamagiwa (Producer: Bloodborne), Komoto Daisuke (Producer: Naruto Storm Revolution), Yoshinori Ono (Producer: Street Fighter IV series) and guest cosplayers Yasemin Arslan (Australia), Yuegene Fay (Thailand), Tessie (Singapore). Not to forget it was a cherry on the sundae when the SG Street Fighter Cosplay team come on stage after Ono-san’s presentation of Ultra Street Fighter IV Omega Edition! That was uber cool!!
Competitions and Tournaments
What’s a video game convention if can’t compete against the best? These were the titles in which players had a chance to show off their skills: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN-, Naruto Storm Revolution, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle, Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost, Soul Calibur V, DRIVECLUB Time Attack Challenge and of course FIFA 15… which had their own booth by Xtre3me3 which included a Champions Cup as a trophy and special workshops on playing FIFA 15.
One of the topics close to the heart of organizer, Ms Elicia Lee, was the local game developers. In this the are called Founders Base was set aside for local game developer to showcase their talents, skills and products. Among them were Boomzap Entertainment, IMBA Interactive, INZEN Studios, NEBO, Kinetiquettes, Liongeeks, Shawn Beck Games and Witching Hour Studios.
Capcom Pro Tour Asia FINALS
I’ve only read about these events, meaning the PRO Fighting game tournaments and here is my first chance to see world champions in action! The game was Ultra Street Fighter IV, and the players I was looking forward to see was “The Beast” Daigo Umehara from Japan who is legendary in the video game world (in Japan he is known as the God of 2D Fighting games); and 2013 EVO Champion Xian from Singapore. From the matches I watched, “The Beast” just dominated the entire competition including the exhibition (Omega Mode) fights. He was simply amazing. Finishing with a record of 6-1 (W-L) and meeting Xian in the final. Daigo easily put him away 7-2 to be crowned the Capcom Pro Tour Asia Champion and his automatic berth into the Capcom Cup World Finals in San Francisco. Xian also qualifies via points tally to the Capcom Cup.
*Update – Ironically Xian would go on to take 2nd place in the Capcom Cup World Finals where Daigo finishes a 9th in a pool of 16 top players.* As my late grandmother would say, “The ball is round”, as in ‘anything can happen’ – odds can be overturned… the underdog can be champion!
In trying to sum up Game Start 2014, it was what an exciting & reviving event for beloved icon of the ages – VIDEO GAMES. So many highlights & so many things to experience at one time. To fully experience it, you’ll just have to make your way to Singapore!
If I were to choose 1 particular event to highlight, it would be to meet with cosplayer Yasemin Arslan aka Vera Chimera aka Lilith from Borderlands. She was chosen by video game company Gearbox Software to be the motion capture model Lilith for the cult hit game Borderlands. She still appears in the game series today in the follow up titles of the series Borderlands 2 & Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Had fun chatting with her & she was kind enough to autograph my games. Also, as a big fan of the game I just couldn’t give up the chance to call her “The FIRE HAWK” plus the obligatory worship bow hahaha!
The cosplay guest were organised by the Neo Tokyo Project (THANKS GUYS!) If this is who they bring in a debut event… I am extremely excited to see who is on the list for Game Start 2015!! Don’t forget that these are the very same folks who brought Kamui, Yaya Han, Jerry Polence and Alodia Gosiengfiao to Singapore!! Awesome!
I can’t wait to see what they have installed for #GameStart2015 huhu. The early word is that Game Start 2015 will take 2 halls in SUNTEC! We’ll wait and see!
Full set of our footage here in our FB album – Game Start 2014
It’s The Captain signing off till the next event!