When GameStart 2014 was first announced back in August, promising gaming fans in this side of the world something to look forward to in the mould of bigger events like Tokyo Games Show and E3, many were sceptical that organisers Eliphant Pte Ltd can pull it off. I will have to admit that I too was cautious too in reacting to this news seeing how gaming events rarely stood the test of time with many dying off in recent years. Yet there was something about the organisers driving the show and that made me sign POPCulture Online up as one of supporting media for GameStart 2014. Two media previews and lots of publicity later, the big test for Ms Elicia Lee and her team arrives in the form of opening day with all the hype built up.
While I expected long lines waiting for doors to open, I didn’t expect it (in a good way) to be this long upon reaching Suntec City Convention Centre Hall 403. As early as the night before, the queue has been formed by those who wanted to be the first to enter GameStart 2014 and get their chance to try out some of the hottest games in the gaming industry. Not forgetting the very attractive limited epic loot bag and the special Playstation deals, it was no wonder the queues were long for both days.
GameStart 2014 opened with a bang with both Eliphant’s Ms Elicia Lee and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia’s Mr Hiroyuki Oda taking to the stage to welcome everyone to GameStart and expressing their hopes for the event to be the gaming event for the region. This was further strengthened with renewal of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia’s partnership with the Media Development Authority of Singapore and Nanyang Polytechnic for the Playstation Incubation Studio Singapore.
As a country that looks to establish itself in the gaming industry, the importance of such agreements is a good example of strengthening industry links with our education system. Especially with the recently announced ASPIRE which looks to equip our students as they get ready for the workforce. Thumbs up to MDA and Nanyang Polytechnic for securing this partnership and I do look forward to seeing more home grown games.
Starting on a good note is always important and it didn’t take too much to realise that it was only going to get better with the big booth just behind the stage. Easily the biggest booth in GameStart 2014, the Playstation booth in its familiar blue reminded everyone that in just 20 years, the Playstation has grown to become the leading console in the market today especially with the popularity of the Playstation 4, which is unofficially given the title of “master console race” on the internet.
From the highly anticipated Bloodborne to the action packed The Order 1886, visitors got a chance to get hands-on time with these unreleased and recently-released titles. Playstation Vita gamers were also in for a treat as the hit game Freedom Wars also made its appearance at GameStart 2014, offering games a chance to try it out before the English launch next week.
The good people at Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia also brought in a special treat for event goers with The Evil Within Photo booth which was a huge hit at the recent Tokyo Games Show. Allowing the user to have his or her own customised version of the iconic The Evil Within Poster, it attracted many including the POPCulture Online team members covering the event.
One of the main highlight for GameStart 2014, with thanks to SCEJA, was the many special stage events where game producers were specially flown in. From the very energetic Freedom Wars producer, Junichi Yoshizawa to Ultra Street Fighter IV Omega’s Ono Yoshinori & Tomoaki Ayano and not forgetting Bloodborne producer Masaaki Yamagiwa, it was gaming heaven for Playstation fans.
While Junichi Yoshizawa presented the 3 important points for Freedom Wars and gave everyone a demonstration on the multiplayer aspect of the game, Ono Yoshinori & Tomoaki Ayano held an interactive session with everyone present and even had a special showcase where members of the audience could try to beat MCZ Daigo Umehara to win a Playstation 4. Sadly the champion was just too good and no one walked home with the Playstation 4.
Bloodborne fans also had an exciting session with Masaaki Yamagiwa as he explained the concepts of the game and even showed everyone how to defeat the cleric beast boss which many had trouble with. It was also announced that the 5th Feburary 2015 release date of Bloodborne for local players here in Singapore means that we will get it ahead of those in America and Europe.
Another memorable moment from the stage included a special Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution segment where gamers could challenge one of the producers to win special Bandai Namco goodie bags. Being good sports, the two producers cosplayed the characters Naruto and Kakashi during the whole segment. Unfortunately for Komoto Daisuke who was the one being challenged, he will be doing lots of swimming as the bet was that if he lost a match, he will have to swim back to Japan (In good fun of course). Singapore gamers showed their prowess in the game as they defeated him a few times.