Back for its 5th iteration, GameStart 2018 continues to aim to be South-East Asia’s Premier gaming event. Taking up 3 halls at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, the POPCulture Online team heads down to check out the event.
Bring on the Esports
E-sports has seen lots of hype in recent years and it is no different at GameStart 2018 with lots of booths dedicated to it. One of the biggest this year (as with previous years) is the SEA Major and SEA Mobile Major where top players from around the world gather to compete. With a total of 10 games and a prize pool of USD 50,000 up for grabs, it was no surprise that the area was filled with people from the moment the doors opened.
GameStart 2018 also saw big names such as HyperX, Lenovo, MyRepublic with Asus and Armaggeddon joining in for the gaming event. From the latest Call of Duty 4 at the MyRepublic Booth, powered by Asus machines, to PUBG at the HyperX booth, queues can be seen with gaming fans queuing up for their turn once the event was in full swing. The Armaggeddon booth also saw 2 on 2 Overwatch competition going on while attendees could try out Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 over at the MyRepublic booth.
Buy Buy Buy (MTL)
Returning to GameStart 2018 is the popular Doujin Market, which sees artists selling their rather “poisonous” wares such as Tea & Buns Art with their popular key chain sets and character designs from popular eastern and western series. Other wallet danger zones included the Xmashed Gear booth with their game inspired tee-shirts and the GameStart store selling this year’s tee-shirt design and wooden mugs for your mead.
Talking about mead from the Canadian Craft Beer, the food zone also saw lots of hungry attendees filling their stomachs with the likes of Churros, Fish & Chips, Carbonara and Takoyaki. An interesting offering this year is the Saiko Butter Brew which saw the POPCulture Team having it at least once per day.
Battle on the Tabletop
This year’s GameStart continues the popular tabletop gaming from previous years with big names such as Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons making appearances. With a table full of miniatures fighting over artificial terrain that provides cover and concealment to dice rolls, you could tell the seriousness of the game when player argue over “line of sight” and “glancing shots”.
While over at the DDASL Geekified booth, both novice and seasoned adventurers dived into the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons to fight mystical monsters with the aid of 6 to 16 sided dice while guided by the experienced game masters. From the simple pen and paper players to the more advanced ones armed with electronic character sheets on their laptops, the tables were always full for the entire day.
An interesting card game that caught the team’s attention is called The Singaporean Dream where you can pay, steal or sabo your way to be the perfect Singaporean. As the name would imply, the game is totally relatable anyone growing up here in Singapore thus the crowd of people who were probably as curious as us stopping by the booth.
It’s All About Games
What’s a gaming event without game booths and this year’s GameStart saw games on the various platforms. Marvel. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment had a booth for attendees to go hands on with their upcoming Lego DC Super-Villains plus open pre-orders with a bonus Lego toy of Lex Luthor.
Cygames brought in their heavyweight title Shadowverse both for attendees to try out and also as part of SEA Mobile Major while miHoYo’s Honkai Impact 3rd also made an appearance with a booth and cosplayers to add to the experience.
Over at the local side, Battlebrew Production went all out to promote their games with lots of plushies from their BattleSky Brigade TapTap mobile game while Miiny Mobile Gaming Network showcased their flagship game Lords Mania: Eternal War. Developer PONOS also brought in their flagship tower-defense hit The Battle Cats for attendees to try and win some cute game inspired prizes.
Capcom also makes its presence known with the Monster Hunter World booth where attendees can try their hands at hunting a monster for a cool poster. Although we wonder if anyone stopped to think why hammers need sharpening.
Big Names Arrived
Building up from last year’s big name guest, GameStart 2018 continues the trend this year with big names from the gaming industry such as Motohiro Okubo, Producer of SOULCALIBUR VI, Kaname Fujioka (Executive Director/Art Director) and Yuya Tokuda (Director) of Monster Hunter World and Elise Zhang, voice actress for Mei from Overwatch.
From stage events where these guests such as Carello Arellano got share their experiences working in the industry to the challenges they faced, it was a good informative session for everyone to have a glimpse what goes on behind the scenes in the world of gaming.
One surprise this year was the inclusion of celebrity gamer and New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega. Known for his high risk moves in the squared circle, who would have thought the champion is also quite the gamer as he commented for SEA Major and even went one on one with attendees on stage in Street Fighter.
The END GAME Grind
Eliphant has continued its tried and tested formula with this year’s GameStart, keeping whatever that has worked and expanding their horizons with more gaming brands taking part and a bigger guest lineup.
While we are still a long way from having a Tokyo Game Show or E3 level event here in Singapore, we can see that with five years of GameStart experience, Elicia and her team are slowly but surely on the way to the end game. After all, you don’t need a concert to bring people to a gaming event.
Photos by Alex Tan, Ken Koh and Kenneth Wong.
© POPCulture Online 2018