by Jethro Wegener
November 13 saw the second year of Singapore’s very own gaming convention, GameStart Asia 2015, being kicked off, which ran from then until November. With twice as much floor space as last year, including industry heavyweights like Sony, there were showcases from various local developers as well as this year’s GameStart got bigger and more ambitious than before. The media and trade guests were treated to a closed-door event on the 13th.
With a huge, double-storey booth set up to show off the Playstation VR for the first time in Asia, as well as other blockbuster titles, Sony was one of the first booths that catches you attention as you rounded the corner from the Entrance. Gamers of all ages could also try out the exciting array of new games first hand, from the terrifying diving simulator The Deep, to the tamer dating simulator Summer Lesson. There weren’t only VR games on display; attendees got to play highly anticipated titles such as Star Wars Battlefront and Street Fighter V.
Speaking of Star Wars, one of the most popular exhibitions was the Battle Pod, an arcade game based on the franchise. With a snaking queue next to it over the course of the weekends, what better way to get hyped for the upcoming film than to climb into the cockpit of one of the series’ iconic spaceships? Players got the chance to experience first-hand iconic missions from the original trilogy – such as the battle of Hoth and the destruction of the Death Star – inside an arcade cabinet that simulates what it is like to be in the pilot’s seat. With software developed by the Singapore branch of Bandai Namco, it was an incredible treat for any fan of the films.
It wasn’t only Sony and Bandai Namco showing off its new titles – Blizzard and Warner Bros Games also had booths at the event. The recently released final expansion for Starcraft II, the explosion filled Just Cause 3 and Lego Marvel’s Avengers were all available to try, as well as a whole host of other exciting games.
Other than the international titled, local studios also got a piece of the action, with large section of floor space devoted to their products. Side scrolling shooter Rocketbirds 2, shop simulator Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop and other mobile and PC titles were on show, giving everyone a chance to see what Singapore based developers can do and proving that the game development scene in the country is growing. In fact, where else can you get to play or see a game featuring Singa the Courtesy Lion battling characters such as that from Street Fighters? All in the brainchild of a local developer of course!
In addition to the different games, there was also a Cosplay showcase, with special guests like South Korea’s Tuna, show matches for Rainbow Six Siege and Hearthstone, a musical performance by the group Gentle Love, and even a space dedicated exclusively to retro games. Cosplayers in costumes were also entitled to a discounted rate for their entry into the event as well. Besides these fringe events, other interesting booths included AetherCraft, a jewellery crafts shop that draws inspiration from games for their necklaces, earrings and rings, as well as a customised audio earphones store. With more floor space and things to do than last year, GameStart 2015 was a heaven for gamers and geeks alike.