GameStart 2014 – Event Impressions and Highlights

I’m sure more than a few video game-playing fans from Southeast Asia like myself have always wanted to have a gaming convention that we can call our own. The US has E3 and the Penny Arcade Expos, Japan has the Tokyo Game Show, and Europe has Gamescom. Thankfully, GameStart Asia 2014, held in Singapore this past weekend, has arrived and I hope it’s here to stay.

The two day convention featured all sorts of activities, from game tournaments (Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, etc.), on-stage demos of unreleased games (Little Big Planet 3), fan sessions with various game producers (who also made new announcements for their titles), cosplay contests, and even a raffle draw wherein a couple of lucky fans got to take home new consoles.

PlayStation was in full force in GameStart, being the main exhibitor for the event. The PS Booths occupied the most space in the convention hall, and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia (SCEJA) Deputy President Hiroyuki Oda was one of the speakers during the event’s opening ceremonies. Freedom Wars producer Junichi Yoshizawa and Bloodborne producer Masaaki Yamagiwa were also on hand to showcase their titles and participate in media sessions.

Other studios or publishers that were present include Capcom (headlined by Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono), Bandai Namco (Sword Art Online producer Yosuke Futami made a key announcement for the region), Blizzard, and 2K. Additionally, there was a retro gaming booth which housed a ton of old games for sale, playable retro consoles, and arcade systems. Singapore-based game studios such as Boomzap, Shawn Back Games, and Witching Hour studios also had booths of their own.

Attending GameStart Asia 2014 has been a pretty amazing experience. Sure, there weren’t enough Western developers and publishers who were present, and only one out of the three console platform holders had a significant presence, but when you consider that it was just the convention’s inaugural edition, it’s hard not to be excited about its future.

Outside of the small representation of studios or publishers from the West, another gripe I have with the convention was the small floor space. Since it only took place in one hall in Singapore’s amazing Suntec Convention Center, it got really cramped once a lot of people entered and roamed the different booths in the area. Hopefully, if the event does get bigger next year, it can occupy two halls and it won’t get as crammed.

If you’d like to know more about what went down during GameStart 2014, check out the gallery below.

If you also attended, how did you find GameStart 2014? Are you already thinking about going next year? Sound off in the comments section.