GameStart 2014 press conference

GAMESTART 2014 PRESS CONFERENCE 

The press conference for the inauguaral GameStart videogame convention was held today at the St. Games Cafe in Bugis+. Organised by Eliphant Pte. Ltd., the lineup of games, activities and special guests was announced to the media.

Elicia Lee explaining the genesis of GameStart

Elicia Lee, the Director at Eliphant, revealed that GameStart was born out of a desire to capture the excitement of major conventions like the Tokyo Game Show and PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo. Members of the Eliphant team, including former GM at EA Mobile Asia Pacific Christopher Ng, had been working in the gaming industry and had travelled to conventions such as the two above-mentioned ones. While referencing those conventions, Lee stated that “We want to be our own show for the Singapore and Southeast Asia audience.”

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia’s Hidetoshi Takigawa

Sony Computer Entertainment HK (SCEHK) will be the main exhibitor at the show, occupying 250 square metres of floor space showcasing around 30 titles for the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. Gamers will be able to try out hands-on previews for Bloodborne, The Order: 1886, Until Dawn and Guilty Gear Xrd, all due for release in 2015. Masaaki Yamagiwa, the producer of Bloodborne, and Junichi Yoshizawa, producer of Freedom Wars, will be hosted by SCEHK, meeting fans and speaking about their games at the event.

A key part of the convention will be the GameStart Founders Base, spotlighting local artists, designers and other creators in the gaming industry. Exhibitors include Boomzap Entertainment and Witching Hour Studios. Witching Hour is known for their Ravenmark series and their latest title, Romans in my Carpet. “We were very excited to hear about this event and get involved, to tell Singaporean gamers that ‘yes, there is a booming industry here in Singapore,'” said Ian Gregory, co-founder and Creative Director of Witching Hour. Inzen Studio and Liongeeks Studios will also be showcasing their work, as well as homegrown artists Kinetiquettes, who will showcase their crafted licensed Capcom figurines, and conduct a live sculpting demo at their booth over the two days. Gregory will moderate the ‘Joining the Games Industry in Singapore’ panel to offer guidance to Singaporeans looking for a career in the videogame line.

Witching Hour Studio’s Ian Gregory

The finals of the Capcom Pro Tour Asia gaming tournament will be held in conjunction with GameStart and will see top Street Fighter players from Asia vying for a spot in the Capcom Pro Tour finals to be held in the U.S. Pro gamers RZR Xian, MCZ Daigo Umehara, AVM Gamerbee and Jonny “HumanBomb” Cheng will be participating.  RZR Xian made history as Singapore’s first ever EVO winner in 2013 and MCZ Daigo has a reputation as one of the top Street Fighter players in the world. At GameStart, attendees will stand the chance to challenge MCZ Daigo and should they win, their reward will be a PlayStation 4. I’m getting Kobayashi Maru vibes.

Namco Bandai Games and Blizzard Entertainment will also be conducting tournaments and showcasing their new games at the show. Blizzard will be distributing beta keys for Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor and codes for Hearthstone card packs (while stocks last). Sword Art Online producer Yousuke Futami will also make an appearance.

GameStart has partnered with Versus City – Singapore (Indie-Pendent Games) – a gaming shop which specialises in retro game consoles – to run ‘Retro DNA’. Showcasing games and paraphernalia from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and the early millennium, this will provide a dose of nostalgia. The arcade games that will be showcased include Super Contra, Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting, Mega Bomberman, Final Fight, Alien VS Predator and Jackie Chan’s Stuntmaster.

Thai cosplayer Yuegene Fay and Australian cosplayer Yasemin Arslan will be at GameStart to meet fans and to judge the GameOn! GameStart Cosplay Competition that will be held on the second day of the convention.

XMashed Gear’s Zhou Xuanming

I spoke to Zhou Xuanming, the owner of and lead designer at Xmashed Gear, the official apparel partner for GameStart. Explaining the concept behind GameStart’s mascot Alyse, Zhou said that initial ideas for the mascot included an android and an alien, but he conceded that “there’s still a very large male audience” and so they went with a girl as the mascot. “I wanted to do something that was sexy but not ludicrously insane,” he continued. Alyse’s design emphasises her athleticism and also includes futuristic elements, using GameStart’s dark blue with orange accents colour scheme. She also has a directional pad as a hair accessory and as a belt buckle. Does Alyse have a last name? “She has a few short-listed last names but for the moment we left it at just ‘Alyse’,” Zhou said with a laugh. If all goes according to plan, Alyse’s back-story will be further explored and we may even get to see an arch-nemesis for her at next year’s GameStart.

The NeoToyko Project’s Charlotte cosplaying as Lux from League of Legends, posing with a standee featuring GameStart’s mascot Alyse

“Her back-story is that she’s an A.I. (artificial intelligence), a gamer from the future,” Elicia Lee added. “She actually was a hologram at one point but then she morphed into this A.I. personality.”

GameStart will be held on the 25th and 26th of October 2014 at the Suntec Convention Centre. 

Jedd Jong

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