GameStart 2014 Mega Picture Post

Here are the photos from the inaugural GameStart videogame convention, held at Suntec Convention Centre Singapore on 25-26 October 2014. 

Sony’s booth babes

The opening ceremony

Confetti for all! 

Taking this shot reminded me of what my theatre teacher always said about levels.

The cosplay panel featuring Yuegene, Tessie and Yasemin.

Rolled the dice, one came up twice…

Bear this Aiden Pearce in mind; he crops up later

Here I am with two of gaming’s best female characters (if there were a Samus Aran, I would’ve taken a photo with her too, but alas, there wasn’t)

Theodora as Lara with my custom figure of the character

A pair of Booker DeWitts try their hands at some retro arcade games

Watch out for that Skyhook, Lara!

Tomb Braider. 

Showdown

No spinning bird kicks to be had this day.

Om nom nom.

Free advertising for Razer. You’re welcome guys. 

“Come quietly or there will be…trouble.” 

“I may not always love you…”

“But long as there are stars above you…”

The Tenth Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness get cozy.

Cozier.
Coziest. This one’s for the shippers out there. 

Best in Singapore, JB and some say Batman.

Kuro Koneko knocking it out of the park again as Lady Loki

Don’t kill the fanboy! 

With my friend Vienna as Asuna from Sword Art Online.

Street Fighter champ Daigo in the centre there

The caption Kuro provided is “You dare!? Pah! Insolent mortal… Your Midgardian weaponry cannot harm a God!”

10 and 11 fighting over Jack (yes yes, I know 11 didn’t meet Jack…)

Careful there, Lara is known to be a one-woman mercenary-slaying army. 

Cap’n Jack has at it with the dual wielding.
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Here’s Lara with Sharlene as Alyse, GameStart’s official mascot.

Justin took me up to the roof for a Watch Dogs shoot.
Lots of jumping on ledges was involved.

Kicking off Day 2 with some fourth wall breakage! 

ODSTs strike!

Hey Ms. Pyramid Head. Play nice.

“Korobeiniki” is playing in your head now, isn’t it? 

My friend Rayner capturing the Tennant wonderment.

I was so glad to see a Batman character.

You know the name, you know the barcode.

These Naruto Storm producers said that if the fans beat them at their own game, they would swim back to Japan. They were beaten by two fans. Get your floaties inflated gentlemen.

My Fair Lady Deadpool

Jason as Big Boss from Saints Row presiding over the Game On cosplay competition.

Alice: The Madness Returns

Dante from Devil May Cry

Wilson’s ODST performance featured a pretty funny Singlish voiceover.

Remember the Deadpool from earlier? This guy just owned. 

The judges of the contest, Yasemin, Yuegene and Tessie.

Kie as Joseph Oda from The Evil Within.

Hey Gwen as casual Clint Barton! 

Dual wielders unite! 

Motoko Kusanagi is pretty much the only anime character I recognised at this con.

See you at next year’s GameStart! 

GameStart 2014: Yasemin Arslan interview

GameStart 2014: Yasemin Arslan interview
By Jedd Jong

The inaugural GameStart videogame convention kicks off tomorrow and ahead of that, I got to talk to one of the invited guests, Australian cosplayer Yasemin Arslan. She was picked to be the live-action face of the character Lilith from Borderlands 2 and GameStart marks her first official convention appearance outside of Australia. Today, she dressed as Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. She discussed what got her into videogames, why movies adapted from videogames haven’t really worked and how she deals with creeps at cons.
Within the last few years of gaming, who do you think are some of the great characters to have come from videogames?

Especially over the years, I’ve seen there’s been a lot more complexity with the characters. Even classic games, for example, when Halo started, you had the lead character the Master Chief just be a silent character. But I actually loved the transformation they did in Halo 4, with Cortana as well, they actually made them more human. Definitely love them. Also Ellie from The Last of Us, she’s one of my favourite characters. Regardless of the gender, I just found that to be a really strong, real character, you actually believe that she existed.

Do you feel there’s a difference when you cosplay characters from games as opposed to those from movies because you’ve been in the shoes of the character playing that game?

Absolutely. I think when you’re playing a game, you pretend that you’re that individual, so partaking in…bringing them to life becomes more intimate, more personal. You could say the same thing about movies if you’re more of a fan, but especially with games, you’re literally controlling that character so it’s definitely more personal.

What was one of the first video games that you played?

My first video game is actually Abe’s Oddysee. That was my first and favourite game. I wasn’t that much of a “smart person” as a kid, especially Abe’s Oddysee, there are these levels where you’ve got to test yourself out, you know? Push yourself, the Mudokon, you’ve got to save all of them. That was really fun for me. But then from there I discovered Metal Gear Solid, and that was where I really discovered my passion for FPS games. Now I’ve moved to like Halo, Planetside 2 and also Destiny, I’m playing that a lot right now.

There’s been some controversy in the news with regards to the role of female gamers and game developers within the industry. Is it okay if I ask what your thoughts on that are?

I personally think it’s absolutely disgusting what’s happening in the industry. Gender should not matter these days. To the fact that people are committing suicide over this, because of the bullying, it’s absolutely despicable. We’re all adults, we should all be grown up by now and there should be a chance to develop the industry. More and more women are getting into gaming, we’re adding popularity, finances, we should be embracing this! Gender shouldn’t matter but I think both sides are really tearing it down into a war which is tearing all of us apart. I personally don’t want to be a part of it, I don’t think this should happen in the first place.

I think that after the adaptations of comic books, the next big thing in movies might be adaptations of videogames. Why do you think it is that a lot of videogame-to-film adaptations have not really worked so far?

Oh god [laughs]. It’s more…I think because the games, there’s such a complex universe as it is, it’s so difficult to bring that to screen properly. I don’t think anyone’s done a good job, you’ve had Hitman, you’ve had Silent Hill – they’ve been okay, nothing’s been executed properly. I think there’s also a lack of communication because you’ve already got such a fanatic group who are so in love with the game…

The fanbase?

The fanbase, yes. I just don’t think directors want to listen to them. They want to have their own original idea on it and it just doesn’t work.

So it’s like not sticking to what made the game successful.

Exactly, exactly. They try to make something new and hip and try to make it their own style. For me, if you’re not an avid gamer, you shouldn’t be directing a game film, which I think a lot of them failed on right now [laughs].

What are the best, worst and most interesting experiences you’ve had on a location shoot?

I think best is pushing my limits as an artist, creatively, physically as well. I’ve lost a lot of weight [laughs] on my photoshoots because they push me around. I think the worst thing is probably…nothing serious, but it’s more like the falling apart of my costumes because I jump in rivers, I climb trees and rocks and everything. My costume falls apart while it’s on me and it’s just a heartbreaking thing. That’s the only negative thing but then again, costumes can always be remade, that’s no problem. So yeah.

How important do you think it is for a cosplayer to understand and be into a character before cosplaying that character? There are some cosplayers who choose their characters based mainly on the way they look and not necessarily on the story or personality of the characters.


I personally don’t see much of a problem, I was just speaking to someone previously about this. You can appreciate a game as a game, but then you can appreciate a game as a piece of art. I actually have a lot of friends who don’t even touch videogames and still cosplay from them because they just think it’s beautiful. You can appreciate gaming platforms in so many different ways. For me, as long as you do a little bit of research on the character so you know what you’re talking about at least, then that seals the deal. I’m not fussy, it’s not harming anyone, no big deal [chuckles].

What is the cosplay scene like in Australia?

Definitely these days, it’s a lot more relaxed. You’ve still got a few little quarrels, especially with the international cosplay competitions and between certain groups you know, which is all personal, it’s all quite isolated. Once you’re not part of that scene, it’s just chill. It’s very relaxed and you can always ask anyone for help. Australians, we’re pretty relaxed and we like to band together.

What are some experiences you’ve had meeting fans?

Oof, that’s a pendulum [laughs]. It swings one way or another. I’ve met so many beautiful and amazing people, I’ve helped to inspire them and they’ve helped to inspire me in cosplay. Then there are other strange characters who can kind of cross my line a little bit verbally and physically and I can turn into a little monster [laughs].

How do you handle situations like that?

It depends. If someone is just saying perverted stuff to me for example, I’ll just give them bluntly that I have no interest in that and if they keep going, it will turn a little bit nasty [laughs]. For people who have physically touched me, I’ll be honest, sometimes I’m just in too much shock to realise it’s actually happened. For people to have the gall to touch you, it’s just unbelievable. I have gotten physical sometimes, just out of rage. It’s a shocking experience for someone to violate you and sometimes you just don’t know how you’ll react.

Are there any costume or fashion designers who inspire your work?

For me…god, there’s not really any fashion designers – I actually went to fashion school and I don’t think there’s anyone who’s inspiring, aside from Alexander McQueen who did pass away several years ago but I love his eccentricity, I found [that] amazing. The designers from Dior are wonderful as well. The couture designers from Dior are fantastic. But other than that, I just look to cosplayers for inspiration. Right now Lightning Cosplay, Liz Brickley Cosplay and Jessica Nigri, they’re my favourites at the moment.

Do you communicate with them over Twitter?


Yeah, we actually…we’re kind of friends, especially over Facebook and I’m about to meet them at BlizzCon in a couple of weeks. That’s one good thing I love about the community, that all in all, we band together, we’re like one big family.

My final question is what’s the hardest material you’ve had to source?

The perfect fabric. Especially in Australia, we only have limited resources for fabric, so just your basic stuff and finding the perfect fabric for that particular costume is a pain in the arse. Australia has everything else, fibreglass, we’ve got all that, fabric? Pfft [laughs].

You can see more of Yasemin’s work at her DeviantArt page here.

GameStart 2014: Yuegene Fay interview

GameStart 2014: Yuegene Fay interview
By Jedd Jong

At the press event ahead of the convention’s launch tomorrow, I got to talk to Thai cosplayer Yuegene Fay, one of the special guests attending the inaugural GameStart convention. She began cosplaying in 2000 and through her cosplays of characters from anime and manga  has garnered many fans. Since English isn’t her first language, she had some difficulty during the interview but it was really fun getting to talk to her. 
When you cosplay as video game characters, do you find that there’s a difference between that and cosplaying characters from other mediums because you’ve been in the character’s shoes, controlling them?

Yes. Game character is quite…easier to do but because the game character they make is more imagine, sometimes it’s quite hard to make the hair, the eyes…

Because it’s more fantasy-driven.

More fantasy.

What’s the first game you remember playing, the one that got you into gaming?

Mario? Let me think, long, long time ago [laughs]. Do you know the GameBoy? The pink one…Kirby! And PacMan.

What are some of the best and worst experiences you’ve had doing location shoots for cosplay?

Let me think [pause]. It was about the animation cosplay. Have one time I go to the sea…no, not sea.

The beach?

No, not beach. Tank. Water, the first time I had to take photo under the water is like a challenge. Because every part in the water, you must be very fast. The photographer is maybe have only two second to capture that picture. Quite hard.

Before you have to go up again for air?

Yeah. Because in the water, my cloth, my hair, very trouble. So it’s only seconds I have to go down, then up.  

What has been some of the most difficult materials to find?


In Thailand have many, many kind of material, quite easy to find, but it’s hard to make them with the photo.

To match it?

Yeah, to match. Sometimes like a dragon? Dragon is have the…how you call it…dragon skin…

Scales.

Yeah. You must make it. Sometimes you cannot find the material so sometimes you need to make it by own self. Sometimes we use the EVA or lumber foam to make it look like. Don’t need the real material.

What are some experiences that you’ve had meeting cosplayers from other countries?

Every country I go is different culture. So, when I meet them, I get a lot of experience and I can learn many many…

Like tips?


Yeah, something like that. However, cosplay is quite start from the same, love of the game, anime, manga, something like that, so we are in the cosplay event, in the cosplay community, we think quite same.

How important do you think it is to understand a character before you cosplay as that character? Some cosplayers will choose to cosplay a character based on how they like the look and design and not necessarily their personality.

I see, I see. Because now, cosplay culture now has been a little bit changed. Many new cosplayers make me feel that cosplay feel like a fashion. So when they go to an event, every event they buy new clothes, look like fashion. But for me, I will look at the background of the character first. I don’t like to see only the photo and cosplay, I love to read the background and learn what this character look like, something like that. I like to see the relationship of every character.

Have you done characters from Western media and if not, are you considering that?

Not yet…oh! I have one, but not finished yet. Elsa.

From Frozen!

But gender-bent. Sometimes, cosplay is not only look like the characters. Now, the new way…because cosplay is for fun. Maybe gender-bend or you can imagine, but is still this character.

To put your own spin on it.

Yeah. That’s more fun. But not finished yet.

What are some of your favourite games that have come out in the last several years?

Favourite games? Final Fantasy VII. Yes, I love it very much. My favourite character is Zack [Fair]. Crisis Core.

Do you have interesting stories about meeting fans, like if they’ve come up to say they’ve been inspired by your work?

I see. Everytime I go to cosplay event, will have some people come to talk with me like “thank you so much for your cosplay, inspire me very much” and I will say “Me? Inspire you?” [Laughs] Because I just do what I want, what I love. But when have some people come to talk with me, then they say my cosplay is very good, make me feel exciting and very happy.

So it’s rewarding experience.

Yeah!

You can see more of Yuegene’s work at her DeviantArt account here.


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