Gamestart Asia 2015 kicked-off with a bang yesterday at Suntec Convention Centre.
There was a grand official ribbon-cutting ceremony by special guests and an industry/ business conference.
The gaming convention occupied 2 halls this year, which offered far more space for fans to wander and try out the gamut of titles available.
Red Dot Diva (together with Ed from Toys-etc and Andre the Red Dot Dude) was at the Media Preview yesterday and from the looks of it, this year's convention had definite buzz to it.
For starters, when fans walk into the exhibition hall, it would be difficult not to feel impressed by Sony Playstation's massive blue and white two-storey high booth. The company's displays take centrestage, showcasing many of their various games from Streetfighter, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty to Fat Princess and the brand new Star Wars Battlefront.
There is also Bandai-Namco's castle-like booth just across, with Dark Souls, Naruto and more.
However, don't get too distracted by the big-name booths, the indies - who are located at Founders' Base at the back of the hall - have equally interesting stuff to show off.
Red Dot Diva and Ed tried some games when they did a walk-through of Gamestart Asia yesterday. Here are those games that Red Dot Diva feels you should not miss checking out:
1. STAR WARS BATTLEPOD
This game format by Bandai-Namco is found at Geek Culture's little set-up in the middle of the hall.
As a player, you are encased in a space bubble that simulates a cockpit, as the game world unfolds and envelopes your visual and aural scope.
Red Dot Diva had a first try-out at the Battlepod with the Death Star option. There were two controls to steer your ship - one for each hand - and the feel of flying in space as a pilot of the Millennium Falcon, and swooping around into the trenches of the Death Star going pew-pew-pew at Tie Fighters brings about such an indescribable thrill.
It was sooooo good, that she lined up for a second round to steer a Rebellion Snowspeeder and indulge engaging those pesky Imperial Stormtroopers in the Battle of Hoth.
Just writing about the Star Wars Battlepod now, still makes Red Dot Diva grin and quiver with pure unbridled glee. AHHHHhhhhhh!!!
2. SONY PLAYSTATION VR
Hosted at the second floor of the Playstation booth, there are 6 VR titles to choose from - "The Kitchen", "The Playroom VR", "The Deep", "London Heist", "Summer Lesson" and "Hatsune Miku".
Hopefully, you have already pre-registered to for the Playstation VR trial before heading to the convention.
From reviews, Red Dot Diva read that "The Kitchen" is uber spine-chilling VR experience that will definitely scare the crap out of you. Not keen on getting nightmares, she decided to try the shooting game called "London Heist" instead.
The VR headset was much, much lighter than an Oculus Rift she tried once at SDCC 2014 and it is not a big problem for people wearing glasses, like Red Dot Diva. However, she thinks her forehead or head size is a little small, and the headset kept drifting and tilting downwards, which caused her vision of the screen to blur about 5 minutes in. So she was partially shooting at bad guys half-blind.
Those lighted sticks are the controls for which your VR hands could use to pick up objects like ammunition rounds, and to use a machine gun to shoot enemies with. London Heist was a standard drive in a manic speed and just aim and shoot bad guys coming on the left, right or front of you.
Regardless, it was still very cool as a VR trial game. The visual rendition was smoother than Red Dot Diva expected, and for those with travel sickness, you may not feel as queasy as you might think.
With Playstation VR being the future of gaming, this was an experience not to be missed. By sitting through a game or two, one can see that the possibilities of VR gaming or accompanied uses are mind-blowing.
3. STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
The release of this game was hyped-up for a long time, and Red Dot Diva thought she had to check it out, even though she's pathetic at gaming.
Her first trial was a first-shooter one that gave her a mild headache. It was difficult to get a handle on which direction she was going. (The dude manning the game section was not too helpful either.) So, she passed the controls to Ed, who did not last too long with the game either.
Later on, she decided to try the Battle of Hoth environment, and kinda flew around in the snowspeeder, trying to find At-Ats to shoot at. The somersaulting swerves of the plane was confusing and she still did not know which direction she was going towards. Hahaha. The controls and mindset were tricky to get a handle on for a gaming doofus like herself, and she has very little patience, so she gave up. :P
She cannot fault the beauty of the game's visuals though. The vistas are absolutely stunning, and she is sure that any Star Wars fan who love gaming would fall in love with the various options and missions of Battlefront.
4. SG50 KOPI-TIAM
One of the small booths you can find at the Singapore Gamebox section is the SG50 game called "Kan-Cheong Kopitiam Saga" by Mojocat.
This is actually not one game but a series of mini-games inspired by Red Dot Island's kopitiams.
There's one called "Aunty Lai Liao!" where you have to make sure your taxi uncle does not get booked by the traffic aunty, and another called "Kopi Barista" where you can hone your skill in mixing those wonderful kopitiam recipes like Teh Halia, Milo Peng and Kopi Siu Dai.
The booth also have free buttons and stickers of the characters, so go there early and maybe you can nab a few!
Red Dot Diva thought the games looked fun, and very tongue-in-cheek and are a great way to while your time away when you're stuck in a long commute ride or boring family gathering.
Best of all, these games are FREE!
5. HOLY POTATOES! A WEAPON SHOP?!
The weird and catchy title aside, the folks at Daylight Studios are as equally savvy with their marketing strategy for their simulation game.
The gaming outfit can also be found at the Singapore Gamebox section. One cannot miss it, as you will see Potato Dog guarding the booth, waiting for the next player to become potato-heads and forge hundreds of types of weapons for sale to questing heroes.
There is a whole bizarre Potato World for a player to explore as the potato smith build his business and meet some pop-culture potato-fied heroes, like Laura Craft, Steve Mobs and Tony Starch. (Hur Hur Hur.) Oh, there's also a bald Agent 46 (if a potato could actually be bald), who is the villain of the game.
So totally zany, and so darn funny!
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, however, is not a mobile game, and works only on a PC/ Mac-based platform. Word is, there may be a console-version to be released in the near future.
Beyond the five listed above, there are so many other games to try and things to do at the convention!
If you dream of being an Avenger, like Thor or Black Widow, zoom into the Warner Brothers Games booth at the middle of the hall to play the LEGO Marvel's Avengers game. Looking at the LEGO characters fighting their enemies was really too cute to handle!
Local company Witching Hour Studios are showcasing their new game Masquerada, which has a very lovely soundtrack. If you like RPGs, go check them out.
World of Warcraft, Diablo or Starcraft fans must not miss heading to the striking Blizzard Entertainment booth to grab official merchandise from Blizzcon 2015. Also, if you wear or bring at least 3 Blizzard items to the Blizzard booth, you can redeem an exclusive set of postcards!
Other than the gaming aspect, there are shopping opportunities of geeky stuff at Simply Toys, Armaggeddon, Xmashed Gear or Freshly Pressed. Plus, the cosplayer guests TUNA, Johnny (Junkers Cosplay Inc) and Karin (Acanthastar Cosplay), will be meeting fans at the Neo-Tokyo Project's booth opposite the one for Retro DNA, where you can find mini arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man as well as the ever-popular Super Mario Bros.
It probably does not take too much time to have a cursory look at everything, but if you want to truly experience the various wares at this year's Gamestart Asia, Red Dot Diva advises that you get prepared for long queues at the more popular booths and titles. In case there might not be time in your personal schedule, prioritize and hit your sweet spots early.
For a brief preview, here's Gamestart Asia 2015's mascot Alyse to give you a walk-through on video!
Gamestart Asia is building up to be a cool gaming show, and Red Dot Diva wishes those going this weekend to have oodles of fun!