The Belated Gamestart 2016 Tour!
Filling a much needed void where we have events for gaming hardware but not the stuff we put in it, GameStart Asia is a trade show… for games! GameStart is here to show you the things that you can grab and download to a rig you own in the near future.
OMGeek has been a staunch supporter of GameStart Asia ever since its inception in 2014. This year is no different! The Crew (pun intended) are on the scene as usual. Here’s what’s around the small little room in October 2016.
Microsoft’s Xbox booth ironically has very little XBox presence, with only a Gears of War themed display and 2 units on one wall. Running the games are various gaming grade PCs from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Alienware, touting Microsoft’s XBox Live Streaming platform - with XCOM2, Halo Reach 2, Forza Horizon 3, Final Fantasy XIV - and finally, the about-to-be-released Gears of War 4.
Bandai Namco’s booth is less elaborate than last year, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new, with the main attractions being the localization of SD Gundam G Generation Genesis, and a unique horror stealth game called Little Nightmares. Filling out the back are games that were released some months after Gamestart 2015: Tales of Vesaria, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Singapore now contains a local branch for development and active English localization; expect to see English editions of game series that were previously exclusive to Japan in store. We have already seen Super Robot Wars Original Generations 3 during STGCC last year, mind you!
Sony has no new hardware on display this year (revision updates don’t make good significant releases).
Instead, its booth is completely commandeered by PS4-exclusive fighting game tournaments, the main attraction being the Capcom Pro Tour Premier for Street Fighter V. Squeeze into the sides and there are matchups for Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and the recently-released King of Fighters XIV and BlazBlue: Central Fiction.
The Games Solutions Center (GSC for short), a collective that hosts game development startups, has a less prominent booth location this year.
Fortunately, same can’t be said for the products on display. Stealing the show are at least 2 games utilizing the Oculus Rift, representing a new breed of horror games: Stifled and Lunar Eclipse. Thanks to all the background noise alerting the pesky monsters you’d want to avoid, the games are literally in nightmare mode, but we can see these sort of games becoming a killer app for virtual reality in a gaming rig.
The indie games aren’t to be scoffed at either, though we didn’t have the time to try them all, unfortunately. What we did try are Spacejacked - a tower defence and FTL hybrid, now available on Steam, and I Wanna Be A Hero, an F2P roguelike for iOS.
Just across the GSC booth is one of its “graduates”, XII Braves. Now the recipient of generosity from global mobile game publisher FunPlus, they were gearing up for the imminent release of a mobile dungeon crawl/strategy collection free-to-play game, Valiant Force. You can grab the game from the Android and iOS app stores right this very moment.
Armaggeddon, Singapore’s local affordable gaming hardware manufacturer, is now an ongoing presence at all IT Shows and GameStart, showing us all that we could have decent PC gaming peripherals without breaking the bank too much. The main highlight this year is a genuine mechanical gaming keyboard you can have for about $50. To prove that they aren’t cutting corners, they have also worked with sponsor MyRepublic to provide space and equipment for the Overwatch Champions Singapore.
Speaking of hardware, Armaggeddon isn’t the only one with some gaming related gear around. SecretLab, makers of comfortable gaming seats, are on-site hawking their thrones.
On day 2 they held a “5-wheel-drive” time trial near the exit, where the winner got to take one of their premium gaming seats back home - a tempting offer, since their product is one of the best computer chairs that doesn’t look like it's a repurposed office chair.
Naj Arcade is a place set up like one of those old slot video game centers, a dying breed these days in the age of infinite data and fast online connections. Here it’s showcasing a product a couple of years in the making that’s apparently ready for sale… but you can’t buy it just yet. This little 1 player arcade cab is made from a Raspberry Pi and custom cut parts . It’s surprisingly playable despite its size and the fact that it’s emulating the games, rather than running them on native hardware.
Its $399 a pop for a pre-constructed kit when it does get to market; we say they should also sell it as a DIY crate.
And finally, the Center Stage is a showcase of developer panels, award ceremonies and new product showcases, with some light gamification being used to keep the audience engaged. Expect to not just answer simple quizzes for freebies like in the Gears of War panel, but go to the extent of attempting to beat the game’s development lead in his team’s own game, as is what happened at the Tekken 7 panel! Participate in the modern Japanese tradition of random bonus gifts, by forging a sword spirit on stage, in Touken Ranbu!
We at OMGeek regret that we don’t quite have the endurance to attend all of them over 3 days.
While the convention area used is rather small, with each year the showcase becomes more and more promising, and we at OMGeek think that the best, as always, is yet to come.
See you again, video game fanatics, at GameStart 2017!
This tour is not-quite-so brought to you by the official Gears of War 4 Pizza Cutter. Never fight alone again - just add pizza.
It is also not-really sponsored by Sante FX Neo, the ultimate in whole-day screen staring eye fatigue protection.