It’s that the time of year again for Singapore’s homegrown game event, GameStart 2019!
Returning for the sixth and final time, this year’s event was one to be remembered for the books.
This being my first time (and the last time for the event itself, just my luck as usual) at GameStart, I wasn’t sure what to expect about the reception or how well-received it would be but I must say that I was quite surprised at the turnout of participants.
Still, after experiencing the sheer gaming intensity that was the Tokyo Game Show, I wasn’t sure an event like GameStart could compare.
I shouldn’t have worried; sure GameStart’s smaller in scale, but there’s a cozyness that’s missing from TGS. Plus, smaller doesn’t necessarily mean worse, I actually like that it’s smaller. Less ground to cover, more time to look at stuff!
Compared to TGS (which even with 4 days of attending we had trouble trying EVERYTHING), GameStart was MUCH better and easier to enjoy.
The event was filled with something for everyone; from participating competitively in the SEA Major tournaments, crushing it at the tabletop games, playing exclusive demos of upcoming games, to chugging down meads like Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher franchise.
Some booths were notably much more popular than others and frankly, it wasn’t surprising at all; Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake booth was packed on both days we went.
Those who were lucky and quick enough (because the queue lines to get into GameStart itself were long!) to get a slot in the queue could play an exclusive demo preview of the remake before it launches next year March 2020.
If you missed your chance then fret not, since the demo was the same one that was previewed at TGS this year; we had a chance of trying it out ourselves and you can read all about it here. TLDR: it was AWESOME and March can’t come fast enough!
I have to be honest, I’d expected more from Square Enix though, particularly since there wasn’t merchandise on sale from the company at all. I wanted to buy some of the TGS goodies that I missed (luggage couldn’t hold them all) but Square Enix didn’t bring nothing with them…Sad face.
Other notable games were also showcased during the event, such as CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2099 which was screening an exclusive gameplay preview for those who can’t wait to get their hands on the game as soon as possible (myself included).
It’s a shortened version of the gameplay demo we saw at TGS (50 or so mins over there compared to the 20 or so mins demo at GameStart) but all the good stuff was inside.
And also, another of Square Enix’s upcoming game, Marvel’s Avengers, made an appearance and allowed gamers to try out its demo that was first introduced at E3 (and again at Gamescom and TGS) this year.
Marvel certainly came out swinging for this year’s GameStart, as it also had Super War and Realm of Champions on hand as well. Both are coming to mobile, with preregistration for Realm of Champions already underway.
There’s also an Iron Man VR booth, which drew in crowds of gamers eager to play as Shell-head (or the Armored Avenger as he’s known now) himself.
For gamers who wanted a little more oomph and wanting to more action, they could easily register and participate in the tournaments available there for prominent competitive games such as SoulCalibur, Street Fighter and Tekken; to name a few.
Even our very own Sal was also apparently itching for a fight as soon as he noticed that the Retro Arcade booth had the classic Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter from the good old days. Sal’s ancient in case you don’t know.
He’s from an age where arcades were rampant and multiplayer matches meant sitting beside your opponent (and hoping you don’t get a real life beatdown). He can even remember playing Street Fighter II in 1991 in the arcades!
There were a ton of other indie or niche titles on display too, most of them getting representation on the Nintendo Switch. Weirdly, Microsoft’s Xbox was pretty absent from the event.
All in all, at the end of the day the event was a definite success and everyone experienced fun in their way; be it by nostalgia like for Sal who was recalling his days at the arcades. Or by experiencing something new, like for me when I had Lion City Meadery’s quality mead at the event which was delicious and very unique.
Unfortunately, this is the last time for GameStart but it has made its mark and will be remembered for a long time.
For a more comprehensive look at the event, take a look at our video!
All good things must come to an end eventually.