In back to back convention coverage, we’re back in town just one week after AFA to give you the lastest in a more ‘western’ take on running conventions, SGCC! Having just renamed itself that doesn’t include “Toys and Games” in their name, both Sal and I are curious about what this year has to offer.
Has it been given a new coat of paint, or is it same old, same old? Let’s step on in.
Ticket Pricing & Venue
Note: A word of warning for those coming on Sunday, buy your tickets online for a slightly faster entry as the queue was jam-packed with rows of participants still queuing for tickets
Ticket pricing this year has been changed; and for the better, this time. Venues are no longer split by a class of tickets purchasable only for the “Gaming & E-esports” arena with much of the displays being separated into another hall.
I always thought it was a bit silly for them to be separated in the first place; I personally knew 0 people going to a convention being solely interested in the E-sports section of STGCC but I digress. This also means that they aren’t wasting any more manpower on checking for entry within the event like previous years which is a tick in my box.
Although the pricing for full entry hasn’t changed as far as I recall, at $25 for Adults for a single day, Youth tickets are available for teens at a slightly cheaper rate at $18 on-site which is cool to see.
Looking at the venue, entry has been vastly improved on the virtue that the event halls are now situated at the ground floor of the convention centre. No longer was there a large pool of people waiting for security checks before making their way in (there are at least 5 bag-checking stations now!) nor a jam at the entrance due to the smaller-than-expected-traffic size.
Overall, this is a good improvement from the previous years.
No event is complete without a gallery showcase of all the figurines and collectibles up for display and ogling; we definitely have you covered here! While there is too much detail to go on about the participating companies and their prices, it is suffice to say that you’ll have to check it out yourself if you like what you see here.
Main Stage & Creative Space Events
Workshops, talks and panel interactions are always on the top of my to-do list when visiting events and SGCC is no exception to this rule. Check out what’s brewing at the event stage!
PVP Stage Tournament & Gaming Booths
Long running in STGCC, the tournament and event stage is also a mainstay from GGXP, a partner that co-runs the event. A quick gander at the event schedule reveals that it has a few talks along with a DotA 2 tournament going on which some of you might be interested.
If you fancy playing some games, there is also a small booth in the area that you can play some Hearthstone.
Gaming & Board Game Area (Gamersaurus Rex)
Loved the board game area from the previous years? This time, the area has been massively expanded and now encompasses the area that used to be the viewing area of the gaming stage. With a variety of board and card games to satisfy your curiosity with games like ye ole D&D, Warhammer: 40k and others, it is a definite recommend for aficionados of this genre.
This year, there was also a few seating tables dedicated to miniature painting that I don’t recall seeing the previous years which is neat to see. Go give it a try if you haven’t already!
For those more interested in competition, check out the Pokémon TCG and video game open that is also running at a section of the seats (registration is already closed, unfortunately),
All the others
Ye ole doodle wall also made an appearance at the event (two in fact!) that lets anyone draw to their heart’s content. I don’t have much to say about this, except to recommend you to check out the ton of memes that are on the board.
Note: A goose of good fortune and honks has also been spotted at the event! Can you find it?
Mr Kiasu x Spongebob signing by Johnny Lau
Remember the old comic-strip-turned-tv-series that got popular in the late 90s and early 2000s? Taking the top spot for my personal “Didn’t see this coming” award (because I couldn’t be assed to read the content schedule); Not only is the comic series “Mr.Kiasu” still well and alive, the author of the series has teamed up with Spongebob (of all things) to create a crossover that Marvel and DC could only dream of.
Also, he’s signing books at the event as well! It’s good to see the organizers invite a semi-famous local artist to the mix and word has it that he will still be available tomorrow for signings.
Remember the nightmare-ish traffic from AFA last week at the artist alley? Worry no more in this event. I’m glad to report that the artist alley at SGCC is a spacious haven in comparison to AFA with tons more walking space (approximately 5 or 6 human-widths) at the venue and I didn’t feel squeezed at all for most of my walks around.
Royale Gaming Chairs
Apparently, I missed these guys that had a booth the previous week when we covered AFA. Royale is another upstart in the fledgling Gaming Chair scene that is set to shake up the scene in ways that really should’ve been implemented initially.
A leisurely chat with the founder reveals that he definitely has intimate knowledge on the ins and outs of this particular business at the OEM level; something that only experience can speak of. Their strategy appears to be offering a higher quality product than its competitors rather than a race to the bottom in price; a statement of challenge if I’ve ever seen one.
What makes them stand out? Good question. These chairs, at least with their highest marked product, comes with a 5-year warranty on “abnormal peeling, cracking and discolouration”; a sure jab at some of the reported problems from the competition.
With prices starting from $449 all the way to $649, these are also aimed squarely at the market segment of the competitors despite them also being a relatively new company to the Gaming Chair scene.
Look out for our review and head-to-head as we are sure to bring these chairs from the 3 brands to the chair-llenge.
For some family-friendly content, Lego has set up shop at the event with a variety of products for sale. In true Lego fashion, there is a fairly large display area showing off various themes and large IPs such as Jurassic Park all miniaturised into lego format.
There is also a build-it-yourself area for people to let out their creative juices along with a demo area for their Lego Mindstorm series of Lego electronics available for playing.
While I’m not entirely sure if there were premade sets at the area, there was an impressive Lego T-rex and Batmobile which I got to check out!
Worth the price?
Honestly, it is getting there for me; I’d have to say that it is at least going in the right direction, albeit slowly. There are still things that I would consider “less than ideal” when comparing to the other conventions that this organizer has hosted in the US (NYCC, PAX).
Those events had more workshops, panels and notable guests to make the initial entry fee not feel like a rough step to spend even more money within the event itself. Now I’m all for merch at events like these but it shouldn’t be the vast majority of content up on offer.
That said, for the aficionado collectors and those who could appreciate better appreciate the guests at this year’s event, many things have been streamlined to be less of a pain and you’ll essentially get the same event atmosphere and experience without all the baggage from the previous years.
A minor thumbs up, but a thumbs up nonetheless to a one-day purview of the event if you have the chance!
Bonus: I found a copy of Strange Planet for sale at Kinokuniya but didn’t know where to put it so here it is.