The Stacks – New Zealand Stacks Up in Singapore!

The Stacks – New Zealand Stacks Up in Singapore!

by: Aston Talbot

SingaporeWhilst on a two to three year posting to Singapore, New Zealand’s Stack Leader, TronieNZ headed into Game Start Asia 2018 to check it out. Most are familiar with Uber… in Singapore, it used to be here too until Uber was recently acquired by Grab… getting to the point; the day started with grabbing a Grab… and like the recent “doco” about Singapore… Crazy Rich Asians… up rolled the Benz. Day starting in style. Tick.

Arriving at the SunTec convention center, and VIP pass in hand (style continuing?.. Tick) it was time to skip the queues.

Game Start Asia is Southeast Asia’s Premier Game Convention and it was back for its 5th edition on 13 & 14 October 2018. It is your typical gaming convention in terms of format but was an awesome opportunity to check out the local flavor.

The city-state of Singapore is a country where East smashes into West and at the same time takes on its own unique vibe. The gaming scene appeared to be no different. The convention hosted SEA Major 2018, the largest fighting game tournament in Asia, with high-level tournament action, as some top players from around the world convened to fight in two major events, the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour, and the ArcRevo World Tour.

Along with these, there was also Tekken, Street Fighter and some other beat em ups. There were master classes and expert panels from industry leaders including the Director and Executive/Art Director of the globally acclaimed Monster Hunter World; along with tabletop areas, cosplay (taken to that Asian next level), and Singapore’s local Doujin market (http://www.doujimasg.com/). There were also a whole host of local indie developers, looking to up their downloads and catch a break.

The convention had some Playstation presence that was showing off Lego DC Super-Villains as well as other various PC vendors with titles like PUBG and Monster Hunter World on display in 4k-ness.

What stood out though was mobile gaming as the dominant platform. This was definitely the main bag! With a few million people, on a small island (the same number of people living in NZ fitting on an island the size of our largest lake (the hole) in the North Island)) with great public transport, apartment living, and WiFi everywhere, it’s easy to see why. Everyone here lives on their phones, and so it’s where they play.

A top end rig will take up a lot of space in the apartment and is left at home when out and about. This is what nearly all of the indie developers were pushing along with the big guns like Cygames and well; Disney. With their classics, studios like Pixar and franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, and everything else. Let’s be honest. Ain’t much that’s bigger than Disney.

While at the convention I attended the Disney Press conference which showed off two games. Marvel Battle Lines – a 4×3 tic tac toe variant using Marvel characters. It had quite neat comic book style animations, a story mode and included several PvP variants. It’s a Marvel game that’s just had its global launch but was developed in South Korea and built for the Asian market. Marvel is pretty big here.

The other Disney title was a 2019 release… Epic Quest. Smashing together Disney cartoon and live action characters with Pixar as well… it looks like a fun little mobile RPG tap and slash. Disney was showing it to the public with their first playable demo. What’s more… local Singapore developer GoGames has built it.

The premise is, being made entirely of pixels, the Disney Digital Kingdoms are places of peace where all manner of life has flourished…until a malicious virus named Syntax unleashed an infection. It’s got Mickey, Donald, and Goofy ready to help out in their pixel form with a little help from Mum and Dad Incredible; AND Captain Jack Sparrow.

Assembling a squad of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters, you will go on to reclaim the various differently themed kingdoms to battle the infection and stop Syntax! With solo, co-op modes, PvP, and general tap and slash shenanigans… the demo was fun. If it is released globally, this could be a fun one to play with the younger kids in the family in real time co-op.

As a cultural experience, it was great to go along to Game Start 2018… and a good first run out in the new Stack Up gaming jersey and hat.