Good start to local game convention

Good start to local game convention

On my first visit to the annual E3 games expo in Los Angeles, I spent more time in the line waiting to do something, than actually doing something at the show.

Early on the first day, several hundred of us waited in line at the Los Angeles Convention Centre for the doors to open. That was just the beginning.

The long line at Microsoft's Xbox booth was matched by the line at Sony's PlayStation booth. And there were more lines at the publisher booths - Activision, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Square Enix, Ubisoft and Warner Interactive.

And did I mention the queues for freebies? Where there were T-shirts, codes for games, toy collectibles or photo opportunities with the dozens of cosplayers, there were lines.

Year in, year out, it's the same.

There is no priority queue at this trade event, though some exhibitors have media-only lines, and if stock of some desirable trifle runs out, there is nothing anyone can do.

Public access is limited, but if you have links to the gaming industry, you can pick up a three-day E3 pass for a mere US$995 (S$1,270).

But last weekend in Singapore, for just $8.50 ($15 for a two-day pass), fans could attend the first gaming convention here, the inaugural GameStart 2014, at Suntec Singapore.

As I arrived at the fourth floor of this convention and exhibition centre, I could not help but smile as I saw the hundreds of gamers seated on the ground, waiting for the doors to open.

The rules prohibit overnight lines outside the halls. However, the organisers said that quite a number had camped outside in an outdoor area near the convention centre and had dashed up the escalators when the doors opened on Saturday morning.

With my media pass, I jumped the queue and stepped into the hall. That brought on another smile. The lights were dimmed, but I could make out the Blizzard and PlayStation banners above the booths flanking the entrance.

Behind them were Bandai Namco, 2K and Razer. Microsoft was absent, but I counted four Xbox One consoles on display.

There were the requisite closed-off areas for demos for upcoming games, such as Dead Island 2 and Evolve, and game challenges that rewarded fans with loot.

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