Games Convention Asia 2009

September 24, 2009 1 Comment by Tiramisue

Xbox controllerMost people, when quizzed about Games Convention Asia (or GCA), will recall the exhibition.  As with almost every convention, there is the exhibition, open to public, where game developers and publishers showcase their latest in a bid to wow the consumer market.

But there is another side to these conventions that aren’t specifically targeted at consumers.

This year, yours truly was fortunate enough to be able to attend the GCA Conferences.

GCAC pass

Nay, I wasn’t representing my alma mater.  My brother managed to snag a pair of student tickets, so I attended under a student pass with him.

We were more interested in the Art/Design conferences, and seeing as there were only two of those in the schedule, well, we made sure we attended both.

Don DaglowThe first one, at 10am, was a presentation entitled “Games of the Future and Lessons from the Past”, by Don Daglow.

It was, probably, the most interesting talk of all.  Don was funny, witty, and, having been in the games industry from the start, very knowledgeable too.

The main gist of his talk was this.  If you had asked anyone, 30 years ago, what the gaming industry would be like today, no one would have EVER predicted it would have evolved so rapidly within a span of a couple of decades.  It was impossible to predict then, and it is impossible to predict now, what the games of the future hold.

He also threw out case studies of games and consoles that succeeded because they dared to break the rules of the industry.

One such example was the Wii.  While console wars between the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 have forced their respective companies into pushing for better graphics, better games, etc., the Nintendo Wii took a step back, with graphics resolutions far lower than those of their competitors, simple unchallenging games, basic not-particularly-sensitive controllers…

Yet they’ve outsold the Xbox and Playstation.

If you have the passion and the commitment and the persistence, believe in yourself and you will make a great game.


Our next conference was by Matt Aldrich of LucasArts Singapore, showcasing the art and development process of some of their games.  Not as fun as Daglow’s talk was, but interesting nonetheless.

We were done for the morning, and so we headed upstairs to check out the exhibition.

Okay, so all we really wanted to do was play ODST’s Firefight at the Microsoft booth.

This was our first time trying our hands on Halo 3: ODST, so we were both pretty excited.

One of the things that happens as you start playing ODST, is that you forget you’re not the Master Chief anymore.  You actually have a health system (think Halo 1), you take damage more easily, you can’t run as fast, jump as high, and very importantly, you get hurt jumping off stuff!

Several painful lessons later, I started to get the hang of it.  Love the new pistol (harks back to Halo 1).  Believe it or not, sniping grunts with the new pistol is really loads of fun!

I freely admit that Ryan's way more L337 than me.

I freely admit that Ryan's way more L337 than me.

I tried out the Forza 3 too.  It did not go well.

I can't drive a racecar to save my life.

I can't drive a racecar to save my life.

How bout something I’m moderately good at then?

New Era Games was showcasing Guitar Hero 5, among other games.  Now I know GH 5 has been out for some time, but while I love Guitar Hero, I haven’t gotten it because a. I’m quite broke and don’t want to spend more money on new guitars, b. I’m really more of a drums person and I probably prefer Rock Band: Beatles.

I play the guitar by tapping because I'm cool like that (aka I cannot strum).

I play the guitar by tapping because I'm cool like that (aka I cannot strum).

IAH Games had, by far, the largest booth.  Actually, I wouldn’t even call it a booth.  More like, center stage?

IAH Games

Anyway, they send you on a little adventure quest around their ‘booth’, where you have to complete 4 tasks (related to each of their four soon-to-be-launched games) before you can enter their lucky draw.

If not outrightly fun, it was amusing at least.

IAH - Borderlands IAH - FIFA

The guys of Movie Mania were out in full gear as well.

Movie Mania

By the way, if anyone is interested in weapon replicas and such, Movie Mania produces a wide range of fully resin props: handguns, grenades, rifles, you name it.

I couldn’t resist not taking one of these photos.

Sue + Gun = Danger to self

Sue + Gun = Danger to self

It was back to the conferences after that.  The last keynote speech of the day was “The Life of Lara Croft” by Eidos President, Ian Livingstone.  Rather enlightening presentation about the history of our dear Tomb Raider and some lessons they learnt along the way.

I picked out a couple of Lara Croft TVCs I’d never seen before (Lucozade and Visa) because they were pretty amusing.  Check them out!

This was pretty much the end of my GCA exploration day.  You can certainly cover the exhibition in half a day.  It’s not too big and not too crowded (then again, this was a Friday).

I was around on Saturday too, but ah, that is for another post…

Cortana and the Chief

A teaser, perhaps?

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One Comment

  1. Arrch
    3492 days ago

    Tiramisue is very neglected :(

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