For the first time ever, Cherry Credits has launched its first out-of-the-country gaming convention for all of its fans in the Philippines, called Cherry Convention 2013. Together with Shanda Games International, and a couple of local sponsors, the two-day event (from March 9 to 10) became one of the most memorable conventions ever covered (for me, at least). The crowd at the Megatrade Hall was not comparable to the usual anime, cosplay, or gaming conventions in terms of size. However, the experience itself gave a special impression on not just only me, but probably to the majority of the people who came.
Entrance and Registration
Usually, gaming events require visitors to pay around Php 50 to 100+ as admission fee (some go as low as Php 20, or even free), but last week, people actually needed to cash out Php 270 to enter. It might have been a bummer for some players to find out that the entrance fee was a tad higher than normal. After registration, visitors were immediately given freebies from Cherry Credits and Dragon Nest, which was quite convenient since there’s no need to go around everywhere to get them anymore. The staff was also accommodating, professional, and well-equipped with appropriate gear for easier communication and coordination (it’s the standard anyway, but the way they earnestly and almost flawlessly worked around seemed a note worth taking).
The Event Site
It was the usual Megatrade Hall, and for the frequent event visitors, most of the basics were present: a huge, eye-catching stage, appetizing food stalls, neatly-aligned merchandise booths, and a wide gaming arena. What sets Cherry Convention with the others, however, is how they neatly organized every area that it actually made me think it’s not a pain to walk around almost everywhere. For some people (probably organizers from a few notable gaming events were thinking of the same thing), having a few select booths and having a lot of space might give a “linalangaw” impression, but personally, I preferred this kind of setup. There was enough room for people to actually enjoy strolling from one place to another, without worrying much about having their feet stepped on, or getting bumped randomly every other few steps. Aside from this, the sponsor booths are easy to spot, and you can actually visit each of them without going to the other end of the hall just to take a look.
The Event Stage
The event stage seemed okay, but the lighting, sound system and complimentary large screens were great! Even if you’re not close enough to see the hosts on stage, you can easily hear and see them from the screens and speakers on both sides. You can even find out what’s going on even on the other end of Megatrade Hall despite the crowd chatter.
The Gaming and Tournament Arena
What made me drop my jaw in awe was the tournament area. When everyone from the staff saw it, we knew — THIS IS WHAT GAMING EVENTS SHOULD HAVE. There’s two groups of PCs lined up horizontally in a stage in front of the audience, each having its individual LCD TV in front to display what’s going on in each unit’s computer screen! That was not all– there’s another but bigger screen at the center of the stage as well. Surprisingly, there’s a small table below the platform for the tournament commentators. I’m not just talking about any normal commentator — they actually hired a professional to do the job of narrating the highlights of the tournament while it was ongoing (too bad he didn’t cover until the end). Personally, I haven’t seen anything like this in the local events in the past, and believe that future gaming conventions should follow this as a standard. I can’t give much comment on the free play area, but it seemed well-organized and maintained.
Apart from normal gamers, the audience by the event stage area was usually full of photographers, media staff, and cosplay (and Alodia) fans. One thing the staff is grateful about is that there’s only one place for the stage activities, so you can’t really miss much on what’s happening. There had been a few interesting games, cosplay competitions (I commend the witty yet hilarious comments given by the host, by the way), and of course, a special birthday bash for the hailed Philippine cosplay queen, Alodia Gosiengfiao. Each activity was interesting and fun, and there were a couple of surprises too. Personally, the frustrated GM balladeer’s song number (no intended offense meant), Alodia’s +10 Birthday Cake of Vitality and the Mini-Blimp of Cherry Credit Clappers were just a few of entertaining scenes on the first day.
I might have looked biased about this article, but my opinions are genuine. I haven’t been in on-ground event for a while, but I can say that Cherry Convention is one of the best I’ve ever covered. If anything, I would sincerely wish that future gaming events would be as organized as this, and I’m pretty sure visitors, whether gamers or not, can definitely say it will be an experience worth remembering.
Did you miss out the fun and action on last week’s event? You can check out our aftermath video below!
So, What do you think?
If you want to see more photos, check out our Photo Gallery for this event.