So what did the “gaming event for all ages” had to offer?
GameCon PH, one of the newest players in the Philippine convention scene with the central theme focused around the catchphrase “gaming event for all ages” with the event highlights including Esports, Boardgames, and of course, Video Games itself. Entering its second year, GameCon PH held its 2nd annual installment last weekend, Feb 10 and 11 at the tight space of Megatrade Hall 2 in SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.
Packed with different attractions, GameCon filled the event floor with different experiences such as indie games, card and board game sessions (did we say board games?) a robotics competition and even a lineup of arcade games together with a mini artists alley and of course retailers of geek merchandise. At a glance it’s easy to notice just how much is happening at GameCon PH however, at the same time, one can also feel that not a lot is actually happening.
One thing that is perhaps unique with GameCon in contrast to the many gaming events that we have all been used to here in the Metro is their inclusion of Arcade Games as part of the experience, with their partner Quantum hauling in multiple Arcade machines for all attendees to check out. VR and AR experiences were also being offered by exhibitors, together with indie titles made by local developers. Free plays of existing and upcoming Esports titles are also available for the attendees to enjoy, and of course, board games and card games which took up a very large part of the event area.
While it’s true that many booths offer different activities in which one can take part of, there is an obvious lack of what really is being highlighted over at GameCon PH especially at the stage area, wherein there is no given schedule of any stage-related activity save for any occasional announcements about whatever promotion is happening over at the major exhibitor area. Most of the stage activities did take place during the 2nd day of the event where the robot brawl competition took place, and as well as the cosplay competition. Speaking of the stage, the event’s layout had the stage awkwardly squeezed in beside the retailer area and only had 2-3 rows of seats available with the supposed additional area for spectators being occupied by a both, so simply put, unless you can secure a seat, there will be no way for you to comfortably check out whatever is happening at the stage once the highlight activities are taking place. The size of the venue also further proved to be the bane of GameCon with the indie game booths and Quantum’s arcade machines placed so close to each other that navigation became a real challenge.
Still despite its mishaps, GameCon PH 2018 was decent, and given that it is a very young event, there is a lot of room for improving what it has to offer moving forward especially when it aims to cater to multiple niches. On a personal note, I loved the idea of integrating game development workshops, linking video game and board game communities under one roof, and of course the robotics showcase. Perhaps GameCon could improve on utilizing the layout of such a small event space, or, should it be possible go for a bigger venue for its next installments and also having a proper program flow would greatly help in highlighting the event’s major activities.
Overall, the GameCon PH 2018 experience was quite good, and we are looking forward to what it can offer next in its coming installments.