I was lucky enough to be a guest at last year’s Good Game Convention 2014, held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre between 26th and 28th of December. The event featured the Dota 2 Cup, offering the largest prize pool known in South East Asia’s so far – no less than $50.000. It also included Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering and Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournaments, as well as a local, amateur Dota 2 tournament happening concomitantly with the main scene event.
Highlights included representative Dota 2 guest stars: WehSing “SingSing” Yuen – currently part of the Team Tinker roster and one of the most famous international Dota 2 streamers known for his unique play-style and hilarious banter, Toby “TobiWan” Dawson – considered the best caster of competitive, professional Dota 2 tournaments and long-time presence in the e-Sports scene, Kendrick “Kunkka” Lim – iconic artist known for his outstanding loading screens created for the original DotA game, later becoming a contractor and concept art producer for Dota 2 after being hired by Valve Corporation and last but not least, Joo “Zulja” Yeon – famous Korean streamer and representative Dota personality in South East Asia.
With the acquisition of a SGD $70 goodie bag, anyone willing could come meet and greet the 4 guest stars, have a shot at having a chat with them, get autographs or pictures and many more. There was also a SGD $400 option with a huge amount of things for the true fans: access to the welcome dinner and VIP seating with the guests, invitation to a panel discussion with the stars, after party entrance and backstage access, autograph and photograph session, exclusive interaction time with the guests and a chance at being picked for the exclusive 1v1 and 2v2 competitions with the invited guests, alongside themed T-shirt, mouse pad, Steelseries headset and mouse and in-game items.
For three days straight, the halls were packed with fans from Singapore and Malaysia, coming to meet their idols and to watch some good old quality South East Asia Dota 2. 8 South East Asian top-tier teams competed in the ok. Dota 2 tournament: Can’t Say Wips, Aces Gaming, G-Guard, Team KS – which unfortunately did not feature Hyhy’s return to the Dota scene due to an unfortunate food poisoning incident, First Departure, Mineski, Insidious Idols and Rex Regum Qeon.
After two days of hardcore bo1 and bo3 matches, TobiWan rendered speechless (literally) due to 12 hours of casting alongside LysanderXonora and SingSing, Team Can’t Say Wips emerged victorious with a convincing 3:0 victory and grabbed the 1st place prize.
While the event did not come up to be as large as other, western conventions, it was still a blast for South East Asia. This is probably the largest scale event that has taken place in Singapore, a place known for being a little cut off from the rest of the Asian Dota 2 scene, having sold over 6.000 tickets over the length of the 3-day event. The main scene tournament also scored a convincing number of 31.000 stream viewers at peak times.
Attendees lined up for the event’s biggest attraction – the Meet & Greet with the guest stars and even had a chance to play against their favorites in the pre-event LAN gathering held at Oasis Café. Cosplay – while not preponderant – was not absent either, bringing the best and bravest Singaporeans to don their Crystal Maiden, Rubick and other favorite hero costumes out in the open, turning them into a bit of local stars.
All in all, I was impressed with the near flawless organizing of the event. There were no technical issues to speak of, the hardware made available for both the official and amateur tournaments was of top quality, matches held on time and a great amount of entertainment for the people attending made this event.
All of the above made the Good Game Convention a very successful one in my eyes, in comparison to many other, larger scale European or American ones for example, especially when taking in consideration the very small number of sponsors that got involved in raising awareness and making the Dota 2 scene more prominent in SEA.
Hopefully, we will be seeing a Good Game Convention 2015 with more people and more teams showing up.