GAX 2018 returns, bigger and better this time around

by Sammy Chan
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Over the weekend, on June 24 and 25 specifically, the Game and Anime Expo 2018 or GAX 2018 for short, went down at Berjaya Time Square. Living up to the preceded hype, GAX 2018 offered both gamers and anime lovers a good time. The event itself boasts a plethora of big-wigged sponsors too! Organized by The Game Plan and Comic Fiesta alongside Genysis, it’s no surprise that it managed to pull in the likes of MSI, Intel, and Lazada – to name a few.
Amongst booth and in between performances, I took a step back to just breath in the whole event. I couldn’t help feeling proud of the local gaming scene. Well before I get into a long-winded nag about how much I want to help grow the local scene, let’s focus. I attended both days of GAX 2018 and here are some of the highlights from both days!

GAX 2018 – Day One

On the first day, GAX 2018 kicked off with early birds greeted by the sweet serenade of the ladies from Harmonia ACG. They performed songs from NieR: Automata, check out the video here from their Facebook Page! Once the introduction was over, star cosplayer KING & Misa Chiang came on stage and played a few rounds of Overcooked! with fans. It was a best of three matches with barely any commentary from the emcee and I personally felt that this caused a dip in the mood as an opening event. The winners walked away with small gifts. They, later on, did a short quiz session, several people answered correctly and got the chance to snap a shot with their favorite cosplayer.
As the morning pass on by, the afternoon came around and brought along with it a bigger crowd. More cosplayers showed up and the floor got rather crowded. The next event was the MSI Overwatch Grand League. I spotted a few dudes who came dressed for the occasion and they were nice enough to pose for a shot. It was nice seeing the mall filled with cosplayers no matter where you go. Even the sellers tending to the booths got into it! Check out pictures in the gallery above. Before the Overwatch match starts, Mr. Ravin from Lazada got on stage to do a little promo they had going on over at Lazada. I have to say, the giant mascot they had waiting in the wing was super cute so that was what had my attention. Sorry, Mr. Ravin.

Putting on a competitive stage

Team Sirius and Team Rookie were the first to clash, giving audience one hell of an opening match. Again and again, Unreal from Sirius got multi kills with Pharah’s Barrage. After taking several Barrages to their faces, Rookie finally decide it was best to target the Pharah. The matches were so close and intense, the crowd was groaning and cheering along. Despite their best effort, the Rookies lost to Sirius after they manage to take out four members of Rookie with another Barrage. Sirius then went on to the finals, facing off against MBT. Needless to say, MBT walked away with the win. If you want to check out the whole match, it’s here!
Once the Overwatch grand final was over, Neo Geo’s The King of Fighters 98, The King of Fighters XIV and Metal Slug. The matches were hosted by our very own Maxhaze! He streams too, by the way, check him out here. On Day Two, they had a Retro Cup instead featuring Street Fighter II and Super Bomber Man 5.
The last event to close out Day One was the Garena’s Free Fire Heroic Cup Grand Final. For both the Retro Cup and Heroic Cup, qualifiers were done offline prior to the event, unlike the Overwatch league. Since I don’t play either of these games, I won’t attempt to bullshit you like I do. But, from what I see, Free Fire is very much like PUBG so to me, just another Battle Royale game. Big congrats to Team Rampage though for taking the win!
The second day also featured games like Dragon Nest M and League of Legends as part of the competitive stage. It seems like Malaysians are really into competitive mobile gaming! League of Legends is also part of the MSI Grand League.
All in all, it was great seeing all these competitive matches being hosted. Hopefully one day our country will have more good teams to represent at the world’s stage.

GAX 2018 – Day Two

The second day began around the same time as the first did. I really give props to the organizer for their great set up. I was actually already at the venue on Friday night since my lodging was literally next to the mall. The set up seems to be have been done a day or two prior to the event. There were minimal technical difficulties if any and I really appreciate this. It goes to show how well put together things are. Hats off to The Game Plan for this!
Anyways – the second day kicked off with Le Josette, Genysis’ ambassador making a stage appearance. Luna Lorrain then came on stage afters, blowing everyone in the audience away with her sick violin skill. I definitely got emotional when she played the Monster Hunter: World theme song (/single tear)! You can check out the whole playlist here, courtesy of Waninoko Production.
The best part of Day Two was the cosplay competition and the winner of it deserves every bit of it. With KING and Misa Chiang as judges, several groups of cosplayers got on stage to perform their skit. Honestly, it was my first time seeing cosplay with backdrop props. Most group’s performance were based on game cutscenes or anime scenes. However, the winner stood out because they did an original skit. It was super funny and KING was in tears from laughing. If you want to watch the whole skit, check it out here. Pretty much just Storm Trooper and Darth Vader fighting over a female Trooper.

The whole thing

All in all, it was a great event with lots of program for the event goers. The competitive matches were fun to watch and the booths of artist and merch sellers were great at pursuing money to leave my bag. Basically, they had really good products and high-quality items for sale. Plus it’s always great to witness a competitive stage. Though I do hope in the future, as we grow bigger, we can get a bigger and better venue to hold even bigger events.
See you at the next event!

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