Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention celebrated their 10th year anniversary last weekend with much success.
By Yue Lynn
Last weekend (9-10 September), one of the biggest pop culture conventions around our region, the highly-anticipated Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention 2017, or STGCC 2017 for short, which was held at Marina Bay Sands with much fanfare. In conjunction with their 10th year anniversary, this year’s event was expectedly special and larger (they had an entire zone dedicated to the ‘Star Wars: Experience the Force’ exhibition) than 2016’s event. Long story short, STGCC 2017 earned an A+ rating from me for being Amazing.
Similar to any convention, STGCC isn’t 100% perfect. They do have their own hits and misses. One glaring boo-boo was the ‘rarity of volunteers/staffs’ in the convention area. Combined with the fact that their t-shirts are black, you can guess that finding a staff/volunteer was like finding a needle in the haystack or an ultra-rare Pokémon.
This year’s convention area was massive due to new additions of halls to house the Star Wars and Good Game Experience Zone (GGXP) zones. With only a single entry and single exit section in a big area whereby all the halls are literally connected to each other, visitors were easily confused as to where the exit or certain areas were. Fortunately, there are multiple emergency exits around the entire location so things were still okay.
All in all, STGCC went by smoothly much to everyone’s relief and happiness. Based on casual observance, there are actually a few things we Malaysians can learn from our neighbours when it comes to organising such large scale geeky events.
STGCC spared no expense in taking their security seriously. A big public event with a large crowd in a city hotspot makes for a perfect recipe for danger; with that in mind, STGCC had two security checkpoints located at level 1 and Basement 2. Bag checks were a must before one could step foot into the convention area. One thing to note: when the line for the bag checks started to get irritatingly long, the staff actually solved the problem by employing more hands to check the bags, effectively reducing visitors’ annoyance levels. Once you got your entry wristbands and media/VIP passes, you proceed to enter the event area where you will meet a maze of barriers, the last security obstacle boss you had to fight against.
While security protocols can bring much annoyance, one must remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Seasoned Malaysian con-goers would notice the distinctive lack of security measures in our local cons and though thankfully nothing major has happened yet, it’s wise to bring an umbrella before it rains, ya know? Safety is not something to be taken lightly.
STGCC had numerous booths of various sizes (from big companies to indie artists), exhibitions areas and a games zone in the connected halls and excluding the ‘photo-taking traffic jam’, there was plenty of space for everyone to walk, talk and gawk. Unlike Malaysian cons whereby each booth is attached at the hip and things are horribly cramped, the booths in STGCC were separated and allocated sufficient space.
In STGCC’s ‘Artist Galore’ (a fancy name for ‘Artist Alley’) section, each booth has a ‘lorong’ on their left and right sides so visitors and vendors had no trouble interacting with each other without obstructing anyone else. And you can actually have a decent conversation without any shouting because they keep The Main Stage speakers away from the exhibition and booth areas; a common mistake made by most Malaysian events.
Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention genuinely lives up to its name and does a remarkable job at that. Each section (be it comics, games, manga, anime or collectibles/toys) had their own shining moment and share of event spaces. Similar to the diversity of the visitors, vendors and companies, the Guests (local and international) also came from various fields.
In the GGXP zone, video games and boardgames booths were featured side-by-side. And they did actually hold a few video game and tabletop tournaments throughout the two-day event. At STGCC, East meets West in an explosion of pop culture geekiness, providing a fulfilling experience that’s totes worth the ticket price.
In comparison to us here in Malaysia, most of our “comic conventions” only have a singular focus towards a particular section of the pop culture universe. This matter is a recurring one and it’s clear we are still lagging behind when it comes to organising geeky conventions. Additionally, some local event ticket prices are pretty steep. In STGCC, the ticket price is absolutely worth every Singaporean dollar (ouch) but can the same be said about the ticket prices in Malaysia? To be fair, currency differences and money matters are significant factors but is that some blanket excuse?
Regardless, there’s always room for improvement as long as one strives to improve. We do have a lot of local passionate pop culture and geeky fans. Therefore, I believe we Malaysians can do better and be better. After all, Malaysia Boleh!
*All Photos were taken from STGCC’s Facebook Page