Singapore’s Toy, Game & Comic Convention returns again for another fun year07 September, 2012 by Chad
Last weekend, the Supermerlion team visited yet another year of the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention. Held this time at the Marina Bay Sands, STGCC 2012 saw a weekend full of pop-culture content and its creators coming down personally to meet fans in Singapore. Impressions inside.
Once again, we were glad to have been invited as a partner for this year’s event. The organizers have continued to fulfill their promise of an east meets west approach to the convention and possibly the most variety out of any local convention.
The most noticeable change to this year’s event is its shift to the Marina Bay Sands convention halls. While it might had been a necessary move, with the usual Suntec City venue being occupied by the Comex Fair, it turned out to be a welcome change that came with some advantages. The STGCC committee deserve an award for the smoothest convention each year and 2012 was no exception.
Thanks to the spread out booths, more than ample space and perhaps even Comex attracting all the unnecessary people, crowds at STGCC were never an issue, even with that many visitors. On the logistic side of things, all of the activity zones at STGCC were spread out evenly at the corners of the convention. Half of one hall was dedicated exclusively for the Main Stage talks. But since the entry ticket granted you access to everything, including all the performances and talks at the Main Stage, this allowed for it to be connected directly to the rest of the hall.
I know some visitors aren’t too thrilled that they weren’t able to catch every single thing at STGCC, since happenings occurred concurrently at the Main Stage, Walk of Fame and various other points throughout the halls. But well, that’s just how such fairs work (at least overseas) and ought to. When it come to conventions, more content is always better. It’s just up to visitors to select those which they most enjoy.
While last year’s convention packed many comic names, with key representatives from Marvel and DC Comics, this year’s STGCC seems to have focused most on the toy side of things. Hot Toys were back again, with an expanded array of their highly sought after figures on display, 3 of which were available for sale at STGCC itself. A team of their leading sculptors were also flown down from Korea to participate in panels.
There was also wider attendance for collectible figure distributors and a great many local toy distributors selling there wares in the middle of the hall. Most notably, Play Imaginative was back again with probably the most impressive booth at the fair.
It featured a dual-sided theme, with its designer toys on the light side and exclusive Warner Brothers Batman figures being sold on the other side. The DEVILROBOTS gang were sandwiched in the center in a comfortable looking space, where they spent most of the day autographing and customizing their goods that people had picked up at the fair.
Artists were featured more individually this year, with many holding their own booths all over the convention. This allowed them to interact directly with fans in a more personable manner and definitely easier on themselves too. The more popular artists like Itou Noizi still held their signing sessions away from the rest of the crowd, in long queues along the side of the hall at the “Walk of Fame”. Sadly, for some strange reason, we were bared from taking any photos of the autograph sessions here by the outsourced security.
Another nice point was the increase amount of local and regional artists featured overall. Some in their own larger booths, and many others at the Artist Alley, which had grown since last year to accommodate more talents. It’s nice to see the greater representation of different art styles and mediums this year. In addition to comic artists, we were also introduced to various illustrators, designers and even performance artists.
One thing that could see improvement was the game side of things. And while there was the usual mini-tournament held over the weekend, the only professional appearances were by Cherry Credits for their local Dragon Nest servers, a few local distributors and the design schools touting their courses.
It’s no surprise though, since any gaming interest at this side of Asia mostly revolves around free-to-play or arena styled “e-sports” games, and major gaming companies hardly find it worthwhile to involve themselves directly with Singapore due to the small audience.
The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention remains one of the most enjoyable fairs of its kind in Singapore each year, thanks to the variety of content available. For those with specific interests, it’s great to visit with an open mind and those drawn in by one form of media are able to gainexposure to other hobbies and crafts.
While there didn’t seem to be as many experience zones this year (the Bushiroad and Tamiya workshops did not return) this was offset by the greater number of new products and talents using STGCC as a introductory point this year. There also seemed to be a positive focus toward professional interactions, which is great, since it will eventually determine the quality of guests for subsequent fairs. Definitely looking forward to next year’s STGCC.