Of course, as a blogger, I can’t just do factual reporting. I’ve gotta review the event as well, right?
This year was the first time EOY has ever been held outside of Republic Polytechnic. While the vast increase in space and of course, scenery really added some extra value to the event, I find that as a result of the shift, photography has become worse. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was downcast for most of the time I was there, or perhaps it was because of the shade from beneath the bridge, but the lack of natural lighting made photos to stand out as much as they could have. While I am indeed a rookie at using a DSLR, nonetheless it could have been solved simply by turning on the lights, if only to over-simplify the problem.
The EOY quest initiative was creative, and most certainly interesting. It was a useful and new way to add some sense of participation to the event, rather than it being sort of a ‘touch-and-go’ event. Tying in with Pan in the Box to give away prizes was yet another incentive for joining the quest. But of course, there is always space for improvement. Many of the quests involved in the game required us to scan QR codes, but for many of the venues these QR codes were placed in places of great inconvenience. For instance, the one at the baggage area: are we to crouch down to take the shot? Because the corridor is rather narrow, crouching down could block or inconvenience others. Furthermore, the concept of “Chaos vs. Good” was lost on me. I understand that there was supposed be some sort of battle between Chaos and Good, sort of like a WOW-style Faction thing, but it wasn’t emphasized enough, I fear. I doubt many actually knew that such a thing existed. It wasn’t even on the online webportal for the players. I think it was literally a voting system over by the events booth, but what about that. And stranger still, it’s said that Chaos is sending the bugs to fight , but if you support Chaos, you have to kill your own bugs? Kinda sketchy there.
Maybe I’m focusing too much on the ‘game’ aspect though. It might not be the best of MMORPGs, but the key selling point is the novelty, which I must admit made the event unique. The marketplace was decent. What I really like, though, is the placement of the stage in relation to the marketplace: first of all, any music/ performances can be heard from one end of the Marina Barrage to the other due to the placement of the speakers. This is a good move. The speakers face the carpark, and were decently loud. The stage also allowed the shopkeepers to watch the performances as well, which I’m sure they find as entertaining as we do. What wasn’t that great though, was the space left for the audience. As a result of crowds, if you were there when the performance started, you were likely to be stuck there until it ended. A minor issue, really, but still.
One very, very minor issue is that the event grounds were not fully utilised. When you think of Marina Barrage, you think of the greenery above: alas, it was booked for a wedding. Nonetheless, the remaining greenery could have been better used, e.g. more cosplayers could have been encouraged to go upstairs. The side bridges weren’t really used as well. These are but minor issues which I’m sure the inevitable increased participation next year will fix.
In conclusion, how was the event? Despite my best attempts at nit-picking the event, I would have to say that…it was better than expected. Nothing is perfect, after all, but the event was great. The length was okay, the schedule ran smoothly, the weather turned out great, and no major problems occurred. Most importantly, it was completely free. FREE.
Even though I called it my pseudo-AFA, since I had not gone to AFA this year, the event definitely didn’t come across that way. It wasn’t really a smaller version of AFA, as I expected, but rather it had much more focus on the fan. After all, it is the EOY Cosplay Festival after all. The stalls were mostly run by fans rather than merchandise shops. The performances were all by fans. Much more focus was given to cosplay rather than simply the goods. Still, the goods sold had a wide range as well. What did I buy? Once again, I’ll answer that in the next post.