Well for one thing, you should look out for video games. There seem to
be a lot of those at this occasion.
Being one of the biggest gaming events in Southeast Asia, ESGS 2016 exploded on its first day with a cluster bomb of studios both local and international as they showcased their projects like proud parents during report card day.
But this isn't about the game studios. No sir, events like these have always been about people way more important than any multi-million dollar company... and those people have to pay an entrance fee and sit through thirty-minute long lines to play a video game for fifteen minutes. I'm talking about you, the gamers!
Let's face it though, no amount of sugar coating will hide the fact that you'll be spending a lot of time waiting for those fifteen minutes of fame where your gameplay decisions will be laid bare for complete strangers to judge. So it is with that in mind that you get your money's worth by visiting the places that don't have these overly long standing ovations (or at least get in line for the booths that are worth the exercise).
Here are some of the exhibitions at ESGS 2016 that more than make up for that Php 165 toll. Take note that this handy guide showcases stalls from left to right once you enter the event, saving you time from having to go back and forth like a teenager who spends too much time on his smartphone.
Before you get to the big companies that take your money on pre-orders like the world's smuggest robbers, check out the various little games made by lesser-known developers.
The Indie Arena is home to a lot of interesting games. From Spectrum 6 (a game that is totally unfair to people with colorblindness) to Shots Fired (a game that has you playing a deadly game of I Spy wherein the person you see with "your little eye" gets introduced to the business end of a sniper rifle), and even a little game called Praesidium (which is a pixel art style adventure game with underlying topics such as deforestation), check this place out if you're looking for something other than your conventional FPS shooters or anime-styled characters.
Speaking of which, the PlayStation booth is abundant in both shooters and anime-styled characters. Featuring a futuristic robot game called Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the pretty boy-filled Final Fantasy XV, and the testosterone-fueled NBA 2K17, all of these games are playable and allow you to win prizes from Sony.
Save for an actual PlayStation 4, players who participate in two out of the three games and complete a survey will be able to win minor prizes such as basketballs (to pretend that you actually play sports), pouches (to store all the free stuff you'll be getting at this event), and umbrellas (so that you can stay dry amidst the downpour of year-end game releases).
Right beside the ginormous PlayStation exhibit, you can unwind with your pals by acting possessed as you play Just Dance 2017.
If looking like a complete klutz wasn't enough, you can even send in your resume to Ubisoft in hopes that even though you have no experience in game development, they might still have room for a janitorial position as long as the applicant knows the difference between Watch Dogs and an actual watchdog.
If you ever get into a heated argument between who gets to have a picture with a cosplayer first, then you and your opponent can take it out on one of Bandai Namco's Tekken 7 gaming stations.
But if duking it out with your fists isn't your idea of a gentlemanly time, you can also play a dark platformer called Little Nightmares or a somewhat meta RPG game called Sword Art Online. No matter what game you play though, you still get a Tekken 7 sweatband for your troubles, proving that participation (and not winning) is what is really important in life.
I'll be frank: there isn't much to be seen here.
Apart from the Resident Evil 7 demo (which you can download on your own PlayStation 4 for free), the only thing worth visiting this booth for is the poster of the same game that seeks to return its franchise back to form instead of falling deeper down the action-packed rabbit hole its predecessors are dragging it into.
If you haven't gotten over you childhood obsession with Japanese robots that are as big as Optimus Prime's left buttock, you can head on over to the Bankee exhibition and purchase massively discounted Gundam kits that are about the size of your left buttock.
Even better than buying discounted buttock-sized toys, you can participate in a Gundam kit creation event that lets you assemble a figure at random. If you manage to decipher and create your own little mech with your rather questionable hand-eye coordination, then you get to keep it for free!
Our friends at Secret 6 have their own booth located near a massively-inflated energy drink.
Featuring their voyeur-inspired game Panty Thief, a rather questionable title called SOAP: Scrubbing Old Adorable People, as well as their new FPS Project Xandata, it's good to see Secret 6 come up with at least one title that does not creep you out.
Aside from all the games, the company even has prizes for those who beat specific high scores in their games and compete in their friendly competitions. Who says friends can't be enemies?
Across Secret Six's booth, you may find a little stall with the Artplay name above it. This stall features a game called Bloostained: Ritual of the Night. You might have heard about it; I did talk about it during my overview of ESGS 2016, after all.
You can play a demo of the game here and ask the friendly staff about it, or you could totally poop your pants when creator Koji Igarashi himself drops by in-between meetings and photo opportunities. It isn't hard to miss him: he's the really tall guy who wears a hat and holds a pair of whips (he must be getting into the cosplay spirit of it all).
These are but a few of the many wonders that await once you enter those golden doors at the SMX Convention Center this weekend. Is there anything I missed out on? Let us know your favorite parts of ESGS 2016 as it goes along and we hope to see you there!