Written by Cindy Banun and Chee Gee Ren
Ctrl+Alt Gaming 2018 (CAG2018) is a two-day gaming convention held on 31 March and 1 April. This event was organised by the Sunway Esports Club (pictured below), Games Fusion, MVP Mobile Arena and The MAGIC RAIN. It was endorsed by e-Sports Malaysia and Varsity e-Sports Association. The event, which was held in Jeffrey Cheah Hall within Sunway University attracted many people as CAG2018 was Malaysia’s first community-based gaming convention.
Unlike past gaming conventions held in Malaysia, CAG2018 is less focused on the competitive aspect of gaming. CAG2018 served as a platform for gaming enthusiasts to share their love towards video games within the community regardless of backgrounds, skill level or interest in certain genres. The organisers managed the booth arrangement of the event efficiently and effectively by arranging the tables, chairs and plush bean bags around the community gaming area. This arrangement allowed and encouraged participants to mingle with each other thereby preventing any form of segregation between casual and dedicated gamers.
Around 1,000 people attended the two-day event, with a larger crowd coming in on the second day. The two-day event was also live streamed by MVP Mobile Arena. Stage activities including gaming finals (e.g. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ), fun exhibitions (e.g. Fruit Ninja VR, Puyo Puyo Tetris), and the cosplay competition were all livestreamed on the MVP Mobile Arena Facebook page. This was to ensure that those who were not able to attend the event in person did not miss out on the action.
The collaboration with VR Lab Sunway allowed the opening ceremony of CAG2018 to be carried out entirely in virtual reality. The event was officiated by the Manager of Student Leadership & Engagement of Student Life Department, Sunway Education Group, Teh Kean Sing, a representative from High Grounds Cafe, and the Advisor for the Sunway Esports Club, Amanda Chong. The VIPs were invited to sign the logo of CAG2018 which was recreated in the VR programme Tilt Brush. This marked the official beginning of Ctrl+Alt Gaming 2018.
The activities held within the two-day period included competitions, free play arenas, workshops and a maid and butler café. Booths were lined along the sides of the hall and exhibitors proudly displayed their game collections and merchandise. The game stations in the free play arenas were manned by volunteers who were happy to assist with any difficulties.
The workshops were hosted by prominent figures in the video game industry namely POPCONfest, Johnson Ting, and Jarold Sng in classrooms outside the Jeffrey Cheah Hall. The workshops did not require prior registration which allowed attendees to take advantage of the lull of activities and learn something new. The respective hosts used their working experiences as an example to give participants a detailed outlook of the video game industry and explained the requirements and demands of being an artist in the field.
The maid and butler cafe named ‘Save Point’ was located in a nearby classroom. This café was hosted by Her Majesty’s Mansion, and the entry fee could be purchased online prior to the event or on a walk-in basis at the entrance of Jeffrey Cheah Hall. The name of the café drew inspiration from the concept of saving the progress in a game. Guests were encouraged to “save” the maids and butlers that are trapped in the game by playing games with them.
Various gaming communities including fighting games such as Nintendo, Touhou, Monster Hunter, Hearthstone, Mobile Legends and Bang Bang settled in their respective locations. Each community held their own tournaments and finalists were invited up on stage. The heated tournament was not only projected onto the screen for the spectators but was also narrated by broadcasters.
The attendees were extremely excited for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang All Stars Match which was held on Day 1 as the organisers had invited well-known players such as Error, Team Eksdi e-Sport Gaming and Syno Mobile Legends for a match on the stage. Onlookers not only had the chance to watch their favourite players play live on stage but also had a chance to be on the same team as their favourite players.
The second day of the event was kick-started by the Hearthstone tournament final. Spectators laid on the comfy bean bags watching the invigorating match unfold before them. The finals for other games such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Guilty Gear and Dragon Ball were also held. The players competing in the finals for their respective games were determined to win and put on a good show.
One of the highlights of day 2 was the Gaming-Themed Cosplay Competition (hosted by AniManGaki) where many iconic video game characters came to life. The cosplayers lined up one by one on the side of the stage, preparing for their time to shine. There was a display of many colourful and creative costumes, all crafted by the cosplayers themselves along with their makeup and props. The cosplayers transformed into their characters, mirroring their character’s personalities and attitudes.
To many of them, cosplay provides a platform to change themselves for the better. One cosplayer spoke of how cosplay helped her introverted self to be more kind and friendly. Cosplay became a medium for her to become more outspoken and extroverted. Choosing a character to cosplay is an important decision as many cosplayers identify strongly with their characters. A girl cosplaying as Tamamo from Fate Grand Order was able to relate to her character’s clumsy, aggressive but kind-hearted spirit. This significant bond with Tamamo drives her passion to cosplay the character vividly.
As the event came to an end, the prize-giving ceremonies for all the competitions were held. Thanks to the sponsors of CAG2018, winners were able to bring back specialized gaming equipment, cute game plushies and cash prizes totalling RM1725. The lucky draw giveaway saw some attendees taking home attractive prizes. Ctrl Alt Gaming 2018’s debut was received with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants. The event had provided them with a platform to connect and bond with one another through gaming. Many attendees also made new friends who share the same interests as them.
As the convention focused on a variety of games, one attendee noted that the event brought together a large community with different interests in comparison to many conventions that only focused on one specific game. Another participant even mentioned that the event venue will not be sufficient in the future as demand for such gaming conventions is only going to increase. Those that came alone hoping to have some fun left the event making more friends and also indulged in a sense of belonging in the ever-growing gaming community.