Looking at Taipei Through A Different Set of Goggles

If you’re reading this, you’re probably expecting a thorough break down of Taipei’s Game Show and some in-depth nerd talk. I’m not even going to attempt to make myself sound like a true gamer or tech geek because truth is, I’m a (filthy) casual.

What I can offer though is the perspective of someone who has been exposed enough to the gaming world who can give you a simple run down of the event without the nitty gritty geek talk. Hopefully this post would be able to bridge more interests with the non-gamers out there, especially those in Taipei looking for something fresh to discover. In fact if you like trying out the latest technology, live performances, and altogether want to venture into a completely different atmosphere, then give gaming expos an honest try. Chances are, it’ll surprise you how worthwhile and entertaining it could truly be. It certainly was for me.

The Taipei Game Show is the single biggest game show in Taiwan. Held annually and usually in January, the international expo draws major developers  and gaming companies signing up to display their newest and best products. Why? Because even though Taiwan is teeny tiny, it is a key market player in the computer and gaming industry, not only in Asia-Pacific, but the world. Acer, Asustek, D-Link, HTC and Thermaltake are all industry giants that hail from Taiwan. Did you know that in Google Play alone, Taiwan ranked fourth for last year’s global mobile gaming revenue ?! And apart from having one of the highest buying rates of smartphones, Taiwan is consistently one of the biggest supporters of PC and console games as well. So there is little wonder that companies and developers want in on Taiwan’s growing revenue too. And what better way to do this by enticing over 500,000 visitors  with hefty gaming giants and their flashy add-ons over the course of two days. I’m talking about P2P and tournament battles on the big screen (the Street Fighter V Asia Champion match and World of Warships warrants some excitement), previews of upcoming heavyweight games such as Tom Clancy’s The Division and Final Fantasy XV’s Active Time Report, and for a low entrance fee of 200NT, basically try any games and gadgets available.

Street Fight V
Warships Battle Tournament
Testing the new Steam Box

If this just went way over your head, let me digress from the above and say that the Taipei Game Show isn’t just about getting geeky with gaming. Yes, the bulk of it is heavily related to computers and gaming tech, but it’s worth going to because of the sense of adventure that you would get from throwing yourself into something you’ve never encountered before. There’s something about being surrounded by people who are passionate over something, anything. And at the Taipei Game Show, you will feel the buzzing ambience and excitement even if you lack in-depth knowledge of gaming and computer tidbits.

The biggest pull for me was the array of virtual reality gadgets made available for testing. From Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR to Steam VR in partnership with HTC, and rival Samsung Gear VR, virtual reality completely dominated this year’s game show arena. Let me tell you now that I have no real idea about the specs and technology behind it. But if you’re like me…with the slightest of peripheral interest in gaining a completely different sense experience, then VR is fun, exciting and worth lining up for amongst the throng of restless attendees.

You place those goggles and headphones on your head, and all of a sudden there’s a hush. In one swift action, you have blocked everyone else out from your senses. It’s just you now, and suddenly you’re transported to a bright coloured rollercoaster carriage in a setting not too dissimilar to a scene from Up . With a complete 360 degree view, you see everything with a slight tilt of your head. It’s seamless scenery and the images captivates you. You hear the wheels and gears of your rollercoaster ride, the wind rushing in your ears. You are rushed forward as your ride dips down, you feel that slowness of friction as it climbs up and then all the twists and turns make you physically shift your weight too. You are essentially in two worlds at once.  Standing firm yet what you see and the sense experience that comes with it has nothing to do with the physical world you left just moments before. This is the beauty of virtual reality.

Unbeknownst to you, in the real world, a grinning game developer stands at the ready to catch your balance, lest you tip backwards. Trust me, the feeling is real!
The London Heist was another demo on show from Sony, a first person shooting mixed with high octane driving and gun play. Think Time Crisis meets The Italian Job, all this at the convenience of being in your own living room.

Or how about being able to play a game simply by moving your head? Sitting at PlayStation VR’s booths, you will have the opportunity to not only control a gaming character, but actually be it. Whether it is running and hiding from an enemy, catching thieves or going into battle, you feel every jittery, triumphant and excited feeling as though you yourself are in that very same situation. The best thing of all is that these experiences would one day be available to you in your own home. But while you wait, attending a game exhibition such as the Taipei Game Show is the best way to not only learn of new developments in gaming, but to experience cutting edge technology for yourself.

So next year when you happen across Taipei Game Show, don’t underestimate it. After all what is adventure without encountering the strange, the completely unknown? That’s what adventure is, and gaming in itself promises that.

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