Ever since I’ve moved my blog to WordPress I wanted to cover gaming events in the Philippines to get a feel of the local gaming scene and interact with other gamers and bloggers. Most convenient for my schedule is PGF 2014 or the Pinoy Gaming Festival. So, last Saturday and Sunday, I spent a couple of hours taking in the sights, sounds, and checking out the people at the event.

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From this picture alone, it’s quite obvious which game dominated the festival.

It’s quite difficult to pinpoint how I’ve felt during and after the experience. The event made me feel awkward and enthusiastic at the same time. I felt out of place, but I still felt excited. More importantly however, it gave me a glimpse of the local gaming scene.

The venue was a little small. It had few sections, and even fewer activities outside the main stage. Still, it was lively. There were cosplayers, hard core fans, and gamers of different platforms. There were the typical PC and console gamers. There were card gamers and most surprising of all, mobile gamers. Each platform/section of the game was overflowing with people watching and wanting to try out the games available.

It was awkward because despite the inclusion of different platforms, it’s quite clear which genres/kinds of games dominated the festival. There were fighting games and RPGs, and of course, MOBA is king in the Philippines. The DoTA 2 tournament was practically the main gem of the event. Sadly, even though I got into MOBA (particularly League of Legends) a year ago and I still watch tournaments and live games today, it felt weird that I could only relate to one specific activity at the festival.

What’s worse, the tournament started out rocky. It took more than an hour for the players to set up, and after that, the games were always paused for reasons unknown. It was frustrating to watch. What saved the tournament for me though was the passion that emanated from the players, the spectators, and even the commentators. The spectators were unbelievably patient and only went wild when the plays are executed. As for the commentators?… I’ve watched tons of tournaments on Youtube and Twitch, and I can proudly say that the Filipino DoTA 2 commentators are the best and the most hilarious. Even though they’re loud and fast talkers, they were so intense and funny, and they’re energy kept all the matches entertaining. They also pointed out things (directly/indirectly) that some spectators wouldn’t get and they bring out teams’ histories just enough so that those unfamiliar could get some background info, which is good for someone like me who isn’t well read on the current news in Philippine E-sports.

Other offerings were very limited and did not exactly match my tastes. Sure, consoles were present, but all I saw were fighting games. There was a booth that offered PS4 games, but it was further at the back and wasn’t emphasized well enough. I wish there could have been more genres put into the mix. I’m actually surprised that there weren’t any horror demos at least.

Despite that, I still left the festival a little pleased with what I saw. E-Sports is really alive here in the country, and while we’re not the best yet, the talent pool must be huge. It seems that a majority of Filipino gamers are fierce fans of competitive games more than any other genre. And apparently, the word “PUSO,” also resonates with competitive MOBA players. I hope there would be more supporters, coaches, teams, and sponsors to give our players the boost that they need to compete and dominate in the international arena.

It is also evident that many Filipino gamers are loyal to their respective genre. However, our community still tries to include gamers from the minority, instead of shunning them away. It’s quite rare to see that. Many communities specifically label and sometimes even degrade gamers that aren’t necessarily using PCs or Consoles to play games. Though our community is not as diverse as others, it’s still a positive step towards that direction.

With that being said, there’s another gaming event that I have my eyes on. The E-Sports and Gaming Summit or the ESGS will be on November 15 and 16. Some say it will be the equivalent of PAX here in the Philippines with the many activities in-store for gamers. It’s another festival to look forward too, and I’m very eager to see and learn more about our gaming community. If you’re reading this blog and you’re planning on going, send me a message and perhaps we can meet up!

And now, here are photos from last weekend’s event:

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