Have you ever thought you'd watch a reality show around prominent and professional gamers from around Asia, all competing against one another to win $200,000 in cash and prizes? Well, now you can.
Enter Good Game Asia – a multi-channel reality show featuring 15 international gaming contestants all competing in a series of game-related activities for the coveted title of being Asia’s next gaming superstar. The show gathers participants from all around Asia, bringing them together under one roof at the Fairmont hotel in Singapore, where they manoeuvre a series of challenges until one of them is crowned the winner.
The first of its kind, the series airs in English on Warner TV, with Korean, Traditional/Simplified Chinese, Bahasa, Vietnamese and Thai subtitles, making it a truly regional and worldwide experience. The show was created by former Twitch executive Rai Cockfield, and features a bevy of celebrity talents, including Director and Executive Producer Jonathan Glazier (ex-Asia's Got Talent) and is hosted by Singaporean musician Sezairi and his wife, Syaza Tan, alongside other prominent guests hosts.
One such prominent host is none other than South-Korean entertainment icon, actor and rapper, Haha. Jetting in to spend 24 hours in Singapore for the show, he spoke exclusively to Esquire Singapore on his newfound passion for gaming, his hosting duties at the show and why he loves Singapore.
Esquire Singapore: How does it feel to be in Singapore and what brings you here?
Haha: I love Singapore! It's actually the last country I visited before the pandemic hit and was the last travel I did before COVID. I love the food, the people and the environment. I love the atmosphere. I'm here because I'm the host for Good Game Asia in Korea and I was invited to come by the sets here in Singapore.
Esquire Singapore: What excites you about Good Game Asia and why did you want to be part of this experience?
Haha: Honestly I was very curious about it and I loved the style. I was very curious about how it all works, with the various gaming influencers from around the world coming together to compete. They're playing a variety of games across a lot of genres, across both online and mobile. That in itself makes the show so much more interesting. Plus I'm also a gamer as well. I'm a bit of a newbie still, but I'm quite passionate about it. I'm thankful that Good Game Asia recognises this in me and has given me the chance to explore this role as host of the show in Korea!
Esquire Singapore: How does this experience compare to others you've had in the entertainment space (for example with the hit show Running Man) and in particular, this format?
Haha: So, of course I've done a lot of entertainment shows in the past. Their format is very much around 'play' and doing a lot of activities and some games too. But it's a different type of gaming, because the whole point of those shows is to make you laugh and really, it's all for the sake of entertainment. But with this [Good Game Asia], it's really for and about the game and those who play it. What's interesting about this format is that it's targeted at not just hardcore gamers, but it's also for casual gamers. Games are not a means to the outcome, but they are the core of the show. It focuses deeply on the psychology of gaming. It's strategic; similar to what you might find in football. It's not just entertaining, but it's also a chance for people to get deeply into it and enjoy the art of this craft itself.
Esquire Singapore: You mentioned you're still a 'newbie' when it comes to gaming, how're you finding the experience and are you enjoying your induction into this new world?
Haha: I've definitely just entered the world of games and haven't established a proper persona in it yet for sure. But I think that's the fun of it and how I'm approaching this experience with Good Game Asia: as a learner. I'm trying to learn as I go and figure out what my position is in this space and how to truly bring my character to it.
Esquire Singapore: So what are some of your favourite games to play?
Haha: Probably League of Legends by Riot Games. I'm definitely not very good at it, but currently, it's my favourite one. I really want to get better at it, because I get really mad when I'm not performing (laughs). I like to be good at things. League of Legends is actually the most popular game in Korea. When it comes to mobile, I love playing PUBG Mobile with my sons. I play it almost every weekend and I love it.
Esquire Singapore: Do you think gaming can actually be a great way for parents and kids to bond and pick up new skills together? Does it get in the way of achieving other goals, in your opinion?
Haha: Absolutely not. I really believe it's a very good communication tool, that helps bridge the generation gap. At first, I was really opposed to it too, because you know, all the prejudices. But as I actually played, I came to understand how much it helps me communicate and connect with my sons. There's actually a really famous story in Korea, where there was this huge disconnect problem between a father and a son. Because the son, he used to be really good academically, but then he got into the League of Legends, and then he just stopped communicating with his dad. His father was super opposed to him spending his time on games, thinking they would get in the way of him performing at school. But then, he started taking an interest and participating, because he just wanted to feel aligned with his son again. As a result of playing together, they were able to overcome their disconnect and better understand each other.
The son ended up going to a top university in South Korea and did very well. So if you balance it, gaming is a great way to grow your aptitude. You learn teamwork, communication, leadership, sacrifice for the sake of your team etc. and a lot of critical skills that are useful to kids and parents alike. I actually also discovered you can actually activate a new part of your brain when you play.
Esquire Singapore: You're only in town for a quick 24 hours. When can we expect to see you back next? You have many fans here and the country has been abuzz about your visit on social media!
Haha: Firstly, I really want to say thank you to the fans. You're always cheering for me and giving me endless love. I also want to say, come out of hiding and say hi! Whether I'm at a concert or out and about, I always enjoy the love I get from my fans. I only enjoy doing what I do, because I get to share it with them. It's the environment and the atmosphere of sharing it all together, that makes it so much better for me, personally. The next time I'll be visiting should be pretty soon, because I really love Singapore. I love the shopping, the food, the people and the experiences. I'll definitely be back for a personal visit, this time with my wife and family.
Esquire Singapore: Finally, you mentioned you love the food in Singapore! What's your favourite dish to eat while you're visiting?
Haha: So when I landed, I ordered Bakuteh from Grab Food and that for me, was an eye opener. It's very similar to Korean food with the rice and the dipping. It was so nice and soothing, it really made my heart melt. Before trying it, my favourite food was Black Pepper Crab. But I love all the food here and I'm definitely coming back to eat it.
This interview has been translated to English for publishing purposes. Find out more about Good Game Asia here, including details on all the participants and where to watch.