From IRL To URL: Tiger Beer’s Street Food Festival Goes 100% Virtual, Complete With Avatars

Online bazaars have become the new norm during COVID-19, as gatherings and crowds (especially in public spaces) are now regulated and discouraged.

Every other event has pretty much gone virtual with multiple parties putting their creative thinking caps on to see how they can elevate the experience.

This year, Tiger Beer’s annual street food festival has pivoted too from being a physical event to one that’s 100% virtual and completely unprecedented.

It runs from November 6-29 on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11AM to 9PM.

Physical To Virtual

How it works is that it enables you to explore various F&B brands with an avatar that walks around, controlled by your WASD keys.

The F&B stalls are more than just boxes of listings on a webpage too, they’re actually virtual stalls manned by another avatar carrying out some cooking motions.

Before accessing all these, you’ll be required to sign up and log in first. Once that’s done, you’ll be prompted to create your avatar.

Stylistically, the choices are rather limited, but it’s the thought of including a more personal feature like this that counts.

With your avatar complete, you can name it and then begin your walk through the festival.

Street Food Central

You’re first dropped into an arena called Street Food Central, where you can see all the new avatars of real people being born.

This is where you’ll also find Namewee, who’s guest performing throughout the duration of the festival.

Street Food Central, on your left is Namewee and the chat box that you can open or close

As you venture around Street Food Central, you’ll notice that there are NPCs that will let you play games for rewards.

They’re simple activities, but they help bring back some life and much-needed interactivity that’s missing from many virtual events.

Unfortunately, to win rewards from the Tiger Beer Hunt game, you’d have to log in to the event rather early, as even by 3PM, the rewards codes will be all snatched up.

So, you still technically win, but you just don’t get anything for your efforts.

As for the other game, Tiger Crystal Mountain Climber Challenge, there will be a leaderboard. Being one of the top 3 will have you in the running to win a grand prize of Tiger Beer.

Tiger Crystal Mountain Climber Challenge

Otherwise, you can get a daily reward in the form of discounted F&B orders.

You’ll find the Drinkies bar in the arena as well, and clicking on it will lead you to Drinkies’ webpage where you can purchase beer in all sizes.

On the left bottom corner of your screen, you’ll notice a Chat option, but it only gives you several pre-set lines about complimenting another avatar, or saying “hello” and “cheers”.

In The Streets

If you stop and take a look around, you’ll notice that there are 3 large gates that are essentially portals to different areas: Selangor, KL, and Penang.

Visiting Yut Kee’s stall in KL street (but it was closed, sadface)

Stepping into either of them will transport you to a street littered with NPCs, and on your left and right you’ll see rows of F&B stalls.

Delivery can only be done for eateries 15km within your location, but it’s hard to truly know which stalls are out-of-bounds for orders until you input your delivery address later.

When you click on a stall, the experience becomes your fairly standard online food delivery one.

What making an order looks like

Put items in your cart, fill in your personal details, make your payment, and wait for your order.

You can pick the date and time of delivery. However, do take note of the individual opening hours for each stall first, since they vary.

A Huge Step-Up From Standard Virtual Events

Don’t come expecting anything like The Sims or Second Life, but compared to what we’ve seen thus far, it’s a big improvement for virtual events.

It’s a strong and bold move by Tiger Beer, and based on how it’s gotten people talking, we’d say it paid off.

Good initial impressions aside though, I do think there are still improvements that can be made.

For the games, if rewards have run out, it should be obvious before playing. That way, people don’t feel cheated out of their time, but can still opt to go ahead knowing that they’ll get nothing.

It would be nice if the chat function was more customisable as well and if you could chat with other avatars (not NPCs). I feel fairly certain that this may keep people on the page for longer, and adds to the game-like experience. For now, it’s rather boring.

In the streets themselves where we have all the stalls, there are no avatars of real people, as mentioned earlier. All you see are NPCs.

All around me are NPC faces, nameless faces…

This takes away from the experience a little, as it feels “lonelier” in there. It’d be cool to see actual people in there, with their orders popping up in a chat box as they place things in their cart.

But these are all small things. One of the major issues I had was actually extreme lag. While it started off alright (albeit slow to load), it got laggier and laggier, and then I was disconnected.

After that, I could no longer enter the site, not on my laptop or phone, on Wi-Fi or mobile data.

My colleagues didn’t have the same issue though. Thus, I’m suspecting it may be my lower-spec laptop and phone, and my bad Wi-Fi.

Perhaps the site isn’t optimised, or my tools just aren’t good enough.

Either way, if it’s a common experience across those of us with lower-spec devices, it’d be good if Tiger Beer could find a workaround for this.

At the end of the day, however, it was an interesting experience. It’s paving the way for more creativity in virtual events and letting other players know that they need to step up their game.

It’ll be interesting to see the results of the event, on whether turnout was equivalent to, or more than, what the physical Tiger Beer street food festivals normally draw.

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