Tokyo Game Show 2012

Turbo Tours Tokyo Game Show 2012

By Brendan O’Brien

TokyoGameShowRecap

The Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is Japan’s version of E3.  The format of TGS is to reserve the first two days for industry insiders to conduct business.  The third and fourth days are open to the general public.  A little advice… if you are ever planning to attend this show, you must find some way to get access to the first or second day.  Otherwise, you are in for a ton of mayhem, huge crowds and never ending lines. The Experience:  I could see the lines forming around the Makuhari Convention center from my hotel window around 6:00 am, Saturday September 23rd (the first public day).  Looking down from the 48th floor, I was amazed to see all the people.

TGSEpicLineCloseTGSEpicLineFar

Fortunately I was able to do most of my meetings and interviews on the first business day, but I thought it would be fun to join the mosh pit… once again… on Sunday, the last day of the show. Since I had already purchased my ticket online (1,000 Yen or about $12.70) I thought I was clever to wait till after lunch to enter the convention center.  What a mistake!  Humid, rainy and still very crowded, I was ushered through a series of lines before getting access to the tradeshow floor.  Although it only took about an hour to get in, it seemed like a lifetime. According to the show organizers (CESA – Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association), there were nearly a quarter million visitors at TGS 2012 which set a new attendance records (the actual number is 223,753).  Similar to E3 in the US, there was quite a bit to look at.  The booths were interesting too. Here’s some highlights of the show:

TGSCrowdedHall

TGSCosplay5 

TGSCosplay4

GREEGirls

TGSCosplay3

TGSCosplay1

TGSCosplay2

 TGSBar

TGSHMZHeadset

Most of the games presented at TGS are developed for mobile or hand held devices and the fact that GREE had the biggest booth, is a clear indicator of where their target market is. While walking around the packed trade show, I felt completely out of my element.  I had never seen or heard of many of the games and many of the big players in the video game industry you might expect were not even there like Nintendo and XBox. There is huge a difference in how the Japanese “consume” their gaming compared with the US.  This probably stems from the fact that a great deal of their time is spent commuting on trains.

 

Of course there were a few big publisher showing off new retail titles, but many of those titles will only be released in Japan.   A few of the stand out titles were:
Namco Bandai    - Macross 30
Square Enix   - Hitman Absolution, the Realm Reborne – Launch of Final Fantasy XIV, and Black Ops 2 (which Square Enix is publishing in Japan)
Capcom    - Monster Hunter 4, Resident Evil 6, Ace Attorney 5
SEGA    - Yakuza 5,  Phantasy Star Online 2
Bottom line… I recommend that everyone should find a way to attend the Tokyo Game Show at least once in your life.  The journey to and from the event itself is a life changing experience.  Although I was not blown away with new announcements or surprised with any new title releases, this is perhaps the most unique show I have ever attended.

 

If you are able to make it to the Tokyo Game Show next year, here is some information and a couple pieces of advice you may find helpful:
#1 The TOKYO GAME SHOW 2013 is scheduled to be held at Makuhari Messe from Thursday, September 19 to Sunday, September 22, 2013.

#2 TOKYO GAME SHOW official website: http://tgs.cesa.or.jp/english

#3 Buy your ticket online before going to Japan (make two copies).

#4 Try to get access to one of the business days.  It is a little more expensive, but well worth it.

#5 Note:  The weather is normally hot and very humid in Tokyo/Chiba during September.

#6 Travel light, dress in cool clothing and bring an umbrella.

#7 Good idea to get a map of the Japanese Rail & Subway system in English before you leave

#8 There are two hotels that connect directly to the Makuhari convention center – The New Otani (very nice and a little expensive) and The APA hotel.  I have stayed at both and actually prefer the APA hotel.  It is reasonably priced and there is an Internet Café on the 48th floor that overlooks the entire area.

#9 There is a three-story video game arcade next to the Makuhari train station.

#10 Try to get tickets to a Sumo Wrestling match while you are in Japan.  It is/was one of the highlights of my trip.   Oosumo Ticket Center <ticket-oosumo@pia.co.jp>

 
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