The gaming trade show calendar is finally winding down for another year. With E3 and Gamescom firmly in the rear view mirror, we headed off to the land of the rising sun to Tokyo Game Show for one last ride.
Editor’s Note: For the sake of transparency, we’d like you to know that our writer did not attend the show in an official media capacity, but purely as a punter after winning a pass to the show’s business days in a raffle. Attending the show with a media badge would certainly yield a different experience. Consider this piece an example of what to expect should you wish to attend the show yourself in 2018! — David.
I will say that this was my first ever games trade show and I was overwhelmed, in a really good way. The whole Makuhari Messe convention centre was filled with booths by Japanese game giants like Capcom, Square Enix and Bandai Namco with plenty of demos, announcements and many, many, many cosplayers. Here’s what I learned from my first time at TGS!
1. Speak zero Japanese? Big problem.
TGS is definitely a show designed by the Japanese for the Japanese, so don’t hope for many people to speak a word of English. Though some staff here and there can help you out when necessary, the language barrier definitely didn’t help when I was making my rounds with my limited knowledge of Japanese and trying to figure out what special announcements they were making for various upcoming titles.
However, I did catch the announcement of Resident Evil 7’s free DLC called Not a Hero. This was mostly because it was a gameplay trailer and because their booth was pretty cool. I got to shoot ‘zombies’ with a nerf gun built to look like a replica from the games.
2. Monster Hunter is really, really big in Japan.
It’s so big that even on the TGS business days one had to come super early to even be able to attempt to score an appointment to try the demo and I believe it was the only demo with an appointment system. Other demos had lines. Lines are nice. At least I had a chance at demos with lines. Also, it was a big part of both Capcom and PlayStation booths and even on the business days there were crowds of people there just to watch the demo. One can practically feel the love the Japanese have for this game.
3. Don’t go expecting there to be plenty of swag.
Now this might just be a one-time thing, and it should be noted that TGS is the first games conference I’ve ever attended, but when I found out there was a separate hall for merch and ran over there, I was terribly disappointed. I can count the number of merch booths on one hand, including official TGS stuff. Sad to say I left TGS mostly empty handed. I say ‘mostly’ because the amount of random knick-knacks you get, especially hand-held fans, from booths. Soo many fans…
4. Game producers remember when they get beaten.
So back at PSX17SEA I had a pretty sweet hands-on experience with the new Marvel vs Capcom Infinite playing against promotion producer Tomoaki Ayano. I knew that the DLC-only characters were being demoed at TGS, so I made a beeline to the booth as soon as I could and bumped into assistant producer Kansuke Sakurai who remembered me from that day. Coincidentally, Ayano-san was on duty for their live stream and Sakurai-san brought me over for a ‘revenge match’, where we played two rounds and I got to try some of the DLC characters. If you’re wondering, the current score is at 2-1, advantage moi. I’ll take a rematch any time you’re ready, Ayano-san.
5. E-sports shows are awesome.
I’ve never actually sat myself down to watch an e-sports game, live or streamed, so I was pretty curious about it once I got into TGS. I managed to catch the Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds e-sports session on the first day and it was so much fun. Everyone yelling in Japanese after getting sniped, but no hate so all in good fun! This year being the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter, there was also a Street Fighter V tourney on the last day of TGS with a prize of $10,000 to whomever can hadoken their way to victory. Even though all the commentary was in Japanese (note again point number one), it was possibly the best play through I’ve ever watched because it was in Japanese.