Another year and the Tokyo Game Show has come and gone. I got to be there from dawn till dusk on Thursday and Saturday. One day for the press and one day for the public. Press days are always great with the short lines and general professionalism from all involved, but there is something to be said about public days, especially this year where you have TGS sharing its event with Tougeki, the largest video game tournament in Japan. Oh yeah, and cosplayers, hot and unhook, show up on public days too. Despite all the fun that I had general reception to the regular attendees I talked to was “meh.” Is that a bad sign of things to come for the Tokyo Game Show event?
The first day of the event was pretty quite. Not many people there at
all, which is fantastic for trying out awesome games like Vanquish
but the energy really wasn’t there and neither were the big announcements. Cool game trailers and news were leaked out later in the week which I think is a good idea if you want to have people attend everyday, but it still left the first day feeling flat. I
guess I should add that it was pouring rain that Thursday so making the hike to the game show early would have ranked somewhere between staying-in-bed and going-to-work-at-a-job-you-hate. Low attendance on Thursday would surprise no one who looked out the window that day.
Saturday was when the craziness started. The Tougeki game tournament was gearing up and you had a pretty sizable group of people who wouldn’t have usually flown in for TGS in the crowd. Players from all over the world who have had no contact with Japan get to be bombarded with all the stereotypes they’ve always had; Video monitors, latex wearing hot Asian chicks, chibi characters, cosplayers and the mobs with the cameras who follow them.
That brings me to my next point. What is TGS now? Obviously, it’s supposed to be an expo displaying hot new games, applications, and technology on the horizon, but thanks to inexpensive digital media like downloadable demos and Youtube news doesn’t pack the punch it used to. Anyone who is interested enough to go to TGS already has a way to get previews for what they are really interested in. Games are the last thing on the list because you can do it at anytime but taking photos of girls and guys (mostly girls) wearing your favorite cult anime/videogame costume is something that can be only done at special times and places and there is a huge subculture of amateur photographers who fill TGS for this reason alone.
These little perks are what’s going to keep the Tokyo Game Show relevant in the future. Side events like Tougeki and fancy dress get-togethers can serve like a trojan horse to bring a knowledgeable audience in and give developers a chance to show off their stuff first hand so their products can make an impact the way they are really supposed to. If they expand on these side events like I’m recommending than you could have a situation where the Tokyo Game Show videogames are just an after thought the same way actual music on MTV is. Either way, all of these concerns will be gone when the next generation of consoles come out. The Playstation 4’s and the XBO720 whatevers are going to have both the press and the public both drooling over the next big thing, and when those consoles make their debut, the sideshows of TGS are going to be on the back burner the way I think they are supposed to be. At least that year.