There's nothing quite like Tokyo rush hour. Despite embarassing my friend by taking photos on the subway during his normal commute, I couldn't help but being a tourist and taking a photo. In the two and a half years that I've lived here, that was the first time I've seen staff actually on hand to help push people into the subway. The crowds died out slightly closer to the convention center. Despite the size of the event, the Makuhari Messe center is slightly outside of central Tokyo, and as such is less crowded regardless of the situation; gaming convention or not.
There is a noticable divide between the Japanese and overseas media, and while having English-speaking staff on hand to help is convienent, it helps so much to be able to speak Japanese...even a little bit. This year was a first for the site in that we made bilingual business cards, which did help in a couple of situations throughout the day. There's nothing quite like shocking Japanese staff when they realize you understand them, even somewhat. Still, registration was very painless, and despite a long queue before the start of the show, we were in the exhibition area in no time.
There are two main halls where most of the action takes place, and getting around them takes no time at all, maybe 10 minutes at most on foot. All the usual suspects are here, though Nintendo is absent. This is nothing new, as Nintendo has been skipping out of TGS in favor of their own shows. While they do make announcements at the show every now and then, there was nothing major said by them. Not that there weren't a shortage of Wii and DS games, as well as games for almost every other console.
By far the biggest news of the day on the RPG front was the annoucement of the new Kingdom Hearts titles for the DS, PSP, and iMode-capable DoCoMo phones. Indeed, Square Enix is where I spent most of my time, as their large booth was largely made of RPGs. I was dissapointed by the amount of remakes and ports, but again this has been going on for some time.
The winner of the "most unique PR stunt" prize was Level 5, who drew throngs of crowds to their booth to try out two of their new titles, including one soccer RPG, Inuzama Eleven. Aside from the novelty of being a soccer RPG, it was one of the more unique titles on the floor, so there was actually something behind the stunt. The prize was a demo DS cartridge, which everyone happily scooped up...including yours truly.
While the following isn't my thing at all, I know several readers and staffers like the booth babes, so here are some pictures. For the most part they did a pretty good job with looking happy. Maybe they were, who knows? As for Tecmo's booth babes, they were crossing the line into stripper territory, but we'll save the X-rated discussions for later. *ahem*
I'm hoping to get a decent amount of impressions up before the end of the show, and so far so good. Overall, this is lackluster compared to my last visit in 2005, but given the recent downsizing of E3 it is still an event of great importance, and the chance to preview some of these titles is invaluable. Even if many of them are ports.
Until tomorrow then. At least tomorrow's commute will be much more merciful than yesterdays, and hopefully it will be without those pushers!
Paul "Amish" Koehler