The Tokyo Game Show. It's an event that is dwarfed in size by E3, but it still is one of the major events in the industry, and this year's show looks to be no different.
A quick introduction: My name is Paul "Amish" Koehler, and I worked for RPGamer for three years in a variety of positions, from staff reviewer to public relations manager. I left the site last December in preparation for my move to Japan as an English teacher, and this country is the place I call home for now.
After attending E3 in 2002 and 2003, going to TGS was one of those "wouldn't it be cool?" ideas that we talked about if anybody happened to be in Japan at the time. This isn't our first time covering various items from TGS, as previous staff members have been there during time off from study abroad, work, military service, or the like. However, this is the first time we were able to secure press access to the event, so things look to be shaping up for an interesting year...especially with the new consoles on the horizon.
However, before the show begins, I had to get there in the first place. My journey started at home in Nagoya, which is about halfway between Osaka and Tokyo. Despite the appeal of the famous bullet trains, the fame comes with a price, so I decided to take the night train from Nagoya to Tokyo, covering a little over 300 miles in the space of 5 hours.
Unilke some of the other lucky riders on the train, I didn't catch any sleep. Too excited for that ;) Nevertheless, I arrived in Tokyo around 5 a.m. with plenty of time to spare before checking into my hostel. After dropping off most of my baggage, I made my way to Shibuya, one of the more famous districts in Tokyo.
Anyone familiar with the movie Lost in Translation might recognize this intersection, as a scene was filmed from the Starbucks in the above picture. Also, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was heavily promoted as well; today was its release date in Japan. While there were some screening of the movie in select theatres around the country, the reservation slots were filled up months ago.
And while that intersection was much more silent than usual, things were as usual (read: insanely crowded) inside Shibuya station, where the infamous Tokyo rush hour was in full effect.
With a few hours remaining before check-in time, I decided to make the hour-long train ride to the actual convention site. Despite the name, the show itself isn't in Tokyo proper: it's actually in neighboring Chiba prefecture, approximately 30 minutes by train from Tokyo station, and a ridiculously short 10 minutes away from Tokyo Disneyland.
The site itself is relatively small (comparing to E3 here, take that as you will), but the complex surrounding the convention center is huge. One of the Japanese professional baseball teams has its home stadium nearby, and Tokyo Bay is only a few meters away from the edge of the area. Replete with some palm trees and a few banners for the convention, the place looks more than able to handle the convention. Nevertheless, it was quiet, as things won't start until Friday.
For now, I'll call it a night and catch up on sleep to get ready for Friday. However, tomorrow will involve some sightseeing in Tokyo, and I'll showcase some pictures from there, including Akihabara of course.
I'm looking forward to this event, and I hope every one else is as well. If you have any comments, please feel free to send them my way or discuss on the message forums. I'll be doing tagteam coverage with Bill Early starting Saturday, so this is an exciting first for the site. We'll keep you posted!