Around this time once a year in Japan, something magical happens. The planets and stars align, sea turtles lose their sense of direction and the otaku collective become one as they make the pilgrimage to Makuhari Messe in Chiba to play the newest video games and gawk at ladies in skimpy costumes.
Welcome to Tokyo Game Show. it’s the hottest and largest video game convention in the world and you definitely want to be there when it opens to the public this weekend. Almost all the biggest names in gaming and tech will be there. I’m talking Capcom, Sony, Konami, publishers, developers and more. Of course Nintendo won’t be there. They’re never there. It isn’t like they need the promotion anyway with the Wii U already sold out of preorders, but you’ll still be able to check out the Big N’s new tech thanks to Dragon Quest. If Dragon Quest isn’t your thing then I’m sure the latest Final Fantasy, Final Fantast LVIII: The Generic Journey to Mediocriland will be on display.
Ladies, your game sucks.
The actual convention center is a ways off from Makuhari station; so unless you want to take a bus or a taxi, head to Kaihin-Makuhari station instead. The easiest way to get there is by taking the JR Keiyo line from Tokyo station to Kaihin-Makuhari. A one-way trip is 540yen on the rapid and takes about 40 minutes. Once there, just follow the signs or the massive droves of people making their way to the convention center. Tickets are 1200yen per day to get in. However, if you’re an international student you can pick up a discount for half-off. If you attend an international school, just ask them if TGS sent them the coupon you need. If not, last year they had a sign directing students and all you had to do was flash your school I.D.
Right off the bat you’re going to notice everyone sprinting past you to get to the most popular booths. Like I said, almost all the biggest names in gaming are going to be there flaunting their newest toys, so if you want to actually get your hands on something, you might have to pick up the pace. Have you ever seen Christmas Island during a crab migration? It’s a lot like that.
Normally my advice would be to stick to the western games, because if you’re interested in something like Monster Hunter 4 then you might as well call Tokyo Game Show the Tokyo Line Show since that’s what you’re going to be doing for the next three hours. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a lot of Western developers are going to be there this year. Not even Microsoft is showing up. It isn’t surprising since the Xbox isn’t exactly a household name in Japan compared to the monsters that are Sony and Nintendo. Another thing you’ll notice very quickly is what pretty much the rest of the world notices too: The booth babes.
Every booth has a pretty girl showing off their company’s product. They will literally stand next to you and watch you play the game, smiling and giving you directions on how to play; all the while in costume and it is exactly as strange as it sounds. Once, while trying out the new PlayStation Vita’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3, this very pretty girl was shouting out commands to me in Japanese. The problem is I don’t speak Japanese and found myself bored after 30 seconds, but she was just so into it that I just couldn’t bare to walk away for the entire five-minute demo. I have no idea why…
You’ll also see large crowds of men swarming around a booth with their cameras and after making your way through them for a peek, you’ll discover the mob is just there for the girl in the miniskirt. One company last year had a stripper pole set up and ninja girls were dancing every half hour. I have no idea what the hell they were selling, but I watched the show about seventeen times.
Don’t get me wrong. I love miniskirts as much as the next guy, but man, sometimes I’m just trying to check out the latest Resident Evil and don’t want to wade through 500 guys. Hey, speaking of Resident Evil…
Will you marry me, Rebecca Chambers?
Cosplay is a staple of TGS and a lot of people don’t even go for the video games. Hundreds of fans go to TGS in costume and just stand around waiting for you to take pictures of them and the number of men with cameras can be pretty overwhelming.
You’ll see a lot of dudes not even trying to hide that they’re clearly taking up-skirt photos, but it’s expected. Recently, to combat the pervs, TGS has instituted some rules for cosplayers. It isn’t too strict; I mean obviously not if you got chicks pole dancing and Ushijima Ii Niku showing up. That’s Japan’s most famous cosplayer and she usually goes by her stage name: Good Meat.
To find the cosplay action just look for the area between the two main buildings of the convention center and you’ll reach what is known as “cosplay alley.” From personal experience I can say that the cosplayers are genuinely nice and probably appreciate it when guys aren’t trying to take low angle shots of them, so don’t be afraid to ask them for a photo or even a photo with them.
|Location:||Makuhari Messe in Chiba. About a five minute walk from Kaihin-Makuhari station.|
|Price:||1200yen/600yen with an international student i.d.|
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Recommended hotels located nearby
Urayasu, from ¥10,000
Makuhari, from ¥12,000
Urayasu, from ¥6,300
Fujimi, from ¥7,000