Tuesday, September 25, 2007

9/25/07 Tokyo Game Show 2007!!!

Contrary to its name, the Tokyo Game Show 2007 was held in Chiba-city, an eastern suburb of Tokyo. I could tell that this was going to be big just by the amount of people in the trains. The trains were moderately full on the way to the Chiba-city station, but once we stepped out it was super crowded. After that, though, no further navigation was necessary. We simply followed the huge procession of people all streaming toward the same place.


There was a considerable line to enter the building, but it was moving mercifully fast. Entry was only around 12 dollars, but we all agreed that we would have paid much more.

This was about as far away from the door I was when I started wetting my pants with excitement.

This was a jazzed up version of any other convention or trade show you've ever seen. Different booths all over the place represented different companies and in some instances individual games. The big ticket games such as Metal Gear Solid 4 had huge setups that resembled those surrounding amusement park rides and they had lines to match. I recall the wait for the Metal Gear booth being over 2 and a half hours. (There was usually a present to be had when you were ready to exit a booth, a little poster or something. I wasn't willing to wait to get one, but the Metal Gear booth was giving away cool little booklets. There's one on Ebay here that was at $40 last time I checked.)

Here's a shot of the line for the Metal Gear compound. The scene was complete fake barbwire atop chain link fence as well as fake soldiers patrolling the perimeter. I wondered to myself if they would think it witty if I snuck up behind them and knocked them out.

There were plenty of models to be seen as well. These two are showing off their PSPs.

Here are a couple more random models selling who knows what.

Capcom something.

Occasionally the girls got an unhealthy amount of attention from the throngs of gamers. On more than one occasion I saw a huge mass of people all bunched in one group. Naturally I pushed my way to the front or stood on my toes to see what was happening, only to find a seemingly unremarkable girl holding a game. Hmm..

I don't think I want to know what they do with the pictures afterwards.

Xbox 360 and PS3 had huge compounds with movie theater size screens playing demos and an army of consoles with attendants running around everywhere. I waited in a couple medium sized lines, and was usually satisfied with my investment of time. (I read that Nintendo is just too fly to show their stuff next to other companies. They have their own shows.)

Here's a shot of the Playstation area. It was pretty cool. This was the first time I have ever touched the dreaded PS3. I washed my hands promptly afterwards.

I think that the Xbox area was one of the best decorated. One thing thats weird about the Japanese market is that they have an aversion to realistic violence against humans. So I think the Microsoft people emphasized other genres a bit more than usual. Halo 3 was present, but strangely only a few consoles featuring it were available.

Someone getting interviewed in front of the Xbox information desk. The large companies' booths were so big that they distributed their own floor plan maps.

Monolithic centerpiece of the Xbox area. The little white signs to either side of the screen advertise show times of the different demo videos. Someone told me not to take pictures and then turned their back... fatal mistake.

There were stages everywhere, with several live action shows available. Sometimes the shows seemed pretty pointless, but a couple of them had interviews with people ugly enough that they must have been developers. I'm sure that if I could have better understood what they were saying that I would have been more interested.

Final Fantasy booth with a sign cheerfully noting the 70 minute wait.

Shot of some smaller booths from above.

Booth for the upcoming Wii title, No More Heros.

A nameless golf game for the Wii.

There were several booths run by the various phone companies, selling games playable on cellphones. Japan's phones are pretty generally way better than ours, so the games are a bit more detailed.

This is a short clip of me playing a new installment of the Katamari series on a cellphone. The whole phone becomes the controller... if you tilt the phone forward, you move forward and so on. Very cool.

The layout of the whole show consisted of two giant buildings, with a little walkway in between. Here, in between the buildings, was one of the highlights of the whole show, the cosplay people. These guys and girls go to extreme lengths to look exactly like a character from a game or show. There were large lines of guys carrying ridiculously large lensed cameras who had the players pose over and over as they would in a game or what have you.

Here's just a couple of the lines. This area was one of the most densely packed of the whole show.

More lines.

This M. Bison from the Street Fighter series was particularly convincing, and scary.

Some Gundam robot people.

Zelda has the expression of a person who has recently come to the realization that he is a grown man dressed as an elf.

This trio is from one of my favorite game series, Kingdom Hearts.

Eventually I had seen everything three times and we all decided it was time to go. I am going to pretend that I will be able to see something cooler than this during my time here, but really, I think we all know that's thoroughly impossible.

Me and a couple of my friends in Ashikaga. Mike from England and Tung from Australia. Good times.

If my excellent coverage of this awesome event has you wanting more, check out the Gamespot or 1up.com accounts. "Reporters" with their "press badges" and their "cameras" were allowed to go on the private days when you didn't have to punch someone just to turn around, so they had a better chance to see everything. Check it out.

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