Nowadays, there are few people who have never played videogames before. We all know the famous and iconic characters such as Mario, Sonic, Megaman, Lara Croft, Master Chief and so on. Videogames became an important part of modern pop culture, to the extent that they have inspired new music genres, such as chiptune, or blockbuster movies, such as Tron. Japan has played a central role in developing the industry, as the country has many of the biggest and most significant gaming companies; an audience eager to consume them; and, in general, a society that has completely incorporated them into their daily life. In Japan game stations (arcades) are still very popular and attract people of all ages, with products for a range of audiences, from “hardcore gamers” to occasional ones, all come to hang out and have a good time.
That is why it’s no surprise that one of biggest video game events takes place in Japan, on the outskirts of Tokyo. The Tokyo Game Show, also known as TGS, is the most important gaming event in the country. Organized by the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA) and Nikkei Business Publications, Inc., the TGS started around 1996, and since then, it has drawn the attention of general audiences and industry specialists, playing a major role by becoming the place where the main companies in the market present their new products for the next year.
Each year the TGS is held in autumn at the Makuhari Messe convention center, in Chiba Prefecture. The event lasts four days, of which Thursday and Friday are considered “Business Days,” with access restricted only to people of the industry, and the “General Access Days,” when everybody can attend.
A visit to the TGS is an experience out of this world. First, all major companies will put their best products forward, giving the audience an opportunity to interact and try new products that haven’t been released yet, and they will spare no expense in creating the more appealing and exciting booths, accompanied by beautiful hostesses, creating the ideal site for gamers. Just as an example, this year SONY allowed attendees to try the new Play Station 4, months before it even appears on the market. Software development companies like SquareEnix allowed fans to play new games such as the Final Fantasy XIII-2 and a collaboration project, Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Something that is very important to point out is that this event is not only for big names, but also, it provides an opportunity for new enterprises and independent projects to reach the general audiences and specialists. As a consequence, the TGS has become a forum for new ideas to be developed. This represents a great chance for attendees, as they will be able to see and interact with products that will still take some time to reach the global market or that are still under development. This also opens the doors for other companies related to the industry to present their work, such as music or visual developers. At the same time, many new companies in charge of developing games for mobile devices have gained an important role in the exhibition, displaying their best games and related goods.
We should also emphasize that this event is not only about exhibitors and their booths. Live shows are also held, such as a Cosplay Contest and Live Tournaments, in which world class gamers compete in games such as Street Fighter, Tekken or World of Tanks. This way, the best of Asia and the World will have a friendly match over what moves them the most: videogames. Therefore, developers, gamers and fans from all over the world come to Tokyo on those four days in a unique event that all people, fans or not, will definitely enjoy.
Due its popularity, the TGS can be a very crowded event. This year, it broke its record of assistance with 270,197 persons during the four days of the event, being the “General Access” days the most crowded (Saturday: 102, 399; Sunday: 115,444). If you wish to attend during this days, we strongly recommend you to buy your ticket as early as you can and the same suggestion can be made for the day of the event, as we strongly suggest you to arrive even before the doors are open. During those days, the line can turn around Makuhari Messe, with an average waiting time from 2 to 3 hours. Once inside, our recommendation is that you already have picked out the exhibits that you want to see the most, as many get to their full capacity almost immediately after the doors open. Unfortunately, this will make very difficult for you to be able to see many of the products, limiting your gaming options to one or two games. This is why we strongly suggest that, if possible, you attend during the “Business Days.” This way, you’ll avoid long lines and you’ll be able to see and experience a lot of games and products.
I guess that by now, you’ll be wondering how can I get there during the “Business Days”, if I’m neither a member of the industry nor work for the media? Don’t worry. For the audience that wishes to attend during these days, there are some available tickets. During the “General Access” days, the admittance price is 1000 JPY, if you buy them early or 1,200 JPY on the spot. There are also more expensive tickets, called “TGS Supporters Club,” that will give you an extra benefit like a t-shirt, a pin, or priority access (this one, we really encourage you to use it), with a cost of 3000 JPY. If you can pay even a little more, we really suggest you to buy the 5,000 JPY “Business Day Ticket.” These are more expensive, and require you to fill out some online applications. Also, this can only be paid by credit card. However, if you are able to get your hands on one of these, you will save a lot of time and you’ll enjoy the event at its full potential.
Without a doubt, if you are visiting Tokyo during Autumn, the Tokyo Game Show is an event that you can’t miss.