Pat keeps sending me to the Tokyo Game Show "because it's cheap" even though all I do is get lost and interview Omega Force over and over again.
Last year I had some sort of breakdown. The time before that I had a terrible experience on a boat and nearly got divorced. This year nothing awful happened at all! I remembered to eat; I came in ¥73 under budget; I didn't get drunk enough to cry in the bathtub; and I even took some photos as per Pat's only instruction for this year's trip.
Here's my photo tour. These are all awful and completely unedited. Maybe if you click on this a lot Pat will let me expense a Fuji X10 and next year's will be brilliant because I enjoy fiddling with the retro-style buttons and dials very much.
The first thing you see at Tokyo Game Show is Bethesda
I took these as the business days ended as it was absolutely wazzing it down when I arrived on the first day. It smelled of the sea, which was a fine relief after days of plane, airport and hotel air conditioning.
Bethesda never seems to have any coverage opportunities, but it slathers the Mezze in advertising. This has been the case all three years I've attended the show. You know who else was out in force?
Wargaming brought a tank
The only booth babe photo I took, and only because she wouldn't go away.
Square Enix always has an enormous booth
"Where are the crowds?" you may wonder. This was just after the doors opened on the business days. Most of the attendees wandering about are exhibitors, press and industry insiders. And yet three seconds after you were allowed in a bunch of people wanted to play Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward, an expansion you have been able to play in your own home for months.
PlayStation had its usual sprawling demo lounge
The booth was double sided; there are dozens of demo stations here. The queue system for demos was esoteric, but I had a queue jump pass so I just helped myself.
The elevated VR section was pretty cool. And also very hot, because a dozen sweaty gamers, straining PS4 consoles and VR headsets fills a space quickly.
Everyone seemed very excited about the Trico wall but after watching for a few minutes I concluded that it was either rubbish AI or thoroughly confused by the dozens of people waving at it at any given moment.
Sega had a pretty strong presence for a "dying" console publisher
No Dark Souls on Bandai Namco's booth - Sony had it on show
Capcom had a large booth with Ace Attorney and Monster Hunter out in force
I went looking for Umbrella Corps - the big new shooter announce - and found a single banner.
I had to zoom right in to see the details.
I thought this was hilarious but then I went around the corner and it had a huge section all to itself. Oh. Thanks for ruining my joke, Capcom.
A booth showing off masses of Resident Evil replica weapons was right next to Umbrella Corps. It was very popular.
While waiting for an appointment later I saw one of Street Fighter 5's developers wearing a Chun Li outfit. He smashed eSports champion Fuudo.
Next: Star Wars, Tecmo Koei, an airship and more.
EA brought exactly one game to TGS (but it was a pretty good one)
This queue went around the corner for three lanes, and then there was another couple of lanes once you actually got inside. People queued for hours. I put my thumb over the lens because I took this holding the camera over my head and standing on tippy-toe. Shut up.
I played the Battlefront demo in this booth and I can't wait to tell you all about it.
Koei Tecmo brought a rad Attack on Titan head
You could have your photo taken and projected into a display as the Titan face. I didn't.
Also tiny, tiny people in Nobunyaga costumes. I briefly considered abducting one.
This is Arslan from The heroic Legend of Arslan. It's big in Japan. Pretty fun to play. More on that another day.
I took a lot of photos of the Koei Tecmo booth because I love Koei Tecmo, okay? Okay.
Konami had a pretty nice booth
Not that anybody cared since its only game is already out.
Next: that's the big publishers done - what else was on show?
Mobile and MMOs dominated most of the show floor
But I got super bored of taking photos of identical-seeming cute fantasy games, so please just use your imagination. I couldn't get a photo of the one made to look like ye olde taverne because I got kicked out for trying to buy a pint.
Someone brought a giant chair?? I tried to climb up it and sit but a man got very anxious at me.
One of the largest booths on the show floor was for a single game - Granblue Fantasy. It's a free-to-play mobile and PC game. This display was bigger than any of the publisher booths - bigger than PlayStation's booth - and it was always crowded. The first thing I noticed was this like, church or whatever which was impressive enough.
And this gorgeous stage. (Lady get out of the way I am trying to take a picture of the fake architecture here.)
But gods above, the airship.
Gree brought Ghost in the Shell
But Ghost in the Shell what? I have no idea what was being promoted here. It was a VR "experience" where you sat on a wretched stool under a circular screen and craned your neck upwards to watch the show above you, balancing a shitty red-blue stereoscopic visor on your nose. It was one of the most physically painful things I have ever sat through.
I loved it. It was incredible. I watched Kusanagi assembled around me and stared down the barrel of her gun. 10/10 would buy whatever it is they're selling, as long as I can put a recliner in it and watch in comfort. With proper shutter 3D.
Also there was a little tachikoma and a Batou. there was a Kusanagi, too, but I didn't get a good shot and she was so tiny I instantly had an attack of body horror, so let's pretend it never happened.
VR was a big thing
As well as PlayStation VR, Oculus, Samsung Gear and some other things I didn't recognise were on show.
YouTube was clearly making a push on NicoNico's market
Good luck with that, Google.
There was a huge empty corner in the main hall
Meanwhile, the indies were restricted to quite a small camp, shoved off in the secondary halls with the merchandise booths and family centre. Bit of a shame after last year saw them smack bang in the middle of things. Maybe it was more conducive to business? I hope so.
Also I went drinking
Wired's Dan Feit took me to a Nintendo bar in Shinjuku. I've never been to a video game bar before, somehow. I drank some nice drinks and Dan absolutely smashed Super Mario Bros. 2, astonishing the staff and deeply impressing me. He couldn't beat the final boss - I kept buying him drinks - so he pulled out his 3DS and did it there after some patrons said they wanted to see the ending. Amazing.
Also we went on a walk through Kabukichō, the red light district Yakuza's setting is based on, and I saw a sex shop for furries. I didn't take any pictures of that.
Tokyo Game Show! Let's go every year.