What originally was going to be a day four entry has, unexpectedly, become a retrospective and final day wrap-up. Why? Let’s find out.
The final day of Tokyo Game Show was a madness that I cannot forget. For some reason, despite being two days long for the public, the general consensus is always “Saturday will be busy, let’s go Sunday instead.” The resulting tide of people is somewhere between “unbelievable” and “holy Moses.” This is not a bad thing, and the developers certainly didn’t think it was either. Since the main halls were overrun in ways you can’t fathom without being there, a greater number of participants opted to stay around the Indie booths, as it was where a.) great games were being played, b.) food was being sold and c.) the cosplayers were exhibiting their talents as well. If you weren’t fortunate enough to get to Comiket this past August, Tokyo Game Show was arguably one of the best venues to see the premiere talents of Japanese cosplayers.
Still, the fourth day was a great final huzzah to the event in its entirety. Everyone in hall #9 was more relaxed, despite the crunch and pending cut off time for the expo. Devs were wandering away from their booths more to see other games they’ve been eyeballing from afar, and also to chat and catch up with friends they may have missed at Indie Stream FES (or opted not to go). We got a chance to talk about what everyone was doing in Japan, was it their first time, what might be happening later this week. It was, in a word, nice. The fires were burning hot and strong in the main halls as people clamored to try to be the last at Monster Hunter X or the latest Gundam game, but we were enjoying a cooling off, seeing people try their hand at Mushroom 11,Submerged and Hacknet. It was a different atmosphere, and one that resonated even as the last chimes played and we were driven out by firm but polite security guards.
It’s incredibly comforting to walk away from something as massive as the Tokyo Game Show and still feel whole and confident in the future of gaming. Not just from the large developers, but from the indies as well. We see the general landscape change as more and more focus is brought into our smartphones and mobile gaming in general, but the quality still exists in large doses. A game like Lost in Harmony may not have even been a possibility years ago, but here it was, not brought by big names in corporate suits, but by the same independent spirit who told the breathtaking tale of Valiant Hearts. Despite being in Japan, the Tokyo Game Show can unite names from around the globe, arguably dropping people into the origin cradle of gaming.
I guess that’s what it comes down to. It feels like gaming is experiencing a rebirth this year, and that’s exactly what we’ve needed here in Japan. There’s been a really relaxed and almost melancholy approach for the average consumer in recent times, but Tokyo Game Show provides a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. Press cover every square inch of the venue. The public lines up for hours to get in, and the price is always affordable and executable. Everyone competes for attention, every game is controlled and polished to look and perform amazing, and every turn you take brings something new to the forefront. The visual stimulation is neck-and-neck with the auditory barrage and all you can do is grin like a child at all the wonderment before you. People were abuzz even as they walked out the doors, eager to go home and brag about what they had witnessed and swap notes with their friends who had split up to cover more ground. It was like witnessing a spark go off in nearly a million people, all now fired up and eager for something in the future.
I’m grateful and hopeful after attending TGS, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I expected a large scale gathering of games that would totally overwhelm me, and I got a MASSIVE gathering that left me feeling refreshed and enthused (gaming-wise. I was physically beat and that’s why I couldn’t update till today). I exchanged words and greetings with so many people from around the globe and can’t believe how great the world of gaming is right now. It’s a grand time to be a gamer, and it really is getting better all the time.
Hope to see you all at Tokyo Game Show 2016!