“So Excited to Be Back”: Tokyo Game Show Celebration

Thousands of people flocked to Makuhuari Messe in Chiba on September 16, as the first full day open to the public kicked off at Tokyo Game Show 2022.

Even before the opening, the atmosphere was electric. A good hour before the start of the event, people had already started queuing to enter the venue, while other fans marched en masse from Kaihin Makuhari Station to the lines.

JAPAN Striker spoke with several visitors at the event, and the feeling from beginners and repeaters seemed unanimous: it’s so good to be back in person at the events.

After COVID-19

“During COVID-19, people couldn’t really meet each other, and now I’m really happy that we have the opportunity to all come together and enjoy the time to celebrate the games,” said Eri Akihara, a woman in the twenteeth.

TGS was held online in 2020 and in a hybrid format in 2021, but regular visitors were not allowed to attend the event in those two years.

Akihara was particularly enthusiastic in his enthusiasm. “This is my first time at TGS. I’ve only ever seen it in pictures or on TV, so I was so excited. My heart is beating so fast!”

Brandon Pollack (right), Hava Stein (left).

Others also echoed the feeling of being able to take part in a big event. Brandon Pollack, who recently moved to Japan after living in Seattle, said he was happy with an apparent return to the pre-COVID era:

“Looks like COVID is over except for all the masks, which is great. It’s just nice to see people going out and moving around.

Hava Stein from Canada highlighted the positive energy: “It’s the second time I’ve been here since 2019. The energy is great, there’s a lot of exciting things around, I’m super excited.”

Satoru Yasui was at TGS with his young son. Both are big Square Enix fans, Mr. Yasui told us, and they were excited to see the games on the booth. “It’s like we’re back after COVID-19,” he said.

The son, who wished to remain anonymous, could barely contain his excitement: “It’s so much fun! There are so many people, you can see so many matches. I can’t wait to find the next game I want to play!”

Satoru Yasui and his son.

TGS 2022 Highlights

TGS 2022 offered lots of new game hardware and software for visitors to enjoy. And naturally many have expressed their desire to try the merchandise.

The new PlayStation VR II headset generated a lot of interest, but many were disappointed to see tickets sold out for the day just 20 minutes after opening. sound bordersthe new franchise game Sonic, was also a highlight for some viewers.

A group of young women said they were big fans of Persona 5 Royal, and they headed over to the SEGA ATLUS booth to try it out. Others said they were there to hear the latest announcements in the gaming industry and/or to try out games in the growing indie games section.

Many also pointed to the excitement of seeing exclusive merchandise at the Tokyo Game Show, including merchandise from Fangamer Japan, one of the most coveted merchandise stands.

“They sell very unusual products here, and if you don’t come in person, you’re not going to find them,” explained an excited Akihara, whose friend expressly came shopping.

Pollack confessed that he was at the event to see Kojima Production’s booth. “I was a huge fan of Metal Gear Solid V since I was a kid, so I really want to see Kojima Productions [booths]and their possessions, and just glimpse the man himself [Hideo Kojima] out of the corner of my eye if I may,” he said.

The unique appeal of TGS

We asked many celebrants what they thought was the unique appeal of TGS.

“What I really like about the TGS is that the imagination is at the heart of the event. I think the gaming industry is an industry that will grow even more in the future, and I’m really excited to see what trends we’ll find in the future,” Yasui assumed.

There were also some for whom the unique appeal of TGS to Japanese audiences was a key part of the event.

“At TGS, you can get in touch with games that you may not have seen before,” said a middle-aged man who preferred to use his nickname Yukihyo. He continued, “If you’re just in Japan, there may be games released overseas that don’t have a Japanese version yet. But here at TGS, there’s a better chance of finding things for a Japanese audience. And finding these games is really fun.

Julia Knapp at TGS 2022

Large scale event

Coming from abroad, some foreigners rather underlined the magnitude of the event.

“I’ve always been interested in big conventions like Comicon and E3, but coming from Canada, we don’t have a lot of big stuff like that. So when I moved here to Japan, it was really exciting to “Having something like that nearby. It was a big draw for me,” Stein said.

“[TGS] is huge, we walked for 20 minutes through the building to enter the hall, and I was amazed that there was still room to walk, that’s the size of the building,” said Pollack. “I don’t think I’ll be able to see it all in one day.”

“It’s really exciting, I’ve never been to an event of this magnitude,” said Julia Knapp. She is from Michigan in the United States and just moved to Japan in May.

“There was a river of people coming into the building. It’s crazy, it’s fun. There’s a lot to see, a lot to do, it’s almost overwhelming,” Knapp said.

At the same time, Stein also pointed out how orderly the TGS was compared to other events he’s attended overseas. “I think a big difference from other overseas events is that it’s so orderly. There are very well executed queues, everything is very neat, we tell you [by staff] what to do and where to go. That’s great,” Stein concluded happily.

Cosplayer at TGS in 2019.

Cosplayers, see you next year

For many, cosplay is a key feature of TGS. Unfortunately, the 2022 edition did not see many cosplayers due to lack of cosplay space. But that didn’t stop viewers from expressing their appreciation for the art.

“I hope everyone can come next year!” There are beautiful men and women who cosplay. Just for that, people should come to TGS,” Akihara said with a laugh.

“I really like seeing people’s costumes. That’s something I really enjoyed last time [in 2019]said Stein. “Maybe if I get my number, I’ll try to do something next year!

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Author: Arielle Busetto

Kimberly B. Nguyen