Tokyo Game Show Ultimate Guide
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the games culture of Japan, the legendary Tokyo Game Show is the ultimate gateway to a video game heartland. The annual show has been a landmark for almost 25 years, and as a home-town showing for many prestigious developers is one of the most important industry events when it comes to big announcements. If you’re planning on using TGS as an anchor for your 2020 Japan trip, read on to get our ground-up guide on how to maximise this sensational experience.
What is It?
The Tokyo Game Show is Japan’s most important gaming event, featuring exhibitions by the local games industry’s biggest names as well as many smaller companies. Running every year since its inception in 1996, audience numbers have more than doubled over its lifetime. Over 260,000 gamers, developers and media attended the 2019 show, flying in from around the world to witness the spectacle. TGS is run by CESA, an association of Japan’s biggest gaming stakeholders which is also responsible for the Japan Game Awards.
Go if You Like…
As perhaps the most prestigious games industry expo on the planet, TGS is simply a must-see for any kind of gamer. Mobile, console, PC, MMO, VR and other gaming niches are all represented, with leading companies demoing their upcoming titles. Whatever sort of games you enjoy, TGS is massive carnival where you can sneak peeks at the next year’s releases, often with the developers themselves looking on inside the elaborately themed booths.
Tokyo Game Show can also be a great event to set your sights on if you’re a fan of esports or cosplay! There are live events held on stage every day to entertain the crowd, with the lofty status of the expo attracting top-tier talent from these communities in Japan and overseas.
Finally, if you’re a serious collector or wish to own some unique merch from your favourite gaming franchise, TGS is an unmissable chance to grab exclusive memorabilia from across the industry. There are many one-time merch items and commemorative editions produced for TGS every year, so you can celebrate your visit with as much retail therapy as you like!
So, you’ve decided to make TGS one of the big stops on your next trip to Japan. Tickets are easy to prepurchase online, going on sale around July each year (the 2020 expo is on 24th-27th September). Remember that the first two days of TGS are “Business Days” where only games media and business interests are allowed in. Still, that leaves a full two days of public access to cram your brain full of all the cool stuff on display!
Having a Good Time?
In addition to planning out your essential booths to visit first, there are a few other things to consider before you enter Tokyo Game Show on Public Day. Firstly, the weather in Tokyo tends to be warm around September. Be sure you’ve got enough water and wear something light, especially if you’re lining up to get in mid-morning when the queue is longest. Inside the venue you’ll be spared the sun, but not the heat – continue to stay hydrated throughout the day and keep an eye out for friends who might be struggling with conditions.
Secondly, the rules of TGS require visitors to disable Wi-Fi on their phones and handheld devices, just like on an aeroplane. This is to preserve the quality of wireless signalling inside the venue for official and exhibitor use. Make sure you plan for this – exchange phone numbers with your group beforehand if you have to, and download the TGS app before heading in.
Things to Do at Tgs!
OK, you finally made it! You’re at the legendary Tokyo Game Show, one of the biggest celebrations of the games industry anywhere on earth. What are you gonna do first? This isn’t just an idle question, either. With literally hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to its doors each year, any booth or merch store you want to visit will have some kind of line to get in. The whole place is awash with atmosphere and it can be fun to just soak it in, wander around and marvel at the many sweet games you can discover! But to avoid disappointment, we strongly recommend you choose two or three booths to make your priority, and hit those up immediately when you arrive before you start roaming the floor.
You can look up where to find your fave booths on the floor map available online, or use the official TGS app! Once you’ve decided on your key destinations, you should try and find out a bit more about those specific booths and their exhibitors online.