Last week went by super fast, which was good because I was hyped about TGS. Luckily my ankle got better by the time Wednesday rolled around and by the time Andrew and I left for Tokyo, it was at 100%. One thing we didn’t predict is how close we were from not getting to Tokyo by the Shinkansen because the last one leaves at around 7:30-8. We left our apartments at around 6 and just had enough time to catch the last time.
I rode on the Nozomi Shinkansen again. This time the trip was a bit boring because it was night already and you really couldn’t see much. Also, there was no A/C which made the ride a bit painful. We got to Tokyo at around 10ish. Our hotel was in Shinjuku and getting there was a bit of a challenge. I don’t know how to explain it but the trains are very different in Tokyo in comparison to Osaka. The stations are huge, the style of how they tell you where you are going is a bit different. Maybe I just felt that way because it was only my second time in Tokyo and my first time taking the trains over there. We got to the hotel at around 11 so we basically went to bed since our plan was to go at TGS at around 9 AM.
We somehow didn’t have any issues getting to where TGS was located the next day. However, the line to get in was huge. Here’s a picture but it doesn’t do the line ANY justice:
We arrived at around 9 AM, the time it’s supposed to open but we didn’t get in until around 10:30 AM. So for an hour and a half, we stood outside, trying to avoid the sunlight and sweating profusely. About 45 minutes into the wait, a storm came by and it started to pour. We had to duck and try to get under a couple’s umbrella to avoid getting our electronics soaked. Somehow, I managed to protect my iPod, and my two smartphones! The reason I had two smartphones on me is because my Nexus One takes awesome pictures compared to my Japanese iPhone 4. After 15 minutes in the rain, it finally stopped and it was back to the heat. Only in Japan can I be soaked in sweat and rain.
Eventually, we reached the entrance! It was a heavenly sight after the long wait:
This year’s theme was “Game dance to your heart”. God, I love Engrish. I was happy to feel the A/C after waiting outside forever. We briefly walked around the entrance area which had the Microsoft booth and the Konami booth. The Microsoft demo booths were pretty empty which made us laugh a bit. For those who don’t know, Microsoft’s 360 isn’t very popular in Japan so it only makes sense that it’s a bit quiet on that end:
Andrew and I ended up playing some Soul Calibur 5 to which I whopped him at. It felt nice because Andrew loves fighting games and I will usually get my ass kicked whenever we play one. We saw that there were other games to play like Halo Anniversary but we decided to check out the other booths and come back. Mistake number one!
I saw the booth for the new Persona fighting game. I was intrigued because I liked Persona and the people behind BlazBlue/Guilty Gear were making the game:
The line to play the game looked very disorganized so we figured that we should come back when it’s less of a mess. Mistake number two!
We eventually made our way to the Playstation and Sega booths. I got some swag from both; it was their TGS program booklet:
Sony definitely was the highlight of TGS as the Playstation Vita was available to play. The line to play it was already packed though; the wait line was 90 minutes! I opted against it and decided check other booths. This was not a mistake 🙂
As we wandered, we saw that there were shopping booths from various game companies. However, the first one that caught my eye was the GameCenter CX store! I’m currently addicted to the show and I will write about it sometime in the near future but essentially it is a show where an average video game fan (who happens to be a famous Osakan comedian) plays very difficult Nintendo and Super Nintendo games. Other segments include him visiting game centers (aka arcades). This show makes me think of my childhood so I’m really fond of it. Anyways, I decided to buy a GameCenter CX shirt as well a sticker:
The other stores were super popular and a huge pain in the ass to buy stuff. Basically you had to wait in line to enter the store. The average wait was around 60 minutes and from what I saw, most merchandise was really expensive and not worth it.
Next was the Koei Tecmo booth. This is when my mind was blown. Koei Tecmo is responsible for making the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors series that I have loved since I was a senior in high school. Unfortunately, this love is not shared with most Americans. The majority of my friends hate it because it’s repetitive and the sequels don’t improve much. However, they love the games in Japan. I already knew this but I underestimated their love! The booth was extremely packed and the lines to play the games were humongous. They were on par on the Playstation Vita lines—80 to 120 minutes!:
In comparison, the line to play Final Fantasy XIII-2 was 90 minutes. The fact that Dynasty Warriors’ line was longer than FF’s astounded Andrew and made me laugh quite a bit. I heard that there was a cosplay contest which I didn’t see but I did run into a few girls dressed up as DW characters, which was cool. One more reason to like Japan!
Andrew and I split up because he wanted to catch Capcom’s video conference and I wanted to take pictures of various things. At this point of the day, it was completely packed. Weaving through people was no longer an option, you had to wait in lines just to move along. The air conditioner could no longer be felt as the heat from others overtook it. Playing games was impossible unless you wanted to wait for a couple of hours. Microsoft’s booth, which was empty before was packed as hell! 210 minutes to play Halo Anniversary of all games! I should’ve played the games when I had a chance D: :
When I went to the Persona fighting game demo booth, I saw that the line we saw before wasn’t a line, it was just the spectator crowd! The line was behind the TV and it was a two hour wait. I’m pretty sure it was shorted when we got there. Anyways, here are some more random pictures:
When we reunited, we took a picture together with Domo-kun:
At this point, we were worn out. It was 4 PM and we basically did everything we could’ve done. Most of the lines to demos were now closed off because TGS closes at 5. I finally ran into Mario and some more friends of mine, who also went to TGS. The reunion was a bit weird because I associate Mario with Minnesota and seeing him here just felt odd! We decided to hang out later at night in Shinjuku but first we went to the hotel to change.
At around 8 PM we met up with Mario again and we went to this supposed famous ramen restaurant in Tokyo. The place itself wasn’t too bad but I didn’t think it was anything special. Mario was a bit stressed out because we were running behind schedule and he was one coordinating everything. He finally felt better when we went to karaoke in which we sang tons while drinking booze. I was happy to see some songs that I hadn’t seen previously in other karaoke places in Osaka.
After karaoke, we decided to check out the gay district in Shinjuku. Mario is apparently well-known there because we would get stopped every few minutes by a person who knew him. Eventually we made our way into the bar. Unlike everyone, I had to wake up early the next day to go back to Osaka and attend an enkai. I told Andrew this and he said we would go back after a drink. Based on previous experiences, I was extremely skeptical of this but went with it anyways. Of course, when we finished a drink, he told me to stay for 45 minutes more. This is when I convinced him to give me the room key because I was tired and knew he would only keep delaying our departure. I got a bit lost walking back to the hotel but thanks to Google Maps, I found a route. About ten minutes in my walk I realized the place I was currently walking down was the same area I was staying during Tokyo Orientation. Keio Plaza Hotel, the hotel I had stayed during the time was right in front of me. It felt very bizarre to be back here a couple of months later. Back then, I was afraid to wander more than a few blocks and now here I was walking 10-12 blocks at 1 AM from a bar that I have never been to before. Funny how things change. I finally arrived at the hotel at around 1:30 and crashed immediately. Andrew came back at around 8 AM; he does not remember any of it.
I got up at 9:30 and luckily found my way back to the station and bought a Shinkansen ticket by myself. Even though it was Sunday, the weekend was just beginning because I had an enkai to go to and Monday was a holiday! More on that next time.