Tokyo Game Show 2009 – Less Meat, More Substance

The first time Batsu went to TGS in 2005, her senses were completely overwhelmed.  So many people, so many games, so much swag…  the drowning sea of flash that swallowed every booth babe.  Whoa – booth babes!?  Real cosplayers.  The taste of money in the air.  Sony unveiled the PS3 (though it wasn’t available for another year), Microsoft was about to release the Xbox 360, and Nintendo hinted at the Revolution (now Wii).  There were so many game demos that smaller titles had virtually no line.  Batsu had reached gamers’ nirvana.


The subsequent two years saw more and more development of the same titles unveiled in 2005.  Re-releases of older titles for new platforms, and so on.  The dead space was filled with girls.  And then more girls.  Stage shows of the girls – such as this cabaret-style performance to promote Ninja Gaiden (immortalized by shaky hand camera).  A swimsuit show for DOAX2 (at least they couldn’t replicate the scary gelatinous-animal breasts as seen in-game).  Girls held like show ponies on display to cater to the overly ambitious amateur photographer (the shot is bad, but there are around 10 girls lined up).  Just, ah… girls, girls, girls.  (Excuse the sub-par camera work – what a breathtaking lack of enthusiasm.)  The games were all but forgotten.

I mean, hey, I certainly advocate girls, but the G in TGS allegedly stands for Games.  My in-event pastime (d)evolved into photographing the guys that swarmed the booth babes, lenses flaring, which had more or less become the focus of this spectacle event.  Come 2008, well there were no intentions of attending.  Being chosen for the Little Big Planet test demo, coincidentally at the same time, was just icing on the cake.

And now in 2009, it seems as if the crashing global economy has strangely made all my wishes come true.  Though these gentlemen do quite a fine expose, it would have been even finer two, three, or four years ago.

A non-gamer acquaintance complained that all of the “booth babes” this year (admitting reluctance to call them babes, as they failed to meet the standard model-esque physique) were wearing basic clothes you could pick-up at Uniclo.  Thus, having nothing to photograph.  So I guess he could have played some of the demos on the relatively wide-open press day.  Or, then again, perhaps I forgot to mention he was a non-gamer at TGS.  On a press day.

All due respect to the girls who are paid so you can photograph their boobs.  Indeed, I like them, too…  Up until I have photographers physically pushing me out of the way, and preventing me from entering booths.

This brought similar complaints (from similar long attending acquaintances) that TGS is turning into E3, due largely in part to this the lack of flesh.  Interestingly, no on-line reviews are noting this vast difference.  Not to mention that E3 is an industry only event. (?)  Suffice to say, 2009 was one of the better in TGS history… of events I’ve been to… in the last 5 years.

In addition to the exciting line-up of new games, with tangible release dates, an elaborate Warring States period display, tied into the event’s “History of Gaming” theme, featured armor and other artifacts of more prominent warlords.  Awesome!  Significantly fewer companies showed their faces, which provided a decent amount of elbow room, and not too many titles I could really care less about, leaving everything to the big guns (and knives).

In pictures:

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