This was my third time to the Tokyo Game Show, but it was my first time covering the event on the public days. Unlike E3, TGS is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. That makes for some large crowds, even though reports have been out that attendance is down this year compared to last. It made wading through the crowds a pain, but this year there were plenty of interesting titles on the show floor, so dealing with the crowds was (mostly) worth it.
From an RPGamer's perspective, this year is a definite upgrade. Square Enix as usual had the lion's share of noteworthy RPGs, though Level-5 and Marvelous rounded out the pack with some titles of their own, in addition to Konami and Nintendo. Level-5 deserves mention for their soccer RPG Inazuma Eleven, which generated enough buzz to warrant a sequel and anime production. Sadly, the sequel was unplayable during the show, but the buzz surrounding their booth was impressive.
Even on the public days, having a press pass is incredibly useful. I was able to cut in line for some of the games to get in some playing time, which is incredibly important given the majority of RPGamer's show coverage consists of game impressions. In some other booths, such as Square Enix...it simply wasn't possible; the crowds were too intense. Some booths actually went to extreme steps to help control the crowd, and staff members held up ropes to seperate people in the booth area from the rest of the foot traffic. In fact, the crowds were so intense that media members were allowed to enter at about 9:40 AM, a full twenty minutes before the scheduled opening time. I promptly sprinted to the Microsoft booth to play The Last Remnant, and given the two+ hour lines that the game had later I think it was a wise choice.
Some disappointments came from Dragon Quest IX and Little King's Story, both of which were not playable at the show. Both games were viewable as trailers, and as expected the former title drew huge crowds; Dragon Quest is an institution of its own here.
For RPGamers, this is the year of the Xbox 360. If the titles available this year are any indication, it looks like that console is *the* one to have for most RPGs. In addition to The Last Remnant, Star Ocean: The Last Hope was playable at the Microsoft booth. Sony had a huge corner of one of the exhibition halls, and they had a lot more titles to show off this year, but not too many RPGs of interest. One title that was wildly popular (and sadly very inaccessible even with a press pass thanks to long lines) was Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. This was one of the first games to close their lines to everyone, as there simply wasn't enough space for people to wait.
On my end, I was able to play eight different games, and three of those have impressions already up on the site. Next I'll continue with the impressions, and we'll see where things go from here.