Tokyo Game Show

Four-day annual event at Makuhari Messe

Sep 12
Sep 15
Venue: Makuhari Messe When: Sep 12th - Sep 15th 2020 ,  10:00am - 5:00pm

Japan is home to some of the biggest names in the gaming industry, so what better place is there to host one of the biggest and most important video game trade shows on earth? Welcome to the Tokyo Game Show! See what the gaming giants—Nintendo, Sony, Square Enix, Sega—have to offer; while you can also check out the indie developers, mobile game developers, and exciting VR games.

Attendee numbers grow exponentially each year as the hype increases for upcoming games. The four-day annual event is held inside the massive Makuhari Messe convention center, located just outside of Tokyo. This show lets the public get their hands on new systems and games, which are still in production, as well as sneak peeks at new trailers and debuts. Maybe you’ll catch sight of some new Pokémon or Mario and friends. And if you don’t see them at Tokyo Game Show, you can always go to Akihabara’s Super Potato and Mandarake afterwards to get your retro fix.

PlayStation at 2018 event (Photo: Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY-SA 2.0)
PlayStation at 2018 event (Photo: Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The first two days are open only for members of the press and other business-related officials, while the last two days are open to the public. It’s these last two days where you can really appreciate the passion and dedication from the fans. As great as this sounds, be prepared to fight your way through dense crowds of gamers as you make way towards your favourite game. It’s best to be wearing your most comfortable shoes and breathable clothes because you could be queuing quite a bit –especially if you intend to play the more popular games.

Xbox booth at TGS (Photo: Juan Verni / CC BY-ND 2.0)
Xbox booth at TGS (Photo: Juan Verni / CC BY-ND 2.0)

All the major game developers and publishers are usually present–and as of 2018, Nintendo has rejoined the fray. If you don’t fancy playing any games or joining the seemingly endless queues, you can just absorb the buzzing atmosphere by walking around the convention hall. Giant flashing screens and a mishmash of sound effects from the hundred-plus games will send you into sensory overload.

Event poster for Tokyo Game Show 2019 (Photo: TGS)
Event poster for Tokyo Game Show 2019 (Photo: TGS)

As chaotic as this all sounds, have no fear: people are well-mannered and very patient. Aside from games, the other main attractions are the booth beauties and cosplayers who are constantly surrounded by professional photographers and fans alike. There is a dedicated area for people wearing costumes in the connecting hallway and it serves as a nice break from all the craziness on the show floor. This is the perfect opportunity to take snaps of your favorite video game characters and marvel at their expertly crafted costumes.

Pre-purchase an advance ticket online or at a convenience store to save ¥500 on the ticket price compared to buying at the entrance gate. Available until September 13th.

When you hear your stomach crying for fuel, stop by the food court to eat quick and easy food such as curry, yakisoba, fried chicken, and the like. If you are a gamer in any way, shape, or form, then you owe it to yourself to experience the Tokyo Game Show and immerse yourself into the gaming community.

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Francesco Agresti

Francesco Agresti @francesco

Born in London, England, I came to Japan in 2009 for a life changing experience. I'm a lover of all things Japanese and determined to share my passion with others through writing and video. Currently working as an English teacher while trying to pursue a career in media. I really look forward to sharing Tokyo’s beauty and excitement with the rest of the world!

Join the discussion

Kim B 4 weeks ago
Bet this would be a pretty popular event!
Peter Halliwell 5 years ago
I went during the 2010 show (both public days) and was overwhelmed by the intensity of it. You are correct when you say that people are well mannered there! If this show was in London things would be very different.
JapanTravel Guest
JapanTravel Guest 5 years ago
I hadn't noticed this article when it first went up, but great job on the video. Especially good was how you balanced out all the action and showed the crowd, not just the goods. Of course the booth babes were an added bonus.