How I went to the Tokyo Game Show while staying in my office chair
I have never been to the Tokyo Game Show before. It is the furthest event from my home in northeastern England and also culturally the most diverse. I...
I have never been to the Tokyo Game Show before. It is the furthest event from my home in northeastern England and also culturally the most diverse. I don't speak German, but I know enough phrases to be polite at Gamescom, and most Germans (especially in hotels or venues) speak English well enough for everything to go smoothly. Obviously, English is not a problem in the United States. I don't speak Japanese, and there is also a cultural barrier in Japan, with social customs that I have no knowledge of. Along with the obvious cost factors, it means that I have never been to the Tokyo Game Show. Except now, everything from the comfort of my own home. Somehow.
Thanks to TGS VR, I was able to take a virtual tour of the show's exhibition booths and see what they have to offer. As the name suggests, it is built on VR and is available on Meta Quest 2, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro series, and Valve Index. If you don't want to experience it in VR, you can also check it out on your PC (that's how I did it) or even just on your phone. Here, you can explore all the options.
It's a cool experience to be part of the show, even though I'm nearly 6,000 miles away, to see all the booths and studios. Similar to the actual event, some have gone all out with statues of Cloud, Sonic, and Chun-Li scattered around, as well as a massive dragon spanning across the map for Dragon's Dogma 2. These serve as photo spots, just like you would find at the real expo, although I have no idea how that would work from a first-person perspective. There are even ample booths offering energy drinks—it feels like you're really there, except without any unpleasant smells!
There are four different sections of the booth, each with slightly different visual themes. Personally, I recommend heading to Flint Peaks first - that's where TheGamer's booth is located. From there, you'll find a link that takes you back to our website (which, admittedly, is a bit redundant if you're already here), as well as a billboard featuring a video report of our highlights. This (and my virtual debut) isn't the only first for TheGamer at TGS this year - Features Editor Tessa Kaur is personally at the expo and will be bringing reports, highlights, previews, and interviews next week.
It's interesting to be part of the show, but it feels more like a glimpse into the future than anything else. Each booth is visually appealing and has its own identity, even more so than the actual event, without the constraints of a real budget or scope. Many booths at physical expos are plain white boxes, perhaps with a logo or a poster. Some are even completely plain. But beyond that, there's still a gap that feels like it's 6,000 miles wide. Most booths rely on trailers to sell their games. While it's good for casual visitors to get an overview of all the games at the expo, I would like to see a bit more depth next time.
We already have expansive social spaces in virtual reality, such as VRChat and Rec Room, and by incorporating some ideas from them, like demos, more detailed information, or a wider range of activities, this experience could feel much closer to actually being at the expo.
Even now, it is a significant improvement compared to checking on a static website to see which games could be present at the trade fair, making some assumptions based on the attending publishers, and then figuring out what new unveilings could be there. As a result, it feels like a journey and even has presentations that are repeated throughout the event to capture the feeling. TGS VR is definitely worth a look if you can't make it to the actual fair, and I believe it will only get better in the coming years.