Checked out Tokyo Game Show 2009 at Makuhari Messe twice last week. Thursday was the first business/press only day, and it was so much better than Saturday, where the crowd was like 50 times worse and the smell of B.O. had condensed to a visible gray fog. Luckily I was somewhat expecting this, so I got whatever I wanted to see or play out of the way on Thursday. Final Fantasy XIII was probably the best, since the game was sweet and you got to play for a full 15 minutes on a nice setup consisting of a slim PS3, 32-inch-ish LCD TV, and studio headphones. Since it’s Japan, of course before every person the headphones and controller got a wipe down with alcohol wipes, which is a big plus. Got to play a bunch of other games thanks to the average wait time on business days being maybe 10-15 minutes, compared to the 1 hour or more on public days. I noticed a lot of the booths during public days even gave out tickets to play the demos, meaning that once the tickets were all gone, no one else could even line up to play the games.

The swag level was kind of disappointing this year, with more crappy postcards and stickers than anything else. No good phone straps, keychains, t-shirts, or slap bracelets, at least from what I saw. The Capcom station for Ookamiden was giving out a sweet folding fan, but the line for that even on Thursday was like 45 minutes so I decided not to bother. Other random games I saw or played: First we played Bayonetta just because the line was short and it was the first one we saw. The game looked OK, but it was exactly like Devil May Cry only with a naughty librarian as the main character. Also for some reason her clothes turned into a demon or something, leaving her gratuitously naked. Halo 3: ODST seemed like it had a good deal of add-ons and new weapons and enemies. Tekken 20 or whatever is exactly the same as Tekken always is. MGS Peace Walker was awesome, although I can’t say the characters seemed as interesting as in past games. MGS trailers are always so well done though. Ryu ga Gotoku 4 (Yakuza) also looked way sweet, and I saw the creator guy there in his usual white yakuza-ish jumpsuit.

As with any convention of this type, there were a lot of booth girls all over the place, either handing out flyers or just posing for thousands of dudes to take their pictures. On Saturday when I went there were of course crowds around every single one of these poor women, with the size of the crowd probably in proportion to the hotness of the girl multiplied by how much skin they were showing. Oddly enough I didn’t see anyone using the super nerd stepladders, nor did I happen to see anyone with their camera on the ground trying to get an underwear shot. Maybe that’s just at the auto shows then.

So yeah TGS was pretty awesome, but I don’t know if I’m going to bother going on public days anymore. The crowd and accompanying BO is too much to handle, and you can’t even play any good games without waiting for an hour or more. But hey business days are awesome so if you can get in it’s definitely worth going.