Game Changer #33 – The Tokyo Game Show

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My name is Jared Whittaker, one of the hosts and Audio Chewbacca of the Super-Fly Podcast and PCW! Welcome to Game Changer, a weekly burning missive about all aspects of video gaming with a little bit of opinion thrown in for fun. Proceed with caution and tread lightly, gentle gamers. It’s going to be good time. Like the first time you saw Super Mario 3 good time.

While E3 and PAX are some of the biggest video game shows in the United States, the Tokyo Game Show is a show for a completely different audience. The Tokyo Game Show, or TGS, is an annual convention where the hottest video games of the fall are shown. TGS is largely focused on the Japanese market and the announcements mostly involve the surrounding areas, but some of the game announcements are related to the North American consumers. This year’s show had a lot of information, game reveals and new system specs. It was full of all kinds of fun stuff to check out later this year. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s show.

Sony had a pretty good E3 conference this year. A lot of games, the offical release date of the new PSP aka the Playstation Vita in Japan and the big PS3 games this year. At TGS, Sony was making it a point to show the details of their new handheld system. The big news was that the Vita would be available for purchase December 17th in Japan. That, traditionally, would mean that the Vita will be coming to the states in early Spring. That said, the system will not region locked, meaning that impatient American gamers could import it from an outlet in Japan if they were so inclined. Despite word that the battery life isn’t that much better than the PSP, the increasingly awesome looking handheld is picking up steam and looking better and better with every showing.

The games that were shown looked pretty phenomenal as well. Uncharted: Golden Abyss didn’t disappoint in the visual department and really takes the console experience of Uncharted on to the Vita without losing a step. Other PSP launch titles like Ridge Racer and Lumines will be making appearances on the Vita at launch as well. With third party companies adding to the pile with games like Ninja Gaiden: Sigma, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, and the Metal Gear Solid Collection and more, the system sounds like it’s going hard at Nintendo’s 3DS. While the touch screen is still a “touchy” subject with me personally, it seems like many developers are using the front and back touch screens passively in the initial games on the Vita. Making it a point to not try and cram touch screen abilities into every game just because it can. Being able to move across ledges with the touch screen and the analog sticks will go a long way with gamers that might be leery of using motion controls.

Sony didn’t just show Vita games. In fact, they went all remake crazy on your face this year. The biggest being that with the tenth anniversary of Final Fantasy X coming up, Square-Enix thought it would be cool to release an HD version of Final Fantasy X for both the PS3 and the Vita. That’s kind of insane! FFX was a pretty classic game and just thinking of it getting the HD treatment ala FF13 is going to make a lot of gamers start to get antsy about the release dates. No word on when the game would be released, but one “King” Travis Ray, co-host of the Super-Fly Podcast was heard to remark “That’s it! I HAVE to get a PS3!!” I feel like many long time fans are going to have that same sentiment. Also coming to the Vita and the PS3 is the Zone of the Enders Collection. Before the MGS series, series creator Hideo Kojima made the fast-action, nerve-blasting airborne combat game Zone of the Enders. It’s a pretty good pull. Fans of Kojima have been begging for another ZotE game after MGS4, so this could be the first step to a new game in the series.

Other games that we’ve seen before, like Final Fantasy 13-2, Super Monkey Ball Vita, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and more where shown off and all look pretty good. And while a few games didn’t make an appearance, (looking at you, The Last Guardian) Sony seemed to really have the floor covered with news and hands on game demos.

Nintendo’s presser was pretty quick, but still had a lot of content. The big news that the next installment of Japanese hit franchise Monster Hunter 4 will be coming to the 3DS. In Japan, EVERYONE plays Monster Hunter and it’s been a huge hit for the PSP on that side of market. Getting it on the 3DS is really going to make The Big N some big yen. Other announcements were a new Fire Emblem game, a new Mario Tennis 3DS game, release dates in Japan for Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. The Wii U did not make an appearance in the press conference, but after telling us pretty much nothing about the system at E3, it was for the best until Nintendo is ready to show the public actual gameplay from actual games. Overall, Monster Hunter 4 was a pretty powerful pull for the system.

Microsoft showed the usual suspects, Gears 3, Halo Anniversary, Forza 4, Kinect Sports 2 and other games. But to be honest, with a lot of retailers in Japan quitting on the 360 and the system getting trounced in general, MS didn’t really break out any surprises. It was a quiet TGS for on the 360 front.

TGS is mostly a regional show. It’s very focused on the Japanese market and mostly hardcore game players are going to really pay attention to the announcements at the show, but TGS can still reveal games and other notable information about what will be coming to the States in the near future. And face it, everything is cooler when it comes from Japan.

Keep gaming….

Jared Whittaker plays a lot of games. Not as much as he’d like, but as much as time and money will allow. If you want to play some games with Jared, you can find him on Playstation 3; PSN tag: JFX. He is also on Steam and Battle.net as JFX316 and while he doesn’t have an Xbox 360, he has the coolest Gamertag in the world: Obiwan Jaborni. Feel free to add him as a friend or email him at [email protected] and on Twitter as JFX316

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Jared Whittaker is a contributing writer/columnist for PanelsOnPages.com. He acts as co-host and producer for the Super-Fly Podcast and PCW. He lives in Yellow Springs, OH and is generally awesome at most things.

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