No Game, No Life. Then, Now and Forever
Tokaigi Game Party is unlike any event you’ve been to because for one, it commemorates the creative minds of the Japanese gaming industry and pays homage to some of the classic titles that have helped to usher in a new generation of gamers. Tokaigi Game Party is exactly that, a party in which anyone is invited to partake in the gaming festivities and have a chance to meet with favorite pro players in the competitive gaming scene. It’s where the casuals and elites come together to share an equal bond, a true passion for what they love most, video games and to throw away all prejudice to just have fun and experience what the event has to offer. Tokaigi Game Party is an annual event but this year, in particular, was quite notable as it was the very first event in Japan to finally allow pro players to earn real payouts on the big stage. We’ll go more into detail later in the article but this year’s Tokaigi will help to usher in more opportunities for everyone to compete for the big prize, and hopefully have a shot at not only a cash prize but a major sponsorship from the Japanese government.
|Length of event||February 10-February 11|
|Location||Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan|
|Admission||1,500￥ (Advance) / 2,000￥ (Door)|
What to Expect
As one would expect from any party there’s bound to be a ton of exciting things to do, whether it be just kicking it in the longue and indulging in some delicious venue food, or wandering around to just experience all the hype from all the booths which surround you. Tokaigi Game Party 2018 is the quintessential gamer’s dream, a place where all social discriminations and ideals go out the window and everyone comes together to celebrate the art of gaming. You don’t have to participate in any of the major events that take place within the venue, simply just sitting and spectating is a thrill in of itself since you really get to feel the energy in the room as top players compete for huge cash prizes. There’s something for everybody to enjoy and as we said before, casual players can participate in a plethora of other festivities such as the cosplay area, the retro gaming area as well as the gaming lounge, where you can find a ton of family friendly games to sink hours into. Every booth has something to be enamored by whether it be the fabulous booth babes that brighten the room and your soul with their lustrous smiles, or maybe something caught your eye in the marketplace and now you’re tempted to throw your cash away on a rare item. Tokaigi Game Party is like a massive family get together where you get a chance to meet and greet with people you’re well acquainted with, or perhaps run into someone you haven’t seen in years.
What to Bring in Order to Enjoy the Event
Much like any event in Japan, money is perhaps the one thing you’ll need to have equipped at all times because well, things cost money these days. Fortunately there’s the Monster Energy Drink booth within the venue that gives out free energy drinks to passerbys, but as for everything else, it’s best to keep a good amount of yen on you in case something interesting pops up. The entry fee is about 2,000￥ which is the equivalent to around $19-$21 CAD, but if you manage to grab an early bird ticket then you can save about 500￥. It’s also suggested that you bring a bag of some sort since, if you plan to buy anything at the event, having your own bag will for one save you some extra money and avoid buying one of the plastic ones at the event, which to honest aren’t the greatest of quality. There’s a lot to see and do at the event so coming extra prepared will save you a ton of stress and allow you to fully enjoy the experience without having to run around with a ton of bags in hand.
Speaking of running around, you’ll certainly be doing a lot of moving within the event since there’s just so much to see and do. So make sure to come equipped with some comfortable walking shoes because after about an hour or two of walking, you’re definitely going to start feeling the cramps. Fortunately the event is well prepared and there are a vast amount of areas for you to sit and relax if you ever find the urge to catch your breath. One other important item that one mustn’t forget is a camera because since this is an annual event, making sure to catch all the action on camera is one to keep in your photo album. Every year the event constantly evolves and so, what you experienced last year will have totally changed the next, so having a camera to catch all those beautiful cosplayers and spur of the moments will be of great importance.
What to do While There / What is Available
We can’t seem to stress this point enough but Tokaigi Game Party 2018 is all about games, and a place where everyone can share that same passion under the same roof. Everywhere you turn there’s a game booth waiting to be explored, a game waiting to be played, or a massive tournament to spectate. This year’s Tokaigi Game Party ushered in a new era for the Japanese eSports scene as this was the ‘test run’ of Japan’s new rule to fully grant top players access to the same visas that pro athletes receive here in Japan. It exempts them from the very strict gambling law where individuals cannot earn income from any form of gambling, and allows them to now participate in any event to win an actual cash prize.
The companies themselves must be the ones however to issue the cash prize to the top players, which is still something that needs to be ironed out, but this is an incredible feat for the Japanese pro gaming scene as this will allow elite players to make a living off their talents. It was nearly impossible to even make any sort of income in Japan off of video games, that is unless you worked in the industry professionally as say a producer or game director. However for players, the only way for them to even see a steady flow of income was through North American/European events that they had to fly out to, and be sponsored by western companies. This is a dream come true not just for the players themselves, but also the game companies here in Japan, the overall economy and the spectators.
This year’s event had three halls to choose from, each with their own respective assortment of games to play. The first hall was more for the competitive gamers since much of the big tournaments were held there, such as the Street Fighter V GP tournament, Smash Bros for Wii U, Splatoon 2 and so forth. This is where you could the likes of elite players like smash veteran and all around cool guy Nairo, Echo Fox|Leo, Japan sensation Ken, and a plethora of SFV elites like Tokido and fan favorite Itabashi Zangief(well Abigail now). No matter where you turned there was this sensational aura of excitement that just made the event feel more lively, and with new titles like DRAGON BALL FighterZ making its first appearance on a big stage prior to EVO, the hype just continued to permeate through the venue.
If you wanted to take a break from the first hall then the second hall is where you’d find much of the retro games and consoles like the N64, Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation and more. There were classic arcade cabinets dispersed around the area as well which had games like Virtua Fighter and Galaga for everyone to dabble with, and of course, the cosplay area where passionate individuals pose for the camera and show off their incredibly well designed costumes. We had the pleasure of hanging out with good friend and popular streamer Retro Gaijin, along with the laid back Kuro Ken, and had a blast taking photos with all the cute cosplayers as well as posing with some pretty massive weapons for the fun of it. There was also a beautiful video game music orchestra that took place and it was magnificent! Words truly cannot explain just how breathtaking it was to hear a Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest music live concert. We managed to get in a few rounds of Texas Hold Em’ poker as well which was also quite entertaining (and free!), then afterwards made our way to the third hall of the venue.
The third hall was perhaps the most interesting out of them all because not only did it have some really amazing games to try out, but it really felt like you were walking into an actual arcade! You had UFO catcher machines laid out for you to try out, family friendly games like basketball and air hockey tables scattered about. It felt like an otaku wonderland and everywhere you went there was something new to explore. Konami’s booth put on a wicked rock show while the SEGA booth as usual managed to impress us with their booth babes (sadly we didn’t grab any photos of them this year). All in all, it was just an amazing event that really just feels like a big networking opportunity because you’ll meet people from all walks of life, whether it be the producer for King of Fighters XIV, cool laid back commentators like Majin Obama and Matt, or just someone who clicks incredibly well with you because the passion can be felt almost instantly. If you’re a gamer and you happen to find yourself in Japan during February then you shouldn’t hesitate
Honey's Final Thoughts
There was so much more that we happened to participate in such as a small SFV side tourney but man, it’s so hard to put that together into one article without sounding like a little child in a candy shop. We’re sure you get the point through the photos and so we hope you get the opportunity to experience it hands on come next year’s Tokaigi Game Party, where we imagine the stakes will be much higher and who knows, you may just see us on the main stage competing again! We’d also like to congratulate Nairo on taking home the first place prize in Smash Bros for Wii U as well as Itabashi Zangief for taking first in SFV!
For all things otaku be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime!