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RPG Grind Time – More Adventures In Japan And Pre-TGS Thoughts

by Kimberley Wallace on Sep 20, 2017 at 03:00 PM

It's that time of year again! Tokyo Game Show is upon us, which means I'm here in Japan to cover it and bring you the latest news and impressions. While I'm here, I always like to explore and take in the atmosphere and get a sense of the video game scene in Japan. You should have seen how big I smiled when I saw a group of students huddled together on the train playing the Switch. Japan's enthusiasm for all things video games, anime, and J-pop is unmatched. You can just feel the pride and excitement everywhere you go. As I've said in years past, TGS is struggling. It once was a show with big announcements and first-looks at tons of games, and I'd love to see it get back on track. I don't think this year is going to be the one that does that, but nevertheless, I'm still excited to see what's ahead. 

You'll find out quickly that there's a store to celebrate just about everything. Here's a picture of the Jump Shop, featuring plenty of One Piece and Naruto memorabilia. 

VR is catching on in Japan. Here's a pic of Mario Kart VR from VR Zone in Shinjuku. 

I love stopping in arcades while I'm here, which are practically around every corner. I couldn't resist trying this Dragon Quest game. It uses actual cards to store data, so I walked away with a more powerful monster card in the end. 

Figures, figures, everywhere! Here's a look at some cool Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts ones.

As you walk through Akihabara, billboards are full of anime and games. I took this one because I'm currently watching the anime Gamers and I love it.

I love how you can just walk into a shop and see a section devoted to Danganronpa. 

Crane machines take a lot and patience and skill, but here's my proof that they can be beaten! Moogle flashlight, FTW!

Here's a look at the popular games in Japan at the moment...

This is in the middle of a regular electronics store. It had arcade machines and tons of gacha machines. 

The Nintendo love is strong. 

I was expecting a bigger Persona 5 presence, but it's been over a year since the game launched here. Still, I love that you can buy Ryuji's shirt. 

Super Potato is still the place to go to pick up retro games.

It's just a plushie world and we're living it. I own that Vivi, by the way.

Turn to the next page to see pics from the Pokémon Center...

When I visited Nagoya, I found a Pokémon Center. Get ready for plenty of adorable Pikachu and friends...

This is the start of something wonderful...

TOO MUCH CUTE. I can't take it. 

While it's not quite dressing up like a Pokémon master, it's as close as you're going to get. 

For those who prefer Pokémon in retro form...

What I could give to see this collection come to North America...

A little Bravely Default love, anyone?

Remember when I said there is a store for everything? Studio Ghibli in the house!

It's Riko's birthday, and the stores are celebrating. She's my favorite from Love Live!

Only one thing is missing...fog, but the game takes care of that.

I had to buy this Nier: Automata mug...

And this shirt!

Last but not least, my figure haul so far. 

Thoughts Before TGS...

The Sony press conference already passed, which usually hosts the bulk of the announcements. You can see everything announced here. I wasn't too wowed by much, but was happy to see Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels Aegis Rain and a new trailer for the Shadow of the Colossus remake. I'm very curious about Square Enix's new IP Left Alive, which is a survival shooter and has character designs by Yoji Shinkawa of Metal Gear and Zone of Enders fame. Tokyo Game Show usually hosts a lot of stage presentations, which reveal new info about games, so I'm hoping there are some nice surprises in there. I'm guessing we'll hear more about Final Fantasy XV, which the Ignis DLC and multiplayer expansion on the horizon, but I'm doubtful about Kingdom Hearts III, considering it just had a big world reveal at D23. Capcom will most likely put Monster Hunter World front and center at this show, but I'd love if we got an update on the Resident Evil 2 remake. Evil Within 2, called Psycho Break 2 in Japan, might get some time in the spotlight with its launch date nearing. Bandai Namco has a ton of interesting games on the way, including Code Vein, Dragon Ball Fighters Z, and Ni no Kuni II, so I expect a large presence for the company.  As always, I'll be scouting the show floor for the gems and reporting on what's making a splash!