At my last Tokyo Game Show in 2000, I was working on press credentials and could therefore come and go as I pleased. It was really quite nice watching the crowds line up at 9AM from my hotel window, knowing I could just wander in whenever I felt like it.
Today, I was one of those in the crowd lining up at 9AM. And let me tell you, it was brutal! As we made our way from the train station to the Makuhari Messe convention center, we were ushered into these little pens in the middle of what seemed to be a parking lot.
They filled up quickly.
Eventually, it was just people as far as the eye could see.
Keep in mind two things:
1. This was the back of the line! The rest of the line stretched all the way around the building, like this (taken in 2000):
2. It was hot out there, and with no shade. It's really impossible to convey to someone who hasn't been here how much different the heat feels in Japan. The country's closer to the equator than most of the United States, so the sun is a lot more intense. At the same time, it's extremely humid. Imagine Texas heat with Hawaii humidity. Everybody in the line was absolutely drenched by the time we started moving.
When we did start moving, we literally had to walk all the way around the building to get in. That's probably close to a mile. I think this show has to be in contention for the world record for "longest line". The first day of TGS always draws close to 100,000 people, and most of them are there at opening.
Wasn't really a fun start to the day. But it got better. More coming later!