World Hobby Fair – Osaka
The World Hobby Fair (WHF) is held in various locations around Japan; Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka and Nagoya. Osaka’s Kyocera Dome which is usually a venue for baseball games and large concerts and every February thousands of people come for the one-day event.
Entry is free and kids can receive gift bags upon entry, the event also gives out promotional clear file folders at the exit. The event is very much geared toward kids with costumed stage shows, some workshops, had on product demonstrations and game competitions.
The 2017 WHF had a Beyblade competition which drew in some very serious kids who were hauling large tackle boxes filled with the fighting tops, launchers, gloves, etc. The competition had 25 of the bowl shaped BeyBlade arenas. Beyblade referees check the competitor’s equipment with official-looking sets of weights and measures; is there some sort of cheating that they are looking for?
There were tables for the Pokemon Card Game with staff members in costumes playing opposite of visitors.
The hallways and empty spaces of the convention floor were filled with people (kids and adults) using mats to place collectible card games (Pokemon, YuGiOh, etc.).
Every year there are performers wearing mascot costumes; the year you could see Tamadra (Puzzle & Dragon) while previous events featured Pikachu, Yokkai Watch characters etc.). The booth also feature large fiberglass and inflatable figures of games characters; this year you could see Link, Mario, Alolan Exeggutor, Conan and more.
Demos and exhibits:
The large Nintendo booth formed the core of the convention floor. Alongside the fiberglass statues there were window displays featuring the hardware for the Nintendo Switch and monitors playing video demos of launch software; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey.
Long lines formed to get into small booths that provide access to a 10 minute, two-player demonstration hosted by Nintendo staffers. All of the demonstrations seemed to be the same mini-game featured in the stage demonstration.
This mini-game was a sword catching game which employed two motion capture controllers. The game had a very forgiving window of time for players to react to each others actions; so the game would register catchers 67% of the time even when the person catching the sword had slow reflexes. There were also promotions for what appeared to be a wild west quick draw mini-game.
Japan has a lot of game center (arcade) machines for Pokemon and a bank of these machines was set to free-play for visitors. This machines employ thick plastic cards which have a QR code label, these plastic Cards are placed into a slot on the control panel with a QR scanner.
The Nintendo booth had some technical difficulties with controller connections but the audience seemed to enjoy the brief demonstrations of a mini-game.
The Gung Ho booth offered a demonstration of their Nintendo 3DS game, Puzzle and Dragons (but nothing about the mobile freemium version of the game).