As China and possibly Asia's biggest convention dedicated to all things nerdy, you could walk through those halls with a geek Naruto bingo scorecard and fill the thing out before you reach the opposite end. Cosplay, check. Video game demos, check. Dudes in VR, check. Expensive cameras, check. Women holding promotional material close to their face and/or bosoms, check.
Anyway, we went down there. We made a picture gallery.
This year, it's taking place from July 27-30, out at SNIEC, located at Huamu Lu station. Important to note is that the entrance is at Hall W1, which is a trek down the length of the expo center in the beating hot sun from Exit 1. You might actually be better off walking from Longyang Lu station.
Be warned, if you try to catch a cab back, the taxi drivers will probably demand 150rmb to get to People's Square. it should cost you in the region of 60rmb during the day, so demand they use the meter or don't drive.
Here're our impressions:
ChinaJoy is still loud
It's a cacophony. Visually and aromatically as well, but mostly just the sound of it is overwhelming. Competing promotional shows, dance competitions, cosplay showcases, e-sports announcers, small women in enormous frilly ball gowns arguing heatedly with stage managers. In some of the halls, it can be impossible to hear someone standing right next to you. And these are massive, cavernous spaces that should rightfully swallow sound.
Cosplay is still hit and miss
To be fair, when is cosplay not? Some of them are in it for the fun of it, some of them are in it because they've been hired, some of them aren't cosplayers and seem sort of miffed that they're being forced to stand in front of audiences in outlandish and/or half-assed costumes. We get you, guy, but if you're going to be up there anyway, why not put a little dazzle into it! Flourish that ten foot hammer. Swing that comically oversized brush. Cosplay is no place for cool detachment.
There was also some international talent on the scene! We saw maul_cosplay and Xenia Shelkovskaya (m_mellu) hanging around. They're pretty well-known! They're no Yaya Han but still. ChinaJoy, drawing in the international stars.
VR is (eventually) king
No surprise here, but it seemed like everything was VR headsets. They still look exceedingly dopey, and it's doubtful they ever won't. And the games still mostly look like jumped-up tech demos. And there was a preponderance of saddles you could squat on while you were taken on an on-rails ride through fantasy worlds and the like. Not... not a great look.
One day, this VR thing will actually take over the world the way they keep promising it will. But not this weekend.
Starcraft had a massive booth with pods for the competing players, CS:GO had a girls v. boys match going on, there were iPhone game competitions going on with contestants perched obliviously on stools. They even had an absolutely enormous trio of screens set up so passerby could spectate the riveting game of Gwent (a card game from popular Polish-made RPG Witcher 3) being played by two very excited looking foreigners.
The scantily clad models are still there
Despite threats of fines for showing too much skin, there was no shortage of improbably proportioned ladies with contact lenses and varying degrees of outfit. They were standing there with little signs and toys or sitting with people who stood in line to sit next to a pretty girl for 15 minutes and play games.
So. There we go. ChinaJoy. It's loud, it's obnoxious, it's kind of creepy at times, a real tour-de-force of exploitative marketing strategies, but in a way, it's beautiful. Geeks and nerds and people can get together and be geeks and nerds.
How do I get tickets to this magical affair
Tickets are available on Damai and on the ChinaJoy website, where you have to scan with your phone. Prices will run you 100rmb on the ChinaJoy site for the basic pass (which'll get you into the main halls) or 150rmb on damai. The rest are for business people and anyone willing to drop 12,000rmb on whatever a VIP pass gets you.
It runs 9am-4pm on Friday July 28 and Saturday July 29, and 9am-4pm on Sunday.