Gamers looking for the latest Xbox and Sony PlayStation titles aren't the only people heading to the Taipei World Trade Center (台北世貿中心) for the 2008 Taipei Game Show (台北國際電玩展).
Taiwan's premier showcase for local and international video game developers is also a good place to shop for a range of consumer electronic products, like digital cameras, computer peripherals and even radar detectors.
"The new Speed King works against eight different kinds of speed traps," said Chiu Tian-tzu (邱天賜) of Yuan-chiu Technological Enterprise Co (遠釚科技), waving a laminated brochure with pictures of police cameras, radars and lasers. "Before you needed to buy two or three different kinds of detectors and jammers. Now you just need this one!"
Like many booths on the periphery of the trade show, Chiu's was offering discounts. The new Speed King (速度王), he said, had been marked down more than NT$2,000, to NT$4,400. "You can even use some of these abroad," he said, pointing to some of his other products, which included a GPS anti-speed-trap device.
Around the corner, consumer electronics retailer Nova was offering free memory cards, batteries and camera bags with the purchase of Olympus digital cameras. Aliteam, which makes wireless and USB headsets for mutli-player online games, has buy-one-get-one-free deals daily at 11am and 4pm, among other promotions. And at the booth for 3C (燦坤), another local retailer, customers could buy digital cameras on monthly installment plans.
As is usually the case at such events, "we can give you a better price" was the common response to inquiries at many booths - with a few exceptions. "Sony's prices are always the same," said a staffer at the company's pavilion. Many merchants were eager to publicize their deals. Others weren't. "We don't offer discounts," said one woman, who had just offered a reduced price on a digital camera before being told the information would be published.
Organized by the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北電腦公會) - a non-profit organization established in 1974 in order to represent Taiwan's nascent computer industry - the 2008 Taipei Game Show runs until Monday at the World Trade Center's Exhibition Hall 1, just down the street from Taipei 101.
The show is a smaller version of previous events, when it was combined with the Taipei Multimedia Computer Show. But there is still plenty to see and do for gamers, who can test drive a prologue version of yet-to-be-released Gran Turisimo 5 at the PlayStation pavilion, or sign up to join the beta test for Electronic Arts' NBA Street Online at the Giga Media booth.
The most popular exhibit yesterday seemed to be the one for IGS adventure game The Legend of Three Kingdoms Online (蒼天 Online), which is set in the chaotic period following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in China. The company's pavilion included a large stage complete with a video screen and women in cosplay outfits who tossed inflatable swords and stuffed animals to a crowd of at least 100 people.
Here and at other points throughout the hall, groups of men - some lugging heavy duty photography equipment but not wearing press passes - could be seen prowling in search of one of the convention's most popular attractions - women in race girl, French maid and other skimpy outfits who are collectively known as "the booth babes."