Japan’s biggest video-game software show kicked off Friday at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, with 85 domestic and overseas software companies exhibiting 500 new products.

Tokyo Game Show 2002 features conventional game software along with online games, which can be played simultaneously by two or more people by linking game consoles or personal computers, according to show sponsor Computer Entertainment Software Association.

Online games that can be played on Sony Corp.’s PlayStation2 and U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox are among those on display, it said.

The show runs for three days — Friday for business officials, and Saturday and Sunday for the general public. About 150,000 people are expected to attend.

Companies from South Korea, known for its advanced broadband communications, are exhibiting a wide variety of new games, including the popular Lineage title, managed by NC Japan K.K., the association said.

Gamania Digital Entertainment Co., Taiwan’s largest game software maker, is also participating in the show, as are companies from Hong Kong, France and Singapore, it said.

For the first time ever, there is a section for playing table games, including card games and classic board games, the association said.

“At this year’s show, we aim to not only increase the number of visitors but also encourage the development of the game industry while diversifying the exhibitors and exhibition genres, and also offering some events for family visitors,” the association said.

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