E3 is almost upon us. Just a few days until the biggest names in gaming reveal brand new hardware and brand new software to play on it. That’s tantalizingly close, which means it’s also painfully far away. Well I’m here to soothe your aching drive for E3 news with this look back at the most memorable moments in E3 history.
10. Reggie’s body is ready (2007)
Nintendo had a decent showing in 2007, introducing Mario Kart Wii and dating both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy.
The real highlight, however, was when Miyamoto asked Reggie Fils-Aime to help him demonstrate the all new Wii Fit and its corresponding Balance Board.
Reggie stepped up and announced “my body… my body is ready.” The line didn’t have much impact at the time, but the internet meme machine caught on to Reggie in 2010, sussing out a slightly disturbing subtext to the remark.
9. Project Milo hands out free comas (2009)
In 2009, Microsoft unveiled their answer to motion control with what is now known as the rather successful Kinect. Back then, it was called Project Natal, and the add-on had a bit of a rough debut.
Project Milo was shown off by frequent over-promise-r Peter Molyneux. The Lionhead developed demo was a hype-killing derailment from the rest of E3. Gamers and the press later found much of what Molyneux promised out of reach of what could actually be done with Kinect, and Project Milo led to nothing but a lot of pedophilia jokes.
Also at Microsoft’s show that year, the bottom of an avatar’s shoe… bam!
8. Peter Moore’s tattoo (2006)
In 2006, Microsoft made its best effort to keep attention focused on the X-Box 360 while Nintendo and Sony were showing the new Wii and PS3 consoles.
Peter Moore was able to pull that off simply by rolling up his shirt sleeves. The then Corporate VP of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business division announced Grand Theft Auto IV was coming to the 360 by revealing the game’s logo tattooed on his arm.
Best of all, Moore managed to sneak in the line “I save the big guns for the big guns.”
7. Konami brings “excite” (2010)
Konami’s conference at E3 2010 was a parade of awkward that featured frightening stares, luchadore wrestlers, pauses for cheers that never came, and bad magic tricks. Broken English had its biggest day ever, with phrases like “one million troops… wow,” “you will be sucked,” “extreeeeeeme,” and “very very excite” being coined and subsequently inserted into the lexicon of gamers. Konami’s show received plenty of attention, but probably more of it positive than negative. E3 spectators came around to the compilation of crazy, finding it to be a campy Rocky Horror-esque experience.
6. Nintendo’s musical disaster (2008)
Nintendo’s 2008 presentation stands as one of the poorest on record. Where Konami’s 2010 show held an undeniable amusement factor, Nintendo’s E3 2008 was nothing but continuous groin shots to the Nintendo faithful.
This was the show in which Cammie Dunaway, whose brief stint as Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing is thankfully over, made her debut. She did this by playing Shaun White Snowboarding on a Wii Balance Board and chatting about her kids. No one cared.
Wii Music was the largest tumour of the show. Long embarrassing stretches of time were dedicated to demoing the title. These included a man rocking out way too hard with a Wiimote, and Miyamoto himself pretending to play a saxophone.
Other miserable moments included the reveal of Animal Crossing: City Folk and its corresponding barely-functional accessory, Wii Speak.
5. Connectivity connects with no one (2003)
2003 is widely regarded as Nintendo’s worst showing in E3 history. That year, Nintendo had so precious little to run on that the bulk of their show was dedicated to GameCube – GameBoy Advance connectivity.
Sure, Four Swords Adventure and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles were revealed, two titles that were ultimately well regarded, but they weren’t enough to build a press event around. Unfortunately, Nintendo opted to make the biggest deal out of Pac-Man Vs. This was a build of Pac-Man which allowed three players to interact with Pac-Man by taking charge of the ghosts which chase him.
Not a terrible idea, but not one to win over the press at an E3 conference, either. The IGN guys were caught with the above, rather unimpressed faces, spawning the “Gaijin 4Koma,” “Reaction Guys” meme.
4. Kicking ass and taking names (2004)
Nintendo redeemed themselves mightily in 2004 with a volley of excitement. The show began with the debut of a man who introduced himself to the world thusly: “My name is Reggie. I’m about kickin’ ass, I’m about takin’ names, and we’re about making games.” The Reggielution was born. Reggie Fils-Aime was, at the time, the newly appointed Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nintendo of America. He has since been promoted to the position of NoA’s president.
Of course, Reggie had plenty to back up his bold introduction. The DS made its debut that year, and portable gaming would never be the same. At the same conference, company president Satoru Iwata held up a mysterious black box, the “Revolution,” it was called. It would later be known as the Wii.
In terms of a singular moment, though, the close of Nintendo’s 2004 event has to be the one. Reggie returned to the stage to tell the crowd “I’d like you to step inside one more world for Nintendo GameCube.” A video began to play showing a few fantasy settings before a lone rider on a horse came into view. As the camera panned around it became clear that we were looking at Link, and this, it seemed, was the “realistic” Zelda game we had always wanted. The first footage of Twilight Princess that year brought the house down. Grown men, supposedly professional journalists, screamed with such passion it seemed the rapture had come.
3. “Saturnday” is now (1995)
Everyone, including developers, the media, and retailers, knew that the Sega Saturn would launch on “Saturnday,” September 2, 1995. Sony was prepped to follow the release a week later with the PS1.
At the very first E3 on May 11, 1995, Sega of America president and apparent crazy person Tom Kalinske announced that Saturnday was a fake-out, and the Saturn was out. Now. At that very moment. For $400.
The jump forward in release date was supposed to give Sega a four month start over upstart rival Sony. Of course, with nothing but internal games ready, Sega didn’t have much to sell. Worse yet, third party developers and retailers left out of the change in date felt, justifiably, screwed over by Sega. They punished the company, shifting development resources and giving retail space over to Sega’s competitors.
Sega’s absurd gamble was perhaps the single biggest contributor to the company’s demise as a hardware manufacturer.
2. $299 US dollars (1995)
Sega’s loss was Sony’s gain. Sony followed Sega’s conference with one of their own. The company’s spokesperson walked on stage and simply stated “two hundred and ninety-nine dollars” before leaving again. That was all Sony needed, the 32/64-bit generation was their’s.
1. $599 US dollars (2006)
By 2006, the confidence that had allowed Sony to flatly state the price of their console, knowing it would trump their competitors, had become hubris. While Microsoft was busy showing a fresh crop of new games for its 360, and Nintendo was changing the way people played games with the Wii, Sony was stuck in the mindset that nothing could topple them from the heights of the video game industry.
Sony’s 2006 conference was filled with embarrassing moments. Apparently, battles with giant crabs occurred in Japanese history, and to get excited about Ridge Racer, you just need to hear it pronounced “Riiiidge Racer.”
Still, all of that pales in comparison to Executive Deputy President of Sony Kazuo Hirai’s announcement that the PS3 would cost a whopping “five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars.” With that, Sony had made it clear to those watching that they would no longer be industry leaders. A stone cold truth from the vantage of 2011.