E3 2018 is just a week away, and we are excited! For those who don’t know, E3 is short for Electronic Entertainment Expo and it’s a 3-to-4 day event where the biggest and brightest of the video games industry gather to show off the latest in games and gaming technology, and also show off their biggest booth displays and props. The show also houses the best and worst video game company press conferences that make us laugh, cheer, and cringe.
Whether they were good, bad, or ugly, these presentations were memorable to all of us, especially since some of them helped shape E3 to what it is right now. Let us take a trip down memory lane before the 2018 version of the biggest gaming expo kicks in, and check out the best and funniest the industry has to offer.
Nintendo America’s Big Boss Taking Charge – E3 2004
“I’m about kicking ass. I’m about taking names. And we’re about making games.” The words of Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime booms through the halls of the Nintendo Press Conference in 2004. Some might see this as cocky, but it’s basically confidence in the brand.
Remember that this was a time when Nintendo was at its low point with the Gamecube. Nintendo needed someone like Reggie to take the reins and lead the conversation to how the brand is about games, period. Sometimes, a good spin is enough if done with a charismatic lead, and no one was as unique as Fils-Aime.
Halo 2 Announcement & Release Date – E3 2005
An E3 press conference wouldn’t be complete without some level of theatrics and commitment from its showmen. After some awesome gameplay footage of Halo 2, then-Xbox lead Peter Moore revealed the release date of the game in the best way possible: through a real tattoo on his right arm.
He pulled off the same stunt on his left arm a year later with a Grand Theft Auto IV announcement, but his first attempt was a lot more impactful because it was unheard of in a prim and proper kind of presentation.
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Reveal -E3 2005
If Nintendo’s 2004 presentation was a revolution, the end of Nintendo’s 2005 presentation was a climactic trumpet to signal a new progression. A new Zelda announcement was all it needed to put faith back in the game industry, so what better way than to have an epic trailer followed by its lead designer Shigeru Miyamoto coming into the scene with sword and shield in hand?
Truly this was the time when E3 had awestrucking and inspiring presentations and reveals before it evolved into something a little more…typical and expected.
PlayStation’s Fall From Grace – E3 2006
It seems that with the PS2 doing gangbusters, there was no way that PlayStation can fall from grace, can they? Well in 2006’s E3 press conference, they did just that in one fell swoop.
President Kaz Hirai was there to tell everyone that (i) they’re on top of the market (ii) people are willing to pay a lot for their upcoming new consoles, and (iii) people are excited about a safari simulation, a realistic racing game, a generic hack-and-slash, and Ridge Racer. As you can tell, the delivery and execution left much to be desired.
The presentation was so bad that it nearly put PlayStation on the brink of extinction. It wasn’t until many years until PlayStation got their groove back.
Jamie Kennedy Lowers The Presentation Bar – E3 2007
Activision held a press conference to showcase its Tony Hawk titles and their latest Call of Duty. Problem was that they picked the wrong kind of host: Jamie Kennedy.
This “comedian” was insulting and patronizing to the audience and journalists. As a result, people lambasted him and Activision’s decision to bring in such a host. This is a firsthand lesson for first-party and third-party developers to learn: sometimes an actor from Hollywood may not be the best host for a video game presentation.
Konami’s Unforgettable Presentation – E3 2009
If you want to see the depths of Konami’s mind, look no further than this presentation. It’s filled with awkward moments, odd deliveries, and even a luchadore slap-fest. Yes, there were games present, but they all pale in comparison to the surrealism of this showcase.
Nintendo 3DS Reveal – E3 2010
All it took was Nintendo head honcho Satoru Iwata to come out with full confidence and talk about their new handheld: the 3DS. And the best part? The people who were in attendance immediately get a hands-on with the device as there were attendants with the 3DS attached to their hip belts.
Microsoft’s Painfully Long Kinect Presentation – E3 2010
Oh lord, how the mighty had fallen. It’s rather bizarre that Xbox chose to focus on their motion sensor device instead of their plethora of Xbox games. It’s fine to strive a balance between hardcore and casual games -see Nintendo as an example- but this Kinect showcase is veering way, way too far into the latter side.
Kevin Butler Jumps In For A Speech To Thunderous Applause – E3 2011
On the flip side of the Jamie Kennedy presentation, we have this one from actor Jerry Lambert, who plays PlayStation marketing guy Kevin Butler. His Sony ads were hilarious, but it was his E3 speech during the PlayStation press conference that made us laugh and respect the persona.
Part of it was obviously scripted, but it was inspirational and his delivery was beyond amazing. Sometimes the best presentations are the ones that are heartfelt and can resonate with the audience.
The Year Bethesda & PlayStation Took Over -E3 2015
We were surprised that Bethesda started off their first E3 press conference with a huge bang, showing the big boys how it’s done. They showcased Doom, Fallout 4, and Dishonored 2 in the best way possible: they just jump straight to the games and talk about them. No frills, no buzzwords, just little talk and more action.
This was followed up with PlayStation taking the reins of the E3 horse and making it do crazy feats. Only in this case, the feats are a Final Fantasy VII remake announcement, a few stellar favourites, and the long-awaited Shenmue 3 reveal for long-time fans of the classic adventure game series.
The Game That Set The Presentation Benchmark -E3 2000
Metal Gear Solid 2 wasn’t just a great game that subverted expectations back on the PS2, but it was the first game that became a highlight of E3. Why? Because it was presented in the best and most intriguing way possible. Part cinematic, part game, and all immersive, the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo was a masterclass in how to present a game to a select audience who were going to write about your game. Needless to say, the reception the day after was unanimously positive.
The Game That Invented The “Is That Really Part Of The Game?” Controversy (E3 2005)
Sony debuted their Killzone 2 gameplay trailer. Or a pre-rendered trailer. Back then it was hard to tell whether it was all smokes and mirrors, especially since the game only came out in 2008. But during 2005, it wowed people and made them hyped for the PlayStation 3 exclusive.
The PlayStation Dynasty Begins… (E3 1995)
We had to put in this moment because this is where and when E3 started to matter to the gaming public. And all it took was a single combination of digits: “299”. This was Sony’s counter to Sega Saturn’s US$399 price point, and it worked gloriously.