E3 is just around the corner, meaning that the industry big hitters are planning out their conferences, developers are putting together sizzle reels, and gamers are salivating at the thought of game announcements, countless new trailers, and game demos. From its inception in 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has slowly become a staple in the realm of video games. There have been numerous highlights across the two decades of announcements, but unfortunately there have also been a large number of disappointing displays and situations which resulted in cringes from everyone watching. What better way to prepare for E3 2016 then by gathering up the editors here at Analog Addiction and discussing our favourite and least favourite moments from the annual show?
Last of Us reveal (2012)
When I was asked what my favourite moment from E3 was, one particular gameplay demo instantaneously jumped to mind. It was 2012 and Naughty Dog had walked out on stage to close the Sony conference with a little game called The Last of Us. It was an incredible demo, one that only scratched the surface of what a masterpiece the finished product would become. But I will always remember those closing gunshots as Joel ends the live of his attacker, as the screen cut to black and we see the Naughty Dog developer literally drop the controller. Putting the exclamation point on what was one of the best gaming demos E3 has ever seen.
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit reveal (2010)
I fell in love with the Need for Speed franchise after playing the first Hot Pursuit game on my neighbour’s Playstation. The concept of police and racers battling it out in the middle of an actual race was incredible to me. My love for the franchise died off after Underground as they began trying out different formulas and the appeal just wasn’t there for me.
Needless to say, when I saw that first trailer appear on my laptop screen during the 2010 conference, my excitement levels went through the roof. I was being shown a trailer, and consequently demo footage, of a game which brought the franchise back to what enamoured me to it initially. As more of the features were explained, my determination to own the game grew so much that once a release date was officially announced for the game, I preordered it the next day.
Resistance 2 Demo, God of War III trailer, and MAGs reveal (2008)
While these moments were epic for their time, they’re not my favorite moments. This simply the first time I watched E3. I was going over to my good friend Derrick’s house to chill during the summer of 2008. When I got to his place, he was watching this little thing you might have heard of called E3. It was 10 to 15 minutes into Sony’s press conference, and I had zero idea of what E3 was, but everything I witnessed on screen — even the at-the-time boring “We sold X amount of PlayStation 2’s this year” spiel — on screen blew me away. The three main things I remember were the demo for Resistance 2 where it showed the player fighting a giant Chimera, God of War 3‘s visually amazing looking teaser and MAG‘s reveal, even though the game ultimately received mediocre reception. How mind blowing was it to hear back in 2008 that the PlayStation 3 could host 256-player battles?
There are many E3 moments I cherish, but I will never forget seeing so much awesome news flying toward me at once the first time I saw the event.
Titanfall reveal (2013)
The first moment that comes to mind is the Titanfall reveal in 2013. We’d heard that some Call of Duty developers had left to form their own studio, and that they were working on a new first person shooter, but we knew very little until it was revealed at E3 2013. The reveal was revolutionary at the time, demonstrating the new gaming experiences that the new generation of consoles were going to deliver. Then hearing all the praise it was getting from show attendees was delightful, and peaked my anticipation for the title.
Mass Effect Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014)
The first one I thought of was actually last year’s Fallout 4 footage, but I honestly think the only time I’ve ever planned my lunch break at work around a conference was E3 2014, where EA showed off some Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay and announced Mass Effect 4. Most of you know by now that I am the resident BioWare fangirl, and just watching all of the new footage for a game I’d been waiting for almost since I started gaming was a really awesome experience for me. Plus, the Andromeda trailer showed off the Mako, and who doesn’t love the Mako?
Kingdom Hearts 3 reveal (2013)
I had generally never cared about E3. Games came out in October/November, and that was as far as I worried about it. But in 2013, there was a pretty stellar announcement about the continuation of one of my all time favorite franchises. I would once again team up with Donald, and Goofy with the intent to traverse the varied planets to protect them from the heartless with my keyblade. That Kingdom Hearts III announcements reached right back through my memory core, animus style, and punched my younger self right in the man satchel. I flipped. My computer had never been searched that hard for every scrap of information available on the announcement.
Sure, we’re still (not so) patiently awaiting further information, 2013 will stand firm as one of my favorite announcements.
Reggie Fils-Aime (2004)
My favourite moment in E3 is an oldie. It was 2004, Nintendo was two years into the Gamecube’s release and was well in third place in terms of console sales and Nintendo’s efforts to appeal to a more serious audience had not fared well with gamers. The Nintendo E3 2004 showed that Nintendo was still ‘all about the games’. The conference began with an action packed montage of new and unique games and the opening line that followed was both the birth of a gaming personality icon and the epitome of what Nintendo had been tying to tell us all along. “My name is Reggie, I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names and we’re about making games” is a line that’ll echo throughout video game eternity.
Mr. Caffeine (2011)
The year was 2011 and nobody was prepared for the horror that would be displayed at the Ubisoft conference, the horror known as – Mr Caffeine. Ubisoft has an excellent idea of showcasing tributes to classic gaming titles during their conference, but someone in their marketing department thought it was a good idea to bring Aaron Priceman aka Mr. Caffeine on stage before each tribute to doodly doodly doop his way into our worst nightmares. E3 has had a tremendous amount of cringe-filled moments, but Mr Caffeine takes the cake. Oh and enjoy 10 hours of Mr. Caffeine goodness below.
Wonderbook reveal (2012)
Revealing completely new hardware at E3 is to be expected, although nobody could’ve guessed Sony would spend a portion of their 2012 conference talking about an AR book. Not only that, the product was primarily targeted towards children and looking to capitalize largely on the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise. Children’s products are no stranger to E3, but in those instances, there are usually children on stage to demo the product. For whatever reason, that was not the case here at all, and instead they had adults who occasionally remembered they were supposed to look as if they cared in the slightest.
Wonderbook would’ve been a major low point in any conference in any given year, but Sony felt the need to give it a whopping 15 minutes of airtime in a year when their conference already touched on a great deal of dry topics which left the audience half asleep. Fortunately, that was the first and last E3 the Wonderbook ever saw.
PC Gaming Show (2015)
Although I haven’t made a true transition to PC gaming, I was nonetheless excited about the first-ever PC Gaming Show last year. As much news as we hear about the most-anticipated titles, it’s almost always about what’s coming to consoles. I have always wanted to hear more about the PC side of the industry at E3. But what we ultimately received was one of the most boring shows I have ever seen at E3. Unexciting information, terrible jokes, uninteresting presentation and a two-and-a-half hour length plagued what could have been a great start to an addition E3 has needed for years, but I sigh in disappointment at the thought of round two of PC Gaming Show. If the second PC Gaming Show can amend the aforementioned problems, then I’m all for it, but I cringe at a repeat of its first outing.
Kobe Bryant playing NBA 2K12 (2011)
A few years ago publishers liked to turn their E3 press conferences into entertainment shows. They were all too long, and littered with musical performances from people who had no association with video games (I’m looking at you Flo Rida). It made watching the conferences a chore, rather than a celebration of all the great upcoming games. My most fond moment is when Kobe Bryant was brought out to play NBA 2K12 with a Move motion controller, but he couldn’t get it to work properly. Sony wanted to improve its show by featuring celebrities, but developers are the best people to be demonstrating their games.
Xbox One announcement (2013)
I actually struggled to pick one of these, because I’m absolutely the person that gets caught up on the hype train and loves everything, but I think Microsoft’s 2013 Xbox One announcement may take this prize. I’m not much of a console gamer, but most of my friends play on Xbox, so I was pretty interested in what was coming next. The software lineup didn’t catch my attention, and there was that whole kerfuffle about backwards compatibility. Since my PC plays pretty much whatever I want regardless of how I upgrade it, I was pretty unimpressed with the whole thing.
Nintendo’s 2016 plan (2016)
How could a consumer feel any more abandoned by a company than Finding out that Nintendo has abandoned all other talking points with the intent to focus on their new Legend of Zelda game? I get the argument saying that Nintendo is “rebuilding their bench for a better 2017 season.” And I don’t disagree with it. I even go a step further to say the only reason they’re waiting until March 2017 is because that (in North America anyway) is tax season. We call that “second Christmas” in retail because it’s when people use their refunds to by unnecessary crap they couldn’t afford at Christmas time. I’m pretty confident that Nintendo knows they can’t compete with Sony or Microsoft during the Holiday season. But they can definitely stand to fire back in March when they’re launching an entirely new system.
The problem is that at their E3 “conference” this year, they’re only going to show me ONE GAME? HOW. IS. THAT. POSSIBLE? Pokemon Go? Pokemon Sun and Moon? Harvest Moon? Star Fox DLC? Mario Kart 9? Super Smash Bros DLC? New Amiibo? SOME INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR NX SYSTEM?!
It has been awhile since I have been this frustrated with the business decisions of a company. And the Nintendo announcement to only show one game at E3, felt like a big middle finger and is sure to go down in history as one of the bigger mistakes made by them.
Dance Central 3 (2012)
A few years before the Xbox One DRM controversy came the original Kinect. Now this wasn’t that bad of a peripheral, it was essentially Microsoft’s solution to the Wii. But this was the beginning of Microsoft’s efforts to try to appeal to the mass market, beyond controller based gaming. Instead of focusing on what made the Xbox 360 successful they tried their hand at chasing the iPhone and Wii audience. Now this brings me to 2012 when Microsoft was gearing to launch its Kinect-exclusive Dance Central 3 and in an effort to promote it at E3 they brought the one and only… Usher. In possibly one of the most embarrassing acts seen at an event we saw Usher sing and dance on stage shouting things like “Get up” to the audience while they sat there in silence. Never again Microsoft… never again.
This wraps up our list and hopefully there were a few moments here that brought a smile to your face. We are well aware that the second half of this list likely left a foul taste in your mouth as it brought back some terrible memories. In order to absolve ourselves for that, we leave you with a music video containing a greased up Jason Statham dancing. Yes, it’s as hilarious as it sounds so feel free to watch it repeatedly until you forget all about Usher and Mr. Caffeine.
Did we miss any of your favourite moments? Did we gloss over something that rubbed you the wrong way? Let us know in the comments below what your favourite and most hated E3 moments are.
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.