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APA recaps memorable E3 moments and meltdowns in recent memory.
Enter the Xbox
After a failed bid to purchase Nintendo, Microsoft decided to enter the console gaming market on its own. It was a risky, multi-billion dollar gamble, with Sony, Nintendo, and Sega (for the time being) firmly entrenched. E3 2001 was Microsoft's chance to prove to the skeptical gaming media that it was serious. Microsoft wisely chose to present Halo as its flagship title, giving it a hit launch title that single-handedly kept the Xbox afloat during its first year in the market. Without Halo, the Xbox probably would have floundered and the video game market would be completely different today. The emergence of the Xbox paved the way for Western PC game developers to break into a console game market traditionally dominated by Japanese developers.
The Failed E3 Jamie Kennedy Experiment
Host Jamie Kennedy ruins Activision's press conference by insulting his guests and completely alienating his entire audience. It was like seeing a bad joke stretched out for an hour. Whether Kennedy was drunk or high during the event, we'll never know. One thing for certain is that he'll never be invited back to E3 ever again.
Sony's infamous, meme inspiring E3 2006 press conference
While it was meant to herald the coming of the much-hyped PlayStation 3, Sony's E3 2006 press conference will instead be remembered as the catalyst that turned the gaming media and gamers against the once invincible PlayStation brand. Earlier in the year PlayStation 3 architect Ken Kutaragi proudly bragged that gamers would need to work two jobs to afford to buy one. Sony Computer Entertainment America President Kaz Hirai confirmed it when he announced that the PS3 would retail for a staggering $599, immediately drawing the ire of gamers. It was just the beginning of a series of PR setbacks that set Sony into a tailspin that it's still recovering from. The PS3 is currently third place behind the Wii and Xbox 360. Kaz Hirai's awkward "Riiiiiiiiidge Raaceeerr" scream and claims that launch title Genji was "historically accurate" when it featured giant enemy crabs with weaknesses that could be attacked for "massive damage" inspired countless memes across the Internet and in other games.
Shigeru Miyamoto orchestrates Wii E3 debut
While Nintendo is sitting comfortably on top of the market now, things were completely different in 2006. The GameCube finished a distant third behind the Xbox and PlayStation, so a lot was riding on the debut of Nintendo's revolutionary new console, the Wii. Thus it was very fitting that legendary Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto "conducted" the opening fanfare (from The Legend of Zelda) for its press conference with the Wii remote. His performance heralded a new era of Nintendo dominance. It also provided an early glimpse of Wii Music, which wasn't released until over two years later. The finished game turned out to be lacking, but it was an effective marketing tool that showed Nintendo was serious about reaching out to non-gamers.
Metal Gear Solid 2 E3 trailer defies skeptics, astonishes gamers
When early footage of Hideo Kojima's heavily anticipated sequel to Metal Gear Solid emerged in early 2000, many skeptics didn't believe it was real time footage. At E3 that year, Kojima previewed an epic 10 minute trailer that silenced those doubters forever and made Metal Gear Solid 2 one of the most anticipated sequels of all time. Gamers couldn't believe that a video game could look good enough to rival a blockbuster Hollywood action film in cinematic scope. Although the game was eventually panned for its obtuse postmodern plot and the inability to play as franchise icon Solid Snake for a majority of the game, the hype elevated the PlayStation 2 ahead of the GameCube and Xbox for good.
Zelda grows up, fanboys weep for joy
The greatest Nintendo fan boy moment in E3 history. At the end of their already unforgettable E3 2004 press conference Nintendo had one last surprise: a new game in the Legend of Zelda series, eventually titled The Twilight Princess. It's rare to see such an exuberant response from the normally jaded gaming media; that's how much of a pull the Zelda series has on gamers. There were even reports of gamers crying out of joy. This was the mature Zelda game every Nintendo fan boy had hoped for, but didn't expect after the previous Zelda game adopted a cutesy, toon-shaded visual style. The brilliant trailer was topped off with series creator Shigeru Miyamato emerging from the shadows, signature sword and shield in hand. When the game came out two years later, it proved to be a somewhat disappointing retread of the much revered The Legend Zelda: The Ocarina, currently the highest rated game of all time.
Reggie makes his debut
"My name is Reggie, I'm about kicking ass, I'm about taking names, and we're about making games." With those words, then-Vice President of Marketing Reggie Fils-Aime took center stage at E3 2004, bringing a confident swagger that galvanized Nintendo fans and Nintendo itself. At that point, analyst predicted that Nintendo would eventually drop out of the console game market and that the upcoming PlayStation Portable would break Nintendo's stranglehold on the portable gaming market. Reggie's indomitable PR presence helped Nintendo overcome the negative media. He would also go on to debut the Nintendo DS, the runaway winner of this console generation, and the aforementioned Zelda game. His influence continued to grow and he eventually became the President of Nintendo of America. Reggie's friendly rivalry with Microsoft PR spokesman J Allard inspired this homoerotic gem.
Final Fantasy XIII announced for the Xbox 360, Sony fan boys cry foul
Nobody expected Sony to relinquish its stranglehold on the main entry Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy XIII was supposed to be the last great third party exclusive for the PlayStation 3. So it came as a complete shock to everyone when Square-Enix announced that Final Fantasy XIII would also be released on the Xbox 360 -- simultaneously a huge coup for Microsoft and a tremendous loss for Sony, which was counting on gamers to buy PS3s just to play the game. To add insult to injury, the US version of the PS3 would be delayed so that both versions could launch simultaneously. The best part of the announcement was reading reactions on Internet forums like NeoGaf from Sony fan boys who felt betrayed. One infamous NeoGaf meltdown inspired this dramatic ytmnd renactment. Apparently Atlus employees got a kick out of this particular post because it was referenced in Persona 4, (which is reviewed in this issue here). If it's any consolation for Sony fans still smarting from the news, Final Fantasy XIII remains a PS3 exclusive in Japan.
Peter Moore's Rock Band flub
The best way to ruin the mood when playing Rock Band with friends is to accidentally pause the game in the middle of a song. Microsoft PR spokesman Peter Moore did that not once, but twice. In front of thousands of gamers at Microsoft's E3 2007 press conference. Ouch.
Project Natal. The real deal or more Molyneux hyperbole?
Everyone predicted that Microsoft would unveil its motion sensing input device at E3 this year...and they were right. Project Natal made its stunning debut, offering a glimpse into the future of controller-free gaming. The presentation was impressive, featuring seemingly real-time interaction with a digital boy, but some critics claimed it to be all smoke and mirrors. After all, it was demoed by Peter Molyneux, a developer notorious for his hyperbolic statements (he once had to apologize for overhyping a game). Real or not, Project Natal certainly looks impressive and is rumored to be the basis for the next Xbox.
Date Posted: 6/19/2009