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E3 (1995-2022) Memories


Ashley

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With E3 officially biting the dust I thought it would be a good chance to share some of your memories. 

I recall buying gaming magazines as a child and never quite understanding why sometimes there was lots of new games. 

Then of course as an adult covering it for this place. Those were some hectic but fun nights. For some reason the one that sticks out most is whichever year the Wii U was revealed (2011?) because I was covering it at a study space at uni until they kicked out at midnight. 

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YOU STOLE MY IDEA!!! Damn you!!

I want to make this into a proper Top 10 poll though, where we vote on our favourite E3 years (and then the winners can go on the main site), like what we before with the Top 10 Nintendo console games lists.

We can always make that a separate thread though, while this thread can be to just casually discuss our favourite memories in general :) I’ll probably set up that other thread tomorrow…

Anyway, I’m gonna kick things off with just one of my favourite E3 events in general… Nintendo’s E3 2004.

The DS.

Twilight Princess.

Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime 2, Paper Mario 2, Baten Kaitos, Pikmin 2… HOLY SHIT! DAT GAME LINEUP!!

THE REGGINATOR!!!

MIYAMOTO WITH FULL MASTER SWORD & HYLIAN SHIELD!!

THAT’S HOW YOU BRING THE FUCKING HYPE!! :D

What a fucking show! Especially after the utterly dire 2003 they just had, they came out of nowhere fucking swinging like their lives depended on it! Bloody fantastic! :D 
 

WE MAKE GAMES THAT MAKE GAMES WORTH PLAYING! (Now that’s a fucking tagline! :D)

Edited by Dcubed
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I used to love the DVDs you would get from magazines with a load of videos from the event. They got re-watched a lot.

I almost miss those old over the shoulder camera footage where you couldn't hear anything because of the background noise.

My favourite memory was Miyamoto demoing Wind Waker and the sword he needed to progress glitched out of bounds between the seams of the ground and the wall, so he was stuck. I noticed that the barricade was gone in the final release so I like to think Miyamoto flipped some tables over after the demo.

Just proves that if it can go wrong during a demo, it will.

 

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1 hour ago, Ashley said:

I recall buying gaming magazines as a child and never quite understanding why sometimes there was lots of new games.

This is my early memory of E3 as well. It wasn't until the very late 90's that I understood why all the gaming magazines I used to buy suddenly had a ton of info on new games in the middle of the year.

My memories of E3 are of me watching the live feeds and press conferences on IGN and Gamespot in the mid 2000's while tabbing over to Neogaf to read the reactions and leaked news, and the funny images and gifs people used to make over there.

lolnintendoe3xbq.gif

Then checking out Kotaku, Destructoid, Joystiq and the other gaming blogs for their hands on impressions with games and interviews with the developers. Gamespot used to do a live show during E3 that I would keep running for the full 6 hours it was running as well as IGN and (in the much earlier days) Gametrailers feeds.

Watching the live press conferences was also a blast because of all the surprises that came with it.

And then as the E3 day came to an end, I'd watch Giantbombs live stream which was always great fun. It's pretty crazy that for at least 15 years, every I would spent a few nights awake in the middle of the year just to watch all of this stuff, but i always found it exciting to see all the games and consoles that got announced. I'm going to miss E3 but we kind of knew this was coming, there's just no real reason to get all of those people to go to LA, queue and wait around in one building to see video games when they can just stream that content themselves on youtube and get the same traction and interest.

JCo8LFs.jpg

 

E3 was easily something I looked forward to every year because of how much fun it was to watch and I am sad that its going away.

Edited by Helmsly
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4 hours ago, Helmsly said:

My memories of E3 are of me watching the live feeds and press conferences on IGN and Gamespot in the mid 2000's while tabbing over to Neogaf to read the reactions and leaked news, and the funny images and gifs people used to make over there.

lolnintendoe3xbq.gif

Related to this somewhat, but while the awesome reveals are the things I remember most fondly, (I can never which year each E3 conference was though) you can't forget those utter car crashes that would happen now and again.

I was able to watch that Konami conference (You know which one I'm talking about) in real time, and I was flabbergasted with just how insane it got. It kept getting more surreal, and I'm glad I was able to see it live. It wouldn't quite be the same if I watched it because I heard of the utter face plant that occured.

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28 minutes ago, bob said:

The best E3 has to be this one:

 

 

E3 2006 was just one big massive fever dream.  You had the reveal of the Wii, Sony's real-time weapon change car crash suicide, and the legendary Peter Moore GTA tattoo which signified the loss of Sony's biggest exclusive.  It literally defined the future of an entire console generation in a single weekend.

That's the true power of a classic E3.

Edited by Dcubed
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First memories of E3 was late 90's.  Didn't know what it was, but the gaming magazines were usually bumper editions filled with all the news on games and hardware coming soon.  I remember the E3 edition of N64 Magazine around June 1999 when they had a huge piece on what would become Majora's Mask just 4-6 months later.  Didn't really start to watch the conferences until around 2004, but even then i watched highlights.  Wasn't until 2008 onwards that i started watching them live.

Used to book a few days off work to watch E3.  I know in the UK, most stuff didn't start until 5-6pm.  But i used to work until 8/9pm then, so i used to miss a chunk.  Soon as i knew the E3 dates and leave was available, i booked it.  There are so many highlights, both good and bad.  Just some spring to mind for me

  • Mr Caffeine
  • E3 2013
  • Peggle 2
  • Konami's infamous E3
  • Kinect (you know)
  • Wii Music

Always tried to watch the Giant Bomb coverage as best as possible, that was usually pretty entertaining to say the least.  And Nintendo's Treehouse after it's bumper Direct aired.  In more recent years, PlayStation Access used to do something similar to the Treehouse with live demos and interviews as the day went on.

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To take a positive look at Sony... this is perhaps the most epic beatdown in all of E3 history...

 

It really cannot be overstated just how powerful those two minutes were, for those that never lived through it.  That was it.  This moment right here signified the fall of an empire and the rebirth of Sony.  The entire 8th generation of consoles and the future of the medium was decided in just these two minutes.  So powerful were the ramifications of these two minutes that we are still feeling their effects today, 10 years later on!

It is the most epic mic drop moment in all of E3 history, and I am including the "$299" moment in that assessment.

THAT is the power of classic E3!

Edited by Dcubed
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3 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

To take a positive look at Sony... this is perhaps the most epic beatdown in all of E3 history...

 

It really cannot be overstated just how powerful those two minutes were, for those that never lived through it.  That was it.  This moment right here signified the fall of an empire and the rebirth of Sony.  The entire 8th generation of consoles and the future of the medium was decided in just these two minutes.  So powerful were the ramifications of these two minutes that we are still feeling their effects today, 10 years later on!

THAT is the power of classic E3!

There were people saying that just these 2 minutes won Sony that entire generation.

Coupled with this

There were rumours (how true they are, who knows) that Sony were going the Xbox route, but changed to what we saw after the backlash.

 

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Here's a bit of a treasure trove for you guys... a collection of footage taken from the very first E3, back in 1995!

 

Contains all three of The Big 3 console manufacturer conferences (including the famous "$299" moment), as well as footage from the showfloor, showcasing prototype footage of games like DKC2 and Lunar Eternal Blue!

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I thought it was just this year's that had fallen through, not the death of the whole thing. But I guess it seemed inevitable as soon as Nintendo Direct's started popping up.

2 hours ago, bob said:

The best E3 has to be this one:

 

 

I came in to post this also, but this one instead, I've watched this so many times over the years...

 

 

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A bunch of great memories were shared in the E3 Hype, Memories & Traditions thread ahead of E3 2021 - which turned out to be the final E3 - so it's worth going back and digging through some of the great stories people shared back then. 

To not tread over too much ground again, my first and favourite E3 that I tuned in for was E3 2016. I still go back sometimes and watch those trailers and conference moments again. 

PlayStation killed it with a live orchestra, and the reveal of God of War (with a live stage demo that was scored live by Bear McCreary!), the announcement of the Crash trilogy being remade, Resident Evil VII really being the first in a long line of great and subversive Resident Evil trailers (with a demo dropping the same night!), the reveal of Insomniac's Spider-Man, diving headfirst into hype PSVR announcements of some short but sweet experiences with Arkham VR and Battlefront's X-Wing VR Mission, and of course the big one, the reveal of Kojima's upcoming project after his split from Konami in Death Stranding. 

kojima-hello.gif

Nintendo also had an awesome showing at E3 2016, because with the Wii U having already died a fast death but with the 3DS chugging along, they made the audaciously bold move of coming to E3 with one major home console title in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And it CRUSHED, and arguably won E3 for Nintendo that year singlehandedly. I tuned in for Treehouse and just absorbed everything shown off about BotW, and let's not forget to mention that doozy of a trailer: 

It's a 10/10 trailer and it's not even the best trailer for the game! Nintendo's marketing team were lethal snipers in that 12 month period in their shots taken:shots hit out of the park ratio. 

E3 2017 for Nintendo was a Switch coming out party which delivered reveal after reveal after reveal (and Mario Odyssey took after Breath of the Wild, with yet another 11/10 trailer to show off Cappy's abilities!), and while logistically a mess with how people were shuffled around, E3 2018 for Sony was another great showing with the Ghost of Tsushima demo, Resident Evil 2 Remake being revealed (properly) and releasing just seven months later, the awesome The Last of Us Part II demo and themed stage, and much more. 

My favourite demo though has to be Square Enix's E3 2019 showing of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Four years after the game's reveal at E3 2015, it had a lot to live up to, and so coming out swinging with one of the best demos - and one of the best demo narrations, and live at that! - really took some doing, so kudos to them for that. 

Easy Allies are my favourite folks to follow in terms of reviews and reactions for game reveals, and so over the years they've produced a stupid number of moments that are seared into my mind alongside certain announcements and reveals, but to go back to E3s from before I started watching them but have since watched (and watched certain moments of over and over again), the GameTrailers reaction to the big three announcements at Sony's E3 2015 showing - the E3 of Dreams - is one of the greatest reaction videos I think from a gaming journalism outlet.

There's so much emotion and none of it feels forced or faked, and the fact that this honestly set the tone for an entire company being spawned from the closure of GT still blows my mind. 

29 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

To take a positive look at Sony... this is perhaps the most epic beatdown in all of E3 history...

 

It really cannot be overstated just how powerful those two minutes were, for those that never lived through it.  That was it.  This moment right here signified the fall of an empire and the rebirth of Sony.  The entire 8th generation of consoles and the future of the medium was decided in just these two minutes.  So powerful were the ramifications of these two minutes that we are still feeling their effects today, 10 years later on!

It is the most epic mic drop moment in all of E3 history, and I am including the "$299" moment in that assessment.

THAT is the power of classic E3!

To add to what you and @Jimbob have said about Sony at that E3, I think what's so great about this messaging is that it's hilariously just delivering on the bare minimum of what a gaming console really should be about: the games. We've seen it countless times over the generations where someone tries to make the console a general entertainment system rather than a gaming system first and foremost (I mean, look at what happened when Nintendo went from the Wii U to the Switch!) and it's a mould I think the industry might still continue to break away from for sometime...and in my eyes, that's a great thing. 

You two are forgetting to mention another great component to Sony clapping back at Xbox that year, though, which was that after seeing Xbox's self-destruction on the Sunday, Shuhei and Adam went into a little meeting room and shot a very quick video - just over 20 seconds long - which set the tone of what was to come in their conference. 

 

What I will always admire about PlayStation is that they are in the business to win it, and sometimes it feels like they're the only one. Nintendo does amazingly well, sure, but they're the protagonist in that they just do the most random stuff at times and IT JUST WORKS. Xbox are that character who wants to be friends with everyone but lacks the depth and nuance others seem to have. And PlayStation is a straight up, suit and tie, cutthroat antihero of a business. 

I know it's included in the E3 1995 video you shared dcubed, but shame on you! "$299" absolutely deserves its own spot, if only for being the moment Sony pulled the seat from under SEGA at the big boys' table. 

 

There's so much more I can say about E3, but I'll leave it at that for the shows themselves. 

It's a shame the direction they went over the last few years, and the ESA's glaring weaknesses as trustworthy organisers really accelerated everyone else in the industry adapting to the Direct approach and doing whatever they want. We've all talked at length for what feels like - and has actually been! - the impending death of E3 for years now, so it's no real surprise, and COVID was honestly a final blow, because they never had a chance to bounce back from how much they messed up E3 2019 (remember the leaked documents? Fun times). 

I will miss E3 for its focus, but for one week, on a medium we all love: games. It was like Christmas slap-bang in the middle of the year, and the hype here and elsewhere would be palpable, and watching reactions trickle in and quickly discussing things between vast oceans of announcements before posts would be lost to the aether was always fun. 

It was this community's pilgrimage, and so to no longer have a Mecca to travel to, I genuinely wonder what the unseen long-term ramifications of this could be, such as shady business deals being agreed behind closed doors for smaller devs and publishers just happening less, or how about potentially missing out on providing a physical place to give developers-in-training somewhere to aim to be in 5, 10, or 15 years from now? 

For an industry which feels like it has, over the last few years, become aggressively and increasingly corporate, bleak, and soulless, E3 felt like a last bastion to connect these big name publisher's - and certain people's faces - to those of us watching on, either on the ground at E3 or from the comfort of our own homes, and so I do think more is going to be missed than we initially acknowledge. There's a reason we miss live conferences, and it's because it takes so much passion out of presentations and enthuses them with an oftentimes uncomfortable level of sterility. 

Anyways, RIP E3. Your death was inevitable, but that doesn't make it any less gutting. 

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To take a positive look at Sony... this is perhaps the most epic beatdown in all of E3 history...

It really cannot be overstated just how powerful those two minutes were, for those that never lived through it.  That was it.  This moment right here signified the fall of an empire and the rebirth of Sony.  The entire 8th generation of consoles and the future of the medium was decided in just these two minutes.  So powerful were the ramifications of these two minutes that we are still feeling their effects today, 10 years later on!

It is the most epic mic drop moment in all of E3 history, and I am including the "$299" moment in that assessment.

THAT is the power of classic E3!

You're absolutely right, it was an insane suicide moment from Microsoft and let Sony take over. Now we have people locked into ecosystems with big gaming libraries. They have never been able to walk it back.

 

The Konami 2010 conference will always be the best for me. I actually lost it when that creepy looking developer was right behind someone giving a talk.

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1 hour ago, Julius said:

Easy Allies are my favourite folks to follow in terms of reviews and reactions for game reveals, and so over the years they've produced a stupid number of moments that are seared into my mind alongside certain announcements and reveals, but to go back to E3s from before I started watching them but have since watched (and watched certain moments of over and over again), the GameTrailers reaction to the big three announcements at Sony's E3 2015 showing - the E3 of Dreams - is one of the greatest reaction videos I think from a gaming journalism outlet.

There's so much emotion and none of it feels forced or faked, and the fact that this honestly set the tone for an entire company being spawned from the closure of GT still blows my mind. 

 

I don't understand how or why anyone watches something like that all the way through. That shit is so annoying - like you're trying to watch a film and your friend keeps making snarky comments all the time. 

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12 minutes ago, bob said:

I don't understand how or why anyone watches something like that all the way through. That shit is so annoying - like you're trying to watch a film and your friend keeps making snarky comments all the time. 

I disagree pretty much entirely, but if it's not for you, that's fine! I feel the same way about football commentary a lot these days (ahem, Lee Dixon).

Some context might help explain why and how I enjoy it though, so I might as well share :peace:

The way I split it is usually for the big conferences that I'm looking forward to and put time aside to watch (like a Nintendo Direct or the old PlayStation E3 conferences), I would watch it through myself first, and then watch reactions after to see what others think. I like to hear other people's perspectives when it comes to a lot of things (even if they're different to mine), but for games and other such things, I much prefer reactions like this to most critical reviews. It just feels much more natural. I've also been listening to the Easy Allies Podcast and Frame Trap, their other podcast, for 6+ years now (although much less recently), and having years of them interacting together and talking about games means I understand (more often than not) why they feel certain ways about certain games, or are super excited for certain reveals. 

For conferences and shows I care less about, if I do tune in, I tune in with them. Worst case they add some much needed humour to a typically really dry, stretched out and boring presentation, best case there's a cool unexpected reveal which livens things up, and the energy of seeing other people react enthuses me a bit during a typically otherwise dead showing. 

I think of it like watching a big football match but then watching highlights and commentary from other channels to see what others said, and for the ones I care less about, like talking over a trashy movie with mates on a chill Sunday afternoon with a pizza :D 

What I'll admit is a bit funny about this, though, is that I rarely watch "normal" streams, and mostly tune in for things like this. I think it's just because there's a much more solid start and end time? 

But anyways, back to RIP'ing E3 :p

Edited by Julius
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Because I usually never watched E3 live, and only heard of conference events (sword-wielding Miyamoto, giant enemy crabs, etc.) after the fact, any excitement I usually had was mostly for particular games or trailers (Twilight Princess, SSB Brawl, etc.). However, I did feel more excited once livestreaming became a thing, but I still would only watch Nintendo Directs, never any conferences. I never had patience for long-winded speeches.

With that in mind, my principal E3-specific memories are:

  • A random TV program talks about E3 and is the first to tell me about the Gamecube: Seeing that oddly-shapped console, the handle on the back, the even odder controller, the fur on Fox McCloud, and ever oddest Pikmin... I was sold on the Gamecube's value right then and there;
  • Reading about a bunch of minor reveals in a gaming magazine: This was probably 2005, because Advance Wars Dual Strike was among the list. I remember feeling like a kid in a candy store, awed at the amount of smaller-but-varied titles on display. These days, I can see the same by browsing an online store with several Indie games, but at the time, I truly felt the size of the gaming industry. Plus, the reveal of Dual Strike was a complete shock to me, loved it;
  • I spent E3 week on holidays without internet, and when I came back there were three pages of news articles in N-Europe to sift through: Yeah. I actually felt the excitement and chaos of E3 for the first time, seeing all of those headlines cobbled together at the same time. Can't remember the year, but Super Paper Mario was among the news... so 2007?;
  • Hero and Banjo revealed at the same Direct: I mean, yeah, I'm a simple man. Hero's reveal was cathartic, but Banjo's floored me. The true impact of watching these live;
  • Metroid Dread is real. Also, Advance Wars just returned: If there had been a camera on me that day, I'd be rivalling Huber in viral reactions.

So yeah, I don't focus that much on industry happenings, but it was a worthwhile event even for me.

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9 hours ago, Julius said:

I disagree pretty much entirely, but if it's not for you, that's fine! I feel the same way about football commentary a lot these days (ahem, Lee Dixon).

Some context might help explain why and how I enjoy it though, so I might as well share :peace:

The way I split it is usually for the big conferences that I'm looking forward to and put time aside to watch (like a Nintendo Direct or the old PlayStation E3 conferences), I would watch it through myself first, and then watch reactions after to see what others think. I like to hear other people's perspectives when it comes to a lot of things (even if they're different to mine), but for games and other such things, I much prefer reactions like this to most critical reviews. It just feels much more natural. I've also been listening to the Easy Allies Podcast and Frame Trap, their other podcast, for 6+ years now (although much less recently), and having years of them interacting together and talking about games means I understand (more often than not) why they feel certain ways about certain games, or are super excited for certain reveals. 

For conferences and shows I care less about, if I do tune in, I tune in with them. Worst case they add some much needed humour to a typically really dry, stretched out and boring presentation, best case there's a cool unexpected reveal which livens things up, and the energy of seeing other people react enthuses me a bit during a typically otherwise dead showing. 

I think of it like watching a big football match but then watching highlights and commentary from other channels to see what others said, and for the ones I care less about, like talking over a trashy movie with mates on a chill Sunday afternoon with a pizza :D 

What I'll admit is a bit funny about this, though, is that I rarely watch "normal" streams, and mostly tune in for things like this. I think it's just because there's a much more solid start and end time? 

But anyways, back to RIP'ing E3 :p

I suppose it's a bit like having Wogan or Norton narrating Eurovision. Some people might find them annoying, but i love the way they take the piss out of the whole thing.

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On 30/03/2023 at 11:36 PM, Ike said:

I used to love the DVDs you would get from magazines with a load of videos from the event. They got re-watched a lot.

I almost miss those old over the shoulder camera footage where you couldn't hear anything because of the background noise.

My favourite memory was Miyamoto demoing Wind Waker and the sword he needed to progress glitched out of bounds between the seams of the ground and the wall, so he was stuck. I noticed that the barricade was gone in the final release so I like to think Miyamoto flipped some tables over after the demo.

Just proves that if it can go wrong during a demo, it will.

 

I found some of those DVDs today! Some of the editing is... Interesting. 

 

2003 was the first year I understood what E3 was thanks to magazines so 2004 was the first I was truly excited for and it delivered! The Twilight Princess trailer was fantastic but also a sequel to one of my then newest favourite games Viewtiful Joe. And the DS just looked magical, especially Super Mario 64 X 4.

 

The Revolution hype will never be beaten though, that was truly peak excitement for me given the potential of the console, my age and me being at peak Nintendo hysteria. 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found some more CUBE DVDs today, and man, I miss 2000's events like this:
 

GAMESTARS LIVE! An event in the UK in 2004, featuring then popular TV hosts Dick n' Dom, and a selection of current and upcoming GameCube games such as Donkey Konga and Metroid Prime 2! This is from 'DVD 19' that came with CUBE magazine.

"Game Stars Live runs from September 1st to 5th 2004 at London's ExCeL exhibition halls in Docklands, and hopes to attract 100,000 consumers over the course of the event." GamesIndustry.biz
 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Even if it doesn't return, the summer always has other events that are practically the same as E3 anyway. As does the fall, etc. So what are we really gonna be missing out on here? :geek:

Also, companies often run their own showcases from time to time. And I like it when they get announced randomly. Kind of like giving someone an unexpected surprise when they need a little pick me up.

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