Over the years E3 has been the subject of quite a few changes. Whether it be the banning of booth babes, the changing of venues, the use of pre-recorded key notes or simply the absence of game developers and publishers all together. But what has continued to run through the event from its very first incarnation in 1995 right up to present day is its sense of showmanship and one-upmanship which has ultimately provided some truly unforgettable moments.
Here are some of our favourites…
Playstation Price Tag
Stemming right back to the very first E3 in 1995 (an event that is even a little hazy in most of our memories) the Electronic Entertainment Expo numero 1 was memorable for a ton of reasons. It was the very first E3, it was (and still is) one of the largest trade show launches ever and it had a keynote from SEGA at which they attempted to take the show by storm and announced that their brand new machine, the SEGA Saturn, was in stores to buy from the moment the show ended. This was an incredible moment and one that has been somewhat replicated recently when Microsoft gave the revised edition of the Xbox 360 away to all at their conference with the new machine being on sale to the public very shortly afterwards.
However, the Saturn announcement isn’t actually the definitive memory from that E3. What the event continues to be remembered for is the way that Sony had out jinxed SEGA and beat them to the punch. Sure, the Saturn have may been out before the Playstation but, in a stunning turn of events, Sony announced that their rival machine was going to be on sale for $100 less than the Saturn. This was a monumental announcement which played its part in the demise of the SEGA Saturn, but was also delivered with such pizzazz, such showmanship, that it still hasn’t been surpassed even to this day.
Even though the days when SEGA wowed crowds at E3 are long gone, their battle with Sony rings true with that of the battle between Microsoft and Sony at modern day E3s. And boy, oh boy, have they been battling away. At E3 2006 Microsoft started what we be a three year plunder of franchises typically known as Sony loyalists. In 2006, Peter Moore (now Chief Operating Officer at EA Sports) rolled up his sleeve to casually yet emphatically reveal a Grand Theft Auto IV tattoo, meaning that for the first time in its history one of the biggest game franchises ever was launching day one on a Microsoft machine and with the announcement of timed DLC exclusivity, Sony hearts were broken. But it gets worse…
In 2008 the pillaging continued, Final Fantasy (a franchise that was very much a Playstation exclusive at the time) was bring it’s 13th instalment to the series in what felt like a MASSIVE coup for Microsoft in a very impressive E3 for the company. Sony tried to claw some o the buzz back by unveiling Playstation and PC exclusive, Final Fantasy XIV Online (which is still to be released on PS3 by the way) but it was too late. And finally completing the hat-trick and perhaps the most bitter pill to swallow for Sony came in 2009 when Microsoft took great pleasure in announcing that another typically Sony loyalist, the Metal Gear Solid series, was for the first time coming to Xbox with the shock reveal of Metal Gear Solid Rising (now called Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance). Although featuring Raiden rather than Solid Snake as its main protagonist, the Metal Gear Solid series had up until that point been a time exclusive on Playstation, with some Metal Gear Solid titles taking years to be ported over to other consoles, so the impact that the Microsoft announcement was HUGE.
Not to be totally outdone, Sony struck back in a very big way against the all out assault from Microsoft by forging an alliance with some new partners. In a move that many thought would never happen, due to previous negative history between Sony and the developer in question, in 2010 Sony brought Valve’s Gabe Newell out on stage to announce that not only was Portal 2 coming to PS3 (a big announcement in itself) but that PS3 was to get exclusive Steam support spanning beyond the Portal 2 release.
Not only was this part of the recent Sony fight back but by getting one of the game’s industry’s most beloved developers, and a developer that has very close ties with PC gaming (and ultimately Microsoft no less) the Valve deal seemed like the perfect counter to the Microsoft coups at previous E3s.
Back to an E3 of old now, 1996 actually where after showing slight glimpses of it at the very first E3, Nintendo officially unveiled the Nintendo 64 and with it one of the greatest games ever made in a lot of people’s eyes, Super Mario World 64. Highlights from the keynote came in the form of how bloody ridiculous the controller looked but it was everybody’s favourite plumber with an Italian accent that captivated anyone.
Think of it this way, we’d only ever seen Mario in 2D adventures up until this point, so to see Mario brought into the 3D realm in such splendour and gloriousness was truly a sight to be hold. So much so that you just wanted the demonstrators to such up and watch in total silence as you saw Mario 64 for the very first time, a moment that will live with a lot of gamers for the rest of their lives.
And SMASH! Here we go, crashing right up to date with the E3 of 2011. Sure, there were murmurings that Nintendo might show off a new console, but what with the 3DS unveiling the year before and the fact that their current products were still raking in the cash, I don’t think anybody truly believed they would. But they did and now this year’s E3 (E3 2012) is totally dominated by the Wii-U.
Had Nintendo finally found a way of pandering to both the hardcore gamer crowd as well as the casual audience they picked up with the Wii? Had they finally produced a console that could compete with the likes of Microsoft and Sony in terms of power yet still harness the innovation all Nintendo products have had? We weren’t sure and we still aren’t but it looked a step in the right direction with its brand new controller and proposed functionality getting everybody talking in 2011.
Will it have the same effect and get everybody talking again this year though? We are about to find out…