E3 is kind of a big deal. It’s an event that’s played host to some of the most incredible videogame and hardware announcements.
It’s a place where hype and fanboy fever reach critical mass. Really, E3 is the most wonderful time of the year. Kind of like Christmas, except we’re getting shown what Santa will be bringing us. So with that in mind, here’s some of the best things the Electronic Entertainment Expo has ever given us.
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (2004)
After the original Gamecube tech demo showcased a realistic Link doing battle with Ganondorf, fans were a little disappointed when Wind Waker was announced as the first Gamecube Zelda title.
While Wind Waker was an great game, technology had evolved to the the point where videogames could deliver incredibly detailed scenes on an epic scale. The world waited with bated breath for a Zelda that would truly follow in the footsteps of the hallowed Ocarina of Time.
Enter E3 2004. After Nintendo’s show was all but over, they decided to share one last game…
The moment when a room full of professional journalists lose their shit over a game? Pretty damn cool.
Sega Saturn (1995)
This one is kind of the best in that it’s certainly memorable, but the worst in that it definitely didn’t do SEGA any favours.
E3 1995 was the first year of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and SEGA decided to start off the tradition of big twists and massive reveals – they decided to announce and release their fifth generation console, the SEGA Saturn, during their press conference.
It was a baller move, no doubt. But, considering retailers had no time to promote the console, and fans hadn’t had the foreknowledge to save up, it was a bit of a fucking disaster from a marketing perspective.
Super Smash Bros. Melee Roster (2001)
Here’s another example of what can happen when Nintendo actually gives the fans what they want.
These days Smash Bros games have about 60 characters, but back in 2001 all we had was Smash 64, with a roster of 8 characters and some clunky graphics.
Needless to say, the reveal of Super Smash Bros Melee for the Gamecube blew the roof off E3 in 2001, especially since this was the first time we’d seen so many fan favourite characters rendered so beautifully.
If there’s one thing we can take from the above video, it’s that everybody loves Samus Aran – so where the hell is our new Metroid?
PlayStation Launch Price (1995)
Who doesn’t love the original PlayStation? We all adore and have nothing but fond memories of that little grey rectangle of joy.
The console was announced at the first ever E3 (which as you might remember, was 1995). After a stunningly impressive reveal, executive Steve Race came onstage for a “brief presentation”.
Fans will know that this consisted of Race simply saying “$299” and walking off to massive applause. That price tag marked the PlayStation as $100 cheaper than the SEGA Saturn (and it probably helped that Sony didn’t release it there and then).
Kevin Butler’s Speech (2010)
Kevin Butler a fantastic E3 presenter. He was likable, charismatic, and funny without resorting to stupid noises and dick jokes (not naming any names, Mr Caffeine).
Of course, he was an entirely fictional Sony executive. Having only ever appeared in TV ads before, it was a nice surprise to see him walk out onstage during E3 2010.
It was an even nicer surprise when he delivered a genuinely great (if a little cheesy) speech about unity between gamers.
Speeches aside, Sony and Kevin’s biggest achievement here was to get people to pay attention to the PlayStation move for a few minutes.
Fallout 4 (2015)
Everybody knew Fallout 4 was coming. Hell, we even knew that the game was 99% likely to be set in Boston – but that didn’t stop the big reveal of Fallout 4 from being awesome.
To be honest, Bethesda’s entire press conference was pretty much an absolute beast. Considering it was their first one, they went and knocked it right out of the park.
But the best bit? We didn’t even have that long to wait for the game. Fallout 4 was “basically finished” and would be with us by October. Fantastic.
Half-Life 2 (2003)
While Gabe Newell is more likely to show up on my doorstep and sing me a blues cover of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga than he is to ever give us Half-Life 3, let’s take a step back to simpler time.
At E3 2003, Valve was known only for the original Half Life, and actually giving a shit about the modding community. There were rumours that Half-Life 2 was in the works, but nobody expected a mind blowing 20 minute demo that showed off everything you could hope to see.
Mr Newell certainly works in mysterious ways, but he clearly knows how to make the fans happy. Which brings me to my next point…
Valve And Sony, Together At Last (2010)
Valve had said in the past that it didn’t really give a toss about Sony (in more polite words than that, you understand).
Their relationship was so apathetic, that Valve even had EA Games Studios port their fantastic compilation, The Orange Box to PlayStation 3.
Of course, that’s why it was such an awesome surprise when Gabe Newell popped up during Sony’s E3 keynote to announce that Portal 2 would be coming to PS3, with Steam support – What a time to be alive that was.
There was even a brief appearance from GLaDOS herself, proving once again that E3 is one of most insane (but awesome) places on Earth.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (2015)
A lot of really awesome wish fulfilment seemed to happen at E3 2015, so it was either this or Shenmue 3. I had to go with Final Fantasy VII in terms of raw mass appeal, though.
You must understand that when this was revealed, nobody knew that it’d be taking an episodic route. At first glance, this was simply a gorgeous remake of one of the greatest games of the past twenty years, and something fans had been crying out for a long old time.
For me personally, just seeing the back of Cloud’s ridiculous head in glorious HD was enough to get me to empty my wallet. I’m pretty easy like that.
Halo 2 Reveal (2003)
It’s a fairly unavoidable fact that Halo: Combat Evolved saved the original Xbox from the brink of death, so all eyes were firmly set on a sequel.
Bungie didn’t disappoint when they shared the on-stage demo for Halo 2, which depicted a breathtaking (at the time) war-torn Earth, overrun by the Covenant.
Of course, none of the above made it into the final game which kind of sucked – but this article is all about the reveal, not the final product.
Looking back on these reveals, whether they were completely out of the blue, or for games that we’d been hoping for for months, if not years, it’s clear that E3 remains a vital event – here’s hoping E3 2016 is one to remember.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.