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Gaming for N00bs: 5 reasons to stream E3

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 27, 2012 10:33 AM

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E3-Logo-Header_38.jpgBy Vanessa Formato

As you may or may not be aware, the Electronic Entertainment Expo—more commonly known as E3—is less than two weeks away. I’m pumped. E3 has been an important part of the video game industry since its inception in 1995. It’s the place to be for industry insiders to hear about new games, hardware and other projects straight from the horses' mouths. Though we might not be important enough to be there in person, the Internet has done wonders for making gamers feel included in everything the expo has to offer through streaming the press conferences, and I couldn’t be happier.

When I sat down to think about how to convince readers to tune into E3 this year, I was at a loss. There are a few games I’m especially excited to hopefully hear more about—Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Pikmin 3, Lollipop Chainsaw, and the Kinect “Dragon Ball Z” game, because that’s just hilarious—but when it comes down to it, the game and hardware announcements play second fiddle to the event’s special brand of weird and wonderful.

It quickly became apparent to me that talking about why a person should watch E3 wouldn’t be half as effective as a few examples. There’s no shortage of bizarre moments guaranteed to pique your interest, but here are five of the best.

In 2010, Microsoft revealed the Kinect and, in the process, accidentally created something so second-hand embarrassing that they should truly be commended. The above clip contains highlights of the stilted, awkward, underwhelming press conference, but having watched the whole thing myself I can tell you that it was worse than what you’re seeing here. What doesn’t help is that almost everything about the system is a poorly-concealed attempt to capture a bit of the lightning in a bottle that was the Wii’s success (thanks in part to its ability to capture the casual market—not exactly Xbox’s demographic). Combine bad acting with an unoriginal new peripheral and you get a press conference that’s more likely to inspire pity than spending.

Speaking of painful to watch, it doesn’t get much worse than Jamie Kennedy. Activision invited the comedian to helm their E3 2007 press conference, a decision which they surely regretted almost immediately. Kennedy appears to be intoxicated and under-briefed. Considering how often he insults the audience and his interviewees, it’s clear he’s not sure where he is. E3 isn’t a convention for nerdy fans, it’s a major media event teeming with press and industry big wigs. Instead of bringing a little humor to their presentations, Activision found itself at the center of a huge train wreck.

Ever wanted to see a bunch of adults perform an off-key, off-tempo version of the Mario theme song in front of a huge, unimpressed audience? That’s basically what you get if you watch Nintendo’s 2008 reveal of Wii Music. The Wii was still relatively young at this point, but the sense is that novelty Wii games had more than worn out their welcome. With so many excellent IPs already a part of the Nintendo family, this was the big announcement? A game where you dance around pretending to play trumpet that requires you to have a huge amount of extra controllers and add-ons? Just a few years before, the big announcement had been Twilight Princess, but Nintendo made sure this particular E3 went out with a fizzle instead of a bang.

We have the people at Sony to thank for the phrase “giant enemy crab.” I’m not sure what’s more ridiculous: the very idea of a giant enemy crab or the fact that the announcer and whoever wrote his script seem to believe that such creatures were part of Japanese history. Okay, maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence that this man follows up saying “being based on history, the stages of the game will also be based on famous battles which actually took place” with a life-or-death encounter with a gigantic crustacean, but this screw-up went down in history either way.

Mr. Caffeine speaks for himself. Mr. Caffeine is why you should watch E3.

Check out the E3 press conference schedule and tune in for news from your favorite developers and, with a little luck, a whole bunch of wackiness this June 4 and 5. The press conferences will be streaming online (check back at the E3 website), with Microsoft and Sony’s presentations also streaming on their respective consoles.

About Vanessa -- Vanessa Formato is a 23-year-old Clark University graduate, freelance journalist, vegan cupcake enthusiast and video game aficionado. She blogsabout body image and tweets about puppies. So awesome, even John Stamos is impressed.

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