E3 may be gone, but the amazing moments it gave us will never be forgotten. Let’s look at the some of the most iconic clips from E3 history as a walk down memory lane.
While most video game announcements these days are at big award shows or platform-specific events, there was a time when gaming wasn’t quite big enough to be so spread out. For 24 years, E3 was the Super Bowl of gaming, with nearly every year’s biggest announcement taking place at the event. The shift toward several smaller events has its upsides, but they will never quite have the same pomp and circumstance as E3 in its glory days.
With no future events to look forward to, let’s look back on the best moments in the history of E3.
Reggie’s body was ready, but we sure weren’t
2007 was a pivotal year for E3. The event changed official names, downsized the venue, and capped exhibitors at a tiny 33. In terms of announcements, Nintendo won the flashiest moment for hardware with the Wii Balance Board and its flagship home exercise app Wii Fit. Novel in concept, the reveal included one of the weirdest moments in E3 history. As Reggie Fils-Aimé prepared to demonstrate the new technology, he made the crucial mistake of saying something weird.
“My body is ready” would go on to become a massive meme across the internet, spawning thousands of image macros, video remixes, and more. It's one of the oldest big memes to come from E3 that still sees some use 16 years later. Even Nintendo acknowledged the awkward phrase, with Reggie referencing the event in another reveal at E3 2012.
The best E3 release date moment was for Halo 2
While the series isn’t in a great place these days, it's hard to explain how big of a deal Halo was in the 2000s. Combat Evolved changed everything when it came out in 2001, essentially codifying the modern first-person shooter. Developer Bungie knew it had to follow it up with a knockout hit, and E3 2004 was the perfect place to drum up hype.
After a brief gameplay demo, Microsoft’s Peter Moore took to the stage to announce the game’s release date. After light teasing, he raised his sleeve to show a massive Halo 2 tattoo on his bicep. The E3 crowd went wild for the sheer dedication required to pull off the best release date reveal in event history. Despite no longer working in gaming, Moore claims to have the tattoo to this day still.
The original PlayStation price reveal was a triumph
Console price reveals are just as, if not more bombastic than release dates. An affordable price can kickstart a new generation while a bad one can permanently tarnish a platform’s reputation. Sony knew this going into E3 1995, and with the Sega Saturn selling for $400, the company decided to rock the gaming world by undercutting the competition.
After a brief introduction, Sony America president Steve Race took the stage for just two seconds to drop the bomb. Leaning into the mic, he announced “$299” as the price of the upcoming console. The room erupted in applause, as this would make the PlayStation the cheapest flagship console on the market. The shortest speech in E3 history remains the gold standard for price reveals.
Gamers had no idea what Keanu Reeves would lead to
We now know that 2019 was the last true E3, but by sheer coincidence, it featured one of the most impactful celebrity guest appearances in gaming history. CD Projekt Red was still riding high from the release of Witcher 3, and the company’s next project was surely going to be a well-made and polished open-world romp. The first look at Cyberpunk 2077 concluded with Keanu Reeves making a surprise appearance.
The pounding music and fog machine turned the game reveal into a rock concert complete with a “Hello Los Angeles!” introduction from the star himself. The crowd's banter toward the end spawned countless memes about the actor. The story of Cyberpunk 2077 was far from over, but for a few brief moments at E3 2019, it was the best game ever.
2005’s triple console reveal is still the greatest in gaming
The pinnacle of any E3 is a console reveal, and only one year has seen every major manufacturer compete head-to-head with a brand-new machine. E3 2005 was one hell of a year, with Battlefield 2, The Witcher, Oblivion, Fable, and more all appearing for the first time. However, when it came time for consoles, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo blew the rest of the show out of the water.
The companies threw back the curtain on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 all at the same event, ushering in the seventh-generation of consoles with aplomb. Each one showed off shiny new technology that made it unique, and flashy launch titles quickly followed suit. No other gaming event has surpassed E3 2005 for this triple threat, and with the official death of the conference, it's likely that none ever will.
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