It’s almost that time again. E3, the biggest gaming event of the year, kicks off in LA next week and we’re ready for some juicy announcements.
Know what else we’re ready for, though? The blunders. The fails. The cringe factor. The faces of hosts who just died a little inside after cocking up in front of the entire world.
Now, you have to have some empathy for the E3 hosts – standing on that stage must be as nerve-wracking as a job interview while wearing only a thong. (For balance, we also did the 7 best E3 moments ever).
It’s a live event that’s being streamed all around the world to millions of eager eyes. The pressure is on. Of course, sometimes that pressure gets too much and we get the awkward, bizarre, and memorable moments the event has become known for outside of the exciting announcements.
Here are some of the bestworst, from the not-so-worst to the actual worst-worst which is also the bestworst. Got it? Okay.
7. Kinect avatar fail – E3 2009
One of E3’s most memorable moments came when Microsoft was showing off the Kinect during E3 2009, pointing out its applications with Xbox avatars. In the demo, Microsoft was attempting to show off the kit’s full body tracking, with the avatar on the screen copying the actions of the presenter on stage.
This resulted in a line that will stay with us forever. “You ever wondered what the bottom of an avatar’s shoe looks like?” asks Kinect creative director Kudo Tsunoda. Not really, mate, but please go on. “Well – BAM! There it is,” he exclaims while kicking his foot up. The avatar on-screen did show us the bottom of its shoe, but it also twisted itself into a horrific tangle of limbs, contorted into some kind of meaty pretzel shape, then reverted back to a narcoleptic state, dead on its feet. BAM!
6. Jesse Wellens – EA 2017
Last year’s E3 conference had one standout moment that made me want to crawl inside my own shoe. EA invited YouTube creator Jesse Wellens to host a section of its E3 conference, in which the teleprompter seemingly broke, leaving the content creator stranded on a live stream that was being beamed to millions worldwide.
He forgot what game he was showing off and tried to wing it by saying, “If you guys didn’t know, Need for Speed: Payback… err… um… Yeah, it’s a great game.” Luckily, he was soon saved by the game’s executive producer, Marcus Nilsson. “I got my boy Marcus, executive producer, here,” Wellens says as he is joined on the stage by his saviour. “He is the producer on the game. Thank you… Nick… for having me.” Erm…
5. Mr. Caffeine – Ubisoft 2011
“Wanna come over and play my Wii? We should Kinect. Here, hold my joy wand. Yes, I’m not afraid of a few dick jokes, thank you.” This is just a ten second excerpt of Mr. Caffeine’s presentation at Ubisoft’s 2011 press conference. Simply reading it on a website doesn’t do the awkwardness justice – you have to hear the presenter’s nervous laughter under his breath, you have to feel the tension of the completely silent room.
Then there’s his commitment to making weird, dramatic noises prior to every reveal, like he’s hosting a puppet show for five year olds. Just watch the video above and try not to die.
4. Jamie Kennedy – Activision 2007
How can you make sure your E3 show is funny? Get a famous stand-up comedian to host it. It can’t fail. Veteran funny man Jamie Kennedy was funny for all the wrong reasons during Activision’s E3 presser in 2007. He came on the stage seemingly pissed out of his mind and proceeded to make unfunny jokes at the expense of the audience and his guests, calling them virgins and asking if Neversoft was a brand of viagra.
The delivery of the jokes is what makes it. Kennedy appears to be just spouting whatever brainfart pops into his head, and he’s visibly distressed throughout, occasionally rubbing his face to perk himself up from his substance-induced stupor. My personal favourite part is where he gets absolutely owned by a British dude and someone in the audience twists the knife by heckling, “He’s funnier than you.”
3. Konami 2010
It’s difficult to pick just one moment from the Konami E3 conference of 2010 because the entire thing was one massive trainwreck. Previously, Konami conferences had been dry, but the company clearly wanted to shake off that uptight image for this year’s. A highlight is Ninety-Nine Nights 2 producer Tak Fujii saying, “If you just continue to press the same button like the X, X, X, and Y, Y, Y, and X, X, and Y, Y, Y again, you will be sucked.”
During the presentation for Silent Hill Downpour, one of the developers introduces the game and refuses to step aside when his colleague steps up to the mic. Instead, he simply stands behind him menacingly, staring right into the back of his head. Into his soul. There’s also a bit with wrestlers and the E3-standard awkward dancing section.
2. PS3 announcement – E3 2006
While Microsoft’s Kinect cock-up is quite funny, it doesn’t compare to the cringe factor of Sony’s E3 conference of 2006. Not only did the company come on the stage with massively overpriced hardware, but we also got to hear Sony boss Kaz Hirai try to get the crowd excited for Ridge Racer by loudly shouting, “Riiiiiiidge Raaaaaceeeer.” It didn’t work. Everyone was just thinking about that price. The console was so overpriced, in fact, that Sony tried to make up for it by giving away televisions with the console on its UK launch.
The highlight of the conference, however, has to be Genji: Days of the Blade. The developers came on stage to talk about the game, claiming it was based on “actual Japanese history and battles that actually took place in Ancient Japan.” Straight after that claim, a giant crab jumps into the frame. “And here we have a giant enemy crab,” says the developer. Thanks, mate. The developers then proceed to tell us that the best way to deal with the crab is to flip it on its back and “attack its weak spot for massive damage.” Just like in real life.
1. The Xbox One announcement – 2013
The announcement so bad that Microsoft backtracked on 90% of the features before it even launched. When the Xbox One was announced, it wasn’t baptised in a flood of games. Instead, we got a long chat about how you can watch television on it – because that’s why we would all buy a $500 console. Oh, and the TV stuff was only available in the US anyway. Nice one.
Speaking of which, that price. Microsoft said it was so expensive because the machine required the Kinect – an expensive piece of camera equipment that also recorded everything you say – to work properly. It was always online as well. Fast forward a few years and both of those things are no longer true. Throw in the fact that we were originally told that the console wouldn’t play used games and we have what’s perhaps the most disastrous console announcement of all time. While perhaps not the most cringe-inducing, this was the day that completely fucked an entire generation and resulted in a year of U-turns for Microsoft – that’s why it’s our number one.