Top 20 E3 Moments of All Time



Top 20 E3 Moments of All Time

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
E3 is one of the most exciting times of year for gamers everywhere! For this list, we'll be going over the most show stopping and enjoyable moments from E3 presentations of the past. Our countdown includes Konami's Press Conference (E3 2010), “Super Mario 64” Demo (E3 1996), “Crash Bandicoot” Remastered (E3 2016), Everyone is HERE! (E3 2018), “Final Fantasy VII Remake” Announcement (E3 2015), and more!
Script written by Fred Humphries and Garrett Alden

Top 20 E3 Moments of All Time

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 E3 moments of all time.

For this list, we’ll be going over the most show stopping and enjoyable moments from E3 presentations of the past.

If there’s a great gaming expo moment we missed, please be sure to let us know in the comments!

#20: Konami’s Press Conference

E3 2010

This is the conference dreams, and memes, are made of! One of the most awkward E3 events of all time, Konami’s 2010 conference is a parade of hopelessly bizarre and cringeworthy presenters. Imagine if Tommy Wiseau directed an E3 conference. There are musical performances, a definitely not PG rap, magic tricks, wrestlers slapping each other, creepy staring, and technical issues with trailers. Tak Fujii is a definite highlight, as his not quite understandable speech is chock full of meme fodder lines. No wonder Konami has been going downhill in the years since – there’s no way they could top this!

#19: Bethesda’s Press Conference

E3 2015

Amazingly for a publisher that has created so many massive games, this was Bethesda’s first ever E3 conference. They slotted in alongside the big guns seamlessly with a simple yet effective presentation for a number of huge titles. While Doom and Dishonored 2 were exciting reveals in their own right, the first look at Fallout 4 is what fans were really after. Post apocalyptic Boston looked downright beautiful and the crowd barely had any breath left for the game's surprisingly early release date. You couldn’t ask for a better start than this!

#18: “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” Reveal

E3 2004

Just a year or so after the release of the divisive Wind Waker, Zelda fans were given an unexpected treat that was greeted with rapturous appreciation. There had been demands for Nintendo to create a Zelda game that combined mature themes with realistic graphics and a smiling Shigeru Miyamoto wielding a Master sword and sheild was more than happy to deliver just that for millions of delighted fans. The standing ovation the short trailer received showed this was not just another soulless E3 presentation but a reveal that was genuinely important in people’s lives.

#17: “Super Mario 64” Demo

E3 1996

Back in 1996, gaming was almost an entirely 2D experience, and the few 3D games out there had fixed perspectives or tank controls. Enter “Super Mario 64” at that year’s E3! Watching this super chill live demo of the game hosted by Ken Lobb feels enchanting and novel today, so we can only imagine how magical it felt for those who saw it at the time. Hearing things like standard 3D movement, camera controls, and 80 hours of gameplay described as selling points is bizarre nowadays, but back then, it had to be mind blowing!

#16: Reggie Fils-Aimé’s Introduction

E3 2004

This is the beginning of the Reggielution. Nintendo of America’s former president Reggie Fils-Aimé got his first introduction to the public eye at E3 2004. And what an introduction! Right from his opening words, fans knew he was going to be the new face of Nintendo. 2003’s conference was kind of weak, but Reggie reassured everyone that Nintendo wasn’t messing around this year. He was unapologetic about Nintendo appealing to all gamers, not just the hardcore crowd, and his direct, yet approachable presence had everyone hanging on his every word. No wonder he was the face of the company for so long!

#15: Shawn Layden’s Speech

E3 2014

A lot of gaming presentations catch flack for being dry and shilling only the biggest titles or the latest hardware. This is why former Sony Interactive Entertainment president Shawn Layden felt so easy to connect with. While his presentation in 2014 is solid throughout, the real highlight was his mention of “Vib Ribbon,” an obscure yet creative rhythm game for the PlayStation that had never been released in America. Although some fans were naturally salty that no re-release appeared forthcoming (it eventually did come), others found Layden drawing attention to the game’s quality over its monetary success, refreshing.

#14: Nintendo Teams Up with Robot Chicken

E3 2014

It may have been an unlikely partnership but the world’s biggest video game company and the Adult Swim animation managed to create some unexpected gold. In order to avoid embarrassing on stage mishaps and to engage with their audience better, hilarious skits were pre recorded starring some of Nintendo’s biggest mascots. Bowser apologizes for repeatedly kidnapping Peach, Mario gets angry for not having his usual yearly release, and annoying fanboys shout at Reggie Fils-Aime from the crowd. It masterfully pokes fun at Nintendo’s own shortcomings and perfectly parodies the ravenous culture surrounding every E3 event.

#13: Sweet Tooth Rolls Onstage

E3 2010

“Twisted Metal” is a franchise like no other – it’s the original car combat game. So, when Sony unveiled a new trailer at E3 2010, fans were already pretty hyped to see a live action version of the demented clown mascot on screen. And then, after the trailer, Sweet Tooth drives out onstage in his ice cream truck in front of the audience! It was like seeing a video game character come to life before our eyes! While the final game ended up being delayed and didn’t really deliver on the promise displayed at the conference, this moment remains, well, metal.

#12: Nintendo 3DS Reveal

E3 2010

Even though the device had been announced a few months prior to E3, there was still plenty of anticipation to see it’s plethora of features first hand. The social applications were intriguing but it was always going to be the glasses free 3D capability that would get consumers clamoring. It could have been overshadowed by the announcements of a GoldenEye remake and Skyward Sword for the Wii but the graphical power of the handheld when showing off Kid Icarus Uprising was exceptional enough to make it the standout of a packed Nintendo conference.

#11: “Crash Bandicoot” Remastered

E3 2016

In 2016, we had gone 6 years without a new “Crash Bandicoot” game – 8 without a new entry in the main series. While not the longest drought in gaming, it was nothing to dismiss. Then, Shawn Layden walked out on stage with Crash as his shadow and the classic music playing him on! For “Crash” fans, it was like getting handed a gallon of water in the desert! Layden promising a remaster of the first 3 games got everyone excited. Of course, his announcement just after that Crash would appear in “Skylanders” got a rare negative applause, but the prospect of the remastered trilogy kept fans energized until the remaster’s release the next year.

#10: Everyone is HERE!

E3 2018

When it comes to E3 hype, few other franchises are as consistently rewarding as “Super Smash Bros.” There are so many legendary moments. Snake being announced for “Brawl.” The original “Melee” character reveals. Mega Man in “Smash 4.” Banjo-Kazooie finally getting into “Ultimate!” But they all pale in comparison to “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”’s big reveal trailer. In it, we learned that every single previous fighter would be available in the game! It’s a crossover that makes the MCU look amateurish! The internet basically exploded with this announcement! Grown men wept! Memes were born! The hype was at levels previously unrecorded! Even rewatching the reveal now, we still get goosebumps!

#9: Xbox One’s Backwards Compatibility

E3 2015

Xbox has had a rocky road over the last decade or so, but this announcement at 2015’s E3 went a long way towards regaining customers’ goodwill. One of the most disheartening things about getting a new console is the fact that you can’t play your old games on it. In this presentation, Phil Spencer announced that Xbox One would feature backwards compatibility to allow gamers to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. Not only was the announcement well-received by fans, but it was also a subtle jab at PlayStation, since the PS4 wasn’t able to play PS3 games on it. Sometimes to move forward, you have to look back.

#8: Showing Off the Wii

E3 2006

Nintendo’s first console with motion controls was greeted rather dubiously in the lead up to its reveal. The name in particular is easy to make fun of – the jokes just write themselves. However, Nintendo went a long way towards dispelling those doubts with their 2006 E3 presentation. We got to see Miyamoto conduct a virtual orchestra in a tux! We saw the solid line-up of games for the new system, including third party titles and a gorgeous new Mario game set in space! There was even a live demo of “Wii Sports.” And through it all, Reggie had us believing that the Wii would bring a whole new dimension and more accessibility to gaming – and it did, mostly.

#7: Gabe’s Surprise Entrance

E3 2010

When the lord and savior Gaben blesses you with his presence, you have to sit up and take notice. The crowd knew they were in for something special when Portal’s very own Glados initiated the ‘emergency surprise system’ to usher the director of Valve onto stage. It was made even more surprising by coming in during Sony’s conference, the same company that designed the console Newell had previously called “A Total Disaster”. By saying that Portal 2 would be best played on the PS3, he had pulled a complete 180 that was perhaps due to threats from VP of Sharpening Things, Kevin Butler.

#6: Kevin Butler Owns the Show

E3 2010

This fictional executive had become a hugely popular marketing figure before E3 2010 but sealed his cult status with a rousing performance during Sony’s conference. He has held a number of hilarious fake positions but as VP of Fanboy Relations, no one is more qualified to talk directly to hardcore gamers. He was only on the stage for five short minutes but his humor resonated with everyone watching. He was actually there to plug the Playstation Move but did it in such a way that you barely noticed what was going on, leaving you wishing more presentations were less business and more Butler.

#5: Nintendo DS Announcement

E3 2004

Okay, this is the last one from Nintendo’s 2004 conference, we swear! But come on, it was stacked with great moments! Best of all was the reveal of the Nintendo DS. Seeing the new handheld for the first time was astonishing! The dual screens were cool enough, but features like 3D graphics, touch screen controls, and wi-fi capability were completely unheard of on a portable console at the time! The possibilities had the crowd salivating so much, it’s no wonder the DS went on to become the best-selling handheld console of all time!

#4: “My Body is Ready”

E3 2007

Are you prepared? We weren’t when this moment dropped. During the 2007 Nintendo E3 conference, Shigeru Miyamoto and his translator debuted the Wii Fit balance board. To demonstrate it, they had Reggie come out again to do a demo for the audience. Before stepping onto it, Reggie awkwardly states that his body is ready. The line got a few laughs from the audience, but it wasn’t until the internet got a hold of it that the moment took on legendary status. Thanks to countless memes, the phrase has become the go-to phrase for gamers and anyone else who’s heavily anticipating something. Reggie even embraced it as a catchphrase, repeating it in several subsequent E3s.

#3: “Final Fantasy VII Remake” Announcement

E3 2015

E3 2015 had some epic reveal trailers all around, with “The Last Guardian” finally getting another trailer, as well as “Shenmue 3.” Yet neither can measure up to the hype surrounding this reveal trailer. “Final Fantasy VII” is one of the most beloved RPGs of all time. For years fans wanted a full HD remake with graphics that would do the story justice. But it was often treated as something we all wanted, but knew would never happen. And then Sony’s E3 2015 presentation dropped a bombshell of a trailer with gorgeous graphics and that magic word – remake! The level of hype at this announcement eclipses that of any other game reveal. Only something like “Half-Life 3” and BoTw 2 could possibly eclipse it!

#2: PS1 Price

E3 1995

The console wars have been around for decades, and the first E3 saw one of its most legendary shots fired. Sega (remember them?) kicked off the conference with a surprise announcement – their new console, the Sega Saturn, would be available immediately, albeit for a price of $399. Then, Sony, the new kids on the block, gave their presentation. It was intentionally very dry and technical. Following this snore-fest, President Steve Race said a single number: 299. While the Saturn’s limited library and high price were already negative points for it, the PS1’s price being $100 cheaper was essentially a death knell for it – and the beginning of the end for Sega in general. It wouldn’t be the last time Sony would body slam their opponents either…

#1: Sony Drops the Mic on Microsoft

E3 2013

This absolute battering dealt out by the PS4 set the tone for the console wars while also bringing back memories of the PS1’s beating of the Sega Saturn in 1995. Sony didn’t really have to do much work either: Microsoft did everything for them by announcing a slew of features hated by gamers like restrictions on used games, needing to always be online and costing $100 more than Sony’s console. After quietly showing that the PS4 would deliver everything the Xbox wouldn’t, Sony could focus on what really matters to gamers: games that look good and are even better to play. To confirm Microsoft’s humiliation, former Sony president Jack Tretton literally dropped, or threw, the mic.