E3 is Dead. An Ode to its Best Moments.

E3 is dead. More accurately, as best stated by this article on Kotaku, it was killed. But regardless, it is no more. A bygone era. A moment in time. It exists now only in VODs and our increasingly deteriorating memories.

It’s hard to overstate how much the event will be missed. The three day show where seemingly the entire gaming universe crashed into the Los Angeles convention center for reveals, demos, cringe, crowds, and some guy on a banjo.

It was messy, it was beautiful, it was mismanaged, it was hilarious, it was the cringiest thing you’ve ever seen, and it was one of the sweetest. There will never be another truly like it.

Here are the best moments in its storied legacy.

Keanu Reeves and Cyberpunk 2077, E3 2019

Is there a more perfect encapsulation E3 then the time we had an overpaid celebrity host, the birth of an iconic meme, and one of the most ludicrously faked demos occur all within the space of about ten minutes?

During what will likely be the last ever E3 Keanu Reeves took to the stage to sing the praises of the unbesmirched name of CD Projekt and deliver Cyberpunk 2077 like Prometheus bringing flame to the heart of all gamers and it was, in a word, breathtaking.

Wii Music, E3 2008

Let me ask you something. When you think of all time great marimba players who do you think of? Nintendo’s Vice President of Corporate Affaris Denise Kaigler? Correct! What about greatest ever cowbell players? Creator of Mario and also Space Firebird Shigeru Miyamoto? Two for two!

Now what if told you they, along with Robbie, and two other dudes, got together to pretend to play those instruments during Nintendos Wii centered 2008 conference? Would you like that? Would that be good for you?

Uncharted 4 Doesn’t Work, E3 2015

This is not the last time we’ll be discussing this conference, but it is the only time during the conference, or any conference, that something like this happened. The demo for Uncharted 4, following Nathan Drake and his partner Sully as they barreled through the streets, homes, and rooftops of Madagascar, just… didn’t work.

The screen fades up, the speaker steps off stage, and Nathan drake stands there, suspended in an idle purgatory. But wait, I hear you asking, how can that be? All E3 demos are fake. How can a faked demo not work? Because it wasn’t faked. In the moment between the first and second openings of the demo it set in, someone was really playing this thing. And if there ever was a demo that was so completely mind blowing it really needed some concrete proof in order to be believed, fate picked the right one.

Aisha Tyler and the Aisha Tyler’s, E3 2016

Following Ubisofts E3 2015 showcase, which opened with Matt Stone and Trey Parker talking about how stupid their microphones were while introducing their game with a butthole pun in the title, and devolved into Aisha Tyler trying to get a cosplayer to invent a meme, executives at Ubisoft got together and unanimously agreed that next year their conference would involve no cringe whatsoever.

They did not succeed.

Smash Everyone is Here, E3 2018

What E3 gave us, more than anything, was hype. Hype that was, perhaps, predicated on lies and manipulation? Sure. But hype nonetheless. Rushes of excitement so palpable they created their own genre on YouTube.

And no fanbase embodied that hype more than the Super Smash Bros fanbase, who, in 2018, were greeted with a trailer so earth shatteringly electrifying, the trailer is not even worth watching as much as the reactions of those who viewed it.

Mr Caffeine, Ubisoft 2011

But hype can go too far. As is embodied by Aaron ‘Mr Caffeine’ Priceman who single handedly over-excited himself into being the most cringeworthy, but perhaps most notable, E3 conference host in the history of the convention. And can you believe that this was a Ubisoft conference? Who would have thought?

Wherever you are, Mr Caffeine, I hope you can one day convince us all to doodly-doodly-doodly-do us back to an era where E3 is real, and you’re there for it.

Sony’s Entire Conference, E3 2015

Sony in 2015 was the heavy weight conferences of heavy weight conferences. There was never, nor never was again, such a jam packed showcase in E3s entire history. From top to bottom Sony in 2015 delivered a show of non-stop reveals, ranging from new titles that seemed unending in their promise, to sequels that seemed all but impossible to conceive.

The Last Guardian, Horizon; Zero Dawn, Hitman, Dream, Firewatch, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue 3, No Mans Sky, to the aforementioned Uncharted 4.

It was a showcase that united every gamer around the world under the umbrella of Easy Allies’ (at the time, Game Trailers’) Michael Huber; “Every dream has come true!”

Konami’s Entire Conference, E3 2010

It’s really the silence of it. In between every cringey reveal, before and after every awkward or overbearing or overly excited presenter the silence of the room hangs over with a suffocating weight that is almost… meditative?

It’s like witnessing someone else’s nightmare, stepping into the brain of someone locked in a dream where they have to present an E3 conference and they have no idea what game they’re introducing and they’re not wearing pants and no matter what they do the audience just gives no discernible reaction at all. Except the person having the nightmare is every single one of the presenters and the actors and also somehow the audience members.

Comparatively speaking, the Sony 2015 conference is amazing sure, but you could only watch it and get the hype of it once. The Konami 2010 conference is infinite. Staring over your shoulder. Waiting for you to need it.

Miyamoto and David, E3 2017

If we learned one thing from the Wii Band presentation, it was that Miyamoto can bring people up. And when it’s not vice presidents of corporate affairs for the purposes of playing the marimba, it’s creative directors for the purpose of showing respect and lifting up the next generation of game developers.

E3 was hilarious. It was, in some ways, a monument to out of touch corporate suits trying to figure out how to connect with players and the press and failing over and over and over. It was filled with cringe. It was filled with hype, it was filled with fans and presenters like going way too far with that hype and bringing it back to cringe.

But underneath all of that, fundamentally, this was the largest, most concentrated center of game developers bringing their work to the stage for the very first time. Unveiling what took years of their lives to create and sitting in the audience with us as we screamed, jumped, laughed, and cheered.

Rarely did you ever actually see the developers of those games at the conference. These games are mostly revealed by celebrity hosts or CEOs or suits. But when Mario vs Rabbids was unveiled in 2017 we saw the face of the games Creative Director Davide Soliani, when Miyamoto himself introduced the strangely wonderful collaboration. And we remembered, for a moment, what made this event so special.

Rest in Peace, E3. May we meet again, in the great cloud based streaming service in the sky.