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"E3" is an abbreviation for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a major gaming event held in California every year since 1995. Most of the major gaming companies hold press conferences at the Expo; fanboys and fangirls watch live feeds of the events in an attempt to keep up with the latest news and catch early glimpses of footage from upcoming games. E3 tends to be the preferred venue for unveiling new console and handheld designs. Companies also like to talk up their sales statistics here.
Historically, E3 attracted large, somewhat unruly crowds. The use of "booth babes" (attractive women who draw attention to the games they're advertising) also added to the allure. In 2007, the E3 event allowed only the media to attend and eliminated the booth babes in order to cut down on the noise and crowds. The 2008 event allowed some members of the general public into the convention hall again, but through invitations only. For E3 of 2009, booth babes are making a return, but only if the game companies want them in their booths. This massive mistake in marketing is what led Penny Arcade's annual expo and the Tokyo Game Show to become the new de facto "come here to see our new shit!" locales - at least for a period of time. E3 2011 seems quite like the E3s of days gone by, at least in terms of new announcements and unveiling of games and consoles.
While E3 is immensely popular, backlashes within the gaming community can still occur (depending on what was said or shown in the events), in the forms of a Flame War, They Changed It, Now It Sucks, Unpleasable Fanbase, Fan Dumb, Broken Base, Accentuate the Negative, Internet Backdraft, and many others. A Memetic Mutation can also occur if something really silly or embarrassing happened during E3. The place is also a breeding ground for Megaton Announcements.
- Around 2001, Nintendo presented several trailers for games to be made on the Gamecube (this was before the console was launched). One of the trailers showed Link and Ganondorf fighting each other with realistic graphics for its time. About a year later, Nintendo presented a Zelda game at E3...except it now looked like a cartoon. Fans cried foul and declared war on Nintendo for taking away the realistic Zelda they were teased with previously. However, once the game came out (with improved cel-shading), most fans did a 180 and praised the game for its style and gameplay while others still bashed it for the kiddy look. And then came E3 2004, with a showing of the first trailer for The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. Let's just say that the fanboys and fangirls were...ahem... amused. IGN's reaction to that, coupled with their Dull Surprise from last year's E3, became subject to Memetic Mutation.
- During E3 of 2006, the PR who discussed the Playstation 3 mentioned how the system could do "real time weapon change" and showed a game that took place in feudal Japan where players could fight giant enemy crabs and flip it over to attack its weak spot For Massive Damage. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, no one applauded when Ridge Racer was shown, causing the spokesperson, Kazuo Hirai (now Sony Computer Entertainment's CEO), to shout "RIIIIIDGE RAAAAACERRRR!!!" This became a very popular fad across the internet, as well as prime ammo for a Troll to use in a Flame War. This presentation is the Trope Namer for at least four different tropes.
In E3 of 2008 sparked outrage by fanboys on all 3 consoles in the following examples:
- Microsoft's event showed many casual friendly features, such as avatars (which look similar to Nintendo's Miis), mini games in the forms of fly swatting or dancing, etc. This caused the fans of Microsoft to moan and complain that Microsoft was trying to copy Nintendo's Wii. When Final Fantasy XIII was announced to be released for the Xbox 360, Sony fans cried foul and claimed that Square Enix was a sellout. It didn't help when Microsoft boasted that most of its 3rd party games used to be with Sony.
- Nintendo's event wasn't any better, either. Fans who expected announcements of big name games like Mario and Zelda were met with disappointment as Nintendo revealed more casual friendly games like Wii Sports Resort and Wii Music. This caused a huge Flame War between fans who claimed Nintendo abandoned the hardcore gamer and fans who believed that Nintendo would have the good games coming eventually. During Nintendo's event, a Nintendo employee named Cammie told a personal story on how she broke her wrist during a vacation with her kids. The broken wrist story became a fad on forums. A similar fad also began to pop up when Cammie joked to Reggie about liking the full throttle when he tested a jet ski game. Everyone started to hate Cammie, feeling that she represented all the horrible qualities of casual gamers. Cammie did improve in E3 2009 where she mostly ditched her cheesy act and focused more on the facts and what Nintendo wants in the future, but people still haven't forgiven her.
It got so bad at that time that the Wii board on Game FAQs exploded in fanboy fury, resulting in NUMEROUS topics about how Nintendo was a backstabber, literally lasting for days on end. Hilarity Ensues does not even begin to describe this.
- This was mostly due to the tonedown of E3 after E3 2006. Everyone is now saving most of their good stuff for their own conferences, PAX, or the Tokyo Game Show. Even the game publishers have formed a Unpleasable Fanbase about it, wanting it to be toned down in 2006 and then wanting it back to its old form after the disaster that E3 was in 2008.
- Microsoft announced a new device codenamed "Project Natal" that supposedly surpasses the Wii's motion controls by detecting full body movement, and even insulted Nintendo by saying that you won't have to "sit on the couch and waggle". As if repeating last year's E3 reaction, trolls and fanboys alike have wildly claimed Nintendo is now finished, as seen here, and here.
- Nintendo made quite the turnaround with this year's E3 compared to 2008. While they did show several casual games like Women's Murder Club and the like, Nintendo appealed to the core fans with several new Mario games (a sequel to Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros Wii with 4 player co-op, and a 3rd Mario and Donkey Kong game), The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, Golden Sun DS, a Kingdom Hearts game for the DS, trailers for Dead Space and The Conduit, and a new Metroid game being developed by Team Ninja. Nintendo also showed off Wii Motion Plus, an add on for the Wii remote that added more precision with motion controls. While most fans were very pleased with the showing, many became upset over New Super Mario Bros Wii looking too samey compared to the DS version, and how Galaxy 2 was supposedly just a lazy rehash, while ignoring the fact that you can ride Yoshi.
- A portion of the Metroid fans are also up in arms over Metroid: Other M, saying Team Ninja ruined it by making it too much action based and the like.
- The fans that claim Nintendo's E3 was horrible were mostly due to the assumption that there weren't enough core games announced like Dragon Quest, or how most of the things Nintendo showed were just old news, so they must be lazy for not showing new info.
- Sony's Move (Play Station Motion Controller) was revealed, as well as Final Fantasy XIV (a MMO), PSP Go, Gran Turismo 5 and GT PSP, Mod Nation Racers (Mario Kart meets Little Big Planet), Peace Walker (Metal Gear Solid for the PSP), The Last Guardian, MAG, God of War III, a new Ratchet and Clank, and a portable versions of Little Big Planet. Final Fantasy VII was also announced for PSN.
- Microsoft: The main focus this year was the controller-less system announced in '09, now titled "Xbox 360". Kinect games shown were casual titles that showcased using your own body instead of button inputs (such as playing with a baby tiger or navigating a river in a raft). A new model of Xbox 360 hardware was also announced, which would feature a smaller and quieter (and shinier) design, as well as built-in Wi-Fi, at the same price as a regular 360. An Oprah-like event occurred at the end of the presentation, where each member of the audience got a free Xbox 360. Fans have naturally mocked this, their main complaints being that Microsoft is basically ripping off Nintendo and its E3 presentations, and quite a few people have compared this event to Nintendo's event from 2008. The girl playing with the pet tiger ("Skittles!") and the people showing off Dance Central have already become a meme.
- Nintendo's big item was the 3DS handheld, with 3D capabilities and other enhancements as well as an impressive list of third-party support. As for games, in addition to showing off The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Epic Mickey, Nintendo also announced revivals for several long-dormant franchises: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, a new GoldenEye game, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and most shockingly, Kid Icarus: Uprising. The showing can basically be summed up in this link
Nintendo's event also provided a Crowning Moment of Funny when they revealed their trailer for the Nintendo 3DS, showing Satoru Iwata (Current President of Nintendo of Japan) and Shigeru Miyamoto (the man behind Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and other titles) each interacting with characters from the 3DS before getting sucked inside. Then Reggie Fils-Aime (Current President of Nintendo of America) enters and laughs almost evilly as the handheld shows Iwata and Miyamoto running and jumping from Bowser - Just before Bowser emerges from the screen and burns Reggie to a crisp. The trailer finished up with the real life Reggie coming back on-stage in a scorched jacket.
- Sony's presentation was pretty average. Aside from a crossover game featuring Ratchet, Jak, and Sly, the biggest announcement came from Gabe Newell, who announced that Portal 2 would come to the PlayStation 3 in spite of his previous dislike for the platform, as well as a new Steam-like program to play it on. Oh, they also announced a new Twisted Metal game for the Play Station 3. However, Sony did manage to have Kevin Butler from the Play Station commercials to give a speech on stage. The speech culminated in an epic Crowning Moment of Awesome that must be seen to be believed.
- Konami's E3 2010 also deserves a mention by virtue of being So Bad It's Good, thanks to vast amounts of Gratuitous English. One. Million. Twoobs. WOOOOOW.
- Electronic Arts started off their press conference with Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and caused the fandom to rejoice when the trailer was posted online. They also showed off their previously-announced NBA Jam revival, and the consensus was that it captured the spirit of the old games perfectly.
- Ubisoft showed off a Michael Jackson game that put an emphasis on dancing using motion controls, as well as a breathing simulator, a new Rayman game, a Re Boot of Driver and Child of Eden, a Spiritual Successor to the Cult Classic game Rez. Ubisoft had a lot of good announcements, basically.
- Surprisingly, Konami's E3 event was prerecorded and shown before the event actually started. Some highlights include compilations of Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders games, which include the miracle of transfarring, as well as a reboot of the Contra series. Aside from that, however, nothing of major value (or comedy) was released.
- Microsoft's press conference can be summed up by one word: Xbox 360. Almost every game announced, from Mass Effect 3 and Fable to Minecraft and Sesame Street, relies on the Kinect in some way, though it should be noted that not all of these games require the peripheral - such as Mass Effect 3 and Minecraft, which only have added features with it. In fact, the only new games shown that weren't Kinect or Kinect-enhanced were Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary Edition and Halo 4.
- Sony's press conference was adequate. The good news is that the Play Station Vita handheld was named after being revealed last year (and now priced at $250), which has touch screen controls and can suspend play to pick up later on the PlayStation 3 and vice versa. In addition, a new Sly Cooper game was announced, more Little Big Planet and Modnation Racers games are on the way, and Cole McGrath is going to fight in Street Fighter X Tekken.
- Nintendo's press conference was (for Nintendo fans, at least) pretty awesome, with the chief announcement being the reveal of the Wii U - the next home console. The primary innovation of this one is the controller, which looks like a small tablet PC with more buttons, allowing ideas like "asynchronous gameplay" (where the player with the new controller has vastly different gameplay/objectives/experiences than the ones using Wiimotes), or things like not even requiring the TV if someone else wants to watch a show. It's currently slated for a 2012 release.
- To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Zelda series, Nintendo had plenty up their sleeves. A free version of Four Swords for D Si Ware, The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening for the new 3DS Virtual Console, and two soundtracks - one from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, if people are one of the first handful to register their copy of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D on Club Nintendo (also free), and one of of fully orchestrated Zelda tunes for those who plan on getting The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. Nintendo also announced they will hold live orchestra shows (titled The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses), conducting music from the Zelda games, in various regions of the world.
- For the Nintendo 3DS, a slew of games were announced. New Super Mario and Mario Kart games, Luigis Mansion 2, (later titled Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, respectively), Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and a handful of 3rd-party games, nearly all of which would be releasing in 2011. They also announced and have subsequently released a Pokédex app of sorts.
- The 3DS' Virtual Console was detailed to be selling Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, and Radar Mission being the first games released. Nintendo also announced that several classic Nintendo titles (and those Older Than the NES) would get a 3D facelift, starting with Excite Bike, as part of the new 3D Classics series - and that this first one would be complimentary.
- Finally, Iwata slipped in some brief words confirming that a new Super Smash Bros game has been discussed for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, that the two will interact in some fashion, and that they will actually begin development when Kid Icarus is done.
- Microsoft kickstarts this year's E3 conferences with a gameplay debuts of Halo 4 and a new Splinter Cell along the way entitled "Blacklist". Additional announcements include Gears of War: Judgment, Forza Horizon and a South Park RPG courtesy of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The rebooted Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 6 rounds out more on-stage presentations, with the expected Call of Duty Black Ops 2 ending off the conference. New to Microsoft is "Smartglass", wherein any smartphone and tablet will be capable of connecting to the X Box console via specific apps either for new modes of play with particular games (ie. using a tablet to create custom strategies in Madden NFL) or other features.
- Electronic Arts' conference begins with a co-op presentation of Dead Space 3, followed with gameplays of Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Need For Speed: Most Wanted (once again helmed by 2010's "Hot Pursuit" developer Criterion Games) and Crysis 3. The developer unveiled further content for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Finally, Battlefield developer DICE announced "Battlefield Premium", the not-so obvious clone of "Call Of Duty Elite".
- To say that Ubisoft's conference was underwhelming would be a crime, as it's unanimously one of the best aside from the "Big Three". Just Dance 4 and Far Cry 3 get showcasings, alongside the much-anticipated Assassin's Creed III. A Rayman Origins sequel, Rayman Legends, was demoed on-stage with the Nintendo Wii U rounded out the last of the upcoming releases...until Watch Dogs, arguably the show-stealer.
- Sony closed out the first day by starting with the latest project from Quantic Dream - Beyond: Two Souls. They quickly followed that up with showcasing a few things not shown during Ubisoft's conference - naval combat in Assassin's Creed III, a 4-player co-operative campaign in Far Cry 3, and a trailer for Assassins Creed III Liberation, as well as announcing special PlayStation 3 and Vita bundles for III and Liberation respectively. About midway through the conference, Sony announced that they were pulling an Oprah and giving everyone attending the conference a free year of their Playstation Plus service. This segued into the Vita side of their presentation, which started off with a showcase of Play Station All Stars Battle Royale and its Vita functionality, capped off with the trailer announcement of Nathan Drake and Big Daddy as playable characters. Dipping back into the PlayStation 3 side of things, they showed off a new peripheral called the Wonderbook - an augmented-reality 'storybook' that can be interacted with using the PlayStation 3's camera and Playstation Move. To show off this new gadget, they demoed the latest entry in the mass-multimedia Pottermore campaign, Book of Spells. Finally, they ended the show with a playable demo of The Last of Us.
- After demonstrating the prototype last year, Nintendo showed off the final version of the Wii U. But there's no getting around it: compared to the last two years, their conference was a little underwhelming. While it seems to have generated more excitement for the hardware and more games were announced, Nintendo's first party offerings were dominated by Mario. New Super Mario Bros U, New Super Mario Bros 2, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and Paper Mario Sticker Star were exhibited, as were Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and NintendoLand, a theme-park styled game featuring mini-games drawn from other Nintendo franchises, and meant to be the Wii U equivalent of Wii Sports. Everything else was third party titles, overwhelmingly from Ubisoft, but Warner Bros also had a good presence with Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Scribblenauts Unlimited. After the conference, a project tentatively titled Project P-100 was shown, as was a new Wario Ware game Game & Wario.
- The reception for the Nintendo 3DS conference, however, was pretty mixed, though a bit more positive than the opinion of the Wii U conference. While they did not show anything completely new, they did stick to what people were expecting, and got into pretty deep depth with New Super Mario Bros 2, Luigis Mansion 2, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Epic Mickey, Castlevania, Scribblenauts, etc, etc, which has gotten a divisive reaction from the people. And while there is no new Animal Crossing info, there was an (accidental) confirmation of Fire Emblem Awakening hitting America, which raised people's opinions of the conference.