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An E3 Like One Other

by Jonathan Metts - February 11, 2006, 8:37 am PST
Total comments: 26

Jonny explains which past E3 was most like the one coming up, and why that is so exciting even to a jaded veteran of these events.

This year's E3 will be my seventh trip out to Los Angeles to play and write about video games. When you've been as many times as I have, some years blend together and just aren't as memorable. Some were special because of fun times spent with the staff, even though the show itself was rather bland. Of all the shows I've been to, the one that stands out the most is E3 2001, which was my second year in attendance but the first as a member of the PGC staff. Of course, hanging out with a large group of colleagues for the first time was enough to make that trip special, but the show itself was also momentous.

Prior to E3 2001, Nintendo had shown the GameCube system and its controller, along with the infamous Space World 2000 videos. But no real, confirmed games were shown until right before E3, at the yearly media briefing. Now, I have to explain something about the media briefing. It's always a highlight of the E3 experience, and Nintendo usually holds a surprise or two for this event, but it's generally just a chance to hear the big wigs talk up some numbers and show new video footage of games we've known about for weeks, if not months or years. At a typical Nintendo media briefing, we may see one major game that we hadn't seen before (Twilight Princess was one of these rare delights), plus a few minor titles. Most of the big games are shown well before the briefing. That was the case with Super Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker, Mario Kart: Double Dash, etc.

The amazing thing about 2001's media briefing is that we would be shown a full range of GameCube projects, but not a single one was announced prior to that day. Sure, we all expected Luigi's Mansion to be one of the first games, but it could have been just another test video (like Rebirth), and we certainly had no idea of how it would be played. Actually, the very first true, 100% confirmed GameCube game shown to the world was Super Smash Bros. Melee, and I was in the room when it happened. Everyone was stunned and ecstatic, and of course the game eventually delivered in spades. One by one, Nintendo rolled out the first salvo of GameCube titles, some seen previously in video (Wave Race: Blue Storm) or on N64 (Eternal Darkness), some shockingly new (Pikmin). I remember that about an hour after the media briefing, it suddenly hit me that we would actually get to play all of those games, less than 24 hours later.

My point in retelling this story for the hundredth time is that now, with E3 2006 approaching, the cycle has finally begun anew. For the first time in five years, we'll be walking into that media briefing with no f'n clue what to expect. It's even more exciting this time, because we still don't really know what Revolution can do…or more importantly, what it will do. Once again, Nintendo has shown the system and controller, and we've all read about the test demos, but thus far the only real game we've seen, or really know anything about, is Metroid Prime 3, and that teaser was developed on a GameCube dev kit and showed no actual gameplay footage.

For now, Revolution is a blank slate. That slate is huge, new, and very exciting…but completely devoid of real game information. In May, Nintendo and other companies will start to fill in the blanks, and that's when we transition from talking (mostly speculating) about hardware to discussing the actual games. And the games are what I really care about; that's why I go to E3 instead of CES. The hardware is fascinating and all, but it's worthless unless Nintendo and its licensees can follow through on promises to develop amazing new games to use these amazing new features. The fulfillment of those promises will begin in May. It may be another five years before this kind of situation happens again, and I don't plan to be running a gaming site by that time, so I'm going to relish the opportunity to squeal like a little girl one more time.


Automatic editorial talkback, omg awesome!

Bill AurionFebruary 11, 2006

Oh, THANKS, as if it wasn't hard enough to hold back all the anticipation...Self-control...Self-con...AUGH!

Karl Castaneda #2February 11, 2006

Awesome editorial, Jonny. ARGH! It kills me that I'm still too young to go this year. But you know I'm gonna be hitting up E3 for the next time this happens. Until then, though, I guess I'll just hang onto the web's every word, just like every other non-attending gamer out there.

BlkPaladinFebruary 11, 2006

I remember that E3, the only other E3 that I went to. I wasn't able to get into the media event because at that time I was going as a representitive of a retailer (my own business.)

I had to find out all about the announcments at the back of computers they had at the site. (I'm bringing a laptop this year w/ internet access via a celluar carrier.)

Oh a note there is a problem with the article on the main site. I get a reference error when I try to access it.

This is weird, it seems to work for some people and not others.

KDR_11kFebruary 11, 2006

Anticipation? I think I'm a bit too jaded to feel that anymore...

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 11, 2006

I was at the 2001 press conference, too. I felt what you felt, Johnny =D

But the wait for the ACTUAL SYSTEM LAUNCH that year SUCKED. More like torture.

So I've learned that E3 is a bad thing and WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS I'd rather just have the games come out so I can buy them and not let high-revenue gamer press outlets control the flow of information to me and WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS STUFF.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusFebruary 11, 2006

I've gone to E3 three times so far.

E3 2k1.. that was my first year. I still remember the first time I touched a GameCube controller. It was a Pikmin kiosk (not as popular as some of the other games as you can imagine). The controller felt perfect except the Z button which felt a little strange. Then there was smash bros, rogue squadron, wave race and more. Kameo (hah)...

E3 2k2 was memorable as well because media were let in an hour early and Nintendo had the triple threat of Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime and Wind Waker on display. I played the Metroid Prime demo three times in that first hour. The second E3 after a console release is always good too because the second crop of software titles is generally far more advanced than the first.

I missed 2k3 and 2k4 for various reasons, but mostly because I took a hiatus from PGC and didn't really have the funds to attend anyway.

E3 2k5 was the year of the DS mostly. It wasn't quite as exciting as a new console launch, but it was still cool. And as with every year before, just hanging out with the PGC staff makes the trip worthwhile.

This year, not only do we have Revolution's first crop of games, but there will also be the first crop of PS3 graphics demonstrations and the second generation of 360 titles. Obviously that doesn't mean much to the PGC reader since we don't cover non-nintendo games, but I'm sure the multi-console owners can identify.

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 11, 2006

"PS3 graphics demonstrations"

what happened to the games =D

RobageejamminFebruary 11, 2006

This will be my second time going. The first year I went was 2004 when they first unveiled the DS. After waiting on line forever, I was finally in the room with Charles Martinet and his big screen Mario head. I was even lucky enough to get into the room after that where they showed all the crazy different DS prototype games. There were 3 things that Ill never forget about that trip.

The first is when I first saw the Zelda trailer. I couldnt go to the conference the day before and I had no access to the Internet so it was a complete shock when I randomly saw it playing on the big screen near the pokemon area. I remember just standing there frozen for a while.

Second was meeting Charles Martinet at his break inbetween his presentations for the DS. My friend even managed to get us on video together while he said "Woo hoo! You the best!".

And last but not least was when I met up with the whole PGC staff randomly and we noticed we were wearing the same shirts. Oh and then of course getting all of your calling cards lol, nice touch.

Well heres to E3 2006, (which is in... 87 days by the way). Thanks to this editorial Im even more psyched than I already crazily was. See you guys there!

MarioFebruary 11, 2006

Cool editorial, for me replace the GC blowout of 2001 with the DS blowout of 2004, and replace going there with watching the conference live on my computer.

KnoxxvilleFebruary 11, 2006

Yeah, after E3 2001 I already knew that the ONLY E3's I would be making sure I got too were the "New Hardware Years". That makes this year a must! I went last year, and it's hard to get excited about new games for an old platform....although I did manage to get the up enthusiasm, mind you.

BigJimFebruary 11, 2006

I just spent the last few hours watching the old PGC E3 and Spaceworld 2001 video CDs. Billy was there for the Japanese GCN launch too. That was exciting times. Billy's enthusiasm is contageous. Hope Nintendo blows the lid off the place.

IceColdFebruary 11, 2006

"Say goodbye to the PS2" (or something like that)

You bastards just had to make me even more envious..

puduFebruary 12, 2006

Man...some of you guys are lucky bastards lol You've got me feeling both sentimental about the past and how wonderful E3 2001 was and also extremely excited about this years E3. If any E3 will top 2001 it WILL be this year's. To think Nintendo is holding back just as much (if not more) then they did before the 2001 E3...you just know that they are going to hit us with something BIG. All this talk about all the new tech and how the other consoles will dominate Nintendo...it will feel great once all the people show up to E3 and are blindsided by Nintendo's offering and the underdog steals the show.

infinitys_endFebruary 12, 2006

Just wanted to say that I did get the chance to go to E3 2k1, and man it was a blast. It was also $100 to get in (yes, you don't have to be an "industry member" to get in) but now it's so expensive, it's totally not worth it. I ended up spending about $1000 total (airfare, room, food, etc.) but I'll never forget it. I promised myself I'd go back, but only if it were for free, which in that case I would have to be an industry member, right? face-icon-small-wink.gif E3 2k1 WAS the last "great" E3, and since it's a pattern of every 5 years, I'm hoping E3 2011 will be just as awesome...

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusFebruary 12, 2006


Originally posted by: Professional 666
"PS3 graphics demonstrations"

what happened to the games =D

Everyone knows that Sony launch titles always suck. They're more graphics demos than games. The PS3 games won't be at E3 until next year. face-icon-small-wink.gif

ThePermFebruary 12, 2006

lol now i miss billy on pgc face-icon-small-sad.gif

RobageejamminFebruary 12, 2006

I actually just saw him on G4. He was on Icons, the one about Game Boy. Couldn't believe it. I always see him in GameInformer mag too. Looks like he's doing pretty damn good for himself!

Smash_BrotherFebruary 12, 2006

It's a tough call to make.

On one hand, it's hard not to be excited. On the other hand, Nintendo stole the show at the E3 before the GC's launch and fat lot of good it did in the long run.

The bit about following through rings doubly true this time as the hardware is something so different that the push for 3rd parties will be more difficult than it has been in the past.

Here's hoping they make good use of the appeal of something new and do for the Rev what they did for the DS...

Berto2KFebruary 12, 2006

This is going to be my 3rd E3 (not a bad 3 if you ask me).

E32k4 - DS reveal and Zelda TP trailer

E32K5 - DS game blowout, first solid Rev details, playable Zelda

E32K6 - Rav playable, DS game blowout #2?

I 2nd the sentiment of others in here about getting to play stuff then having to wait months to actually own it. It sucks.

Ian SaneFebruary 13, 2006

I'm a little more scared this year than excited. Different attitude I guess. In 2001 I was incredibly optimistic about the Cube so I was really excited. I don't have that optimism with the Rev so my attitude is more like "oh God please don't suck". I'm still going to be glued to my PC for that press conference though. I have to see it. I have to KNOW.

I actually was a little disappointed with E3 2001. It was all very exciting but there were a few things I wasn't very confortable with:

1. No Mario. Uh, isn't Mario supposed to be at launch? Don't they have to show it at this E3 to make launch?

2. I noticed Luigi's Mansion was getting a lot a attention from Nintendo and that freaked me out because it really didn't seem to have enough meat to it to justify the push Nintendo was giving it. I really REALLY didn't want that game to be the flagship title. I wanted Rogue Leader and to this day still think that's what they should have done.

3. I hated SSB for the N64 so I had no interest in SSB Melee. It's funny in retrospect because in the end I LOVED that game. I don't really know what they did differently but somehow they made me love a sequel to a game I hated.

4. There wasn't much third party stuff which wasn't very encouraging.

I loved Pikmin however and that pretty much sold me a Cube right there. Rogue Leader was amazing of course but Game Informer had revealed the game about a week before so at E3 it was kind of "old hat". Remember I didn't actually go to E3 so the thrill of playing it didn't affect me. For me E3 is all information and I already had that Rogue Leader info I wanted.

I was still pretty optimistic because the really cool games like Too Human and Zelda were coming out. Funny how that worked, huh? Once Wind Waker showed up at Spaceworld later in the year my confidence in Nintendo started to drop. They had just thrown away their killer app before the console even launched.

Since then it's been harder to get into the hype because you never know if a "tech demo" is going to result in a real game or if a game in development by a second or third party is even going to remain on your console at all.

Plus this year is going to be hard for people just "watching" E3. Are we going to be wowed by any Rev games if we don't get to play them?

couchmonkeyFebruary 13, 2006

I think I'd rather play stuff months early and wait forever to buy it than hear the announcement and just plain wait forever. face-icon-small-smile.gif

Yes, this is going to be an awesome E3. If I had a legitimate way in I'd be going. I may have to subscribe to someone to get the live feed again.

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusFebruary 13, 2006

I'm going to cry if I have to go to E3 to see Zelda again.

This will be the best E3 ever because impressions will show up in the event profile TYP FOR THE WIN LOL

NinGurl69 *hugglesFebruary 13, 2006

Yay, you'll get another Twilight Princess trailer and a release date for June 2007.

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