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Looking back at E3's most memorable moments

Breathtaking.

E3 2023 is cancelled - and it's uncertain if it will ever return in the same way again. However you feel about that, it's undeniable that the gaming calendar's most talked about show continually provided moments you never got anywhere else.

E3 was a stage for video game companies to strut their stuff, a certain tier of celebrities to make their presences felt, and console rivals to take not-so-subtle pops at one another.

It was a place of huge excitement and anticipation, where internet memes and catchphrases were born, and extremely vanilla marketing executives became legends. It was also a place of failure and disappointment, as outlandish concepts and eyebrow-raising price points were debuted.

Newscast: Are Unreal Engine's procedural generation and Ubisoft's Ghostwriter the future of game development?

Let's revisit some of E3's most memorable moments.

You could fill an article with videos about Nintendo's former US boss Reggie Fils-Aime, who won the hearts of a legion of fans. From his first appearance on an E3 stage, ready to kick ass and take names, to when his body was Reggie, the cult of personality that sprung up around this man was born out of E3.

Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto appearing on the E3 2004 stage, armed with a Hylian shield and the Master Sword, to announce Zelda: Twilight Princess to whoops and cheers. Fans really wanted a return to "realistic" visuals after Wind Waker, and Miyamoto delivered the now immortal line: "I'm not Link, but I do know him."

Ubisoft's Davide Soliani won over the hearts of Nintendo fans anew at E3 2017, as he showed a genuinely emotional reaction to his game Mario + Rabbids being revealed by Mario's dad, Miyamoto himself.

Nintendo had its share of duds too, though. Who can forget the E3 2008 Wii Music on-stage demo? Actually, quite a lot of us, probably.

Sony won E3 2013 by allowing you to play used games, in a segment which absolutely buried the Xbox One.

Phil Spencer's E3 2015 Xbox backwards compatibility announcement was a genuine surprise and evoked a genuinely enthused reaction. Having been in the room for this one, I could see people reading Spencer's autocue script ahead of time and freaking out before the words were even out of his mouth. It was a big win, when Xbox really needed one.

Keanu Reeves' appearance to reveal Cyberpunk 2077's release date (one of them, anyway) was probably the highpoint of this game's entire marketing cycle. Buoyed by the love in the room, Reeves told everyone there they were breathtaking. It was a moment.

We've come a long way from this cringeworthy Ubisoft 2011 presentation, hosted by the infamous "Mr Caffeine".

Few committed to the bit as much as Peter Moore, then at Xbox, who infamously got Halo 2's release date tattooed on his arm to show off at E3 2004.

And few found themselves so instantly endeared to the audience as Tango Gameworks' Ikumi Nakamura, on stage in 2019 to talk Ghostwire: Protocol.

Jamie Kennedy's eratic Activision 2007 press conference has gone down in E3 history, though Kennedy himself later said he can't watch the show, and blamed his performance on exhaustion.

Last but not least, Sony's 2006 effort, which included the PlayStation 3's $599 price point, Ridge Racer, and a giant enemy crab.

What's your favourite E3 memory?

About the Author
Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips

Editor-in-chief

Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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