By: Meghan Ventura, Allison Bates, Justin Wheelock
No matter how well-planned (or not well-planned) E3 conferences may be, there are always at least a few moments that make the public go what the funnk? Here’s a round-up of each conference’s biggest WTF moments.
Though a Nintendo E3 press conference is bound to be full of WTF moments simply by its nature, whether they be announcements such as the now nowhere to be seen Vitality Sensor or games like Wii Music becoming the spotlight of an entire address, this year seemed to be especially ripe for the company’s plan to unleash mass confusion.
Their first strike at sanity came in the form of the famed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto’s attempt to demonstrate the new Zelda title, Skyward Sword. Since the game has a heavy focus on motion controls, it was only natural that Miyamoto take up a Wiimote and slash his way through Link’s home forest. As the large audience watched him play the game, however, it became clear that not all was going as planned. Though Miyamoto blamed his clumsy performance on interference from wireless devices, it appeared to be more the case that he just wasn’t that good at his own game. No matter which case was true, however, it made for an entertaining and memorable display.
As fun as it was to watch Miyamoto try to play a Legend of Zelda game, however, Nintendo saved the strangest moment of their press conference for last. With the 3DS being their biggest announcement, it seemed to make a lot of sense that they’d save it for their grand finale, and when it was announced that all of the journalists at the press conference would get to actually play the 3DS, it looked even more logical that they’d kept it for the conference’s end. When rows upon rows of models strutted out from behind the stage with a 3DS attached to each of their waists, however, logic appeared to be the least of Nintendo’s concerns. Though a human being is probably a more effective anti-theft attachment than an ink tag, it’s easy to imagine the bruises, both physical and mental, left on the models after they were yanked around by scoop-hungry gaming journalists. Still, if Nintendo’s goal was to create a memorable scene, making the booth babes demo booths in and of themselves certainly did the trick.
At the end of the press conference Microsoft unveiled the new model of the Xbox 360 as well as news that the product would be shipping to stores that day. To make the day even better they pulled an Oprah giving each audience member their own Xbox 360 slim. All of this happened before any of the My Gamer staff could attend E3, making this truly a WTF moment.
After all the announcements giving Project Natal and new name and showing off 15 launch titles Microsoft forgot the one important part, the price tag. Let the internet retailer pricing bonanza begin.
The audience found something to clap about every five minutes—whether it was Move pricing, a paid PSN subscription service, or game demoes. Using Move as a golf club for the Tiger Woods PGA Tour demo and drinking a shape-shifting potion in the Sorcery demo was met with a suspiciously high amount of applause . I can’t think of any games journalists who would clap for that. I can’t even think of any gamers who would clap for that. The whole thing seems as silly as clapping for Alaska. I smell plants.
The big news for the PSP was another God of War game and a new publicity campaign. A new publicity campaign. Sure, it’s probably a good way to introduce it (and the PSP certainly needs some kind of boost after the failure of the PSP Go), but the weak PSP presentation made it seem like it was a dead system. Which it’s not, and it shouldn’t be.
Sleeper WTFs (one’s that snuck up on me after the show, and are admittedly a bit nitpicky)
•Kevin Butler, the fast-talking, snarky faux Sony CEO from PS3 commercials, came on stage to give an epic, rallying speech to the crowd. One quote that’s particularly stuck with the Internet (defined as Twitter, game news sites and blogs) is, “Gaming is having a huge TV in a tiny one-room apartment.” Initially, I thought, wow what a cool, poetic way to describe gaming. And then my brain switched on, and I realized, hold on there, buddy, you just made some gross assumptions about my lifestyle.
I mean, picture it. The tiny one-room apartment and big-screen TV.
It’s dark, cluttered and lonely, right? And why do I live in a one-room apartment in this instance? Is it because I spent all of my rent money on Playstation Move? Don’t I have any friends over playing games with me in that apartment? Why are you assuming these things about the way I play games?
I concluded that quote wasn’t as chic and awesome as it originally sounded.
•Sometime in the beginning of the Sony Conference (I’ll have to re-stream the conference and add this in later—sorry), but someone spoke about Hideo Kojima, as Kojimia-san. As most nerds are familiar with, the –san suffix is the Japanese language equivalent of “mister”. The introduction immediately struck me as odd, as it had in past press conferences where English-speaking Sony reps refer to Japanese developers this way.
I would love to know what they’re thinking when they introduce Japanese developers this way. Do they think they’re honoring them, or doing them a favor by showing they understand a sliver of Japanese language and culture? It comes off as the opposite to me.
The –san honorific makes the introduction sound exotic, and frames the Japanese developer as an outsider. Not an outsider in a negative light, but an outsider nonetheless. It would be like them introducing an American developer with a horribly katakana-ized Miisutaa (Mister), instead of –san. It doesn’t sound natural, and it doesn’t help anyone’s reputation. So for the love of all the kami-sama in Japan, can’t we please just introduce Japanese devs normally. Just for once.
Even though Konami’s E3 press conference was loaded with moments of pop culture weirdness alongside game trailers, including a live weigh-in of Mexican wrestlers, one moment of the keynote address screamed WTF more insistently and loudly than any of the others in the hour and forty minute event.
It came after the announcement of a new Karaoke Revolution game based on the television show Glee. Before I go on too much, I have to note that I, personally, am a fan of the show, and have nothing against the idea of Karaoke Revolution: Glee as a game for people who have voices that wouldn’t peel the paint off of buildings as they sing show tunes to their Xbox 360s. When Konami demoed the game by dragging out an entire show choir to play a level, however, placing them in front of a room full of gaming journalists for the duration of an entire Queen song, it seemed as if they’d gone too far. A musical number in a TV show about show choirs is fun, but a full length musical number that prolongs writers’ waits for information about new Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid games, no matter how well it’s performed, is tantamount to torture.
In the middle of his introduction speech Joel McHale was interrupted by a group of people running around and shooting each other with fake guns. This was apparently the announcement of Battle Tag, a game that requires no game console, and probably no house. Gamers around the world screamed in horror at the possibility that another game would make them go outside to play.
Keeping up with the non-video game related announcements Ubisoft revealed the first and only Vitality Sensor clone Innergy. After being hooked up to the player Innergy will help them breath better with a trippy looking mini-game. Possibilities for this type of attachment seem to be very limited since Nintendo themselves have skipped any sort of Vitality announcement at their press conference.