E3 09: The Top 7... crushing letdowns in E3 history

The most dismal disappointments from gaming's biggest shindig

Then known as the awesomely 80s sounding, Ultra 64, Nintendo announced they weren’t going to be showing their much anticipated console at E3 95. Instead, holding it back until early the following year. While gamers still had a big slice of next-gen pie cooling on the event’s windowsill, with Sony’s recently released PlayStation, there was little for Nintendo fans to cheer.


Above: The Ultra 64 was an outrageous tease prior to E3 95, but it never actually turned up to the event itself

Well, not unless you count Donkey Kong Country 2, Doom and Killer Instinct for the SNES. That or Nintendo putting almost all of their E3 advertising into what was, effectively, an aneurism waiting to happen in a headset (aka the Virtual Boy). The wait for Mario 64-bit goodness was obviously worth it. But, at the time, the thought of waiting a year, with nothing but a piece of piss poor virtual reality nonsense, was about as dark as pre-Wii Nintendo times got.


Above: The Virtual Boy - scientifically proven to be way better than the N64

For folk who wake up in the morning in Prophet-branded PJs, write fan fiction about the Covenant, and slip off to the land of nod dreaming about their beloved John, the first Halo 3 reveal trailer was a landmark moment. Epic, rousing and a massive flirty tease, it looked like Bungie had managed to harness the power of the 360 like no developer before them. So how exactly did we go from this at E3 2006:

To this at E3 2007:

It’s like they’d taken the engine from the original trailer, run it on the first Xbox, through a standard-def tele with Vaseline smothered all over the screen and then forced the Chief to wear his brothers scuffed hand me downs. The reaction among many gamers, even some of the most pious Spartan 117 fanboys, was mixed. And many felt especially disappointed that the expected graphical leap from the multi-player beta to single-player was clearly a White Cliffs of Dover-sized fib.

We were half expecting a new Zelda. We had our little tickers set on a new Kid Icarus. Even the remotest of remote possibilities – a sequel to Pilot Wings – didn’t seem that unreasonable. Turns out, words simply can’t illustrate the undiluted horror and disappointment we felt when Nintendo let slip their big E3 announcement last year was a glorified toy suitable for lobotomised tots.


Above: The dream E3 Nintendo announcement... minus the crappy instruments and even crappier instrument playing

Unfortunately, the Wii Music announcement kept plummeting further fanboy wrist-slashing depths, as Nintendo wheeled out Miyamoto. Onlookers watched horrified as the once most respected game designer in history was reduced to desperately playing a bit of cheap plastic like a busker looking for booze money. Add the unnaturally chipper Cammie Dunaway to the world’s most excruciating make-believe orchestra and the whole mess made us want to load up the shotgun and take Mario into the back garden for one final, tearful farewell.


Above: Goodbye old friend

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