E3 2004: Five Years Later

Before we dunk our collective heads into the salty man-pool that is E3 2009, let’s take a moment to reflect on the events and images of E3 2004. Just five years ago Nintendo was struggling, Sony was unquestionably on top and Microsoft only had Halo 2 to keep fans attentive. Today… well, it’s a little different, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Full E3 2009 coverage continues on GamesRadar all week, but in the meantime, see what memories you can stir up by eyeballin’ these five-years-ago pics.


As is usually the case at E3, Nintendo’s booth was gargantuan. The biggest star? A Twilight Princess trailer that played over and over again on their massive screen.

Resident Evil 4, Star Fox (aka Star Fox Assault) and Paper Mario 2 (aka The Thousand Year Door) were the biggest GameCube titles, even though the first went to PS2, the second sucked and the third, while great, was not enough to hold a holiday season. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was prominent as well.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (just re-released on Wii this year) and Donkey Konga made their initial bongo-controlled appearance.

Anyone remember the original Nintendo DS design? Shown behind closed doors (or after a soul-crushingly long line), it was the first time we saw what would eventually be the clear winner of the modern generation.

The “DS Phat” design lasted from November 2004 to early 2006, when the DS Lite took over. The DSi launched earlier this year.

SONY’S E3 2004

Sony draped the primary entrance with its iconic face buttons.

PlayStation Land was a bustling who’s-who of classic franchises, including franchise-to-be God of War.

Sony’s showfloor, headliners including Ace Combat 5, Devil May Cry 3 and, sadly, 25 to Life. Plus, a giant Kratos.

E3 ’04 was the first big-time reveal of the PSP, with hands-on opportunities and several games to try. This one’s a Japan-only title featuring Toro the cat, which will mean so very much to anyone reading this sentence.


Nintendo and Sony tend to dominate the West Hall, forcing Microsoft to carve out a sizeable chunk of the South Hall. In 2004, they had a bitchton of third party games on display, like uh, Godzilla: Save the Earth. Fable was there too.

Behind a towering Curtain of Despair lied Halo 2, only shown to high-ranking, super serious business games journalists. We even got a chance to play some multiplayer while practically sitting in total darkness.

Next page – EA, Konami and Square!


  • NipplesTheSuperHippo - June 1, 2009 4:13 p.m.

    cool article. PICTURESSSS!!! WOOT! but seriously, seeing the picture of the guys all around the bongos made some old memories resufrace. I waited to buy a GC to get the Silver one. I took it over a PS2 ;_; worst choice of my life.
  • pikachu2000 - June 1, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    Today's world is so full of family friendly casual crap. Face it, the good old days of E3 are over. Sure they will wow us with a few breaking announcments in the first few days, but Nintendo have nothing to lose and E3 will go back to the family friendly hell that we dispised so much. What the bastards are thinking right now: MORE BUSINESS, MORE CRAP, MORE MONEY, TO HELL WITH YOU!!!
  • Cyberninja - June 1, 2009 9:15 p.m.

    wow e3 09 has to unleash the best games ever to beat 04
  • kubes - June 1, 2009 12:43 p.m.

    nice article like the bunch o' pictures
  • solidslayerr - June 1, 2009 12:38 p.m.

    So sad how downhill its gone from 2004, hopefully this year its not another business meeting... BRING BACK THE BOOTH BABES!

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