E3 08: The Most Excruciating Moments


E3 may be getting smaller and smaller, holding fewer and fewer surprises, but you can still count on the show for one thing - horrible, horrible press conferences. When a bunch of corporate suits and publicity flaks try to relate to gamers, while still hitting all their boardroom selling points, the results are never pretty.

2008 is certainly no different. After onlythree days, we've already suffered through an agonizing gauntlet of stupid stunts, embarrassing flubs, unbelievable mistakes, humiliating condescension and, worst of all, middle-aged adults singing and dancing.

Laugh. Cringe. Just be grateful you weren't actually there...

Nintendo may be raking in the dough by appealing to babies, grandmas and soccer moms, but they sure look ridiculous doing so. Is this a gaming conference or a kindergarten play date? You'll be hard pressed to tell the difference with these five excruciating examples.

Smile, damn you! Smile!

Forget turning a profit, producing superior technology or gaining market share. Nintendo doesn't care about the bottom line - they just want to make you smile! How do we know this? Because in addition to showing a slideshow of people paid to smile, the Nintendo suits painfully drilled their corporate catchphrase into our brains by repeating the word "smile" over and over, in increasingly forced and obnoxious ways. See what we mean below.

Happy Mothers Day, from Nintendo

The saccharine sweet card below was supposedly given to Nintendo's head of sales and marketing by her son. If you can look at all those strategically placed misspellings, exclamation marks and cartoon clip art, and still believe that this was the work of a little boy and not a corporate strategy session, you are far more generous and far less cynical than we.

Or maybe you're just compassionate enough to actually enjoy discussing the innocent interplay between a young child and his big-business soccer mom instead of video games (the point of the conference, remember?). You probably liked the story about Cammie's snowboarding trip too, didn't you? In fact, screw E3 - let's go rent "Terms of Endearment" and have a good cry...

Hey everybody, it's Shaun White... of Shaun White Snowboarding!

Watching the "Flying Tomato" win gold at the Olympics was thrilling. Watching him stand stiffly on an immobile chunk of plastic - hooting and hollering in bare feet and wild mane - was decidedly less so.

WiiMotion Plus was designed for THIS?

If this new, extra receptive dangle for our Wii remotes is so damn accurate, why wasn't it included with the original console two years ago? Furthermore, why do we need extra accuracy to throw a friggin' frisbee to a friggin' dog? Does driving a jet ski really require more grace and finesse than tennis and boxing?

In all honesty, though, these guys could have played Wii Lightsaber and made it look horrible. We don't want to see them pretend to have fun ever again.

Wii Music stabs our ears and eyes

After Nintendo took an hour to demonstrate why hardcore gamers wouldn’t buy any of their products this fall, the lights dimmed for one last very special announcement. Kid Icarus? A new Zelda? Nope - just a lonely man, air-drumming without rhythm to music that only existed in his own porcupine-spiked head.

Next, head Nintendo honcho and creator of some of the finest games ever - Shigeru Miyamoto - took the stage and mimicked what sounded like a saxophone raping a cat to the worst MIDI recording we’ve ever heard. We didn’t think that great man could ever make himself look like a tool, but many assumptions were destroyed yesterday.

Finally, three executives joined Miyamoto for a wretchedly awful cover of the Mario Bros. theme, complete with awkward dancing and ear-piercing squawks that would embarrass a 6th grade marching band. By far, this was THE WORST moment of E3 so far.