Look, but don't touch
Until the debut of the Universal Studios/Nintendo team-up, E3 may be the closest thing we have to a video game theme park. And that's largely thanks to the way publishers transform their booth space into full-on dioramas, complete with giant, often-lifesize replicas of their star characters. It's best not to wonder how much they cost to make - just appreciate them for the cool, real-world set pieces that they are. Really, when else in life will we be able to gaze up from the feet of an actual two-story Titan mech?
E3 statues have been a time-honored tradition since the early days of the convention, giving replica makers and mannequin factories work for around two decades. They function a bit like ultra-size amiibo: they're magnificent to behold, nearly impossible to own, and sport zero points of articulation. Whether you think they're impressive or garish, it's all about grabbing your attention - and these particular E3 showpieces from years past are among the most eye-catching of them all.
Photo credits: RPGFan, MaximumPC, WiiUDaily, PlayStation Blog, The Buzz Media, Wikia, Joystiq, The Gaming Intelligence Agency, FigaroCastle
If you look closely, you'll notice that not a single person in this photo is gazing up at the magnificent model standing above them. All that time and money spent - and for what?! *cut to a shot of the replica maker silently sobbing in the corner*
Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze)
Much like a real gorilla, looking into DK's crazy eyes will send him into a frenzy that'll likely end with you lying dead on the E3 show floor.
This superb to-scale model of the Goliath appears to be screaming out in primal rage, possibly because his game's season pass does not include all the DLC.
Gabriel Belmont (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2)
This model gives you the chance to really take in the splendor and impracticality of Gabriel's ornate Cummerbund of Vampiric Evil. But judging by the look on his face, that PES football player on the background monitor is clearly not impressed.
Mech suit (Red Faction: Armageddon)
It looks cool, no doubt, but let's think about this for a second: why does a mech need a protective codpiece? Is there something underneath that metal flap that we should know about?
Fallen Captain (Destiny)
This is all just an elaborate cover over the remains of a catastrophic car wreck, in a which a vehicle somehow embedded itself into the floor of the LA Convention Center. Also, the model itself is magnificent, but it's the blades of fake grass that really make this diorama.
Xenomorph Queen (Aliens: Colonial Marines)
This is a clear illustration of a most unfortunate situation: when marketing material greatly outclasses the game it's promoting.
The Keeper (The Evil Within)
"Anyone need their brain meat viciously tenderized? First come, first served! And please don't comment on how wrinkly my apron is; I'm a little sensitive about it."
Vault Hunters (Borderlands 2)
Your favorite Vault Hunters are all here! Axton, Salvador, Maya, Zer0... wait. I don't remember that inquisitive dude in the bottom right corner, but now that I've seen him, I'm transfixed. Clearly this man has what it takes to star in the next Borderlands (or a DLC episode, at the very least).
Pictured: a realistic representation of daily life in San Francisco.
Big Daddy and Little Sister (BioShock)
If you had the foresight to buy the original BioShock Collector's Edition - one of the rarest (and most valuable) collector's editions of them all - you're among the lucky few to own the included Big Daddy figurine. But this life-sized version and his Little Sister companion were only available in the very limited BioShock Mortgage Your House To Afford This Edition.
Songbird (BioShock Infinite)
"WHERE IS KEN LEVINE?! I HAVE SOME IDEAS FOR HIM CONCERNING THE NEXT BIOSHOCK!"
Batmobile (Batman: Arkham Knight)
You basically have to be Bruce Wayne to drive this thing, given that it gets about 2 yards for every gallon of unleaded, exquisitely pure gasoline.
Robots (Binary Domain)
Yes, it's true: there was a time in human history when Binary Domain was deemed worthy of a full-blown diorama on the E3 show floor.
Noble Team (Halo: Reach)
As a funny prank, the other members of Noble Team pulled all the pins on Emile's chest-mounted grenades moments before this picture was taken.
Kratos (God of War: Ascension)
Here we see Kratos doing his best impression of Grumpy Cat, hoping to channel the unbridled angst and raw frown power of the famous feline. Keep at it, champ - you just might match Tardar Sauce's earth-shaking grimace some day.
Workmaster 35 Tractor (Farming Simulator 15)
Gore Magala (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate)
This is the future of stuffing and mounting your hunting trophies: affixing the entire upper torso to the wall so that you can take pictures posing atop it. You savages.
Nova (StarCraft: Ghost)
Your annual reminder that StarCraft: Ghost was indeed playable at one point, and we'll never see it ever again. Just another casualty of E3 vaporware.
MegaMan.EXE (Mega Man Battle Network)
Those brightly colored platform boots seem to be consuming the Blue Bomber from the feet up, like vines creeping over a wooden fence. Then again, that's exactly in line with his in-game design, so... carry on, Capcom.
Tree Rex (Skylanders Giants)
Incoming 'dad joke': I know it's called Skylanders Giants, but this is ridiculous!
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation)
Judging by her regular-sized pistols, Lara must be a 12-foot tall giantess.
Alduin (The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim)
"HAI GUYS! Whatcha doin'? Wanna come over to my house and play some Skyrim?! My parents will order pizza for us!"
Fizzie (Sunset Overdrive)
This is actually just a freezeframe from some found footage recovered in the rubble of E3 2014. Seconds later, you'd see Fizzie's eye-lasers and gallons of mutation-causing OverCharge energy drink raining down on the show's helpless attendees.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic: Lost World)
Having seen this particular display in person, I always loved how Sega perched him high above the show floor on a rotating pedestal, with the great and mighty Sonic looking down on us all with smirking disdain. Truly, we are not worthy of being in his Blue Majesty's presence.
Mario (Super Mario 3D World)
Please, please tell me that the guy on the left tried to bop the question mark block above his head before departing the booth.
Mario (Super Mario Advance)
That is, without a doubt, the most horrifying Mario I've ever seen in my life. It looks like a marionette's head jammed atop a little person's body with gigantic, lifelike hands grafted onto his arms. Jowls that pronounced are only found in nature when a chipmunk is binge eating. The glint in this Mario's eyes conveys one thing: ravenous hunger.
Jeeeeesus. It's so unspeakably horrid, yet I can't look away. Let's get our hands dirty and analyze what makes this display so abysmal. The horribly awkward posing of kicker and kickee, the former supporting his entire body weight with one arm and limply gesticulating with the other. The 'backwards cap, grey shorts, and nothing else' ensemble that could very well be depicting the game's main character. The awkward posing of this poor sod's ankle, with no effort made to obscure the noticeable hook keeping his body aloft. The vacant stare on this kick victim's face, who seems to be calmly gazing into the eyes of his airborne attacker. And the grand finale: gigantic displays for the godawful Nokia N-Gage in the background. It all weaves a triumphant tapestry of heinousness that no game could ever hope to capture.