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

Contrary to what you might think, E3 isn’t all brilliant new games, booth babes and free beer. A lot of the time the biggest, best and most exciting games event on the planet is actually as dull and hope-dashing as a graph-led press conference. And whether it’s dealing with console delays or waiting in a line (with enough BO to erode titanium) to play Wii Sports, the history of the event has been riddled with disappointment. So to temper expectations slightly ahead of this week’s extravaganza, here are the biggest letdowns in E3 history.

We’ll be honest. When the DS and PSP were both unveiled within a few hours of each other there was only one horse we wanted to bet on. Slick, sleek and sexy, we couldn’t have guessed Sony’s promising handheld was destined to become the home of a defunct movie format and way too many arthritic PS2 ports. That’s why, when Nintendo unveiled their console that looked like a Fisher Price reject with all the power of an Easy-Bake oven light, gamers could hardly contain their mocking titters.

Above: Glad we didn't actually part with any readies betting in this race

OK, hindsight is a perennially ace thing. But, after witnessing the power of the PSP, it was hard to see how the DS was going to be a serious competitor for Sony's slinky bit of kit. There was little indication just how innovative and popular the seemingly underpowered system's touch screen was going to be. And, ultimately, what many Nintendo fans took away from the reveal was an underwhelming 64-bit console (with a gimmick) trying to face a multimedia handheld that was as powerful as a PS2.

Above: Dual screen action wasn't quite met with mass approval

‘In the end he will suffer. In the end we will triumph. In the end… there will only be a hugely anticlimactic 60 second, gameplay-free trailer for PS3’s most anticipated title.’ So Zeus should have bellowed from the top of Mount Olympus after arguably the most disappointing reveal of last year’s E3.

We didn’t want much, really. A few screenshots here. Maybe a little hour long playable demo there. We went into Sony’s 2008 press conference frothing at the mouth, our thoughts drifting to Kratos’ high-def abs of granite and 1080p Gorgon decapitations. We left with a minute of totally arbitrary plot information. A missed opportunity of mythical proportions by Sony, then.

Above: Not for us at last year's event

David Meikleham
Google AMP Stories Editor

David has worked for Future under many guises, including for GamesRadar+ and the Official Xbox Magazine. He is currently the Google Stories Editor for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, which sees him making daily video Stories content for both websites. David also regularly writes features, guides, and reviews for both brands too.