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

A quick list of bad decisions. The guy who sold the rights to the Beatles. Steve Irwin deciding it would probably be a good idea to swim a bit closer to a miffed stingray. A company that once ruled gaming thinking it would be fine to give time at their E3 press conference – where they absolutely had to convince people the PS3 was a revolutionary machine worth 600 dollars - to a giant crustacean, pie graphs and the PSP.

Above: The power of PS3, definitely worth 600 bucks

We could delve into the plethora of giant enemy crab and massive damage raps doing the rounds on YouTube. But the poor Genji developer, who was utterly convinced battles in feudal Japan centered around soldiers trying to flip sea-life with swords, deserves a lie down. No, the real letdown was the focus of the conference. When PlayStation head honcho, Kaz Harai, should have been shouting from the rooftops about PS3’s Blu-ray functionality or bigging up Resistance and MotorStorm, he was actually showing ten minutes of PS2 sales graphs and promoting PS3/PSP compatibility with…

Notice a running motif through this Top 7? Say something to do with a certain year between 2007 and 2009. Yup, last year’s E3 truly was the event of death… or bitter disappointment, resentment and impromptu man bonding over a hand drier with Clifford Bleszinski in the bathroom. Apart from meager rays of light in the few genuinely innovative IPs like Left4Dead, the whole thing was a crushing disappointment.

Above: Genuinely the best thing at E3 2008

Without a marquee announcement of a new Half-Life or proper GTA to capture the limelight, all hope was put on the big three to deliver interesting games that could fill the Freeman-shaped crater in us. While Gears 2, Animal Crossing: City Folk and Resistance 2 all briefly appeased jaded eyeballs, the general direction each company took, combined with the show’s understated scale, made this arguably the worst E3 ever.

Above: No Gordon and loads of Cammie - a real winning E3 combo

Both Nintendo and Mircosoft also gave baffling amounts of time to middle-aged execs trying to sell casual gamers shovelware. Whether it was watching a woman crooning on-stage trying to peddle Lips or Cammie Dunaway attempting to put a surgically sewed-on smile for the utterly pump WiiMusic. Jack Tretton, at Sony, meanwhile, was possessed by the spirit of a stuttering child trying to deliver a book report in their underwear. Embarrassing, lacking innovation and totally lifeless, if this year’s E3 is anything like 2008 we’re ditching games to write about gardening. We hear there's a good chrysanthemum convention coming up in July.

June 1st, 2009

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