7 Memes and Viral Videos Born From Past E3s

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Last month was the NFL draft. For my dad and I, it’s this sort of holiday where you see all the new (and hopefully) awesome players your team drafted. It's a hopeful time where every team is in contention for the Super Bowl (Look at how good the Browns drafted this year.)

Well, the video game industry has its own equivalent of the draft (stick with me) and it's happening soon -- E3. Some developers, publishers, and personalities only manage to hurt their stock on the big day, like Laremy Tunsil and his bong, or Final Fantasy XV’s underwhelming titan battle. Some fall by the wayside because of lingering wounds, like Jake Butt or Nintendo the past several years.

Regardless, in the end, we always seem to be filled with just a little more hope. Maybe that player will quit breaking the law or maybe that company will stop lying to us about the quality of their games. Ahem, Gearbox, *coughs* Aliens: Colonial Marines.

After all, the events ultimately look the same: The media wraps everyone up, declares winners and losers, and the Patriots still do the best.

Two years in a row? Nice diversity EA marketing team.

But the internet is hardly so kind to the failing "lame stream" media. When the internet has truly deemed your failure worthy, you will be turned into a meme. And those are just the types of fails we’re talking about today.


Crowd image obtained from Oatsy40 via Flickr. Edited.  

Genji and the Giant Enemy Crab

Ah, 2006. We were all so young and naive then. The PS3 and Xbox 360 were still viewed as the harbingers of a new age of gaming that would change everything.

But everything wasn't all sunshine and butterflies. Microsoft was dealing with the fallout from the red ring of death. And Sony was busy shooting itself in the foot with a wretched E3; this, of course, was the year Sony came onto the E3 stage and told everyone that a PS3 would set them back $600.

Surprisingly, the $600 announcement was not what the memes took not of. No, that honor would go to the incredibly awkward presentation for Genji: Days of the Blade.

The first word’s uttered out of executive producer Bill Rich’s mouth were:

Genji 2 is an action game based on Japanese history. Being based on history, the stages of the game will also be based on famous battles that actually took place in ancient Japan.

With roughly two sentences, a whole premise was set up and reinforced: This game is based in history to the point that it is meant to emulate key battles.

Of course, we understand that it won't be exactly like real war; it's fantastical to a large degree, but it's supposed to be grounded, too. But it didn't take long for this whole premise to be uprooted, as large crab enemies started popping out of the beach. At that point, things were going a little awry, but it could've been brought back to focus if only they didn't introduce an even larger crab enemy... 

Giant Crab Enters Scene Right.

Or at least it was supposed to, but it too seemingly knew how embarrassing this moment was going to turn out as it resided on the periphery for a solid 10-15 anxiety-attack-inducing seconds.

It was then that the now infamous words were spoken: 

And of course, the rest is history, as the internet went on to do what is does best, make glorious crab memes. 

Sony's Out of Place Translator

In 2009, Polyphony Digital's Kazunori Yamauchi took to the stage to tell us about how awesome Gran Turismo for the PSP was going to be. You know, that portable system that totally wasn’t already dead by that time.

Since his presentation was in Japanese, there was a translator present. Except, there was something a little off about this translator: he had a pad to take notes. While looking down at his pad and taking notes, he came across as a passive stranger that was out of place, as if he were seemingly despondent with reality.

Freeze frame at a few key moments, add in a little bit of photoshop, and suddenly, you have an amazing amalgamation of random things this perpetually out of place passer-by could be doing. The rest is internet history. 

Bam! Project Natal

E3 2009 was a gift that just kept giving. While Sony’s translator was mildly amusing and utterly meme-able (not sure why spell check doesn’t recognize memeable as its own word at this point), Microsoft’s gaf came across as completely tone def.

At a point in time when everyone was just starting to get tired of the novelty of the Wii’s motion controls, thanks to their imprecise controls and their grandparent’s subsequent geriatric living room takeover, Microsoft decided to announce a whole new motion controller. It was one that didn’t actually feature a controller, per se, but rather a creepy camera that watched your every movement. But the kids will love it. We swear!

WELL BAM there it is - REMIX from jaroshbarksdale on Vimeo.

All Microsoft had to do was have a presentation that went off without a hitch and then they would only receive a moderate amount of hate. Show it in action alongside some small proof of concept demos, and bam! Long before we ever got to the demos, the game looked janky -- at best. Ironically, however, the demos went smoothly.

Sadly, the final product was less reminiscent of the awe-inducing motion tracking seen in the demos and was more indicative of the janky avatar manipulation. Plus, they shat on Star Wars, so ...

Mr. Caffeine

Ah, Mr.Caffeine. We have such a complex relationship. We hate to hear you talk about games, but we love to make fun of you talking about games. It’s basically the E3 equivalent of having Donald Trump as President.

Mr.Caffeine, which is his stage name, apparently, was brought in to host Ubisoft’s E3 press conference celebrating the company's 25th anniversary. On paper, it looks great: get a comedian to host your press conference instead of a suit. They're more comfortable in front of a crowd and just generally funnier and more relatable. And this strategy worked much better with Aisha Taylor, who hosted for Ubisoft in 2012.

Well, apparently a lot can go -- and did. It wasn’t the way he loved to laugh at his own dick jokes that bothered us so much. Instead, it was his incessant, unfunny photographic props, his inability to pronounce Tom Clancy properly, and the way he went,”Doodly, doodly, doodly, doodly, doop!” every time he initiated a video of a Ubisoft franchise as envisioned 25 years prior.

Wait. I feel like I know someone else whose jokes similarly fall flat yet persists to torment you with them nonetheless… Nope. Isn’t coming to me.

2013: The Year of Shitting on Microsoft

If E3 2006 set Sony up to lag behind for that generation of consoles, then all of 2013 would be Microsoft one-upping Sony’s bombing; E3 2013 was merely icing on top of the cake.

Coming into E3 2013, Microsoft had made all sorts of unpopular and conflicting statements about the upcoming Xbox One. It would always be online. (And people that didn’t have access to internet should #DealWithIt, according to Adam Orth, a Microsoft executive that lost his job shortly thereafter.)

Microsoft was also going to try to severely limit access to used games; a position they also backpedaled on. Sony later owned Microsoft by releasing a video in which they showed gamers how you go about sharing a game on the PS4:

All of this poured over into E3 where they announced that the Xbox One would cost $500 -- $100 more than the PS4 -- because the Kinect 2.0 was going to be bundled with the console. And of course, there would be no way to opt out of it if you didn’t want it. To really hammer things home, their branding was all off, as displayed in the header video where they continually talk about TV.

That's why this list of 20 E3 2013 memes features at least 12 memes devoted to completely tearing Microsoft apart. It is amazing how four years later, most people don't even remember all of their shenanigans.

As Mr.Caffeine would say,"Poop on your toothpaste!" Wait... nope. I meant to say "Yikes !" But I guess they both encapsulate the shit show that was Microsoft's 2013.

Bethesda's Annoying "Woo!" Lady

At Bethesda's 2016 E3 Press Conference, there was one fan that stood above the rest. And by stand, I mean yelled at the top of her lungs at every small announcement.

No one seems to know who she is but we all know the type. She's the single fan left cheering for the home team when they are down 28-3 with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. She's the fan that is plastered 30 minutes before the opening act gets on stage. She's also the fan that makes everyone else's experience just a little worse while obliviously having the time of her life.

But at least we know where we stand with her. She loves everything going on. Better than those quiet fans that somberly nod along in anticipation with everything.

Reginald "Reggie" Fils-Aimé

If we got shits and giggles from Sony Translator guy (that’s legally his name now.) and we loved hating Mr. Caffeine, then we love loving and making fun of Reggie Fils-Aime. For this reason, there is not just one meme that Reggie has created, but rather many of them.

Whereas Mr. Caffeine gives you this sly grin after making his oh, so clever phallic jokes, Reggie is seemingly somehow unaware that saying he feels like a purple pikmin is inappropriate for an adult. And that is why we love him so.

I think it is perhaps the qualities highlighted by Reggie that best exhibit why we love Nintendo and why we love memes.

At their cores, memes are all about that childlike joy and wonder exhibited in the best of moments. Wait? Who am I kidding? The internet is nonsensical. That which goes viral and ascends into memedom can only hope to be understood through filters that our minds can get. Cats are cute and celebrities are easy targets. But for every one of these, we have unpredictable memes, like Pepe or most of the memes on this list.

To prove my point, I need you to go look at the Project Natal video again. Tell me there's not something odd about a grown man wearing a bright orange sweat suit with oversized shades while giving a presentation about groundbreaking motion tracking technology for one of the most powerful companies on the planet. How is he not a meme in and of himself?

Perhaps the joy of memes is like that of childhood. Some are predictable like a child's blanket. Maybe the unpredictable are just timely jokes that catch us off guard. We just sit there waiting, hoping that the next meme will be better. Maybe all of us meme lovers are just junkies, looking for that next fix.

Published May. 23rd 2017

Featured Contributor

Graduated from Full-Sail with a BS in Game Design (Speaking of BS, how about that student loan debt, eh?).


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