Conferences and live events have a lot of pros and cons. For E3, there’s the excitement of brand new content being unveiled. There’s also the chance that something really ridiculous and stupid is going to be shown, or that hardware will completely fail during a live demonstration. We’ve all seen it.
If you watched this year’s E3, you may have caught a few moments that make you want to facepalm a little — but I bet it was nothing like these seven E3 failures I’m about to show you. Let’s take a look at the worst flops in the history of the Electronic Entertainment Expo!
Wonderbook (E3 2012)
I don’t know what Sony was thinking with this one. We all know about the Wii Remote, and it did pretty well. Now, imagine a Wiimote for the PS3 that specifically caters to a small set of games inspired by Harry Potter. Imagine shaking this controller wildly at some book-shaped peripheral to advance through cinematics in a game. You’re now picturing what Sony was passing off the Wonderbook as.
Sony had the right idea with getting Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to cosign and help with the design and launch of the Wonderbook, but the presentation and gameplay at E3 was just cringe-worthy. Book of Spells was the launch title shown at this E3 with that Wiimote knockoff, and it had zero hype to it.
To top it all off, the Wonderbook presentation was riddled with technical issues. This thing was dead on arrival — and even those content-thirsty Potter fans were saying so.
Battle Tag (E3 2010)
Let’s go ahead and acknowledge that 2010 is a little late to be jumping on the laser tag bandwagon. I remember playing this in my parents’ yard with friends circa 2002.
Another mistake they made right out of the gate is having Joel McHale, the American comedian on the right of the stage, participate in the presentation. As a comedian, he knows when something is stupid. You can tell that he knows this thing is stupid. The presentation is filled with him cracking jokes and awkward pauses from the main presenter. When you bring a comedian out to help present something that comes off as a hack bit, how can anyone take it seriously?
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood had just recently left the presentation stage, so the bar was set pretty low. However, when those girls started running through the crowd and shooting toy guns at each other, things got pretty awkward. It was literally just laser tag that cost $130. Ubisoft threw up an airball with this one.
Wii Music Drum Solo (E3 2008)
Miyamoto brought out someone special to help introduce the new Wii Music gimmick at E3 2008: DJ Ravidrums, well-known for his live remix DJing and drumming. That’s like bringing Kyrie Irving out to a carnival to shoot hoops at a 4-foot distance. This guy was set up to be laughed at from the very start.
It’s bad enough that we had to endure a stage full of adults performing the worst-ever rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme song just moments earlier, but Ravidrums’ solo was really the cherry on top. Not a single person watched this and said, “Wow, I want to be just like that.”
Mr. Caffeine (E3 2011)
When the host is unbearable, the show will be unbearable. If you’re the type that just can’t look away from a train wreck, Ubisoft had a real treat for you in 2011.
From pronouncing Tom Clancy as “Tom Callancy” to admitting his failed efforts at penis-inspired humor, this guy was a mess. His Wayne’s World transitions between the game showcases were just too much. The guy was high energy, as his name might suggest — but no one was laughing with him.
When you’ve got to ask for the audience to applaud for you over and over, you’re doing something wrong. Just ask Jeb Bush.
Sony’s Entire Press Conference (E3 2006)
You know your confidence is low about launching a product when you’ve got to present it with warnings about how it requires “huge financial investment” — and that’s exactly what Sony did for the PlayStation 3 in 2006. At $599, the price tag on this console was ridiculous for something that was being presented 11 years ago. Many consoles aren’t even that price today.
The fails kept coming and coming. Genji 2 was presented as the most cliché ancient Japanese game ever. The “giant enemy crab” where you need to “attack its weak point” gets me every time. “Riiidge Racer” was also a complete letdown. “Real-time weapon change” was actually being advertised as something cutting edge and amazing. It just kept going and going.
This press conference helped Microsoft and Nintendo more than it did Sony.
Jamie Kennedy’s Activision Press Confererence (E3 2007)
Watching the clip above, it’s fair to assume the guy is either drunk or high (or even both). This is the press conference where Activision is supposed to be selling Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to us all — but instead we’re all focused on the awkward banter of a disoriented “comedian.”
The jokes revolved mostly around sex and drugs. And maybe that appeals to the Call of Duty or Tony Hawk crowd, but this is the wrong guy to deliver. The entire press conference consisted of Kennedy making half-assed attempts at embarrassing the developers and audience — going as far as to call all of them virgins at one point.
Crude humor can work if it’s done correctly, but this was just sad.
Konami’s Entire Press Conference (E3 2010)
This one is enough to make you think that Battle Tag may actually be a good investment. After watching this a few times, I get the vibe that it was actually intended to be as awful as it was. Maybe they wanted it to be this way so that all of the attention was on them. Does that make it more or less cringy?
I’ll give Ninety-Nine Nights II‘s producer, Tak Fuji, credit for coming out and speaking a non-native language to present his game. But man…a lot of interesting quotes came out of this one, like the classic “one million troops” or “extreeeme hack-and-slash title”. He explains that the game requires you to be tactical, stating, “If you just continue to press the same button like the X, X, X, and Y, Y, Y, and X, X, and Y, Y, Y again, you will be sucked.”
Truly a sound bite for the ages.
Naoki Maeda, the producer of Dance Masters, shows up next and is barely comprehensible as he explains to us that we can “move our fat bodies freely” with his new game. Silent Hill‘s presentation was taken hostage by a death stare. Lucha Libre AAA: Héroes del Ring‘s presentation featured three knockoff, masked wrestlers on the stage engaging in a slap fight. This press conference was an absolute circus.
Congratulations on making it through all of the list. Some of that was tough to watch, right? Have any moments that I forgot about that you’d like to share with us? Drop a comment below! And be sure to check out the rest of our E3 coverage here on GameSkinny.