So E3 is just four sleeps away, when the madness begins and big announcements will bombard us from all angles. We’ve been getting nostalgic about E3 conferences from the past, and last week — in Our Favourite E3 Memories – Part One — a few members of the team reminisced about some of the older events, when Satoru Iwata was the ‘daddy’ and DS was blowing minds. This week we look back at some more memories with Mike Mason, Corbie Dilliard and Thomas Whitehead.
E3 2006's spectacular Wii blow-out is a personal favourite moment of mine. Shigeru Miyamoto, dressed to the nines in a fancy tux, strode onto the stage to guide a virtual Wii Music orchestra through a rendition of The Legend of Zelda theme – and then the show really began. Miyamoto danced along, Wii Remote in hand, as Excite Truck and Red Steel were revealed to an energetic soundtrack.
From there Nintendo, via Reggie Fils-Aime, launched immediately into a no-nonsense presentation that extolled the benefits of its new system and showed off a barrage of first and third party titles that would support it. Wii Sports. Super Mario Galaxy. Metroid Prime 3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. WarioWare Smooth Moves. Sonic and the Secret Rings (then known as Sonic Wild Fire). Elebits. Rayman 4 (which evolved into Rayman Raving Rabbids). An early version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers.
Not all of these titles turned out brilliantly, but as a whole it was a tremendous demonstration of Wii's strength and a dedication to the new console that didn't fail to excite and compensated for the previous months of silence, which had been filled mainly by rampant speculation and hype. It's a scenario that we find ourselves in once more with Wii U; now Nintendo need to get the climax just as right now as it did at E3 2006.
I'm also partial to the moment that Twilight Princess was revealed in 2004. Accompanied by a cacophony of joyful whoops and hollers, those few minutes saw any Nintendo fans in the press at their most enthusiastic. It was a game that everybody had been waiting for; some had convinced themselves it would never happen after the stylisation of Wind Waker. Its effect was magnificent, a shock reveal that was met with rapturous applause, cheers and expletives. The moment of the crowd's realisation at what they were seeing still gives me chills — it's a reaction that I still don't believe has been matched at E3, as the footage below shows.
There have been so many great E3 memories to choose from, but my favourite would have to be my first Nintendo press conference in person. It was almost surreal to walk into that Nokia Theatre and see all the Nintendo screens and signs and actually realize that this time I wasn't just seeing it on the internet or TV. It took it a while to really sink in.
I can still remember seeing all of those girls walking out into the audience where I was sitting and giving us our first experience of the 3DS system. Of course getting interviewed first up on Nintendo's E3 network video didn't hurt either. All of it was just an unforgettable experience and one I'll always treasure.
My outstanding E3 memory is also the most recent; the opening to E3 2011. In the past Nintendo opened the show in a variety of ways both impressive and simple, but 2011 was Zelda year, and Nintendo went above and beyond for its 25th Anniversary.
The Zelda montage that played on the big screen, for one thing, was wonderful to see. It was skilfully cut to match the music and, in my opinion, typified what the series is all about: themes such as courage, loyalty and friendship. It’s also about epic adventure and defeating the odds, and the montage of old-school 2D alongside 3D titles worked perfectly.
I said the music was a perfect match and for some it was surely a complete audio-visual performance, but from my perspective it was all about the orchestra. I adore orchestral music, probably because I almost studied music at university instead of English literature, and still have my French Horn despite the fact I don’t play it anymore. An orchestra with a powerful score produces a sound that, to me, is hard to surpass: the Zelda performance even had a choir to boost the sound further. It says it all that although The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was in my view a 10/10 release, it was the orchestral piece over the credits that was most memorable to me. As for the soundtrack to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and the accompanying CD, pure bliss.
The opening at E3 2011 was a top-class, distinguished homage to the Zelda series; Nintendo will have a tough job producing a better start to the show this year.
So there you have it, more of our favourite E3 memories. If you still have some to share we’d love to read about them in the comments below.