E3 is only days away, where we expect some of the biggest announcements in video games to occur, as they do each year. We approach the show each year with curiosity from an industry perspective and intense excitement as fans.

As our excitement grows for what we hope will get announced in the coming days, we want to look back at some of the moments that we still remember fondly. These are the moments that flash into memory when we look at E3’s past.

E3 1995: $299

Ok so I was three when this moment happened, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not impactful to me. Without this epic moment, we may not be talking about all the great Sony E3 moments. More importantly, I may not have my year of dreams part one and two in 2015 and 2016. The Sega Saturn was announced to be $399 earlier that day. That’s why all Steve Race, SCEA President at the time, had to do was say the magical number $299. That is literally all he did. He came up on stage, said “299”, then walked off the stage. With that statement, Sony officially dropped the first of many mics at E3 conferences throughout the years.

What an historical moment this was. At the height of the Sega and Nintendo console wars, Sega was banking on the success of the Saturn after the reception to the 32X and Sega CD. After Nintendo left Sony for a deal with Philips, Sony gave birth to the PlayStation. It was here at this conference where not only did Steve Race give birth to the PlayStation with the “$299” announcement, but the death of Sega was marked as the Saturn faced imminent doom. The future of video games was forever changed.

E3 2004: Reggie

“My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games.”

Who is this guy? He just said “ass” on Nintendo’s stage. They’re not messing around this year.

These were the thoughts swirling around as Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime first introduced himself to the gaming world. Now, I can’t imagine an E3 presentation without him. He’s added a big personality to every Nintendo show since he first joined the company and his first impression lingered with me for the rest of the show.

E3 2004: The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

Remember when Reggie was closing up Nintendo’s press conference and you had that little bit of hope left in you just begging for it not to be over yet? Like a band coming back on stage for an encore, Reggie shows off what just about everyone was asking for, a more mature take on The Legend of Zelda. Seeing Link fighting all these different creatures to the music from Conan (also used in Ocarina of Time’s trailer btw) blew my mind. Jaw dropped in awe. No exaggeration. I immediately went online to rewatch the trailer about forty-two more times. Probably my overall favorite moment so far.

E3 2005: Revolution

President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata takes to the stage to reveal the Revolution, which would later become the Wii. It was a moment that remains burned into my memory, seeing him hold the tiny, black box above his head as he smiled. He’d then detail how important Wi-Fi would be to the system, as wireless connectivity was just beginning to become the new necessity for all electronics. He emphasized that the controllers would be wireless and would innovate gameplay in new ways that he teased we would learn about “later.” He then announced a new service that would allow players to download classic games from legacy platforms.

It really was one of the biggest moments in video game history and certainly one in E3 history. Gaming changed forever with the launch of the Wii and it all started with E3 2005 and one man holding up one tiny, black box.

E3 2006: Solid Smash Bros.

When the Nintendo Wii was announced, I was amazed at it’s size and graphic capability (for a Nintendo console anyway). I was hoping for a Smash Bros. reveal and boy did I get one. And, to top it all off: SOLID. SNAKE. The first third-aparty character to be in a Smash Bros. game. This opened the dream doors for the fans to gush over.

E3 2007: My Body is Ready

2007 was a weird E3. It had moved from LA to Santa Monica and the show took place in mid-July. Specifically, it was just a day before my birthday. We were on vacation and I remember leaving the beach to be in the place we were staying to watch what Nintendo was announcing. My friend Ako and I were sitting in the room with G4 on as we ate lunch and we just kept looking at each other in confusion as peripherals were announced one after the other. However, amidst all of the weirdness was a moment that would change E3 forever.

During the demo of the Wii Fit Balance Board, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime called out: “My body…My body is ready.” Now, every year we lead into the big show recanting the phrase as if it’s some kind of conjuring spell.

E3 2008: Dead Space

Having EA show this off along with the auidience’s reactions hyped this game up perfectly. That twinkle twinkle little star lullaby was the creepy cherry on top of this horror sundae called Dead Space. So impactful.

E3 2010: Kevin Butler

“Staying up until 3 AM to earn a trophy that isn’t real.” Kevin Butler got me. He knew who I was and was calling out to me. Like the best of any of those big movie speeches, Kevin Butler knew how to command an audience and take them with him. He asked that we all unite to become one, regardless of where we choose to play, even if he is PlayStation loyal. The mascot of the modern era, he became Sony’s answer to Reggie in a more sarcastic tongue-in-cheek manner.

From Sony’s commercials to Sony’s stage, Kevin Butler was probably the only person who could sell motion control at a time when probably everyone was sick of it. There will never be another marketing character like him. He definitely helped put the entertainment in Electronic Entertainment Expo.

E3 2013: Mega Man Joins the Battle!

Here’s what Nintendo did:
“Hey, remember how we blew you away with SSBB and blew you away more with that Solid Snake ending? We gonna do it again, BUT WITH MEGA MAN!”
That was a good day. Hands down still best final smash.

This was everything. We had been hoping for Mega Man since the GameCube days of Super Smash Bros. Melee. When Solid Snake and Sonic joined Brawl, the only thing we were missing (besides Simon Belmont) was the blue bomber of the 8-bit era.

I was already enamored with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U after seeing the beginning of the announcement where the Villager was revealed. When the end of the trailer cut to this super rad reveal for Mega Man, I couldn’t imagine the game getting any better. It made me really want an animated series for Smash Bros. with that art style that I could just gaze out for hours on end. This was how you do a character reveal.

It was also dope that it was one of my E3 predictions for the year that came true.

E3 2014: Zelda Revealed for Wii U

And what a long tease it was, but man, was something different.

Almost like..a breath of..fresh air? (At least for that first year. See you in 2016.)

This was the moment we had all been waiting for. Since the spider demo at E3 2011 that showed Link in HD, we wanted to see what Aonuma and company could do on the Wii U. Finally, we had the beginnings of our answer and a lot of new questions.

E3 2014: Robot Chicken & Nintendo

 In a year when I wasn’t looking forward to watching the E3 Nintendo Direct, this collaboration made me enjoy it. Nintendo did a good job of being self-aware and there were many times throughout where I laughed out loud. The highlight for me was when an audience member asked about Mother 3 and Reggie destroys him with fireballs. It was so over-the-top but so perfect for that conference.

E3 2015: DOOM

Fallout 4 was suppose to be the big game going into Bethesda’s first ever E3 press conference. While Fallout was indeed big and brought the hype, one could argue the gameplay shown of DOOM towards the beginning of the conference was bigger. The initial moments of the trailer were epic, but when we saw the first glory kill that’s when I said “Oh shit” out loud. Who knew we would see the first gameplay of two Free Cheese Game of the Year winners that year…?

E3 2015: The Last Guardian and FFVII Remake

I didn’t get to witness this personally, but as I was working, I was texting my friends while they were watching it so I could stay informed on what was being announced. After getting all excited about The Last Guardian, I jokingly said “Let me know when they annouce that FF7 remake (callback to that tech demo). A I kid you not, as I said that, my friends were witnessing the actual trailer. What are the odds!?

 “For they are coming back. At last a promise has been made.” Those words shown with Cloud and Barrett walking through a crowd still send shivers down my spine. This remake has been long anticipated and deserving and to finally see it announced absolutely blew me away. Too bad it won’t be out for another three years…or so.

E3 2016: Crash Bandicoot Remaster Announced

 Shawn Layden walking up on stage to the Crash Bandicoot music just about made me jump out of my chair. I held my breath because I heard rumors of Crash coming to Skylanders, but to hear Shawn announce that the original trilogy was coming to PS4 as a remake brought me pure joy. It was about time we saw the return of the key PlayStation mascot and I can only hope it leads to more down the road.

“Fuck you,” is what I shouted.

Shawn Layden planted a seed when he wore a Crash Bandicoot shirt at PlayStation Experience the year prior. It was a seed of disappointment that grew as I realized that our beloved PlayStation mascot from the first generation of PlayStation was not ours anymore. Despite fan desire for the character’s inclusion in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Activision wouldn’t budge. Not one of the games has been playable on the Vita, despite their presence on both PS3 and PSP as PSone Classics.

When this finally happened, it was one of the true “I can’t believe this is happening” moments.

E3 2016: God of War and Breath of the Wild

Sony stepped up it’s game big time. That orchestra. That God of War gameplay. I’ve always wanted to play this series and this game only made me desire to play it that much more. Sony’s press conference that year is something I’ll never forget. Games after games after games after games. Home runs all around.

And then finally, I get the game I had to wait three years for. I’m happy that I finally live in a world where this new Zelda game exists, but I’m also easger to see what comes next. This is the year of dreams right? See you there!

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.

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