360blog’s 7 Days Of E3 – Day 2 – History Of E3
It’s hard to believe that E3 is gearing up for its 14th birthday, it seemed like just yesterday the we were getting our first looks at the Nintendo Ultra 64 and upcoming games like Duke Nukem Forever, oh how they grow up fast. In part two of our special E3 ’09 coverage we take a look at E3 from it’s formative years in the mid-90’s to its growth and eventual restructuring of modern days. Forget all those U.S. Presidents and what year they were elected in, this is a history lesson you don’t wanna miss.
Off To A Running Start – 1995 and 1996
To celebrate the launch and announcements of so many new game consoles like the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn, SNK Neo-Geo CD, Virtual Boy and Nintendo Ultra 64 (later renamed the Nintendo 64) the Entertainment Software Association or E.S.A. finally gave games a home of their own (Previously gaming related products were all shown at the Consumer Electronics Show). After a stellar expo in 1995 that saw all the afor-mentioned consoles announced and previewed, E3 returned to Los Angeles for another go in 1996. This time Nintendo would fully unveil the Nintendo 64 and its flagship title Super Mario 64. Fan favorites Starcraft and Final Fantasy VII were also showed, albeit in extremely early form. These formative years established E3 as a place that all gamers could look too and expect the huge announcements. Alot of memorable moments came from these early conventions, but our favorite is how the classic videogame Doom made it’s appearance at the ’95 show. No not cheesy at all…
A Change Of Scenery – 1997 and 1998
For the next two shows the E.S.A. would move its convention across the country to Atlanta, Georgia, but the change in location would not stop the party from getting crazier and crazier. The great games announcements were almost happening left and right. Metal Gear Solid, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Half-Life, Quake 2, too name just a few. But E3 would soon become famous, and notorious for more then just its games. The after-parties thrown by certain game developers were so wild that the police had to be called in. I suppose vodka, girls and gamers don’t mix very well… We close this chapter with the legendary trailer for Metal Gear Solid from 1998.
Playing In The New Millenium: 1999 to 2004
With the return to L.A., E3 was back in top form. In between ’99 to 2004 some of last generation’s greatest and most influential titles were showcased as well as four new consoles and two handhelds. The Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation 2 were fan favorites in 1999 and 2000. The next year Nintendo showed off their little purple console, the Gamecube and Microsoft threw their hat in the ring with the Xbox. As the years went on and the consoles matured, games took on more and more importance. In 2002 for example, Sony showed off the crime spree inducing Grand Theft Auto III and the Disney / Square-Enix mash up Kingdom Hearts. Nintendo took Star Fox out of his Arwing for Star Fox: Adventures and gave Link a new look in The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Finally Microsoft flaunted the power of it’s Xbox with Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and the rebirth of Ninja Gaiden. In 2004 we got an early glimpse of the next-generation when both Nintendo and Sony announced their new handhelds. The PSP crammed all the power of a console and also threw in some multimedia capabilities and Nintendo added a second screen and a microphone for the Nintendo DS. But one of the most memorable announcements from 2004 is definitely the early trailer for the The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Still sends chills up my spine…
Welcome To The Next-Generation: 2005 and 2006
The 2005 expo was the official coming out party for the next-generation. Microsoft fully unveiled their Xbox 360, the first high-definition console, with killer apps like Perfect Dark: Zero from Rare, Call Of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing 3. Sony also detailed plans for the Playstation 3, and showed off CG demos of certain games, most notoriously Killzone 2. The Revolution (later Wii) was the main showpiece of Nintendo’s conference, and although the motion controllers were not revealed, services like the Virtual Console were. The Game Boy Micro was also shown and quickly forgotten. In 2006 Microsoft continued to hammer home the advantages of the Xbox 360 over it’s competitors and Sony announced the final price of the PS3… a staggering 599$! But it would be Nintendo who would steal the show with the Wii and great games like Wii Sports, Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Galaxy. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a surprise reveal the day after Nintendo’s press conference and the amazing early trailer that revealed Snake as a playable character is our most memorable moment from E3 2006.
Towards The Future: 2007 and onwards..
After the 2006 show it was announced that E3 would be restructured and slimmed down for the foreseeable future. This resulted in the 2007 event being much smaller then previous events, with several high profile companies not attending entirely. Despite this, Microsoft, Sony And Nintendo were all at the show and showcased some quality products like Bioshock, Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Halo 3, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Wii Fit, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots and Resident Evil 5 to name a few. E3 2008 was an even smaller event with less companies present then ever before and few game announcements. For an in depth rundown of E3 2008, check out part 1 of our series on E3. However the future is very bright for E3 2009. With a return to its classic format, tons of games, loads of announcements and overall crazy atmosphere this is great time to be a gamer and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Electronic Entertainment Expo we all know and love. We leave you with the classic Halo 3 trailer from E3 2007.
Two down, five to go, come by again tomorrow as we continue our 7 Days of E3 special.