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Five of the worst E3 press conference moments

Wii Music Screenshot - 1146180

Just as we overviewed some of the greatest moments in E3 history, we indeed have to turn to the dark side. And there were some press conferences that definitely had a dark side, whether it was a host acting like anything but a host, or a presentation that made you go, "Um, what's this then?" Yep, there were plenty of these – and I was able to catch them all. (Well, not all – there's only so much Mr. Caffeine you can take.)

Here now are five moments culled from the memories of E3 that you probably wish you could forget. Ahhh, if only it were that easy. BUT IT'S NOT.

Nintendo's Underwhelming Trip to Nintendo Land… and Whatever Wii Music Is

Nintendo

In past Nintendo press conferences, excitement was easy to generate by simply announcing a new sequel to a popular franchise, like Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (one of my favorite E3 moments, by the way) and Super Mario Galaxy. But then you have those times that Nintendo introduces a new project that just doesn't get that kind of reception.

There are two instances worth mentioning. The first took place at E3 2008, when the company's press conference hit a number of snags. Wii Music was introduced, and it enthralled, well, hardly anyone – even with "Robbie Drums" on drums. Cammie Dunaway graciously tried to move things along, but couldn't help but look a bit out of it when trying to snowboard in Shaun White Snowboarding on the Wii's balance board. Watch the highlights (lowlights?) here.

Then came E3 2012, when the company was expected to make major announcements for the Wii U. The announcements came, but they were hardly major. Besides the revealing of Mass Effect 3 for the system, all we got was a weird ad for Wii Fit Plus and the revealing of Nintendo Land, a place that ended up being less fun than intended. And instead of ending the press conference with a bang, the big N sent us out to…virtual fireworks. Yay. Watch it here.

Konami's Weird Presentations – and the Rock Revolution That Wasn't

Rock

Oh, Konami. We know deep down you love us and everything, but there are times you simply try too hard for your own good. Case in point, the 2010 E3 press conference – or whatever the hell it was supposed to be. This show was filled with all kinds of awkwardness, between dance presentations that didn't click, Tak Fujii giving a rather strange demonstration of Ninety-Nine Nights II, and… well, there's just so much here. Watch the "highlights" here. "DO YOU LIKE THE GAMES?!"

But if you think that was awkward, it's about to get, um, worse. Two years prior, at its 2008 press conference, Konami was set to present its "Rock Band-killer" (laugh out loud here) Rock Revolution. However, the stage guys presenting it couldn't keep up with the song "Blitzkrieg Bop" due to faulty equipment – resulting in massive booing. Revolution bombed heavily afterwards – between a lack of features and that god-awful drum set designbut this performance shall live forever. IT WILL BURN ITSELF INTO YOUR MIND.

Because Dancing and Live Actors Make Fighting Games Better!

Killer

It's weird when some people promote a fighting game with an off-the-wall approach, as Midway did back in 1995 with Mortal Kombat 3. Rather than have just something simple, like Ed Boon talking about the game – or hyping the PlayStation release – the crew put on a stage show featuring actors from the game. And it's right up there with American Gladiators' greatest hits. You're welcome… or not. View it here.

Not to be outdone, Nintendo had a very awkward set-up for its debut of Killer Instinct at E3, with the Killer Instinct girls dancing along to a track from Killer Cuts. Yes, Killer Instinct Unveiled was something else -- and all for a trimmed-down SNES port of the game, no less. Best of all, it took place the same year – 1995 – as the Mortal Kombat presentation. If you got to attend both, chances are your mind was blown. Kind of. Watch the madness here.

Ubisoft's and Activision's Odd Choices

Kennedy

If there's one company that earns a vote for making some odd decisions with its press conferences, it's Ubisoft. Don't get us wrong, its games are fantastic, and Aisha Tyler did a great job with last year's show, but some of Ubi's other hosts just left us wondering. Who is Mr. Caffeine again? Why is Joel McHale of TV's Community making French jokes? And Tobuscus looks like he could use a drink as well…

But one weird choice involved James Cameron, the director of Avatar, who appeared in 2009 to talk about the game adaptation. The problem is, that's all he did – talk. There was no movie footage, no game footage, just a 14-something minute speech about the wonder of Avatar. Granted, it turned out to be excellent (the film, not really the game), but it would've been nice to see something go with his speech. See it for yourself here.

That said, Activision also made a questionable decision back in E3 2007, when it chose Jamie Kennedy – yes, Mr. "You've Been X'd" himself – to host its press conference. And we use the term "host" lightly because, well, holy shit. Not only does he appear drunk and out of it, but he drags the show down miserably. Even the audience took jabs at him over the course of the event, just to liven things up. (It didn't entirely work.) But at least Kennedy got over it and went on to host more heartwarming stuff – like this debacle of a New Year's Eve show.

Watch the Activision madness here. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wincing.

Sony, Master of Giant Crabs, Ridge Racer and High-Priced Systems

Sony

Finally, what would a "worst of E3" tour be without looking back at Sony's 2006 press conference? Anything that could have gone wrong here did. Let's just run down the list.

  • Sony introducing a SIXAXIS PlayStation 3 controller with gyroscopic features, but no rumble. (Later corrected with the DualShock 3, thank goodness.)
  • Sony introducing the multiplayer game Warhawk, only to not get the hang of landing controls.
  • Kaz Hirai trying to generate excitement with the PlayStation Portable with "RIDGE RACER! RIIIIIDGE RACER!"
  • A demo for Genji: Days of the Blade, featuring "famous battles which actually took place in ancient Japan"… and then GIANT CRABS!
  • A lackluster Eye of Judgment demo. Thank goodness it's since been replaced by Kung Fu Rider and EyePet!
  • And last but not least, the system's launch price. November 17th was a suitable launch date, to be sure, but $500 for the 20 GB model, and $600 for the 60 GB model? AFFORDABLE!

Sony's improved its shows since then, but… really, this one just takes the cake. Watch a remix of this "greatest hits" package here.

Here's hoping this year's E3 press conferences blow the roof off. Oh, and Sony, don't price the PS4 for $600, please.

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Robert Workman
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Games: Wii Music

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