Reliving the past: E3's most bizarre moments

Dante's Inferno Screenshot - My Body is Ready

As we count down the days to the big E3 event taking place in Los Angeles, we can't help but think – damn, it really is a pretty good show, isn't it? If it's not about the games, it's about the announcements, or the parties, or having a good time with your fellow members of the press.

But there's a dark side. Along with the worst press conference moments that we previously covered, E3 is a place where some weird stuff happens, such as a promotion that doesn't work out as planned or a decision that just plain lacks understanding.

So join us now as we look back at some of E3's more offbeat moments – moments that left us wondering just what the hell someone was thinking…

Nintendo's Vitality Innovation, or Lack Thereof

Nintendo

At E3 2009, Nintendo was looking to innovate in new ways with the Wii. But we can't exactly figure out the purpose of the Vitality Sensor. A small device that plugged into the Wii remote, the Sensor's purpose was for you to plug your finger into the hole, and whatever you were playing would somehow read your reaction. We can understand Nintendo thinking, "What if you could escalate the heart rate of someone for a horror game?" But really, do you think we're going to leave our finger sitting in a sensor while we move the Wii remote around? Luckily, the Sensor has since faded from memory… though we still have the Wii U. Ha!

E3 2007 – Divide and Not Conquer

Following the Electronic Entertainment Expo's (brief) exodus from the Los Angeles Convention Center, the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) opted to hold it in Santa Monica instead. Decent idea, but there was a problem – you couldn't access the games up close. Most of the events were divided up into multiple buildings, but the games themselves were put into a hangar that was several miles away, forcing journalists and attendees to ride shuttle buses – and cutting into their valuable game playing time – as a result. It was inconvenient and a bit odd, and, thankfully, the show runners agreed and brought it back to the LACC the following year.

Hey, Milo, Quit Scaring Us

Milo

You guys remember Milo, right? In 2009, Peter Molyneux introduced the virtual character during Microsoft's press conference, showing him interacting with a lady through the Kinect. Initially thought to be innovative, the presentation was just plain…creepy. The kid's reaction and tone just didn't feel right, and the biggest highlight of the presentation involved the handing of a page. Because, you know, we're totally over faxes, yes? Thankfully, Milo didn't get very far following his introduction, and Molyneux moved on to bigger and better things.

Gizmondo, Dead On Arrival

In an effort to introduce a handheld that could compete with the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable, the Gizmondo was born, and the company (also named Gizmondo – confusing) had it on display during E3 2005. However, the handheld system was pretty much a joke, with games that failed to stand out, including Sticky Balls (yes, Sticky Balls), Richard Burns Rally and Gizmondo Motorcross 2005. What's more, the booth was awkwardly designed and didn't really compel people to come over and try it. Alas, it never came out, since one of its co-founders was convicted of fraud. Well, so much for making a good first impression…

Dante's Infer-NO

Dante

2009 was a year that was good for weirdness, but just when you think Nintendo and Microsoft couldn't be topped, along comes EA. As part of its tie-in for Visceral Games' action opus Dante's Inferno, several fake protesters were hired to state their dislike for the game. 20 actors carried around signs and handed out pamphlets stating that the game's religious themes were hardly something to be messed with. The promotion turned out to be a flop when the news got out that it was staged – and things only went downhill from there. A month later, at San Diego Comic-Con, EA tried to introduce a "Sin to Win" promotion involving booth babes – which resulted in sexual harassment. Oh boy…

Where Are the Booth Babes?

Finally, in 2006, the ESA decided that it wanted to take the E3 Expo in a new direction, one that was focused more on games and less on, well, buxom babes showing off the games. So it moved forward with a "ban" on booth babes, threatening to fine $5,000 to any company that broke the rule. Granted, this didn't stop some folks from continuing to bring them in, and last year's E3 had a few of them in spades, even if they weren't scantily clad. Still, you have to wonder if that rule is still in effect. Guess we'll find out soon enough, eh?

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Robert Workman
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Games: Dante's Inferno

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