The Electronic Entertainment Expo - better known as E3 - is the Mecca of gaming hype. Each year, fans from around the world gather in a convention center or around a livestreaming screen, eagerly awaiting presentations showing off the hottest upcoming games and surprise announcements. The games themselves come and go, but the memories of their reveals live forever in the gaming zeitgeist - for better or for worse. Exceptional E3 press conferences and trailers can attain legendary status through their emotional highs or their embarrassing lows, but regardless of whether it's good or bad for a game company's brand, the populace is going to get some damn good memes out of the whole thing.
Take a trip back through time with us as we honor the most memorable moments in E3 history, in anticipation of all the possibilities that await us next week at E3 2016. Of course, these timeless events are best appreciated when you've got some context and empathy for what the audience felt in that moment. So to help put things in perspective, we've encapsulated the global reaction to these announcements and presentations using the universal language of the internet: cat pictures.
Nier director looks like a Tim Burton creation (2015)
During a notably small-scale press conference, Square Enix announced what would eventually be known as Nier: Automata, a sequel to a cult hit action RPG (which itself was a spinoff of the obscure RPG series Drakengard). It's already a bit odd for project director Yoko Taro to stand at the podium wearing a giant mascot head that makes his voice inaudible - but it's even more of a trip when that mask is a reference to a side-character in an incredibly niche game, ensuring that only a tiny fraction of the audience will have any idea what the reference is. The best part: nobody on stage even acknowledged how incredibly weird this all was, which made the whole thing even stranger.
Feline Feels: Complete bewilderment
Mega Man in Smash 4 (2013)
Super Smash Bros. character reveals always bring the hype, but adding Capcom's robot hero to the roster was a masterstroke of fan service. After seeing how the Mega Man brand had been so grossly mishandled in years prior, this classic iteration of the Blue Bomber just felt so right. Being able to pit Mega Man against other iconic heroes like Mario, Sonic, and Pac-Man turned Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS into the apex of old-school appreciation.
Feline Feels: Nostalgic glee
Xbox One online requirements send people into a frenzy (2013)
The public did not take kindly to the first iteration of the Xbox One announced at E3 2013, which was originally going to require a constant internet connection lest you lose access to all your games. Players loathed the idea, and the reaction was so overwhelmingly negative that Microsoft eventually rescinded the always-online requirements. Unfortunately, the 180 didn't occur until after then-Xbox chief Don Mattrick uttered a Mary Antoinette-esque line defending the decision: "Fortunately, we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity. It's called Xbox 360."
Feline Feels: Utter contempt
Mr. Caffeine tanks (2011)
It's always darkest before the dawn. In a time when Ubisoft hadn't yet locked down the lovable Aisha Tyler as the annual host for its E3 press conferences, it experienced the worst strikeout in E3 history: Aaron "Mr. Caffeine" Priceman. This host's annoyingly high energy, awful attempts at humor, and smarmy stage presence solidified him as the worst presenter E3 audiences had ever seen, and his performance will live on in infamy.
Feline Feels: Pure hatred
Team Ninja brings you Metroid: Other M (2009)
We now know that Metroid: Other M would be the series' biggest disappointment (pending Metroid Prime: Federation Force), but we were all blissfully unaware of the mediocrity that awaited us when the game was first unveiled at Nintendo's E3 2009 conference. The third-person perspective and focus on cinematics marked an intriguing departure from the FPS exploration of Metroid Prime, but it seemed like Team Ninja could do this new direction justice after winning over legions of hardcore gamers with the first two Ninja Gaiden games. Sadly, the end result wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Feline Feels: Bemused shock
Giant enemy crab (2006)
Granted, it's no Konami 2010, but Sony's E3 2006 press conference is infamous for its many missteps, from Sony CEO Kaz Hirai's half-hearted cry of "Riiiiiidge Racer!" to the unveiling of the PS3's steep $599 price tag at launch. But the best 'bit' from the whole thing was a demo of Genji: Days of the Blade, a game that revolves around "famous battles which actually took place in ancient Japan" yet somehow found room for two-story crabs with colossal claws and demon faces amidst all the chaos. Never fear - as long as you "attack its weakpoint for massive damage", you'll be fine.
Feline Feels: Embarrassed disappointment
Killzone 2 looks unbelievable (2005)
When something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Such was the case with the trailer for Killzone 2 shown off at Sony's E3 2005 press conference, which featured graphics and smooth FPS action that looked impossibly advanced for the planned PS2 hardware. Turns out, that trailer was a far cry from the sequel's actual state, and the pressure to match what was shown is what spurred the game to eventually be rebuilt and released for PS3. But hey, the general public didn't know all that back then - everyone was simply stunned by how enchantingly good everything looked.
Feline Feels: Quasi-incredulous amazement
Reggie's body is ready (2004)
Reggie Fils-Aime is one of the most personable execs in the industry, and Nintendo's E3 2004 press conference marked his first on-stage appearance and the inception of what is now his catchphrase. While stepping up to the Wii Balance Board during a live demo of Wii Fit, Fils-Aime mustered up the courage to have his physique evaluated in front of the gaming populace. "My body is ready", he proclaimed - and thus, history was made, and Nintendo fans discovered their go-to statement when expressing their excitement for just about anything.
Feline Feels: Physical preparedness
Miyamoto wields the Master Sword for Twilight Princess (2004)
You'd have to be some kind of monster not to love Shigeru Miyamoto, one of gaming's godfathers and the driving creative force behind numerous Nintendo classics. It's his modesty and unerring positivity that help make him so adored, and that uplifting energy was perfectly encapsulated during Nintendo's 2004 press conference, which closed out with one hell of a "one more thing" announcement in the form of the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess reveal trailer. As the trailer concluded and the room exploded with excitement, Miyamoto appeared on stage brandishing the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and his usual, impossibly charming smile. It was the perfect capper to a momentous reveal, and a reminder of the kind of pure joy that Nintendo is so expertly capable of evoking.
Feline Feels: Childlike adoration
The PlayStation price reveal (1995)
You've probably heard how Sega surprise-launched the Saturn during the first-ever E3 in 1995, but Sony stole all that thunder almost immediately. You see, Sega's stealth console release came with a hefty price tag of $399, and major retailers weren't really prepared (understandably) for a console launch out of the blue. During that same E3, SCEA's then-president Steve Race took the stage to discuss the price of the upcoming PlayStation console in North America. He sauntered up to the podium, uttered "299", and walked off to thunderous applause. As you no doubt know, 100 bucks can make a big difference in a console war, and gave the PS1 significant momentum that it would ride through an entire console generation.
Feline Feels: Impressed awe