The anticipation in the air for E3 2014 and all the shiny new games that will be shown to the world for the first time is almost palpable. This is especially true for the PS4 and Xbox One owners who are desperate to rationalize their early entry into the next generation. Before we get too carried away in imagining the wondrous combinations of gameplay and graphical splendor that will make us swoon in a matter of hours let’s have a pre-E3 hype intervention.
I would like to reflect on some of the notable games that were announced at the E3s between 2005 and 2013. I think this time frame is the most appropriate as 2005’s conference took place in the Summer before the release of the Xbox 360 and PS3, just like last year’s E3 was the last before the PS4 and Xbox One burst onto the scene. Â The games I selected were ones that we were told would harness the horsepower of new hardware, Â let us walk down a remodeled memory lane, or perfect a formula that was just missing that ‘special something’. This is not to say that there haven’t been games announced at the Expo that were able to live up to their lofty potential. The first Bioshock trailer, presented at 2006’s E3 blew my mind, and what made it even more impressive was the fact that all of the narrative themes and aesthetic elements that looked so completely unique were maintained, and even improved upon when game was released in 2007.
But the only way to appreciate sterling examples of showmanship combined with Â authenticity and genuine creativity like Ken Levine’s masterpiece are to compare them to their polar opposites, to games that may have been sold to us as inspired, unique, and respectful of their forebears, but proved to be anything but when the controller was taken out of the trained developer/celebrity’s hand and put into ours.
Let us begin.