[Originally published June 14, 2016]
I know it’s fun to be cynical about E3, but it’s something that I think we should try to avoid. I myself fall into that trap, so it’s important to highlight some of the nice moments from E3. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Condolences and Shows of Solidarity for Orlando
The worst mass shooting in the history of our country occurred just two days ago, and it’s one of the most striking examples of why many LGBTQ+ folks don’t feel safe in the U.S. When people and industries express support for the LGBTQ+ community, they work towards assuaging that fear and shifting public opinion. I’ve never been more proud of the video game industry than I was watching this year’s E3, where spokespeople came out wearing rainbow ribbons – some even addressing the issue directly. If you know someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, I would encourage you to act in a similar matter. Games may be terrible role models, but – last night – game companies certainly weren’t.
2. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
Those following along perhaps noticed that a lot of celebs seemed pretty stoked to toke at this year’s E3, so much so that Snoop Dogg straight-up broad-daylight no-bones-about-it smoked a blunt live on EA’s stream while playing the entrancing Battlefield 1. Major Nelson himself joked about possibly going to smoke some dopalicious fatties with Snoop. A wonderfully weird way to start E3 2016.
3. Katsuhiro Harada is E3’s Coolest Customer
When the man pictured above walked out onstage, I knew my life was over. It was over. My self-perception had been completed decimated – through my computer screen, no less – by the chillest man alive. I will never, never, ever be able to attain that level of coolness, and you won’t either. You’d be a fool to think otherwise. Throw a cucumber in your freezer. Do it right now. Take it out in an hour. Press it to your fevered, sweaty forehead. You feel how cool that is? It is like the searing-hot surface of the sun in comparison to what was happening on that stage. The hairstyle. The wardrobe. The indoor sunglasses. Katsuhiro Harada wore it all, and he did so as though he wasn’t standing before the watchful eyes of millions of people. I can’t even stand by a windowwithout feeling self-conscious. He worked the stage like a goddamn runway, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in my young life.
4. “The Friendly Update”
Y’all, I know we’re all here for goofs and gaffes, but I’m throwing this on the list for being pretty much the cutest presentation I’ve ever witnessed at an E3. Everyone involved was so excited about their game that their enthusiasm came through the awkward, nervous banter. Lydia Winters was positively beaming throughout the presentation. Sax Persson was clearly nervous as all get-out, but bravely pushed through nonetheless. John Carmack geeking out over VR, speaking in full-on dad mode didn’t hurt either. That dude was goofy, and earnest, and loving every second of it. To top it all off, Persson flubbed his closing line, dropping it just a little too soon. “Let’s get out of here.” Winters has a nice chuckle over it, and gives her co-presenter a very kind look of encouragement. It was a sweet, human moment, that served as a little breath of fresh air during a conference that oozed cynicism. For those that missed it, it starts at around 51 minutes into Microsoft’s stream.
Also, you guys named this “The Friendly Update”? That’s literally the most amicable title of any update, ever. Love you, Minecraft folks. What a bunch of absolute sweethearts.
5. Levar Burton Invites Aisha Tyler to His Home to Play Star Trek VR with the Cast of Star Trek
It’s clear from their brief talk about the game that these two are huge fans of Star Trek, and share a genuine excitement over the Star Trek VR announcement. Then, like a genie, Levar Burton grants Aisha Tyler’s nerdiest wishes and actually asks her to come hang out and play the Star Trek VR game with him and his former cast members. A very real offer, made by a very real man, to a very real fan. She gets giddy, he gets genuine, and they give us another surprisingly human moment to add to the list.
6. Ubisoft’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ Dance Number
You can always count on Ubisoft to deliver some good cringe, but not with this dance number. It was big, bold, and a ton of fun. A silly, goofy spectacle, to the point where even Aisha Tyler couldn’t help but walk out with a big ‘ol shit-eating grin. E3 is weird. Gotta love it when a company capitalizes on that. Also, nice to see the Desiigner Panda still getting work.
7. Pretty Much Sony’s Entire Press Conference
I write this just after the finale of Sony’s press conference, and I can only hope that my shaking, quivering, hype-filled hands don’t fail me now. Great announcements. Great demos. Great live Orchestra. Great crowd work. Great great great great great. I won’t spoil it for you, but – if you missed it – for the love of god, what are you doing? Go, get out of here. Stop reading my garbage post, and watch one of the best E3 press conferences I’ve ever seen.
Y’all, I screamed so loud that we got a call from my neighbors like two doors down. It’s an amazing time to love video games.
BONUS: Tony Carboni and his Supa Fly Threads
Anthony where do you get your swaaaaaaaaaag.
I’ll take my answer off the air.