For almost two decades, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been a highlight for gamers to see what companies have in store. The show is full of press conferences, game announcements, and demos – some for the better, others for the worse.  Either way, E3 provides more than its share of memorable moments. We thought it would be fun to share our personal favorites. Expect hilarious press conferences, unexpected demos, and the adrenaline rush of covering the show to surface.

The Bizarre N-Gage Reveal 

Andy McNamara: My favorite moment in E3 history was the Nokia N-Gage announcement back in 2003. It was by far the worst press conference I ever had to sit through, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a great time. It was so bad it was comical. There was breakdancing, miscues, awkward fumbled segues; it had it all. And just when you thought it was over, one of the girl dancers ripped her shirt off, which I believed to be another unbelievable embarrassing mistake, but it was actually the price reveal for $299. But from where I sat and the position of her belly button, it looked like $2.99, which just made the whole surreal experience all the more memorable.

Photo Credit: The Next Level, learn more about the conference at their site.

The “Dear Friends” Concert

Joe Juba: After a while, E3 events blend together.  The press conferences, booths, and parties start to look the same. Maybe that’s why – after 10 E3s – my favorite memory is still from my first one. “Dear Friends” was a live concert of Final Fantasy music performed during E3 2004, and I managed to score one of Game Informer’s seats. As a fan of the Final Fantasy series and Nobuo Uematsu’s music, this concert was already a dream come true, but that isn’t the only reason it sticks with me. It was one of the first major events I attended, and a perfect look at gaming culture at its best. Everyone was gathered out of a mutual appreciation and enthusiasm for Final Fantasy. Tickets sold out in three days, so the hall was full of fans who wanted to be there. Some audience members cried during emotional numbers, others laughed during the Chocobo piece – and the eruption of cheers and applause when the “One Winged Angel” encore started up was nothing short of thunderous. Unlike many corners of gaming culture, I couldn’t detect any cynicism at all – it was just a big room full of people whose love for Final Fantasy brought them together. That kind of unabashed enjoyment is what got me into gaming in the first place, but seeing it on such a large scale was a rare and unforgettable treat.

A Beatific Interview

Matt Miller: In 2009, we were prepping a cover story for The Beatles Rock Band. When a particular interview was offered, it was hard to turn down. At Microsoft’s press conference that year, I found myself waiting backstage in a well-appointed trailer watching on a monitor as two of The Beatles stepped on stage to thunderous applause. When they were done, they strolled off the stage, and Paul McCartney continued his stroll to the door of my trailer. He stepped inside, shook my hand, and sat down next to me on the couch. He was pleasant, charismatic, and enthusiastic about the potential of the Rock Band game in which his virtual likeness would appear. He shared anecdotes about his memories of recording the songs, and how different the music business was back when The Beatles were together. When we were done, his smile seemed genuine as he wished me well and rose to leave. 

I’ve interviewed a number of surprising individuals I never thought I’d speak to, but it’s hard to beat the surreal experience of having a one-on-one casual chat with a living legend of popular music. A few weeks later, I was off to London to play Rock Band in Abbey Road’s Studio Two, where The Beatles recorded some of the same songs I was playing, except I was playing them on a little plastic toy guitar. But that’s another story.

Sony's E3 2013 Smackdown

Jeff Marchiafava: I've seen enough E3 press conferences to generally know what to expect; canned speeches, awkward executives, and flashy game demoes to get viewers excited for the year to come. But Sony's press conference last year was a different beast. Like many gamers, we had watched Microsoft stumble in the media all week before E3, thanks to its originally planned always-online requirement and used game restrictions. Microsoft responded by canceling many of its interviews with the press at the show, and by avoiding the hot-button issues during its morning press conference to kick off a tumultuous E3.

Gamers weren't the only ones watching, however, and Sony capitalized on the competition's silence in an unforgettable way. The company knew exactly what to say during its press conference, and the crowd erupted in thunderous applause at news that the PlayStation 4 wouldn't have any used game restrictions, could be played offline, and - above all else - would cost $100 less than the Xbox One. After the show, Sony even released a short tongue-in-cheek video showing how easy it was to share PS4 games with friends, which consisted of SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida simply handing a game to Sony's Adam Boyes, then smiling at the camera.

I never expected Sony to show up on stage at E3 with knives out, and I would love to know how much of the presentation was changed at the last minute to take advantage of Microsoft's PR gaffes. That stage presentation was not only one of the most exciting briefings in E3's history, it kicked off the competitive one-upmanship of the next-gen console race that ultimately all gamers have benefited from, no matter which system you ended up buying. 

Meeting A Video Game Legend

Tim Turi: Working at Game Informer has presented me with a variety of “I can’t believe this is happening” moments. From visits to my favorite studios to walking the humid floors of the Tokyo Game Show, I am constantly offered reminders of how awesome my job is. A very special E3 interview sits high among the best of the best moments in my career. During E3 2011 I sat down with Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the few developers in the industry who truly needs no introduction. I talked to the developer of freaking Super Mario Bros. about the Zelda franchise, dove into the history of Nintendo, and more. Miyamoto was a joy to interview, never far from a smile, laugh, or interesting insight into his past. Even better, our video producer Ben Hanson was there to photograph the entire occasion and offer me something amazing to look back on. You can read the interview from 2011 here, but be sure to check out the gallery of Miyamoto pictures at the bottom of the story.

Up Next: Playing a game we'll never see, a surprise at Spore, and a reaction to a long awaited announcement...