The year is 2010, and publishers are starting to spend more and more money on E3. In particular, companies like Sony and Microsoft are embracing E3 as means of generating hype and excitement for upcoming hardware and software. A global stage where dreams are made and fanboy tears are shed.
And then, there's Konami. At this point in time, Konami was still publishing a good amount of games, believe it or not. The company was pushing enough product to warrant its own E3 press conference, and in 2010, it delivered what is widely regarded as the worst E3 showcase of all time.
With this year's E3 just around the corner, we wanted to travel back in time and revisit Konami's presser in all of its, er, glory. As such, we've gone through the trouble of sitting through the entire thing all over again, and let's just say that it still blows our minds. It's awful on a near unfathomable level.
If you want to put yourself through hell, you can watch the whole thing below. If not, we've jotted down our own reactions, minute by minute.
0:03 - David Daniels, head of Konami US marketing, lays down some ground rules for the audience and attempts to sow the seeds of hype. At this point, no one could have foresaw the unmitigated disaster that followed. Daniels also outlines the dangers of "ending up on the internet, in the sound at least", prompting inevitable noise from the crowd.
2:03 - It begins. A CG intro movie plays in which a voice calls out the iconic Konami code. Cue rock music and a game montage. It's a bit awkward and some of the games look bloody awful, but it's nothing out of the ordinary.
3:45 - Konami president Shinji Hirano takes to the stage and gives an introduction in English. Hirano relays his script well enough, but his robotic delivery is an unfortunate sign of things to come.
6:43 - Hirano leaves the stage and we're left with a title card for Glee Karaoke Revolution. Almost immediately, the press conference starts to fall apart. An unbearably awkward silence grips the room as the game's presenter makes his way onto the stage. The lights then dim, and there's yet more silence.
A minute or so later, the presenter says "can we roll the trailer, please?" in a clearly nervous, possibly slightly annoyed voice. The camera cuts to the Konami logo and the silence, now deafening, continues.
A display setting confirmation message briefly appears for all to see. It's quickly replaced by the Konami logo. The ongoing silence is finally broken, but only momentarily, as Daft Punk and Kanye West's Stronger starts to play. It's cut off a second later and the silence resumes.
"It's so good they keep you waiting on the edge of your seat," the presenter says, sounding even more nervous than before. His comment is met with continued silence.
For the briefest moment, the Konami logo is replaced by the Def Jam Rapstar logo and the presenter lets out a nervous laugh. We're only eight minutes in and some members of the press are already eyeing the exits. It's a good job David Daniels told everyone where to find them.
Perhaps mercifully, Glee Karaoke Revolution is looking like a no-show. "I'm just going to talk to you instead," the presenter announces, revealing that he's actually the CEO of the developer behind Def Jam Rapstar. The camera finally cuts from the Konami logo.
8:30 - Def Jam Rapstar dev Nick Perrett rambles about his studio and the game, put on the spot by obvious technical difficulties. After four solid minutes of talking, Perrett welcomes hip-hop producer Russell Simmons on stage. There's some whooping from the audience -- the first bright spot of the presser so far. Simmons talks for another four minutes before a trailer for Def Jam Rapstar finally hits the screen. There's applause from the audience -- likely brought on by relief -- before the awkward silence returns for another minute or so.
18:28 - 20 minutes in and we have our second trailer. It's live action followed by some gameplay, and it's for the ill-fated wrestling title Lucha Libre Heroes del Ring. "What a great crowd," says Fedrico Bayer, first party liaison for publisher Slang, as he walks out on stage alongside a trio of masked wrestlers, title belt slung over his shoulder.
Oh god, what are they planning?
Bayer goes on about the game for a good few minutes, and then things take a turn for the worse as he introduces his masked mates, who have been standing patiently behind him this entire time. A cautious applause ripples through the crowd as the wrestlers remove their robes and flex their muscles. Bayer then introduces the audience to a set of scales and proceeds to weigh the athletes. No, really.
As Bayer weighs the third and the audience inevitably starts to lose interest, the first two wrestlers begin pushing and shoving one another. Then come the chest chops, and some members of the crowd play along, probably in disbelief. A video message plays on screen and the lucha lads start kicking off. Things get heated in a bizarrely awkward fashion as Bayer holds the title belt aloft and states "gentlemen, save it for the ring".
The wrestlers ignore Bayer's words and begin to hop around a bit, then one of them grabs the belt. It's safe to say this wasn't part of the script, as Bayer clearly starts to panic, unable to control his beefy buddies. At least the crowd seems to enjoy it. With any luck, they'll get to see a luchadore clothesline a security guard.
Unfortunately, any excitement quickly devolves into more awkwardness as Bayer tries to regain control of the situation. Amongst nervous laughter, one of the wrestlers grabs Bayer by the scruff of his neck, probably crushing the guy's microphone in the process. For a second, it looks like they're going to try and perform a wrestling move on Bayer, but he quickly backs out and they all exit the stage.
An unbelievable series of events.
24:39 - We're not even half an hour in and this is already a contender for the worst E3 press conference ever. We get a crappy trailer for Saw II: Flesh and Blood followed by some talking, and then, memes are made.
28:45 - Tak Fujii casually strolls on stage for what will be remembered as one of the strangest presentations in E3 history. He's here to talk about Ninety-Nine Nights II, but he spends the first minute or so of the segment trying to coax an applause out of the audience.
A combination of slurred English and sloppy script reading leads to a parade of brilliantly dumb phrases -- phrases that are still echoed across the internet to this day. "More than one million troops," Fujii emphasises again and again. "One million trooooops. Wooow."
"The x x x and the y y y and the x x x and the y y y again... You'll be sucked."
34:27 - Assistant producer Niais Taylor has the unenviable job of following on from Tak Fujii, introducing bullet hell shooter Otomedius Excellent. Taylor puts on a decent enough presentation until the trailer plays, and the audience is subjected to sickly sweet Japanese rock music and aggressively generic anime girls. No gameplay is shown.
37:32 - Taylor's back to talk about Xbox Kinect title Adrenaline Misfits. Need we say more? As Microsoft knows all too well, dodgy motion controls and E3 pressers don't mix. The game looks dire.
40:53 - Konami once again forces an English script upon an unprepared Japanese man, as Dance Dance Revolution producer Naoki Maeda struggles to talk about his game. Awkward interactions with English-speaking Thomas Nagano ensue.
It's not long before both of them are dancing with their backs to the audience, showing off Dance Dance Revolution. Two minutes later and Maeda is visibly knackered, although you can't fault his enthusiasm as he returns to his script with a smile.
46:41 - Oh sh*t, Glee Karaoke Revolution is back in trailer form. We doubt anyone in the audience cares at this point, but that doesn't stop Konami from marching out a group of young singers to cover one of the show's tunes.
The performance features the entire song, and it's hell.
55:17 - "So that's what I have to follow," jokes Mike Pepe of Hudson Entertainment, as if his terrible looking trailer for BeyBlade Metal Fusion could possibly top a live Glee song.
"That's right, BeyBlade is back and hotter than ever," Pepe says in the most unenthusiastic manner imaginable.
57:39 - Here's a trailer for a Wii Sports knock-off. There's a Kinect one, too. Platformer Lost in Shadow gets glazed over because everyone just wants to go home.
1:03:02 - Christ, we've been sat here for an hour?
Wait, is that Silent Hill?
1:03:03 - It is Silent Hill, and here's producer Devin Shatsky to tell us all about it. He's joined by developer Brian Gomez, who soon takes to the podium to talk about this especially spooky entry in the series.
1:04:03 - Who needs the underlying terror of Silent Hill when you've got Devin Shatsky? Inexplicable to this day, Shatsky spends the next 50 seconds boring a hole into the back of Gomez's head with a psychotic stare. Or, you know, he's just at a weird angle and he's really just reading the prompter to Gomez's right. Either way, Shatsky solidifies himself as the most threatening man to ever grace an E3 stage.
1:04:50 - Silent Hill looks kind-of-maybe-okay in its trailer, which says a lot about what the press conference has had to offer so far.
1:09:45 - Producer Shinta Nogiri takes to the stage to present the dreadful NeverDead. The trailer is relatively intriguing until it cuts to gameplay, which looks like a mess.
Then Konami decides that it's been too long since something completely stupid happened on stage, so Thomas Nagano returns in order to pretend that his head has fallen off with a dumb magic trick. Baffling.
Even more baffling, the crowd actually claps. They've clearly been driven insane.
1:14:31 - Quite possibly the only outright good thing shown during the press conference, a trailer rolls for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The game is then discussed for almost ten solid minutes.
1:27:29 - The disappointing Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is shown. Koji Igarashi appears on stage wearing his classic hat. Sadly, he doesn't drive a stake through anyone's chest. He doesn't even pull out a whip and strangle his co-host. He could have gotten away with it at this particular press conference, too.
1:32:28 - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow producer Dave Cox appears on stage. The game gets a trailer, it looks decent enough. It's also the final showing of the presser. It's certainly not the bang that this conference desperately needed to end on, but then, even the best game the world has ever seen wouldn't be enough to save this monstrosity.
1:39:20 - Konami president Shinji Hirano returns to the stage to wrap things up. He leaves with an inexplicably confident smile and the audience applauds in order to check that their brains still function.
The press conference has lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes, and it's been a disaster from start to finish.
Do you remember the Konami 2010 press conference, or is this your first time hearing about it? Question reality in the comments section below.