Sony CEO and renowned comedian Jack Tretton took to the stage and sullied Sony's E3 press conference with an ill-advised Jack Palance punchline. After recounting the famous one-handed push-up, Tretton remarked, "And thanks to my job and my bi-annual workout regiment, you're not likely to see that here. But Jack Palance is dead and I'm still here ..."
Ha, take that Jack Palance! Guess that'll teach you for dying and stuff.
Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox 360
The biggest talking point of E3 2008 also happens to be the least relevant. With the Japanese PlayStation 3 version nowhere near completion and a lengthy localization process to follow -- in tandem with development of an Xbox 360 version -- Final Fantasy XIII is unlikely to play its part in the console wars for quite some time. Oh well.
Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox 360
Attendees of Microsoft's E3 press conference were seen flapping in the wind and clinging to their seats when Square Enix dropped this bomb. Final Fantasy XIII, the hugely anticipated current-gen installment of a beloved franchise and the most frequent keyword in "Why I bought my PlayStation 3" blogs, was finally coming to Xbox 360. And no, we don't know many DVDs it'll be on.
Even in the din of EA's E3 extravagance, Dead Space managed to grip us with its claustrophobic, sinister and electric atmosphere. Though the game's environment posed a rich visage of technology gone awry, its production values and art design clearly showed the results of technology gone right.
Runner-climber-jumper-up: Mirror's Edge
Yes, another EA game. Mirror's Edge is a breathtaking struggle for momentum, with the first-person view making every death-defying leap a question of faith. Had the gameplay demo been longer than a few minutes, this would have taken the award.
Left 4 Dead
Though most simulations are content with placing you inside an airplane, a train or a car, Valve's Left 4 Dead reminded us that reality can be an exciting place -- especially if it's recently become the victim of a zombie apocalypse. Of all the games at this year's show, only this one taught us the true value of life, friendship and shotguns.
Protip with outdated punchline: Don't let Dick Cheney on your team.
Lauren Faccidomo for Rock Revolution
Rock Revolution's presence during Konami's press conference only served to suck the life out of a room already filled with barely conscious and thoroughly unamused vegetables. Not only did the game's rendition of "Blitzkrieg Bop" pale in comparison to that of the real live band which played just moments before, it also kicked Lauren and her drumming partner to the rhythm-less curb. And that was the end of the show. Talk about ending on a downer.
If anything, we think this speaks of Konami's development approach to its late-to-the-party rock game. Do half as much half as well, twice as late and twice as difficult as anybody else.
Oh, how we enjoyed peering at pale heads through our rifle scopes, gently pulling the trigger and watching brain mush (technical term) splatter in every direction. It was the most fun we've had at E3 in years.
We also enjoyed the level of violence on display in Bethesda's Fallout 3, by the way.
Duke Nukem Trilogy
As "The Plan 9 From Outer Space" of trailers, the promotional video of the Duke Nukem Trilogy surely rates as one of the most efficient uses of limited resources we've ever seen. Resources, of course, referring to absolutely nothing. No gameplay footage, no information and absolutely no restraint -- that's what comprises this never-ending parade of spinning logos and the unexpected magnification of Duke Nukem's crotch. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you were dead.
We like Shane Kim, but we can't seem to extend our hand of friendship to his polygonal, Xbox avatar. The little guy emits a vague aura of "I'm going to murder you," with his eyes following you around the room and subconsciously projecting his unspeakably evil plans. For the safety of your own avatars, we advise against inviting this guy into your party.
Going into E3, we were concerned that this award may have been a little too specific. Thankfully, Konami came through for us by not coming through for anybody, anywhere, with Castlevania: Judgment.
Though Koji Igarashi has defended the game, pleading with series fans to give this different direction a chance, the Castlevania connection is really the least of the game's problems. We'd rank things like it being a lousy, exhausting, half-baked, waggle-infested fighting game slightly higher on our list of complaints. Mankind ill needs a spin-off such as this.
Prince of Persia
You should be warned: Ubisoft's "next-gen" Prince of Persia does, in fact, contain the color brown. But it also features startling blues, whites, yellows, greens and reds. From an art design perspective, we're at a loss for words when trying to name a game that was more visually arresting and richer than Ubisoft Montreal's open-ended platformer. Beautifully animated and nuanced, we can't wait to see more of the game's characters and environments, corrupted or otherwise.
P.S. The game is also totally fun to play, phew!
When the mighty fall, you don't hear a mighty thump. Apparently, you hear the torturous wailing of a synthesized saxophone, one wielded by one of gaming's greats, Shigeru Miyamoto. We'll be having nightmares about his on-stage, Wii Music sax antics for weeks.
Despite being a year away from release, Capcom's Dark Void captured the sensation of unsteady, rocket-propelled flight extremely well. The Gears of War-esque shooting isn't half bad either, but we're more enamored with all the airborne antics -- like hijacking UFOs. Throw in some lifesaving chewing gum and we've got our dream Rocketeer game.
Congratulations are in order for EA, as it has finally (as promised) become less of an uncaring, unoriginal sequel-whoring publisher ... you know, like EA. Thanks to new titles like Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Spore, Skate It and Dragon Age: Origins, EA had arguably the best E3 lineup of the show. Shocking, isn't it?
Of course, with EA itself being least like EA, it seems we'll have to change the award's name for next year's show. How about "The Annual Least Like Activision Award?"