Every summer, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo set up camp in Los Angeles with demo booths, awkward celebrity guests, and attempts to turn video game keynotes into consumable entertainment. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is a surreal slurry of product hype, corporate ambition, and free t-shirts no one should ever wear in public. While alternative events like PAX and GDC have reduced its importance in recent years, it's still typically where the largest announcements about video games are hauled out, from console debuts to the latest adventures of Master Chief. Thanks to YouTube user Anthony Parisi, we now know that this wasn't always the case. In a three and a half hour long homemade video, you can get a candid look at the first E3 in 1995, and it's somehow even goofier.
The video includes appearances from classics like Donkey Kong Country 2, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Legacy of Kain, Vectorman, Secret of Evermore, and a Killer Instinct-themed dance routine, as well as the first keynotes from Sony, Nintendo, and Sega. E3 was always meant to cater to investors, and that's still true today, but the first outing was more explicit. Speakers largely focused on global market growth, consumer entertainment tech, and pitching why they're in this crazy game business with all the dry grace of a bar mitzvah dad congratulating his son and throwing shout outs to his fishing buddies.
Sony, ahead of the North American release of the first PlayStation, explained to its investors its logic in delving into video games not with video games, but with a flavor reel of its entertainment products, camcorders, and Walkmen. Imagine one of those human evolution charts except there's a laserdisc of First Knight instead of a chimpanzee. It also tries to convince the crowd that some players are older than 17. Nintendo, not ready to show off the N64 (then Ultra 64), focused on Donkey Kong Country and a promising little gizmo called the Virtual Boy. Sega uses its time to promote the Sega Saturn which, if you're a 90s kid, you might remember.
It's a far cry from the pomp and circumstance of the modern E3, but if the expo wants to retain its relevance going forward, then C+C Music Factory and echoing sound clips from the Judge Dredd movie aren't a bad place to start.
from See All the Sights, Sounds, and Mustaches of E3 1995