Welcome once again to the greatest show on earth, the YouChew E3 Awards! This is our chance to get excited about what the gaming industry has in store for us, while simultaneously mocking the industry for its horrific ineptitude. As always, the awards are selected by popular community vote, so without further ado, here are your 2017 YouChew E3 Awards!
The “You Are Tearing Me Apart, Reggie!” Award
For the most unintentionally funny moment
Unfortunately for those of us who come to these things to mock them to no end, this year’s E3 was pretty cut and dry for the most part. It was pretty funny when the likes of Andrew Wilson, Phil Spencer, Host and Shawn Layden all waited on baited breath for applause only for the audience to kick in a good five seconds too late, but outside of that, many of us were worried that this award wouldn’t get doled out this year.
Then came Sony.
God bless their hearts.
While they showed off some good games, the majority of Sony’s E3 showing was a technical nightmare. Audio glitches. Video glitches. Freezes. No sound. Too loud sound. Sure we didn’t get HULK SMA-, but we got the next best thing when they trotted out their Skyrim VR trailer, only for freezes, speed-ups and slow-downs to make the thing look like a YouTube Poop.
And we couldn’t be more proud.
Thanks for all the laughs, Sony. There was only one game you could’ve shown on stage that would’ve made us laugh harder at you than we already were, and that would’ve been Knack 2.
The “Great Job, Jeremy!” Award
For the most patronized on-stage performer
40 years...all for this.
While he certainly appears happy, don’t be fooled. This is the face of a man for whom all of his life’s work of creating colorful, original ideas has leRd to his passion being ground up and snorted by Minions wannabees.
Okay, yes, Mario + Rabbids doesn’t look that bad. But man, you could just feel Shigeru Miyamoto’s pain. At least Odyssey will be out soon to give us the “real” Mario experience we’re craving for. Let’s just hope that it’s good enough so we don’t have to trot Miyamoto back on stage to pimp out Pikmin X Far Cry: The Hunt for Kingpin Louie.
The “ESPN Experience” Award
For the announcement/presentation that had the least to do with video games at a conference about video games
Some of what we saw on the periphery of this year’s show was nothing new despite their tangential relationship to gaming. A random concert segment with sitars courtesy of Sony? Weird, but we’ve seen worse. EA drilling on about football players? Obnoxious, but we’ve seen it before.
How about Microsoft taking time out to show off a new Porsche model?
You heard it here, play our games while driving your Porsche. Xbox approved!
This is just baffling on so many levels. This would be like if Call of Duty took a moment to show off a brand new rifle to be featured in their latest game. Or if Madden showed off a glorious new football. One could argue that it’s related to a racing game, but shit, even if Bethesda took 10 minute to show off a cool dragon sculpture to promote Elder Scrolls, we’d be just as baffled.
To be fair, Microsoft has definitely done worse, what with trying to showcase the Xbox in the past as a sports TV sports internet TV sports machine that can maybe play games if you have the time. That being said, presentations like this show that they still haven’t gotten that fully out of their system. Next time, let’s all agree to crash the rollout of the new Ford models so we can pimp Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
“Jack Black’s Octagonal Emblem”
For the most cringe-worthy and painful game/presentation to sit through
There’s a modern trend that’s been brewing at recent E3s, and it’s starting to get a little gross. See, game companies gradually realized that we want more than pre-rendered trailers, as they’re not indicative of the final product. We want to see live gameplay. So they decided to comply, but with one caveat: they add voiceovers to showcase people “naturally” acting like they’re enjoying the game, when in reality it just feels even more fake than the pre-rendered stuff.
Sea of Thieves’ trailer gave us an obnoxious announcer that guided us through the “wacky adventures”, and Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind forced us to endure YouTubers “reacting” to the reveal trailer, as if that meant anything at a professional gaming conference. But the worst of the bunch has to go to Anthem.
This new IP by BioWare and EA is promoting itself as an MMO that takes place in a fantastical other world, not unlike Destiny. However, as the “players” “playing” the game in the demo talked to one another, they didn’t sound like casual friends realistically playing a game. They sounded like emotionless machines reading off a script. “Have you been in there yet?” “I haven’t. We should probably do that later with Kim.” “You could use the expee.” “Hello treasure.” Who talks like this? When you look at it from a distance, it’s clearly poorly scripted dialogue but with the pretense of being from players rather than the game itself. In context, though, it provides the illusion of a game world being more alive than it really is, a phenomenon that’s been discussed online before.
It’s a skeevy tactic that will easily crawl under the skin of anyone attentive enough to notice it and make them cringe beyond belief. And wouldn’t you know it, it was popularized back in the day by Ubisoft. You know, the guys who have been the reigning champs of this award every single year since its debut until now.
Stop it, Ubisoft.
(Oh and EA and BioWare, you guys should probably cut it out too.)
The “Rock Band 3, Fucking Finally” Award
For the biggest bait and switch
With this award, it can usually be broken down into two categories: good surprises and bad surprises. Good surprises make us wonder what we’re seeing, catch us off guard with the reveal of what it is, and then delight us when we finally understand what we’re watching. Bad surprises tease us by leading us to believe we’re about to get something we want, only to pull the rug from under our feet with the reveal that what we’re really seeing is something completely different.
This year we got a prime example of each. For our bad surprise, we got Super Lucky’s Tale. This game has been in development for a while, so it’s not like it’s a big shock or anything, but it’s been rather obscure and off of most of our radars. So when during the Xbox One reveal, a bushy squirrel-like tail was seen rustling around on-screen, it was only natural that most of us would assume that we were witnessing the return of Conker. But nope, yet another cocktease. It’s not like Microsoft’s ever cockteased us with Conker only to pull the rug from under us in the past, right JonTron?
Of course they haven’t!
Then comes the positive surprise. Throughout the show we saw a lot of games with dinosaurs in them, which made a certain member of the community quite enthralled. As Nintendo wrapped up their show, their final game trailer showed a Tyrannosaurus Rex stomping through a meadow, letting out a big roar…only to reveal Mario’s cap on its head, thus tipping us off that we were actually witnessing a trailer for Super Mario Odyssey. The trailer went on to reveal that Mario will be able to control other creatures in this game, hence the opening with the dino.
So which of these was the bigger bait and switch? While the votes were excruciatingly close, the winner won by only a hair, literally one single vote. And that winner was…Mario!
In the end, it’s fitting that this award goes to a delightful surprise, since those are always more fun than lousy surprises. And at a show where surprises are becoming less and less common, a happy one is always a welcome gift.
The “We Can Rule the Galaxy as Father and Son” Award
For the most unsettling corporate partnership
We’ve talked in detail about both Microsoft’s bizarre Porsche promotion as well as the surreal partnership of Nintendo and Ubisoft for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. However the quality of Forza Motorsport 7 and Kingdom Battle may turn out, both partnerships were rather unsettling, but for completely different reasons.
That being said, while Kingdom Battle has at least the chance of looking good, and was in favor of promoting a new game, the deal between Microsoft's Xbox and Porsche's car just feels wrong at a gaming show. Seriously, trotting out a new car is no better than trotting out Doritos and Mountain Dew. We’re honestly surprised that Microsoft didn’t pull that crap for the Xbox One X, so at least we were spared that much. Still, Microsoft remains one of the kings of shoddy corporate partnerships, and as such wins this award without a second thought.
The “Exciting Dog Action!” Award
For the most boring game due to lack of innovation
This year’s show was pretty boring, huh? Mostly a lot of the same, with very little wow factor. One surprising recurring theme, though, was the abundance of piracy.
You are an unoriginal game dev!
No, we don’t mean the gaming industry using digital piracy as a scapegoat for low sales. We’re talking about games where you take to the high seas in search of treasure and mayhem. A fun concept for a game. Maybe two games. But are pirates threatening to become the new zombies as the subject matter for uninspired game design?
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag showed some promise when it premiered back in the day, but the two big pirate games at this year’s E3, Sea of Thieves and Skull & Bones, were both unimpressive and derivative. And when these games are looking to be more dull and washed out than Call of Duty: World War II, Assassin’s Creed: Origins or Need for Speed Payback, there’s clearly something wrong here.
Pirate games are okay once in a while; we just don’t need as many as we seem to be getting in recent memory. Let’s slow down the influx of these titles before we get as sick of them as we are of brown and grey military shooters.
The “My Body Wasn’t Ready” Award
For the biggest “Oh SNAP” moment of the show
As mentioned in the previous award, this show mostly played it safe and was quite dull. There were a few delights that nobody saw coming, such as Beyond Good and Evil 2 and a remake of Shadow of the Colossus. But more than anything, this single image was enough to send the internet into an adrenaline-fueled frenzy.
Yup. It’s been 10 years since the last main Metroid Prime title, and 7 since the last main Metroid entry (that being Other M, which was…controversial, to put it lightly). With Metroid and Samus in dire straits (the last Metroid title was last year’s Federation Force, which was torn apart the moment it was revealed and got primarily mediocre reviews and abysmal sales), many were worried the series would go the way of F-Zero, submerged by the passage of time and never to be seen again. But lo and behold, even though all we got was confirmation that Metroid Prime 4 was in development (as well as an upcoming 3DS remake of Metroid II soon on the way), it was enough to give us all hope for a bright future for the franchise.
Now let’s just get Captain Falcon some help he sorely needs. Please, Nintendo.
"Usher's Plastic Disco Ball"
For the most shoehorned-in celebrity
We had a few solid options to choose from for our celebrity of the hour at E3. John Boyega showed up via stream to talk about Battlefront 2, Terry Crews made a boisterous appearance to shill Crackdown 3, and Elijah Wood confused us with his bizarre plug for the upcoming VR game Transference. But at least those celebrities showed up.
While EA suits were talking about FIFA, Will Ferrell’s name was randomly dropped as someone who was playing the game. But why? What was the relevance? Upon further examination, he can in fact be seen at the show.
Well, there he is, sort of. A clip show of interviews that went by in a matter of seconds prior to being name-dropped. It wasn’t like John Boyega, where we saw him talk about the game for a bit. No, instead a variety of celebrities were on the screen for maybe a second or two apiece, and all out of focus and impossible to notice unless you had razor sharp eyes.
So there you have it, the name drop of a celebrity from a 2 second interview not focused on among a variety of other interviews, none of which we actually got to see and none of which have any relevance to E3 or gaming.
"Mr. Caffeine's Bronze Coffee Mug"
For the worst performer of the show
Ah, the Bronze Coffee Mug. So named after the esteemed Mr. Caffeine, who wowed us with his impeccable rendition of the time travel effects from Wayne’s World. Who will take it home this year? Who among the performers was so unspeakably awful that they must sip from the questionable contents of this rusted-over mug?
Truth be told, while there were a lot of iffy performers this year, none truly stood out as notably horrible. Among our top contenders were Jesse Wellens, a YouTube developer discussing Need for Speed Payback who was clearly uncomfortable and out of his element, Josef Fares, the developer for A Way Out who wasn’t the best of public speakers, Jean Guesdon, the Creative Director for Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Host, the lovable scamp of the PC Gaming Show whose awkward deliveries have simultaneously charmed and disgusted us over the past few years.
Only one can win the illustrious Mug, and this year's champion is Mr. Jean Guesdon. While he wasn’t on screen for long, his lousy English (especially his constant mispronunciation of “Egyt”) helped him worm his way into our hearts as the worst performer of the show. Though perhaps it’s fitting that this year’s winner is both an Ubisoft employee as well as someone presenting a look back into the past with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Almost like he wants us to…flash back. To a time long gone, to wonderful glory days of years gone by.
Say it with me now.
“The Concrete Donkey”
For the company that made the biggest ass out of themselves, in both presentation and content
The majority of this year’s shows flirted with mediocrity. A few, however, went above and beyond, but not in a good way. No, these are the companies that found a way to suck above all else.
EA, like every year, trotted out a variety of sports games that bored us to tears. But hey, at least they didn’t focus on them quite as much as they have in years past. Instead, we got to enjoy a tired Need for Speed game and Battlefront II, which looks slightly superior to the first game but nothing huge to write home about. Sony had massive technical issues that hampered their show severely, and of the games they showed, not many impressed to a major degree.
But then you’ve got Bethesda.
Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all console owners, so it’s expected to see them have conferences. EA and Ubisoft might be developers, but they’re huge enough that they’ve sort of grandfathered their way into getting dedicated conferences; besides, even if their shows are dull, they at least tend to have new things to show off. So when Bethesda and Square Enix stated their intention to join the rat race a few years back, we expected them to step up and play ball. Bethesda did with the likes of Doom and Fallout 4. Square Enix…the less said about their first show, the better. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Square decided not to return for another dedicated briefing; this meant that their few game presentations could be seen as surprises, rather than having us furious when they didn’t provide consistent quality.
But what about Bethesda? They decided to stick around and provide us with a full-length conference. Would they surprise us with exciting games? Would they make us anticipate their future titles? And more importantly, would they have enough material to justify a full conference dedicated just to them?
That would be a no, a no, and a big, fat, flaccid no.
What we got was DLC for games that have already been out, spinoffs rather than full-fledged sequels, and paid mods. Because that worked out phenomenally well the first time they attempted it with Steam.
It wasn’t a complete waste, as Wolfenstein II showed some promise and The Evil Within 2 had a good trailer despite being a sequel to a game that got middling reviews. Otherwise? Hardly anything worth discussing.
Bethesda, we like you guys. You put out good games. But if Wolfenstein II was the only game that was worth bringing up, then just stick to cameos at Microsoft or Sony’s conferences or something. Because to be frank, you simply couldn’t muster it this year.
Here’s your Concrete Donkey. Take it with you and get out.
“Best in Show” (Game)
For the game that, through trailers, live demos, or other presentations, deserves the most praise and built the most hype
With such an overall boring show, there weren’t particularly many games that impressed us. Wolfenstein II looks good, Beyond Good and Evil 2 took us by shock, and Shadow of the Colossus and the new Spider-Man look pretty solid, but other than that, very little of note. Come Tuesday, most of us were hoping that Nintendo could save the day.
Thankfully, Nintendo had come ready to kick ass.
While many of their games showed promise, the star of their show, and the true star of E3, was Super Mario Odyssey. With the ability to control enemies, tons of wild and crazy looking worlds, and an original vocal song created just for the game, everyone is ready to go on this amazing odyssey with Mario, whether they be die-hard fans or casual plumbers. Between this and Breath of the Wild, we’ll probably have a tough time picking out the best game of the year. And that’s always a good problem to have.
“Best in Show” (Company)
For the company that overall was of the highest quality and standard, in both presentation and content
Speaking of Nintendo…
While each of the other shows were mostly just so-so with a few good games here or there, none showed the consistent level of quality combined with the few earth-shattering game-changers that Nintendo’s show did. Xenoblade 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors were there to please the JRPG crowd. Yoshi and Kirby appeased the young and young-at-heart set. Metroid Prime 4 gave the old guard hope. And of course, Super Mario Odyssey completely manhandled the competition.
After a rough patch with the Wii U, it seems like Nintendo’s finally got a kick in its step again with the Switch. If it can keep up the solid output of first party titles, perhaps third parties will jump on board and it’ll be the true console competitor we want it to be. One can only hold out hope. Until that day comes, we’ll be sure to keep ourselves happy with the offerings provided at their E3 showing.
It’s good to have you back, Nintendo. We’ve missed you.
Thanks to @Combuskenisawesome for providing the awards I've been using over the years. While I'm saddened to see you retire, I'm grateful for all the work you did on these. The show wouldn't be the same without you.
An additional thanks to @HotFriedSkadoosh for providing this year's logo and applying it to the existing awards. Thanks for helping keep the magic alive.