As a follow-up to my previous E3 scan, here’s some subtle marketing Nintendo spread around E3 2001, again, on the back of the E3 Show Daily magazines. Checkout the “interesting” front covers, too, and maybe you’ll question how there could be any excitement for such an unappealing video game industry at the time (as presented by the magazine). “Doug Lowensteins’ State of the Industry 2000-2001 Report: IDSA findings indicate games are fully mainstream…” Yes!…? Wait, is that really a good thing or a bad thing?
It’s awkward reading the mainstreamish, gently enthusiastic journalism in these magazines, missing much of the “mean cheerleader” slant from real game journalists. E3 Show Daily, provided by the IDSA (now ESA; industry association and E3 organizer), seemed to cover a pretty wide range of companies/products, many of which aren’t interesting or even alive today. I guess what’s important was you wanted to write about all the esteemed industry members that gathered at your trade show, rather than be a marketer parading the latest high-budget shooter guy/fantasy people/cartoon mascots. I doubt the corporate gaming press bothered to take a good look at these mags since they were busy in the field (working for a typical press outlet), feeding the hype machines for their platform/publication/sponsor. These mags might’ve been ignored as cheap swag artifacts of a long gone generation, so maybe none remembered if there was anything interesting to share for the future. That’s disappointing, because these magazines were EVERYWHERE at the show and stuffed into countless press swag bags to migrate away from Los Angeles.
What I found significant are the covers’ contents with respect to the time: 14 years have passed, but the front pages do a surprising job of reflecting (rather than shaping) the industry’s future – those current gaming events we consume today:
“Now, really think about what you’ll remember – stuff like the Final Fantasy movie clip, Sony’s Jak and Daxter, air-apparent Tony Hawk 3, and more.” This is sickening and uncanny, and it’s still going on. Some things have changed; some stayed the same.
Where’s the “Nintendo difference” in all this? I suppose they were always part of that industry, on the back cover, not really fitting in with the pages of filler around it, waiting to surprise those who look from a different angle.