The major video game publishers come out to shine at each Electronic Entertainment Expo, and while many wow us with new product announcements, sometimes they go down in gaming history for the wrong reasons. Sometimes it seems as if the business powers that be are determined to remain memorable not for amazing video games, but for amazingly embarrassing presentations to a bored or baffled media. Bob Mackey over at 1UP has five bits of free advice for the big publisherson how to avoid embarrassing moments as we head into another E3 news cycle. Consider Ubisoft's 2011 blunder that was Mr. Caffeine:
Comedy inherently involves calling out hypocrisy and stupidity, so none of it can possibly exist during an E3 press conference. But often, companies opt for low-calorie imitation humor, last seen in Ubisoft's 2011 conference with a certain character named Mr. Caffeine. The host of the event seemed more used to the corporate retreat circuit, since most of his jokes felt like they could easily win over a group of half-drunk, middle-aged executives (Wayne's World references age like fine wine). But a mob of informed video game types? Mr. Caffeine did not win this crowd over. Each and every terrible joke fell out of his mouth like a dying bird, forced to breathe out its final seconds on the stage in front of a silent and belligerent crowd. Publishers, please keep all of your comedy unintentional; as we have learned thus far, it's these moments what will make you the talk of E3. But for all the wrong reasons.
As someone who was in the Ubisoft audience that day, I can verify that Mr. Caffeine's act was just as bewildering as it sounds. While the company had some impressive trailers to show us for games such as Assassin's Creed Revelations and Far Cry 3, the news was overshadowed by Mr. Caffeine's stale attempts at humor. By the time the briefing wound down, I just felt sorry for the guy. The lesson here is that we don't need hired faces like Mr. Caffeine to set up the clips. Bring out some of the talent that actually creates the products on display and let them share the new information. They might sound a bit awkward at times, but at least it would be honest awkwardness instead of the kind that comes from an act dying on stage in slow motion.