E3 is usually a time for wonder, intrigue, and the very best gaming reveals and world premieres that you won’t find at any other time of year. And then, there are the following few most embarrassing E3 moments, scenes so cringe-worthy that they caused many a gamer to look away from their screens.

Perhaps that’s the true joy of watching live stage E3 demos, though. Waiting, with bated breath, for that glorious split-second where something goes wrong. It happens nearly every year, and if E3 history is anything to go by, E3’s future looks just as awkward.

  1. Mr Caffeine (E3 2011)

Oh boy. Here we go. It’s a sad state of affairs when most gamers remember ‘Mr Caffeine’ more than any of the games he spoke about on stage. A fine display of the effects of poorly timed humor and awkward silences, Mr Caffeine all but ruined Ubisoft’s E3 conference with his poor attempts at crude, outdated humor.

You know that sound you make when you pretend you’re going back in time? No, me neither. Prepare to hear it a hell of a lot though, as Mr Caffeine attempts to get the audience to play along. It’s a good thing that video games like Far Cry 3 were genuinely great upon release, or else they may have been more fondly remembered for this E3 embarrassing moment.

  1. Microsoft, Sony and The Xbox One

In what was one of the most memorable conferences in E3 history, Sony laid down the smack, taking a series of shots at Microsoft, their Xbox One policies and their entire conference. Case in point? Microsoft, having announced a whole heap of restrictions surrounding the use of used video games, were left feeling a little red in the face after Sony announced their restriction-free policy live on stage.

Up next? Microsoft’s policy on online registration. At the time, the console required you to check in online periodically – once every 24 hours – even if you wished to play pure single player. Sony took shots at this too, stating that their PS4 doesn’t ‘need to be connected online to play’ and that users can play offline for as long as they like. Poor Microsoft.

Leading man Don Mattrick handed over the reigns to Phil Spencer shortly after this debacle, which (fortunately) steered the gaming giant back on course. But no matter how successful the Xbox One becomes, fans will always remember these unbelievable early stages.

  1. Battle Tag (E3 2010)

This most embarrassing E3 moment started off with a bunch of fully-grown, adult human beings chasing each other around with plastic laser pistols. They would weave in and out of a bewildered audience, firing their non-lethal firearms at each other in a confusing whirl of Star Wars sound effects and corny commentary by host Joel McHale.

And it only got worse from there. McHale, who was clearly not interested, took every possible chance he got to take potshots at the developer and the game itself. Who could blame him, really – it was just an expensive knock-off of Laser Tag.

You can literally feel the crowd collectively cringing, as the conference goes from bad to worse. If nothing else, this is a huge, neon warning sign to developers; we don’t want to play with gimmicky toys!

  1. The Sony PS3 (E3 2006)

Sony were on a roll come E3 2006. They were riding the wave of the mega-successful PS2, the best-selling console in gaming history. They were universally adored, and as such, they thought they were invincible.

How wrong they were.

In fairness, you can see why they chose the approach they did. Everybody loved the PS2, so it made sense that, no matter the price point of the PS3, it would go down a storm right? Sadly, the audience let out a collective groan when the 600-dollar tag was revealed, and that’s not counting the slew of disappointing PS3 games it brought with it.

We had Genji, a video game based around ‘Japanese history,’ that pitted gamers against giant mutant crabs. I must have missed that in school! In addition, their main PSP offering was Ridge Racer, a franchise that, no matter its legacy, wasn’t something to lead with at a major press conference. A poor and embarrassing E3 moment indeed.

    1. Activision’s E3 Conference With Jamie Kennedy (E3 2007)

Have you ever mocked somebody’s nationality, insulted gamers as a whole, offended Tony Hawk and got ripped to shreds by a game developer while live on stage?

Me neither.

Why game companies feel the need to hire clearly disinterested comedians to host their press conferences is beyond me. We spoke about Joel McHale and Battle Tag previously, and now we have Jamie Kennedy, hosting a press conference so bad that the audience started to turn against him.

Maybe that’s the point? Maybe by causing a bit of controversy, Activision hoped to draw more attention to their conference and as a result, their suite of games? In fairness, it probably worked – though it’s hard to imagine them giving Kennedy the brief that he delivered.

Alright, it’s safe now! That’s the end of the cringe-fest of the most embarrassing E3 fail moments. We here at IGCritic are honored to trawl through all the footage that’s too awkward for mere mortal eyes, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

If you enjoyed giving this a read and are looking for more embarrassing subject matter, you’ll probably appreciate this list of the most annoying video game characters on the planet (hint: Claptrap).