Our top 10 favorite Nintendo E3 moments -Nintendo Enthusiast staff picks

top 10 favorite Nintendo E3 moments

Nintendo’s E3 showcase is always a major highlight of the year for gamers, but the long-running expo had to be canceled this year due to coronavirus. Rather than hosting one big digital event, Nintendo has opted to drip-feed us news via Twitter and Direct Minis, like the recent Partner Showcase. Any drop of juicy Nintendo news is appreciated, but it’s just not the same as the full-on flood of excitement that E3 usually brings. To get our fix, we decided to look back and celebrate our top 10 favorite Nintendo E3 moments! There are countless Nintendo E3 memories that stick out, so this is by no means a definitive list, but these are moments every Nintendo fan should enjoy.

Top 10 favorite Nintendo E3 moments

Introducing Nintendo DS

“The wait is over. This is Nintendo DS!” Nintendo’s most successful console of all time was introduced with the promise that it would change the industry. The crowd erupted into cheers at the sight of a 3D Metroid game in the palm of Reggie’s hand, as he boasted about hardware evolutions, like touch controls and a dual-screen. One look at this strange new device and you knew the possibilities were endless.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle emotional reveal

We all know and love the standard Nintendo franchises like Super Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. But sometimes Nintendo comes at you with something completely out of left field that reminds you just how weird and fun they can be. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is one of those games. Seeing legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto on stage with a Bullet Bill laser gun arm attachment was surreal, and it was also an absolute joy. Who would have imagined Mario and friends teaming up with Ubisoft’s Rabbids for a tactical RPG? And yet somehow, it just works. You can also really feel the love that went into this game when you see how overwhelmed creative director Davide Soliani was to be recognized by Miyamoto for his work.

You want a Revolution

Before there was Nintendo Wii, there was “Revolution.” The code name for Nintendo’s next console promised big changes, but fans would only get a brief glimpse at the future during E3 2005. Instead of showing off the motion controls that would help make the system popular, President Iwata focused on backward compatibility. It was here that Nintendo introduced the Virtual Console, and the prospect of playing Nintendo’s entire historical catalog of games in one place was thrilling!

Melee blows the crowd away

These days we may take the Smash franchise for granted, but no one really knew if the N64 fighter would get a sequel. Finding out that the star-studded crossover was becoming a franchise was a dream come true. Nintendo’s reveal trailer was packed with beautiful shots that really showed off the leap in quality on GameCube. Then Nintendo hit fans with a barrage of new playable characters, like Peach, Bowser, Zelda, and the Ice Climbers. Everything about this reveal trailer hammered in that Melee was going to be so much bigger and better than what came before, and it really got us hyped for the GameCube in general.

That time everyone was a Muppet

That’s right, Nintendo actually teamed up with The Jim Henson company for E3 2015, and no one saw it coming. Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, and Reggie Fils-Aime all hosted the event as muppets, and it was just about the most hilarious and adorable thing the company has ever done. E3 is often packed wall to wall with shooters and “mature” titles meant to show off the latest in and greatest in graphics, and Nintendo’s show was a welcome change of pace. You can always count on Nintendo to remind you that video games are, above all else, fun.

Super Mario 64 takes gaming to a new dimension

By the mid-90s, Mario had long been the most iconic figure in gaming. But his legacy was just getting started. For the first time, Nintendo’s plumber protagonist was running around in a truly 3D world. With more moves than ever and an advanced (for the time) camera system, Mario was bursting with personality and fun. Just listen to that crowd laugh with delight at the sight of Mario running around in circles or bonking his head on the ceiling! Everyone in the room could tell this was the beginning of a glorious new age for video games.

That epic Twilight Princess reveal

The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, but by 2004 it was waning in popularity in the West. Despite receiving rave reviews, Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker just couldn’t come close to the success of Ocarina of Time. Wind Waker was particularly divisive, as it traded out Hyrule field and Epona for the Great Sea and a talking boat, and opted for a “toon” graphics style. The fanbase was craving a true successor, and Nintendo gave it to them. Twilight Princess was revealed with an epic trailer that showcased a darker, edgier Zelda adventure. There was horseback combat, giant monsters, and sweeping shots of enemy hordes that felt straight out of Lord of the Rings. This awesome E3 moment ended with the unforgettable transition from Link to series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, armed with the Master Sword and Hylian Shield.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Everyone is here

One of the best things about Super Smash Bros. is just how many diverse characters it brings together. Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn’t always managed to keep all of the fan-favorites together from game to game. Whether it’s licensing issues for characters like Solid Snake or the technical limitations that caused the Ice Climbers to skip the 3DS/Wii U games, it’s always sad when you have to say goodbye to your main. That’s why it was so awesome to hear “Everyone is here” during the reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Every past character in franchise history returned, and then Nintendo added tons of new fighters on top. It was the ultimate reveal for the Ultimate version of Smash.

Zelda Wii U comes to life

Remember how Twilight Princess captivated the E3 crowd as a desperately-craved Ocarina of Time successor? Well, by 2014 Zelda fans were ready for the franchise to get out of Ocarina‘s shadow Yeah, we’re a fickle bunch. But eventually, you cross the line from “following a formula” to “stuck in a rut,” and Zelda had grown stale. Producer Eiji Aonuma decided to ditch the linear, story-driven Zeldas of the past decade to return to the franchise’s open-world roots. That prospect alone was tantalizing, but then we were introduced to the beautifully re-imagined world of Hyrule. Aonuma sat in front of what looked like a beautiful painting (though the grass subtly swayed in the breeze), and then suddenly it came to life! This trailer left us overwhelmed with excitement and brimming with burning questions. Zelda felt fresh and new again, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Any time Reggie took the stage

When it comes to Nintendo at E3, there’s no bigger name than Reggie Fils-Aime. The (retired) longtime President of Nintendo of America was the face of the brand, and audiences were capitvated by his presence. It seems like just about every presentation featured something great from Reggie, so our final entry on this list is a collection of Reggie’s E3 moments.

Reggie kicks ass and takes names

Reggie’s body is ready

Reggie Fils-A-Mech


Ben Lamoreux
Nintendo Enthusiast's Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.