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The E3 Expo 10 Years Ago Today

Video By: Harald Schossman

Text By: E. Thomas


What was the E3 Expo like ten years ago? Find out in our newest video feature, the E3 2002 Video Archives. This unique video time capsule gives you a glimpse into E3 history.

Nintendo had a strong year with the debut of games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Mario Party 4, and the original Metroid Prime. The sleeper hit Eternal Darkness was on display, and Resident Evil: Zero was also playable at the show. Of course the biggest draw was for Super Mario Sunshine, the long awaited follow up to Super Mario 64.


And speaking of Mario, this was the second, and the last year for the "Wheel of Mario" promotion. This truly was the best promotion in E3 history. Contestants would "spin the wheel of mario" for fun and prizes. And here is the best part, the event was hosted by Mario himself! Mario would appear on a video screen along with some of his friends, and even a few of his enemies. Of course the entire production was being voiced LIVE by Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario. He was hidden somewhere in the arena much like the Wizard of Oz. This promotion drew more people than almost any other event in E3 history. But strangely at the time it was never mentioned by the video game press. I'm glad that 10 years later I can right that wrong. If you want to know more about the fabulous Wheel of Mario, follow the link at the end of this article.

Tomb Raider model Jill de Jong makes an appearance promoting Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Although several models would play Lara Croft at the expo, Jill de Jong was our personal favorite. You can tell right away that she loves this gig. Her enthusiasm and personal energy jumps off the screen. She also loved the press. She was a true professional in every regard.

This was also the debut year for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This Star Wars themed RPG was set 1000 years before the events of the classic Star Wars Trilogy. Since its release 10 years ago, Knights of the Old Republic, or KOTOR as its known to fans, has gone down in history as one of the best Star Wars games, and also one of the best RPG titles in gaming history. We're proud to say we were there when this historic title made its first appearance at the 2002 E3 Expo.

Amazingly enough not much has changed since 2002. All of the big companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are in the same location as they were a decade earlier. The scope and scale of the event is much bigger, despite the loss of our beloved "Kentia Hall." Kentia Hall was an underground exhibition area reserved for smaller companies. It was always full of weird and wonderful things.

Attendance seems much higher in recent years. This is due to the constant expansion of the gaming industry. E3 is vital to the health of the industry. The growth of the event is reflective of the growth of our industry. We are happy and honored to say we have been a part of E3 history for over 10 years. It truly is an amazing show and its the most important gaming show in the World. If we had the chance to do it all over again we wouldn't change a thing. E3 is the place to be.

For more E3 Expo News, updates and history please visit our E3 Expo Page.

See Also: E3 Memories - The Wheel of Mario

About The Author: E.Thomas is our resident E3 Reporter. He has worked the show from the retail side and as a member of the media. He has also befriended several exhibitors in the past 10 years. This gives him a unique understanding of the expo and its history.

About The Editor: Harold Schossman is our International News Correspondent and our resident Expert Videographer. He has worked in the entertainment industry for almost two decades. Be sure to check out his outstanding video work on his YouTube account.