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Written By: E. Thomas



One of my favorite moments from the E3 Expo was meeting Gary Coleman. Over the years I have met a number of celebrities at the show, Gary was one of the nicest and most down to earth people I have ever met. Little did I know he was also a highly skilled gamer. This is the story of how Gary Coleman kicked my ass at the E3 Expo.

It was some time just after the turn of the century. Gary was at the E3 Expo as part of a promotion created by UGO.com. The promotion was called “The Gary Coleman Beat Down.” When I look back at it now that title sounds a little exploitive, almost as if it was making light of his small stature. But Gary didn’t seem to mind as he warmly greeted his many fans.

The basic concept of the promotion was simple; fans would challenge Gary to a game of Dead or Alive 2 on the Sega Dreamcast. If you won your match you received a free game. It was quite an enticing offer. Plus the chance to play a game with Gary Coleman really brought the fans out in their droves. Most people didn’t care about the free game, they just wanted to meet Gary.


The line for the promotion was huge. As I waited patiently for my turn to play I watched Gary destroy one competitor after another. I couldn’t believe it. The guy was unstoppable! He must have won at least 50 matches before it was finally my turn to face the master.

When I finally arrived at the front of the line I was ready for battle.  I was already quite familiar with DOA2 and I thought this would give me an edge.  A representative from UGO.com handed me a controller and I prepared for battle.

The first round begins and I’m off to a raging start. When I play fight games, be they 2D or 3D, I’m all about offense. I’m not a guy who likes to use the guard button. I immediately went on the attack and I destroyed Gary in the first round. He seemed a little surprised by my sudden victory.  Meanwhile I was thinking “I’ve got him now! That free game is in the bag.” That’s when Gary suddenly got focused, and as they say “sh*t got real.” He buckled down and he was ready for the next round, his eyes were intensely fixed on the TV screen.

The next round begins and Gary unleashes a DEVASTATING beat down.  He absolutely shut me down. I was crushed. I couldn’t believe it.  I almost had to laugh. He had really put me in my place. He also managed to humble my earlier arrogance. As I prepared for the third and final round I realized this guy was no joke, he had real gamer skills. I had to focus and bring my best to the game.

During the final round I threw everything I had at Gary and he countered every single move. It was a long, hard fought battle but in the end he was victorious. My character was lying on the ground in a crumbled heap. Gary had taken me to school. I was thoroughly defeated.

After the game I shook Gary’s hand and I thanked him for being a part of this great promotion. Gary was utterly sincere, humble and polite. There was no trace of arrogance within him. He was a truly decent guy who just happened to have outstanding gamer skills. Over the course of the 3 day promotion he must have faced at least 300+ gamers. And he won at least 95% of the matches.  Nothing was rigged in his favor and I made sure of that personally, he was just that good.

Over the years I would run into Gary at the show time and time again. He was an E3 regular just like me. Every time I saw him he was friendly, polite and always willing to greet his many fans. He was a true gamer in every sense of the word. It was my honor to have had the chance to meet Gary, even though he kicked my ass in front of an entire room full of people.


Trivia: Did you know that Gary Coleman owned his own Arcade?