"Before you leave, I'd like you step inside one more world for Nintendo Gamecube…"
That was how Reggie Fils-Aime introduced the debut of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in what would come to be known as the greatest moment in E3 history. The reasons were plentiful: the wonderful trailer, the rousing music, Shigeru Miyamoto's appearance afterwards, but mostly it was the audience's joyous cheers as Link first appeared riding Epona into battle.
Years later and gamers crave similar moments of awe, but with the public long since removed from the Los Angeles trade show the jubilant ovations of old have been replaced by the awkward clapping of a smattering of journalists and forced whooping of those who work for the people on stage.
Europe's Gamescom doesn't have the public in attendance during its press conferences, but it does have paying, sometimes dressed up, and always-excited consumers at its core. It lends Gamescom a charm that E3 has lacked for some time, but this year's event also proved that it has the big announcements to truly start competing with the LA show.
Microsoft revealing that they had struck a deal to make anticipated sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider an Xbox One exclusive may not have been a popular decision, but it is the biggest news out of both Gamescom and E3. Then there was PT, the playable teaser announcing Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's collaboration on Silent Hills, which was also arguably bigger than any news from E3.
The gap between E3 and Gamescom grows closer each year, with big companies saving more and more announcements for the show. Michel Ancel's Wild garnered a lot of interest when it closed Sony's show, while the announcement of Tearaway: Unfolded was one that could easily have been made at E3.
As E3 and Gamescon become more-or-less indistinguishable when it comes to news and the games on show, then increasingly what will differentiate them are those on the show floor. At E3 that's members of the media rushing to their next appointment, but at Gamescom it's the consumers themselves. The ones who pay to be there and queue for hours to play a small slice of the games those on the other side of the curtain are invited to see in a plush corner.
E3 is exclusive, Gamescom is inclusive – and that feeling of being there among the players who make this industry is why Germany's event is gaining on its trans-Atlantic cousin. It's why publishers, console makers and developers are increasingly turning to it as an event of genuine importance to the market and why eventually, in a matter of years, Gamescom will be the true gaming mecca.