What is that magic thing that makes a joke funny, then unfunny, and eventually, when you're worn down by the same repeated joke, funny again (opens in new tab)? I get this when I watch the above trailer for handheld spin-off Duke Nukem Trilogy, released at the downsized E3 of 2008. Armed with only a few logos, a cutout of Duke, some random photography and visual effects, it's pretty obvious there was nothing to show of the game. And yet, that didn't stop the trailer from being over three minutes long. It's art.
You'll see the same three logos flash up again and again, presented in increasingly bizarre situations. You'll see badly animated cutouts of guns open fire on the Duke Nukem symbol more than once. We'll linger on shots of glass being pierced by bullets for far longer than we need to. There are many random flashes of men in gas masks that are given no context whatsoever. Meanwhile, a still image of Duke is the star of the show, flying across the screen to pace out all those moments where you're just staring at logos yet again. You will never forget the words Critical Mass, Chain Reaction and Proving Grounds.
It's exhausting, and beautiful. If you've never seen it before, this is my gift to you. Only one part of the Duke Nukem Trilogy came out, sadly—and living up to this would've been impossible anyway. But this is the perfect E3 trailer, if you ask me. I've never forgotten it, and watching it has become a yearly ritual.