Pulling up to this year’s E3 for the first time, I quickly scanned as much of the LA Convention Center from my Taxi for any posters I could see for leads. Everything you would expect from the world’s largest videogame show was there — Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Mafia II, even a fairly large Homefront banner, but what caught my eyes next, I did not expect at all. Sitting there, on the building’s highest peak, was Kevin Butler, Sony’s made up pitch-man, shooting a virtual bow and arrow with the company’s (then upcoming) Move controller. It was evident, 2010 belonged to Kevin Butler.
Of course, Kevin Butler isn’t real, he’s a fictional character portrayed by New York born actor Jerry Lambert. You may have seen Lambert in several other roles, including appearances in many well known sitcoms like That 70s Show, Brothers and Sisters and Everybody Loves Raymond, heck you may even know him from his voice work on King of the Hill and Neighbors from Hell, but undoubtedly, he’s most known for his role as Sony’s VP of well…pretty much whatever they need him to be.
The character of Kevin Butler himself was created by Deutsch Inc for Sony’s “It only does everything” campaign. From the time they wrote his first appearance, 2009’s MLB 09: The Show commercial in which he questions 2008 American League MVP Dustin Pedroia’s gaming abilities, it was evident that Sony had a winner on its hands. Then came E3. Sitting in the Shrine auditorium, the crowd woke up when Lambert hit the stage, as Butler of course. Standing in front of a blue sky backdrop, Kevin Butler brought the crowd to a frenzy with a passionate speech on his view on gaming.
Some may scoff at our selection of a known actor as our face of gaming for 2010, but think back — what comes to mind when you think of Mod Nation Racers? Kevin Butler as a gym coach in the ad. The Kevin Butler series of ads have been associated with every major release from Sony, and regardless of the game’s tone, have been hysterical and unforgettable. Beyond that, Lambert’s portrayal of Butler has been the pitch-man for gaming bundles at major retailers, becoming to many, the face of gaming itself. While others may have crafted major blockbuster titles this year, none were as recognizable as Kevin Butler.