Happy New Year, folks! The new year is a week old, and I’m breaking it in like a new pair of church shoes! The following is an article that I planned on writing for Examiner, but put it aside. Last year was a great for year for anniversaries in geekdom, with several major entertainment franchises celebrating birthdays. Each franchise covered is at least fifteen years old. Unlike the other articles I’ve done, this one isn’t focused purely on video games, but instead includes other types of entertainment.
Both Paramount and Universal Pictures celebrated their 100th anniversaries last year, marking 10 decades of a whole lot of cinematic success.
The James Bond films turned 50 with the anniversary of Dr. No.
Star Wars turned 35, an accomplishment punctuated by a blockbuster multi-billion dollar deal that saw Lucasfilm sold to Disney. Could this mean a Mace Windu skin will be unlockable in Epic Mickey 3? Stay tuned.
Several classic films turned 30. ET: The Extraterrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Thing, “Poltergeist”, Blade Runner, and Tron. Wow.
Predator, Evil Dead II, and Robocop all turned 25.
Alien 3 turned 20. If only Newt had survived…
Oh, and Titanic turned 15.
Star Trek turned 46, and Google celebrated with a nifty Doodle on its home page.
Knight Rider, the television show that launched David Hasselhoff into superstardom and made sentient cars cool, turned 30. The show actually had a heck of celebration with a party in Las Vegas, and can only hope this was a part of the festivities.
Star Trek: The Next Generation turned 25. The second live action television series of Star Trek lore, Star Trek: TNG introduced the world to the redoubtable Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by Patrick Stewart.
Quite a few shows turned 15, among them Daria, King of the Hill, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and South Park.
The 200th birthday of Charles Dickens was celebrated with activities all over the globe. What a legacy.
A trio of centennials here: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ characters John Carter and Tarzan, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. All of the above have been adapted into films, the most recent of which is John Carter, which was released in to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the character.
The literary world observed the 80th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, turned 75, and Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit was released just in time to commemorate the release of the novel.
E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web turned 60. Some novel it is, indeed.
Spider-Man turned 50, a milestone celebrated with the release of Amazing Fantasy #15. Furthermore, the film The Amazing Spider-Man marked the reboot of the Spider-Man films.
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, turned 30. The first novel in King’s Dark Tower series, it’s soon to become a movie.
Philip K. Dick, the sci-fi writer whose work inspired such films as Blade Runner and Total Recall, passed away thirty years ago.
Todd McFarlane’s Spawn franchise turned 20.
Steven Gould’s Jumper, the novel which inspired the 2008 movie of the same name, turned 20.
Jim Grant’s (aka Lee Child) novel Killing Floor turned 15. Killing Floor introduced the world to the character Jack Reacher, who now is portrayed by Tom Cruise in a film bearing the character’s name.
Atari turned 40, and consequently so did the home video game market.
Two of Capcom’s flagship franchises, Street Fighter and Mega Man, both turned 25. Both games were celebrated in Street Fighter x Mega Man, a free to download PC title that pits Mega Man against some of the brawlers from the Street Fighter series.
A couple milestones from both Sega and Nintendo respectively. The Sega CD and Contra III: The Alien Wars (a Super Nintendo exclusive) both turned 20. Contra III saw its initial release on the Super NES, and featured Mode 7 graphics on some stages. The Sega CD’s legacy is mostly difficult full motion video games, disc reading errors, and grainy video. Things weren’t all bad, though. At least Scottie Pippen had his own video game.
Wizards & Warriors, the first game in the Wizards & Warriors series, turned 25 as well. The series even featured Fabio on the cover of the second game in the franchise.
Goldeneye 007, the seminal first person shooter developed by Rare, turned 15. Hard to believe that there was a time when first person shooters were thought to be best suited for the PC. Goldeneye 007 helped change that view and the video game world has not been the same since.
The first bills have come in, so 2013 isn’t quite happy any more. Until next time.
Peace & Pixels
Edit: It just hit me that Metal Gear turned 25 last year. Being a Metal Gear fan, I’m surprised that I didn’t know that. I remember the box art of the first Metal Gear game, which featured a Solid Snake who resembled actor Michael Biehn.