Monday, May 10, 2010

1989...Coolest Year. EVAR. Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 of the Coolest Year EVAR list, have a look.  In the meantime, let's roll on!

6. Nintendo Game Boy - Honestly, I can't remember when I came to be in possession of Nintendo's "wonder brick", but the fact is, Gunpei Yokoi's pride and joy was released to the US in--you guessed it--1989.  None too soon for this video game nut!  For the first time, I could take my games with me--and how!  I don't know how I'd have made that first trip to Hawaii without it.

Did You Know?  The late Yokoi-san was the inventor not only of the Game and Watch series and a producer of the Metroid series (among others), he has been credited with patenting a staple of modern gaming, even in the analog stick era: the humble D-Pad.

5. Family Matters - I'd have included The Cosby Show, but it started in '84.  The adventures of the Winslow family and Black and Nerdy prototype Steven Q. Urkel were the linchpin of ABC's TGIF lineup.  It became so popular that Urkel got his own cereal, despite the fact that he was apparently so nerdy that he drove a BMW Isetta (which in my opinion only made him quirky, not nerdy).

The show would make a jump from ABC to CBS along with Step By Step (whose premier Urkel had literally crashed) for '94, though I'd argue by then the magic had long since been lost.  Jaleel White would eventually bounce through several roles, one of them being, strangely enough, the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog!

4. Tienanmen Square - You know the picture.  I'm pretty sure it's one of the most famous of the 20th Century.  Honestly, I was too young to really care what was going on when this photo was taken, but the image (and, oddly enough, not the video) have been burned into my mind forever.  TV news can be a wonderful thing.

3. Berlin Wall Falls - Probably an even more significant event than the student protests in Tienanmen.  Largely regarded as the official swan song of Communism--and not just in Germany.  This was another event that I really didn't understand until much, much later.  Watching several specials over the years, I really just can't imagine what people on either side of the Wall really had to experience on a daily basis.  Even comedies based off the event are tragic...

2. Ducktales - Why does this game make the list?  Is it because the Moon stage theme is quite frankly one of the coolest video game themes ever?  Maybe.  Is it because I can't get the cartoon's theme song out of my head any time I hear it?  Quite possibly.  There are plenty of reasons why it could make the list: great gameplay, simple (enough) controls, plenty of secrets, and the aforementioned music--all hallmarks of Capcom's great 8-bit games.  That said, this one makes the list for one reason and one reason only: it's the first game that I ever beat.  How many of you can say that you remember the first video game you ever beat?  

Now that I think of it, I seem to recall my first issue of Nintendo Power was the Ducktales issue!

Yeah, it's not much, but hey...I was eight.  What do you expect?!

Last but not least on the greatest things of '89 was a game that I never actually have beat:

1. Mega Man 2 - Though some of us get a laugh at just how many Mega Man games there are now (officially, there've been 10 8- and 16-bit games in the main series, 8 in the Mega Man X series, and let's not get into all the spinoffs from that), at one point, there were only two.  Like many other folks, the sequel was the first one I got to play and WOW...I was blown away.  HUGE bosses, one of the greatest game soundtracks ever, and a difficulty level that, while pretty high, was never cheap (I'm looking at you, Ninja Gaiden)--this game had a lot going for it.  To this day, I've never finished Dr. Wily's infamous castle (MM2 was the first to feature the castle), though I guess I probably could...and I wouldn't be the only one who's given it a thought.

There you have it: ten reasons why 1989 was one of the best years of my life.  I've left off a few things (you might want to Google "River City Ransom" sometime), but this covers most of the main things I could think of offhand.   Yeah, I talked mostly about video games, movies, and TV, but like I said...I was 8.  Having a brother (whom I idolized) that was into computers and comic books, no one should be surprised that this is what I could remember of 21 years ago!  Lots of things were changing in my life and, in many ways, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to enjoy a childhood at the end of one decade and the beginning of another.  Jesus Jones summed it up pretty well two years later:


Miranda said...

I loved this post Brian - Part one as well ;-)

Bry said...

Thanks! I enjoyed writing it :-)

Admittedly, Part 1 was a lot easier than Part 2. I found myself kind of clutching at straws for the last 2-3 places on the list (though of course, it's not really in any preferential order).

I think if I thought about it, I'd find even more stuff to put down. '89 was indeed pretty wild.