July 25, 1965: Bob Dylan goes Electric
Now recognised as one of the most defining moments in rock history, Bob Dylan’s gig at the Newport Folk Festival was at the time an incredibly controversial move, and saw him unceremoniously jeered off the stage by the disheartened crowd. Patriarch of the American folk music revival Pete Seeger was one of the many who felt Dylan’s plugging in to be a betrayal of the genre: speaking to audio technicians at the event he said “if I had an axe, I’d chop the microphone cable right now”.
Dylan performed three tracks before storming offstage. After much coaxing from other the other performers he returned, acoustic guitar in hand, playing well-received renditions of “Mr Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. Following the performance, Dylan would not return to the festival for another 37 years.
July 26, 1948: Babe Ruth seen in public for the last time
Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth was seen in public for the last time, attending the New York City premiere of the motion picture, The Babe Ruth Story. “The Sultan of Swat” would die a month later from cancer.
July 27, 1982: Atari ask Howard Scott Warshaw to create E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial game, nearly kills the video game industry.
With a promised $200,000 and an all-expenses-paid vacation to Hawaii as compensation, Howard Scott Warshaw agreed to take on Atari’s challenge of creating a game based upon the movie E.T. within two months. Fast forward two years later and Atari nearly goes bankrupt, after the game bombs tremendously and puts the company at a $100million loss.
What is now seen by many to be the worst video game of all time, E.T. was initially viewed as a big coup for Atari, who were already high off the success of the home-console version of Pacman. Unfortunately, a combination of eagerness and arrogance convinced them to rush the game to shop shelves without testing it out on an audience beforehand, and the finished game was so bad that Atari buried thousands of copies of it in a New Mexico landfill.
July 28, 1933: The Singing Telegram was introduced.
Learning of this titbit of information has made me wonder why we no longer have Singing Telegrams. I think we all agree it’s a lot more awesome than a f***ing e-card. The first Singing Telegram was for actor/singer Rudy Vallee on his 32nd birthday.
July 29, 1994: Gameboy is released.
Video games… that you can play OUTSIDE?! Nowadays with your 3DS’ and PS Vita’s the Gameboy seems pretty lame, but back in ’94 this thing was MINDBLOWING. Even the puke-green screen wasn’t enough to stop gamers flocking to stores in their thousands to pick up this li’l miracle machine.
It’s interesting to note that the Gameboy launched with 5 games. FIVE GAMES. Can you imagine that happening in the year 2011? You’d be lucky to be pick up a new console these days with a backhanded slap from the developer, let alone 5 good-quality games.
Among these were the classic Super Mario Land and the era-defining Tetris, which combined simplicity with addictiveness to create a phenomenon that is now synonymous with handheld gaming. The Gameboy’s launch spawned a million lacklustre “50 games in 1” devices, all of which had some variation of the Tetris formula. We may now be able to watch 3D Link throwing his sword around in the palm of our hands, but the original Gameboy still holds a special place in our hearts.