August 1, 1961: The First Ever Six Flags Opens
Today Six Flags, Inc. is the world’s largest regional theme park company, but back in ’61 it was just erecting its first ever amusement park in Arlington, Texas. With a development cost of $10million and taking one year to build, it was initially viewed by creator Angus Wynne Jr. as a quick way to make a few dollars before turning the site into an industrial complex. However, after Wynne reportedly recouped his investment of $3.5million within 18 months, he decided that it should stay, and the park then went on to have 17.5 million visitors within 10 years. Today there are 23 Six Flags theme parks spread across America and Canada.
August 2, 1994: Earthworm Jim is released on the Sega Genesis
17 years ago today we were introduced to the joys of cow-launching. Can you now imagine a time without it? The first game to ever receive a perfect 100% score from Gamesmaster magazine, Earthworm Jim boasted superb graphics for its era and a surreal sense of humour that garnered it much popularity, ensuring that it eventually got ports on all the major 90s consoles.
After a well-received sequel in the form of Earthworm Jim 2, the franchise eventually spiralled downhill, with Earthworm Jim 3D and the Game Boy Color title Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy being critically panned.
August 4, 1958: Billboard begins Hot 100 singles chart
Now used as a relatively accurate measurement of the success of every song in the known universe, the Billboard Hot 100 started humbly with feathery-haired heartthrob Rick Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool”. Since then it has seen everyone from The Beatles and Ray Charles, to Madonna and the cast of Glee take the number one spot; speaking of the Glee cast, they currently hold the record for most Hot 100 entries with a staggeringly high number of 156, beating off Elvis Presley’s previous record of 108.
Speaking of chart placings…
August 6, 1988: Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” gets to Number One
After spending almost a year slowly but surely clambering its way to the summit of the Billboard Hot 100 since its debut at Number 182 on August 29, 1987, Axl Rose & co. finally struck gold on August 6, 1988. “Appetite for Destruction” has since been acknowledged as the magnum opus of the hair-rock revolution, and its track list is regularly pilfered through for 80s-themed parties and peripheral-based Xbox games.
August 6, 1986: Metroid is released on the NES
The above image might just seem like a collection of pixels to your 21st century eyes, but back in ’86 the image of Samus, the badass robotic bounty hunter, transforming into a bikinied blonde babe just before the final credits rolled blew minds throughout the gaming community. “She’s a WOMAN?!” gamers cried as the 8-bit femme-fatale waved goodbye.
Even though it’s still not considered “the norm”, video games have featured a long line of female protagonists since Samus’ arrival, with ladies such as Lara Croft and Bayonetta showing the guys how to do it. Samus hasn’t done too badly for herself either, becoming one of Nintendo’s hottest commodities with the sublime Metroid series, even if Other M turned her into a premenstrual moan-box with daddy issues.