This Week In Awesome History Vol. 18

World of Warcraft creates millions of basement dwellers and a plane-jacker gets away!

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

November 21st, 1998: Ocarina of Time is released

On this day in ’98 what is widely regarded as The Greatest Video Game of all Time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, made its way to store shelves. The first ever 3D Zelda release, the game was ground-breaking for its time, and has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the highest-rated game ever reviewed. It currently holds a 99/100 meta score.

Even though the game is often cited as Nintendo’s grand masterpiece, I have still yet to play it. That’s right; I haven’t even so much as swung a sword in Ocarina’s Hyrule. I have, however, frequented the Super Nintendo’s A Link to the Past numerous times, which coincidentally was also released on this day in 1991.


November 22nd, 1988: Stealth Bomber is Unveiled

On this day in ’88, the B-2 “Stealth” Bomber was unveiled publicly for the first time in front of members of congress and the media.

After being developed secretively for nearly a decade, the Stealth Bomber was intended to be able to sneak past enemy’s defences unnoticed. However, the state of the art technology it was equipped with in order to do so also gave it a controversially high price tag, with each individual aircraft costing $1billion and the overall cost of development costing over $40billion.

The Bomber was given its first test flight in 1989, and although the Soviet Union’s demise in 1991 caused the US military to drop their order of the aircraft from 132 to just 21, the B-2 was used in multiple bombing missions in the 90’s. It was also mistaken for a UFO from time to time, such as in the above video.


November 23rd, 2004: World of Warcraft is released

On this day in 2004, thousands of gamers worldwide retreated into the darkness of their bedrooms and were never to be seen again. Yes, World of Warcraft was released, and quickly became the poster child for anti-videogame propaganda that denoted its addictive qualities as if gamers’ USB ports were suddenly shooting out spurts of tobacco smoke.

Along with garnering a hugely positive critical response, WoW went on to gain an unrivalled amount of monthly subscribers, and even though its popularity has somewhat dwindled over the years it is still unrivalled in the MMORPG world. WoW’s phenomenal rise to global domination has also allowed it break into the zeitgeist, with it being the subject of viral videos from “Leeroy Jenkins”, to “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, to earning its own entire episode on South Park entitled “Make Love Not Warcraft”.


November 24th, 1971: Hijacker escapes by parachuting into thunderstorm

(They wouldn't let me embed this video, so check it out here: D.B. Cooper Investigation)

In perhaps the most infamous cold case of all time, a man calling himself D.B. Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient Airlines 727 and proceeded to threaten those on board the aircraft with what appeared to be a bomb.

Requesting “$200,000, four parachutes and no funny stuff”, the passengers and crew dutifully handed him what he wanted before he landed the plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He allowed the passengers to evacuate the plane before ordering the crew into the cockpit and demanding that they fly it to Mexico, where he would then parachute from the aircraft into a raging thunderstorm.

 Many assumed he had been killed due what was referred to as a “suicidal” jump, although his body was never found and the case never solved. In 1980 an eight-year-old boy found a stack of nearly $6,000 from roughly where the jump had taken place.


November 26th, 1862: Alice in Wonderland is sent as a Christmas present

On this day in 1862, a manuscript entitled “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” was sent to 10-year-old Alice Liddell in time for Christmas. The manuscript was sent from Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who would later be more commonly known as Lewis Carroll.

Dodgson suffered with a speech impediment that forced him to stammer uncontrollably, but this stammer subsided when he spoke with children. After reciting the tale of Alice’s Adventures to Alice and her two sisters at a picnic, they suggested that he write it down. The manuscript that he would send to the Liddells as a present on this day would be noticed by novelist Henry Kingsley, who urged Dodgson to have it published.

Dodgson published the book himself in 1865 under the name Lewis Carroll. It was notable at the time for being a book that simply wished to entertain children, not educate them, and its enduring popularity has seen many adaptations across television and film, including a classic Disney version (video above) and a Johnny Depp-starring Tim Burton movie that was… well… a Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp.


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