This Week in Awesome History Vol. 10

From Hitler to Halo, we've got just about everything covered this week.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

September 26, 1996: Nintendo 64 is released in North America

On this day in ’96 the Nintendo 64 made its way to store shelves across America, and quickly became the Christmas present of choice for children and teenagers alike. Although its cartridge based gaming seemed a little tame in comparison to the PlayStation’s futuristic CD’s, with first-party titles such as Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash Bros., it still attracted a wide audience and kept Nintendo up there with Sony’s frontrunner until the release of the PlayStation 2.

Although I opted for the “cooler” PlayStation at the time, I still have fond memories of visiting my friends’ house and repeatedly having my backside handed to me in Pokémon Stadium. Ah, the 90s…

 

September 28, 1918: British Soldier Spares Life of Hitler?

In 1918 Private Henry Tandey took aim at a German soldier after a battle in the French village of Marcoing. After seeing that the soldier was wounded Tandey took pity on him and didn’t take the shot, and the injured German nodded at him with appreciation then continued walking.

In 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain travelled to Germany to visit Adolf Hitler to try to prevent the dictator from starting a second World War. During the trip Chamberlain was invited to Hitler’s retreat in Bavaria, which was decorated with many German works of art but also included the portrait above of a group of British soldiers, by Italian painter Fortunio Matania.

When Chamberlain questioned the dictator about the painting Hitler said:

“That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again, providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us.”

Hitler was pointing to the soldier at the forefront of the image carrying a wounded friend: Henry Tandey.

Although military records make it impossible to pinpoint both Tandey and Hitler’s exact location on this date, the coincidences make this a piece of World War I trivia that’s difficult to ignore, and Tandey himself would later say to a journalist “If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people and woman and children he had killed and wounded I was sorry to God I let him go.”

 

September 29, 1988: First American Woman to Climb Everest

Stacy Allison was one of several female mountaineers who took part in a competition to see who could be the first to climb Mount Everest. After harsh weather conditions forced the other participants to turn around midway through their climb, Allison surprised many (including herself) by reaching the peak of 29,000 feet, being the first American woman to do so.

After that day Allison knew she would have to try to live up to the expectations people would have of her, saying "After I stood on top of Mount Everest, I knew I would be a role model for people, and I took that seriously. It caused me to take a good, hard look at myself, to make sure I was the kind of person who could be a good role model."

 

September 30, 1927: Babe Ruth hits 60th Home Run

On this day in 1927 Baseball legend Babe Ruth was the first man to hit 60 home runs, and would retain the record for another 34 years.

In a game against the Washington Senators Ruth hit a pitch by Tom Zachary high into the right-field bleachers, and celebrated by slowly parading around the bases and saluting the crowd. Those in attendance ripped up their newspapers and threw confetti into the air in jubilation.

 

October 1st, 2007: Bungie and Microsoft call it quits

After 7 years of providing Microsoft with massive profits thanks to their Halo series, on this day in 2007 Bungie parted ways with MS and became an independent company.

After Halo: Combat Evolved was released a launch title for the original Xbox in 2001, the series went on to become one of the revered and critically-acclaimed in videogame history, and its hero Master Chief one of the true icons of 21st century gaming.

Bungie would release their last Halo title Reach in 2010, although the license has been picked up by 343 Industries who are currently developing Halo 4, the first game in a new direction for the series called “The Reclaimer Trilogy”.

In April of 2010 Bungie announced that it had entered a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard, who also own Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch, in order to produce new intellectual property for the company. Bungie’s deal with Activision was almost unprecedented in the world of gaming, as it stated that any new IP Bungie creates would still be owned by Bungie, not Activision, which would mean that Bungie would still keep the rights to their creations if they were to move publishers. They must have roofied Bobby Kotick’s beer in order to get him to agree to that.