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Flashback Fridays: February 1986

On February 20th, 1986, the Soviet Union officially launched their own space station, Mir. While there had previously been low-orbiting stations in the atmosphere, Mir revolutionized the modular design that continues to influence present-day spacecrafts. This station was significantly larger than any previous man-made satellite, allowing for easier usage of the premises for various experiments. Additionally, Mir’s design allowed for a greater longevity than any previous spacecraft, operating for well over a decade. In the early 1990’s, both the United States and Russia officially declared a joint-exploration program that would allow for U.S. astronauts to board Mir, and Russian cosmonauts to board an American space-shuttle. The once thriving “Space Race” between two ideologically different world-powers had been long over, making way for an internationally-lead movement for space exploration. Construction on the International Space Station was announced in September of 1993, and was launched over five years later. Despite being deorbited shortly thereafter, Mir’s legacy remains as a stepping-stone in mankind’s achievements towards adventuring the outer-limits of our world.

In February of 1986, Pixar Animation Studios was officially spun-off as a corporation from its original company, Lucasfilm. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs funded Pixar with well over ten million dollars. The company started small with their entertainment, releasing their first independent short in August of that year. Luxo Jr., as it is called, would be the first of many innovative shorts that evolved the animation medium into the computer-generated era. Two years later, a short entitled Tin Toy would release, winning that year’s “Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.” Tin Toy would further serve as the basis for the production of the 1995 classic, Toy Story. After the release of their first feature-length film, Pixar would become a household name. In the thirty-five years since its founding, they’ve released a multitude of cinematic staples including Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and WALL -E. Their most recent film as of 2021 is Soul, of which is currently nominated for the Golden Globe Awards’ “Best Animated Feature Film” category.

Nearly thirty-five years ago, the first entry in the “Legend of Zelda” franchise was released in Japan. The original game featured a non-linear gaming structure, incorporating elements of the action, adventure, and roleplaying genres. Players have to navigate through the overworld, full of dungeons and mythical caves. Zelda’s main antagonist, Ganon – the “Prince of darkness” – has kidnapped the princess and stole the Triforce of Power, an artifact with the ability to increase its user’s strength. Before being kidnapped, Princess Zelda split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight different pieces; it is up to you, the player, to successfully gather each fragment and defeat Ganon once and for all. The heroic protagonist, Link, is a young boy who was designed to represent a coming-of-age motif that the player could identify with. Since its release, the original Zelda has remained one of the most iconic games from Nintendo’s eighties catalogue.

Writers: Lucas Hydock


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