Good News in History, February 27

25 years ago today, the world of Pokémon went public, emerging from the mind of game designer Satoshi Tajiri onto Nintendo Gameboy systems. In the six years it took to create the game and its first three “pocket monsters” (Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander), Tajiri’s Game Freak studio nearly went out of business, but the little creatures—some disarmingly cute, like, Pikachu—would take the world by storm and handheld Gameboys would assume a second life.

pokemon and pikachu-smallPlayers, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch the many varied Pokémon creatures each with unique strengths and weaknesses, and battle each other for sport, both electronically with the Nintendo system and with trading cards between friends. To this day, Pokémon thrives, with anime episodes (1000 total), live trading card game tournaments, toy store merchandise and apps—all worth $90 billion in total revenue. The Pokémon GO app uses your phone to augment reality, allowing you to hunt for Pokémon in the real world. (1996)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The first Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana was celebrated (1827)
  • The Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti (1844)
  • Happy 91st birthday to Academy Award-winning actress, producer, and philanthropist Joanne Woodward, who was married to Paul Newman for 50 years, until his death in 2008 (1930)
  • Dominica gained independence from the UK (1967)
  • The U.S. Senate allowed its debates to be televised for the first time (1986)
  • Divorce became legal in Ireland (1997)
  • Nigerian voters flocked to polls electing a civilian president to end 15 years of military rule (1999)
  • Alicia Keys won five Grammy Awards for her debut album, Songs in A Minor (2002)

81 years ago today, Carbon-14 was discovered by American chemists Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley. It became the basis of radiocarbon dating for determining the age of any archaeological or geological sample. It had a profound impact on archaeology, permitting more accurate dating and  allowed key transitions in prehistory to be dated, such as the end of the last ice age, and the beginning of the Neolithic and Bronze Age in various regions. (1940)

Photo by Russell Mondy, CC license

119 years ago today, John Steinbeck, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose novels included The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men, was born in Salinas, California. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” Before his death at age 66, he authored 27 books, including 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and two collections of short stories. He is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. WATCH a Biography video… (1902)

 

And, 28 years ago today, Whitney Houston was crowned the longest ever chart-topping artist after I Will Always Love You hit 14 weeks at No. 1 in the U.S. A favorite at weddings, the romantic ballad was written by Dolly Parton 20 years earlier. Houston recorded her version of the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. It was one of the best-selling singles of all time, and holds the record for being the biggest single by a woman in music history. WATCH a powerful 1994 live performance… (1993)

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