How Alien, Adventure, and Asteroids changed everything.
Welcome back to IGN’s History of Awesome – a year-long look back at all the coolest and most influential games, movies, TV shows, comic books, toys, and tech that have shaped pop culture, and shaped the lives of an entire generation. Up this week is 1979 – the year that Star Wars’ runaway success was truly felt in the world of film, and the concept of a true “console game” experience finally took shape.
Risky films like Alien and Star Trek: The Motion Picture were released to critical acclaim and massive box-office success, ensuring plenty more big-budget sci-fi epics would be released in the years to come.
Catch up on IGN’s History of Awesome:
Games like Asteroids and Galaxian made millions in arcades, further cementing the thriving arcade culture. But it was the release of Adventure for the Atari 2600 that truly changed the course of video games. It was the first open-world game focused on adventure and exploration, and one of the first games designed for something other than gobbling up quarters. In effect, it started the diverging path arcade games and console games would remain on for decades.
1979 as also a turning point for Marvel’s Iron Man, thanks to the publication of his character-defining Demon in a Bottle story. Learn about all of this, and more:
1979 By the Numbers
|Kramer vs. Kramer||$106,260,000|
|The Amityville Horror||$86,432,520|
|Star Trek: The Motion Picture||$82,258,456|
|The Muppet Movie||$65,200,000|
Source: Box Office Mojo
|Knack||#1: My Sharona|
|Donna Summer||#2: Bad Girls|
|Chic||#3: Le Freak|
|Rod Stewart||#4: Do Ya Think I’m Sexy|
|Peaches and Herb||#5: Reunited|
|Gloria Gaynor||#6: I Will Survive|
|Donna Summer||#7 Hot Stuff|
|Village People||#8 Y.M.C.A.|
|Anita Ward||#9 Ring My Bell|
|Robert John||#10 Sad Eyes|
|#1: The Dukes of Hazzard|
|#2: The Facts of Life|
|#3: Hart to Hart|
|#4: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century|
|#5: Knots Landing|
|#8 Trapper John, M.D.|
|#10 You Can’t Do That on Television|
|#1: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy|
|#2: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain|
|#3: The Dead Zone|
|#4: The Neverending Story|
|#5: Flowers in the Attic|
|#6: Skeleton Crew|
|#7: The Long Walk|
|#8: Kane and Abel|
|#9: If on a winter’s night a traveler|
|#10: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Brain|
|#1: Jennifer||#1: Michael|
|#2: Melissa||#2: Christopher|
|#3: Amanda||#3: Jason|
|#4: Jessica||#4: David|
|#5: Amy||#5: James|
Source: Social Security Administration
What Mattered to You
History of Awesome is IGN’s 38-part trip down memory lane – each week we’re covering a new year’s most important, influential, or just-plain-awesome movies, games, TV shows, comics, and more.
1979 was epic, but things are only going to get more awesome from here. Be sure to check back next week for an in-depth look at 1980, including deep dives into Pac-Man, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II, and more.