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At 1st November of 1992, Marvel Comics publishes the first issue of "X-Men Adventures". "X-Men Adventures" was a comic book spin-off of the 90's animated series. Beginning in November 1992, it adapted the first three seasons of the show. The comic book lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show's cancellation by the FOX Network.

The X-Men were created in 1963 by comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. They are among the most recognizable and successful intellectual properties of Marvel Comics, appearing in numerous books, television shows, films, and video games.

Early X-Men issues introduced the original team composed of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, and Iceman, along with their archenemy Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants featuring Mastermind, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Toad. The comic focused on a common human theme of good versus evil and later included storylines and themes about prejudice and racism, all of which have persisted throughout the series in one form or another.

The evil side in the fight was shown in human form and under some sympathetic beginnings via Magneto, a character who was later revealed to have survived Nazi concentration camps only to pursue a hatred for normal humanity. His key followers, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, were Romani. Only one new member of the X-Men was added, Mimic/Calvin Rankin, but soon left due to his temporary loss of power.

The original run of X-Men was canceled in 1970 due to some low sales but there was a contingent inside Marvel that wanted to reinvent the concept. Enter writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum. They scrapped the original team, save Cyclops and Professor X, and added an international roster. This is where Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and a little someone known as Wolverine join the book and change comics history forever.

The early 1980s, began with the comic's best-known story arc, the Dark Phoenix Saga, which saw Phoenix manipulated by the illusionist Mastermind and becoming corrupted with an overwhelming lust for power and destruction as the evil Dark Phoenix. Other important storylines included Days of Future Past, the saga of Deathbird and the Brood, the discovery of the Morlocks, the invasion of the Dire Wraiths and The Trial of Magneto.

In 1991, Marvel centered on the launch of a second X-Men series, simply titled X-Men. With the return of Xavier and the original X-Men to the team, the roster was split into two strike forces: Cyclops's "Blue Team" (chronicled in X-Men) and Storm's "Gold Team" (in The Uncanny X-Men). Its first issues were written by longstanding X-Men writer Chris Claremont and drawn and co-plotted by Jim Lee.

There were many new popular additions to the X-Men in the 1990s, including Gambit, Cable, and Bishop. Gambit became one of the most popular X-Men, rivaling even Wolverine in size of fanbase after his debut in Uncanny X-Men #266 (Aug. 1990). Xavier's New Mutants grew up and became X-Force, and the next generation of students began with Generation X, featuring Jubilee and other teenage mutants led and schooled by Banshee and former villainess Emma Frost at her Massachusetts Academy.

Released In 1992, X-Men Adventures was a series that provided adaptations of X-Men: The Animated Series episodes in comic form; it was a comic adaptation of a cartoon adaptation of a comic. But instead of following the scripts verbatim, X-Men Adventures presented a sort of expanded version of the episodes, with additional dialogue and scenes. Later issues of the series, retitled Adventures of the X-Men, started doing original stories in the animated series continuity.

This title takes our favorite mutants from Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters through tightly-scripted adventures with all the action of the original series, but with less complicated plots and subplots. This series retells the best of the Uncanny X-Men’s adventures, including their constant struggle to fight prejudice and protect the very people who fear them.

#XMen #XMenAdventures
#ComicBook #Marvel #Onthisday
#Comics #ComicBooks #Retro
#MarvelComics #Vintage #Oldschool
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At 11th October of 1999, production begins on "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy. The trilogy was received with overwhelming praise and was a major financial success, with the films collectively being among the highest-grossing film series of all time.

When “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” opened on Dec. 19, 2001, it was the culmination of one of the most audacious and successful bets ever made in the movie business. The three films in the series were shot back to back and grossed $2.9 billion dollars, not bad for a trilogy that very nearly didn’t get made.

Why did it take so long after the J.R.R. Tolkien books were published to see a “Lord of the Rings” film ? And how did Peter Jackson, who wasn’t a well-known director at the time, end up directing all three ? Let's find out...

The books were published starting in 1954 in England, but didn’t become popular in the U.S. until the mid-1960s, at the height of the Vietnam War, when war protesters and back-to-the-earth hippies ruled the cultural airwaves. The books became counter-cultural touchstones thanks to their themes of environmental protection and battles against forces of war and corruption.

Tolkien was flattered by the success and amazed by the profits. But he was born in 1892, and couldn’t get his head around fans whose idea of a great trip was to ingest “The Lord of the Rings” and LSD simultaneously. Plus, over-enthusiastic readers were invading his privacy, gawking at his house and calling him at all hours with obscure questions.

Themes from the book were reflected in music by groups such as Led Zeppelin with their song “Ramble On,” and writers including Clive Barker and Stephen King were strongly influenced by Tolkien. George Lucas has often cited the books as an important influence on “Star Wars.”

Until the mid-1990s, when digital special effects started to become more widespread, it was thought the vast mythological universe of elves, Hobbits, wizards and monsters would be too daunting and expensive to reproduce on film. Filmmakers including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and John Boorman considered trying to adapt the books but ultimately didn’t follow through.

While Peter Jackson, a longtime Tolkien fan, was filming his first studio film “The Frighteners,” for Universal, he began considering whether the many recent advances in visual effects might finally make it possible to adapt “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy on film for a reasonable amount of money.

Jackson won the rights to film Tolkien's epic in 1997 after meeting with producer Saul Zaentz. Originally working with Miramax towards a two-film production, Jackson was later pressured to render the story as a single film, and finally overcame a tight deadline by making a last-minute deal with New Line, who were keen on a trilogy.

Before filming began on 11 October 1999, the principal actors trained for six weeks in sword fighting (with Bob Anderson), riding and boating. Jackson hoped such activities would allow the cast to bond so chemistry would be evident on screen as well as getting them used to life in Wellington.

They were also trained to pronounce Tolkien's verses properly. After the shoot, the nine cast members playing the Fellowship got a tattoo of the English word "nine" written in Tengwar, with the exception of John Rhys-Davies, whose stunt double got the tattoo instead.

The film is noted for having an ensemble cast, and some of the cast and their respective characters include: Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Sean Bean as Boromir, Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Orlando Bloom as Legolas and Billy Boyd as Peregrin "Pippin" Took.

Between on-set injuries, extensive script changes, and one whopper of a casting process, at various points in the life of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy it seemed as if director Peter Jackson might have bitten off more than he could chew. The trilogy that changed the face of fantasy films tackled a number of challenges along the way, but it all worked out in the end.

#TheLordOfTheRings #LOTR
#Onthisday #90sMemories
#Cast # ElijahWood #ViggoMortensen
#IanMcKellen #Cinema
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At 8th September of 1999, the third novel in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was published in the US. The book follows Harry Potter, a young wizard, in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigates Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban who they believe is one of Lord Voldemort's old allies. The book won the 1999 Whitbread Children's Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was short-listed for other awards, including the Hugo.

J.K Rowling proves that she has plenty of tricks left up her sleeve in this third Harry Potter adventure, set once again at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Prisoner of Azkaban begins the trend of the books getting steadily darker as they move towards the actual return of Voldemort in Goblet of Fire.

Dementors are introduced, the creatures which feed on the sadness of humans, and the conditions at the wizarding prison Azkaban are spelled out. We learn more about the inherent prejudices of wizards and witches through Professor Lupin, a werewolf who takes over the perpetually rotating Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position.

Harry has spent yet another miserable summer at home with the Dursleys. He can't wait to get back to school at Hogwarts, and he's especially anticipating the third-year privilege of visiting the all-magical village of Hogsmeade near the school. The only problem is that he has to get Uncle Vernon to sign his permission slip to do so. Harry's bargain with his uncle over the form backfires when Harry gets angry and accidentally "inflates" Aunt Marge.

Frightened that he will be under arrest by the Ministry of Magic for the improper use of magic by an underage wizard, Harry tries to run away but is picked up by a magical bus and delivered to Diagon Alley, where he is able to meet his Hogwarts friends and purchase his supplies for the new school year.

Rather than being punished by the Ministry of Magic, Harry soon finds that he is being protected. A much-feared prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban, the wizard prison, and Harry is believed to be the target of his next kill. Soon, Black has found his way into Hogwarts, so Harry isn't even safe in his own dormitory.

Once again, Harry, Ron and Hermione must solve the mystery: what were the circumstances of Black's original crime, and how is he related to Harry's parents and their death ? Who is the traitor who informed on Harry's parents to Voldemort ? In working out this puzzle, Harry finds both his father's best friends and his own godfather. Even though Harry and friends do find the traitor, he escapes in the end, leaving both Voldemort andone of his loyal supporters to haunt Harry in the next volume.

Prisoner of Azkaban works to set up a lot of the necessary relationships, backstory, and tension that will be needed later in the series. And begins to set up some of the personality flaws that will plague Harry for the rest of the series.

#HarryPotter #JKRowling
#PrisonerOfAzkaban #Books #Book
#Novel #Fantasy #Onthisday
#FantasyBooks #FantasyNovels
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At 1st September of 1998, the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling's debut novel "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was published in the US. The book, which was Rowling's debut novel, was published on 26 June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London. In 1998, Scholastic Corporation published an edition for the United States market under the title 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.'

The first book in J.K. Rowling’s seven book wizardry extravaganza is quite undeniably one of the most popular books to have ever been written. The Harry Potter books tell the story of orphan Harry James Potter and the discovery of his secret magical powers and the role he plays in the safety of the hidden world of witchcraft and wizards.

The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (known as the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States) begins on a seemingly ordinary night on a quiet street in Surrey, England. Three people gather, an elderly man, a stern faced woman and a huge bearded motorbiker, and they talk about a strange and confusing series of events, including tragedy and murder, and why this means that they must leave their charge, a sleeping babe wrapped in blankets, on the doorstep of one extremely regular house on that extremely regular street.

This tiny sleeping child is Harry Potter, whose parents supposedly died in a car crash, leaving him with a lightening bolt shaped scar across his forehead. He is raised by his mother’s sister, Petunia and her husband Vernon an office worker in a drill company. However on his eleventh birthday a series of very bizarre events lead to the discovery of Harry’s true identity, he’s a wizard.

From there he learns that his parents were murdered by an evil and power hungry psychopath named Lord Voldermort and that Harry’s true place is at Hogworts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a magical castle hidden somewhere in the UK. After a fantastic journey on a huge red steam train from a hidden on secret platform at London’s King Cross station Harry finally begins to feel at home and accepted at Hogworts, finding friendship in two fellow students Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

All is not well however as Harry discovers that there is a dangerous secret being kept at Hogworts and that his parent’s murderer, supposed dead for over a decade, will do anything to get his hands on the fabled Philosopher’s Stone; which brings eternal life.

This first book introduces you to magical world for the first time, and it does so in a smooth and comfortable fashion, introducing both you and Harry to strange wonders never yet experienced. Through Harry’s eyes you encounter wands, monsters and spells with their magical properties, purposes and history laid out in small, easily consumable chunks.

This means that the book never ceases to envelope you in its world or characters, whereas many epic fantasies have a habit of pulling you aside in a rather obvious fashion and explaining every newly encountered item referenced.

The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione blooms beautifully and you can not help but take the characters straight into your heart. All the characters, teachers, students and bad guys alike have truly believable personalities, all with their own eccentricities and flaws which more often than not help to make them the truly loveable and long standing characters they will become.

This enthralling start of Harry’s journey towards coming to terms with his past and facing his future is peopled by believable characters with whom it is easy to identify. By turns funny, sad, mysterious, and a bit scary, this story, and its film version, engaged audiences of all ages.

#HarryPotter #JKRowling
#SorcerersStone #Books #BackToHogwarts
#Book #Novel #Fantasy #Onthisday
#FantasyBooks #FantasyNovels
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At 28th August of 1996, their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are formally divorced at the High Court of Justice in London. Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales is restyled Diana, Princess of Wales, due to the Queen's letters patent issued a week earlier.

After four years of separation, Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana, formally divorce. The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana Spencer for several years. He took serious interest in her as a potential bride when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. He invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia as their relationship began to develop.

This was followed by an invitation to Balmoral Castle, the Windsor family's Scottish home, to meet his family. Diana was well received at Balmoral by The Queen, Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The couple then had several dates in London.

Diana and Charles had been seeing each other for about six months when he proposed on 3 February 1981 in the nursery at Windsor Castle. Diana had planned a holiday for the next week, and Charles hoped she would use the time to consider her answer. Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks.

Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Diana selected an elegant, large £30,000 engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. Many copies of the ring have been made in well-established jewellery shops and high-street fashion chains worldwide.

On July 29, 1981, nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tuned in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple’s romance was, for the moment, the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.

Before long, however, the fairy tale couple grew apart, an experience that was particularly painful under the ubiquitous eyes of the world’s tabloid media. Diana and Charles announced a separation in 1992, though they continued to carry out their royal duties.

In August 1996, two months after Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce, the prince and princess reached a final agreement. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of “Princess of Wales,” Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne.

In the year following the divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming “a queen in people’s hearts,” but on August 31, 1997, she was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed in a car accident in Paris.

An investigation conducted by the French police concluded that the driver, who also died in the crash, was heavily intoxicated and caused the accident while trying to escape the paparazzi photographers who consistently tailed Diana during any public outing. Prince Charles married his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005.

#LadyDiana #Onthisday
#PrincessDiana #PrinceCharles
#Diana #RoyalFamily #Couple
#90sMemories #Royalty #UK
#Divorce #Relationship
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At 21st August of 1999, Hua Mei, the giant panda cub, was born at the San Diego Zoo weighing a not-so-giant 4-5 ounces. Her parents are Bai Yun and Shi Shi (they arrived at the zoo on Sep 10, 1996 on a 12-year conservation study). Hua Mei was the first panda born in the U.S. in ten years. Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo's Panda Cam.

In 1999, after years of scientific work on giant panda reproduction and behavior, it happened: the San Diego Zoo welcomed Hua Mei, a tiny bear that was a huge deal.

In the Summer of 1999, the giant panda team thought female Bai Yun might be pregnant, but because at that time it was difficult to definitively pinpoint pregnancy in pandas, they weren’t sure. They had been on birth watch 24/7 for a couple of weeks when observers noted that it looked like Bai Yun might be in labor. The word spread, and keepers and scientists on the giant panda team hurried to the Giant Panda Research Station to watch Bai Yun via remote camera.

It was standing room only, and so quiet you could hear a pin drop as everyone seemed to be holding their breath. Then Bai Yun moved, seeming to scoop something up, and sat back. There was a murmur of confusion and speculation, was this it ? Had the birth happened ? Then they heard the squawk, remarkably loud for such a tiny thing. The room erupted in applause and gasps of joy. The San Diego Zoo had its very first panda cub!

Hua Mei grew quickly from that little white baby into a robust, healthy, and rambunctious cub. Each week the staff recorded her vitals, measurements, condition of eyes and ears, motor skills, and tooth development. Most of the time she was quiet and cooperative during these early exams, but occasionally she would make her opinion known with a squawk.

Following Chinese tradition, she was named at 100 days old with a joyful celebration at the Zoo that included the Chinese Consulate. Her name means “China USA” to honor the important collaboration between the two countries to help save pandas.

In 2002, it was time for the now full-grown panda to return to China. The keepers prepared her well for the trip, which was uneventful other than her fans missing her! In her new home, Hua Mei was paired with a male, Ling Ling, for breeding and she gave birth to twins in 2004.

Both cubs were males, and were hand raised in the nursery, and both grew up healthy. In September 2005, Hua Mei gave birth again and had another set of twins, this time a male and a female. Over the years, Hua Mei has given birth to nine cubs, including three sets of twins, once again proving her superstar status!

From the excitement of her birth, to all the things she taught us, to her contribution to increasing the giant panda population, Hua Mei is one sensational panda.

#HuaMei #Panda #GiantPanda
#Onthisday #90sMemories
#WildLife #PandaBear
#SanDiego #Zoo #SanDiegoZoo
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At 15th August of 1990, the first Super Soaker water gun (the model Super Soaker 50) went on sale in the US.

S-U-P-E-R S-O-A-K-E-R. For ’90s kids, no two words emblazoned in neon triggered the same joyous reaction. The TV ads were everywhere, a comically irate camp counselor screaming: “WETTER IS BETTER!” Summer days were spent outside, hiding behind minivans, lawn furniture, and tree trunks. And there were kamikaze missions, running around in tight combat formation, soaking everything until tanks ran dry.

The sprint back to the hose was equally tense. Who could fill their tank first before the water started flying again ? Was there a cease-fire in place ? (Do 9 year-olds honor cease-fires ?)

Thanks to Lonnie Johnson, originally a nuclear engineer (because of course) and the creator of the Super Soaker, the summers of the 90’s were filled with happy battles. We can also personally thank Mr. Johnson for prematurely muscled adolescent forearms, the amount of pumping needed on some Super Soaker models should have qualified as an Olympic workout. Then again, whatever it took to place a perfect stream directly in your friend’s (read: enemy’s) eyeball.

The Super Soaker story began in the early 1980s, when Dr. Lonnie Johnson, a Tuskegee Institute-trained mechanical and nuclear engineer, was working on NASA’s Galileo Mission to Jupiter. At night, Johnson was working on his own project, a new heat pump that replaced Freon with environmentally friendly pressurized water vapor.

Tinkering with the pump’s design at home, Johnson hooked the nozzle up to his bathroom faucet. The steady stream that shot across the room gave Johnson an idea for a high-powered water blaster. From PVC pipe and an empty soda bottle, he improvised a model he called the Power Drencher that featured an air pressure chamber and a water reservoir. Johnson later enlarged the tank and moved it to the top of the blaster, making the prototype look even more like a prop in a science fiction movie.

The first Super Soaker went on sale in 1990, when Johnson worked out a deal with Larami Corporation, a maker of inexpensive plastic toys and action figures, to produce his invention. Larami’s aggressive advertising sold 27 million Super Soakers at $10 each in the first three years of production.

In the years following, innovations such as increasing water carrying capacity, altering water direction, and lengthening the distance of the water stream heightened the toy’s popularity. In 2015, the SS50 was the model exemplified when the Super Soaker brand was nominated for the National Toy Hall of Fame.

To date, Larami Corporation and then Hasbro have sold about 200 million Super Soakers in more than 175 variations, netting the companies about $1 billion in sales. Fun with Super Soakers yields several dividends: exercise in the chases and brain-training while calculating vectors to moving targets and improvising tactics on the fly. Getting soaked in the process adds up to good, clean fun.

#SuperSoaker #SuperSoaker50
#SuperSoaker100 #WaterGun #Toy
#Toys #Oldschool #VintageToys
#Retro #90sMemories #Vintage
#Onthisday #ChildhoodMemories
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At 11th August of 1992, the Mall of America opened in Bloomington, Minnesota. It is the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States. With more than 520 stores, 50 restaurants, an indoor theme park, and tons of other family attractions and nightlife options, Mall of America is a must-see in Minneapolis.

In 1982, Minnesota's professional baseball and football teams, the Twins and the Vikings, moved from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington to the H.H.H. Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. This created an unprecedented development opportunity for 78 acres of highly accessible prime real estate. The property is located only a mile and a half from the Minneapolis St. Paul international Airport at the intersection of major highways.

Three years later, the Bloomington Port Authority purchased the stadium site and began entertaining proposals for development. There were four major proposals given serious consideration:

-Office Complexes
-Condominium/residential uses
-New convention/visitors center
-Mixed use retail/entertainment center

The fourth option was selected, and on June 14, 1989, the developers and local dignitaries broke ground. It was a day to remember. With cold winds gusting up to 35 miles an hour, the headlines read, "Why Minnesota ?"

Despite media detractors, naysayers and ominous groundbreaking conditions, construction continued and on August 11, 1992, when Mall of America opened its doors, the face of Minnesota changed forever. The Mall was 71 percent leased with 330 brand new stores open for business, including nationally recognized department stores: Macy's, Nordstrom and Sears, together under one roof for the first time. It was also the first day of work for more than 10,000 employees.

The goal has always been to build a destination attraction, much more than just a shopping mall. Mall of America is an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering visitors the chance to shop their favorite stores as well as see a movie, ride a roller coaster or meet their favorite celebrity.

Not only did the concept work, it has surpassed all expectations and changed the way people shop. First in the industry to mix retail and entertainment, Mall of America has become the model for combining signature retail and attractions to create an outstanding entertainment venue and is now one of the most visited destinations in the United States.

Mall of America has become a “shining star” for the entire state of Minnesota. From planes, trains, and cross-country road trips, Mall of America has become a destination for everything from family vacations, weekend getaways and even honeymoons. The Mall now generates nearly $2 billion each year in economic impact for the state and has put Minnesota on the map as a tourist destination. Each year there are 40 million visitors to Mall of America which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Wyoming…and the entire nation of Canada!

It’s easy to access the mall from both downtown Minneapolis and the airport. One of the most convenient ways to travel to the Mall of America is by light rail. This service connects downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport, and the Mall of America and it’s simple to use! Many hotels also offer free shuttle service between the airport and the mall, so be sure to check with your hotel about this service. If you’d like to take a taxi from the airport to the mall, the fare for this short drive will be approximately $14 dollars.

#MallOfAmerica #ShoppingMall
#Shopping #MOA
#Onthisday #Mall
#Minneapolis #Minnesota
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At 6th August of 1996, “A Game of Thrones,” an epic fantasy novel by George R.R. Martin, is released. The book was the first in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, about feuding medieval noble families on an imaginary continent called Westeros. Although not initially a best-seller, “A Game of Thrones” gained a loyal following, and the “Song of Ice and Fire” series eventually became a huge hit, selling millions of books.

There is much in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' that follows the conventions of the fantasy genre, sometimes quite narrowly. But Martin also offers much that is novel, as well as some twists on familiar cliches, and his work stands head and shoulders above the mass of multi-volume fantasy series.

Martin's epic is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, on a world in which summers can last a decade or more, and winters nearly a century. Eddard Stark is lord of the Keep of Winterfell, who finds himself hosting a surprise visit from his old friend and king of all the realm, Robert Baratheon. Eddard once aided Robert in an uprising against the ruling Targaryens, and only he seems aware just how dangerous Robert's queen, Cersei Lannister, and indeed the entire Lannister House, really is.

Cersei has designs upon the throne for her snot of a son, Joffrey, and will evidently stop at nothing to achieve her ends. King Robert asks Eddard to take the position of King's Hand, sort of like his prime minister as the previous hand, Jon Arryn, has met with an untimely death. Eddard accepts only out of duty, for his wife Catelyn has told him that her sister, Arryn's widow, is convinced Queen Cersei is behind his poisoning. Robert, though he dislikes his wife, remains blissfully ignorant of the extent of her intrigues.

Eddard's appointment begins under a cloud. One of his youngest sons, Bran, nearly dies in a horrible fall that leaves him paralyzed and comatose, and which we know was no accident. Bran has inadvertently stumbled upon one of Cersei's darkest secrets, and nearly pays with his life.

After Eddard is miles away from Winterfell, at court in King's Landing, Bran awakens from his stupor, and though he cannot remember what it was he saw, Catelyn and the eldest Stark son, Robb, are now convinced that the Lannisters are up to absolutely no good. Catelyn hurries off to King's Landing to warn her husband, leaving Robb in charge of Winterfell, a 15-year-old boy suddenly thrust into the position of Lord.

It is easy to forget just how hard it is in a novel to create a living, breathing, fully three-dimensional character until you see it done by a genuinely gifted talent. Among the more memorable players in this game are Tyrion Lannister, the black sheep of the Lannister clan, stunted by dwarfism.

At first the one member of Cersei's family remotely sympathetic to the Starks, he finds himself swept up in the growing turmoil between the two families until all of his skills at conniving must be brought to bear simply to stay alive. Jon Snow, a bastard son of Eddard's, rejected by Catelyn, joins the Night's Watch, a legion whose duty it is to guard an immense wall far to the north, beyond which lies a fearsome supernatural threat to the Seven Kingdoms.

And in a fascinating subplot, we meet princess Daenerys Targaryen, one of the last surviving heirs to that unseated regime. Living in exile in a land far across the ocean (the book doesn't even provide a map to it) and having been wedded to a savage but noble warlord, she dreams of returning to her homeland one day and seeing the Targaryen name and its power restored.

Dazzling in the scope of its legendry and in its heartfelt humanity, 'A Game of Thrones' signals the onset of perhaps the most significant work of fantasy since Bilbo found the One Ring. True, that is a claim that critics and readers have made time and time again about virtually every fantasy saga to see print, but until now, in all honesty, it's been hyperbole. With 'A Song of Ice and Fire', it may well be true. This is one that will go beyond the status of bestseller into honest-to-goodness classic.

#AGameOfThrones #GameOfThrones
#ASongOfIceAndFire #GOT
#GeorgeRRMartin #Books #Book
#Novel #Fantasy #FantasyBooks
#FantasyNovels #Onthisday
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At 5th August of 1993, Magic: The Gathering undergoes its first general release.

If you’ve ever played Magic: The Gathering, odds are high that you were at some point obsessed with it. For more than 20 years now, Magic has maintained its well-deserved place among the most popular and complex games in recent memory.

The game originated in the early 1990s in the mind of Richard Garfield, at the time a graduate student working towards a PhD in combinatorial mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. A life-long tabletop gamer, he had approached a publisher to pitch an idea for a game about programming robots, only to be told that the company needed something more portable and cheaper to produce.

During his free time he worked with local volunteer playtesters to help refine the game. He had been brought on as an adjunct professor at Whitman College in 1991 when Peter Adkison (then CEO of Wizards of the Coast games company) first met with Garfield to discuss Garfield's new game RoboRally. Adkison saw the game as very promising, but decided that Wizards of the Coast lacked the resources to produce it at that point.

He did like Garfield's ideas and mentioned that he was looking for a portable game that could be played in the downtime that frequently occurs at gaming conventions. Garfield returned and presented the general outline of the concept of a trading card game. Adkison immediately saw the potential of this idea and agreed to produce it.

Where other card games were sold as a single packaged product, Magic cards would come in randomised packs, a model similar to collectible baseball cards. Particularly powerful cards would be rarer than others, making collecting and trading them as much a part of the experience as actually playing matches. Players would assemble their own decks, with a near-limitless ability to personalise their game and develop their own tactics.

The formula proved to be a lucrative hit for the game’s publisher, Seattle-based Wizards of the Coast. From its release in 1993, Magic grew by word of mouth. Players obsessed over the process of building decks, endlessly hunting for the most effective card combinations and devising a huge range of winning strategies.

New cards are released every year on a regular basis through expansion sets. An organized tournament system played at an international level and a worldwide community of professional Magic players has developed, as well as a substantial secondary market for Magic cards. Certain Magic cards can be valuable due to their rarity and utility in game play, with prices ranging from a few cents to thousands of dollars.

In recent years, the game’s publishers have attempted to introduce greater diversity within its fictional universe. In 2013 Magic featured its first same-sex couple, the Guardians of Meletis. A more recent set included the game’s first transgender character. A game which has often been seen as the preserve of middle-class white males is in the process of becoming a universal pop culture phenomenon.

But while Magic’s ascent has been impressive, it isn’t the only game in town. Other card games, physical and digital, have been able to establish themselves by addressing some of the most common gripes players have with the game. While it has some serious competitors, Magic looks unlikely to disappear any time soon. Ultimately, the game’s most valuable asset is its community of players, many of whom base their social lives around the game. For the most part they’re passionate, loyal and keen to bring others into their world. And once you’re in, it’s hard to get out...

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#CardGaming #CCG
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