This is the year I have been looking forward to when I first started off this journey into 90s nostalgia. Because this is the year I matured enough to know more about what was going on. The year I began to have fond memories of films and events. The year I believe the 90s distinguished itself as a decade, primarily with films and games (though the music industry of the past few years certainly helped mold it). I’m eager to see what I missed out on, and what I’ll be revisiting. Hopefully you’ll find this stuff interesting too. And if nothing else, I’m hoping it will be an improvement upon 1992, which has been the worst year yet, particularly when it came to Movies (which is my primary focus with this series). Hoping it was because 1992 was a presidential election year that made those films a bit more heavy on political propaganda and political correctness. A taste of what we would get on a more regular basis in the coming decades. Because if I’m wrong, then I have more to worry about than 1996, let alone 2000 (should I go that far).
The popular warning: “Due to some violent content, parental discretion is advised” was introduced by all four major networks in 1993. Cigarette advertisements are banned in NYC’s MTA. Czechoslovakia separates into Czech Republic (Bohemia) & Slovakia. Michael Milkin, the “junk bond king”, is released from jail after 22 months. In Moscow, the Start II arms reduction treaty is signed by George H. W. Bush (USA) and Boris Yeltsin (Russia). Price is Right model Janice Pennington sues CBS for show accident. Oil tanker MV Braer runs aground on the coast of the Shetland Islands, spilling 84,700 tons of crude oil. Jean Mueller discovers comet Mueller/1993a. Michael Jordan’s game-high 35 points leads Chicago to 120-95 win over Milwaukee; gives him exactly 20,000 points in 620th game of his NBA career; 2nd-fastest to reach milestone after Wilt Chamberlain (499). Elvis Presley Commemorative Postage Stamp goes on sale. NBC offers “The Tonight Show” to David Letterman, but he moves his show from NBC to CBS. NHL great Mario Lemieux announces that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. French, British, and US fighter jets launch bombing raids in southern Iraq. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observed in all 50 states of the USA for 1st time. Israel recognizes PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) as no longer criminal. Bill Clinton inaugurated as 42nd US President. On Saturday Night Live, Madonna parodies Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President, as “Happy Inauguration Mr. President”. NY Newsday reports Oregan Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassed 23 women. Puerto Rico adds English as its 2nd official language. Sears announces it is closing its catalog sales department after 97 years. Five people were shot outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia resulting in two murders. US postal service issues a stamp commemorating chemist Percy Lavon Julian. Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN) starts broadcasting on television on January 20, 1993.
- Mark Collie: Mark Collie
- Dina Carroll: So Close
- King Tee: Tha Triflin’ Album
- Snow: 12 Inches of Snow
- Gorguts: The Erosion of Sanity
- Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet: The Juliet Letters. For those wanting something more classical.
- Jesus Jones: Perverse
- Billy Dean: Fire in the Dark
Therapy?: Nurse (12)
Teethgrinder is a groovy track.
Triumph: Edge of Excess (12)
Pleasant metal and hard rock. And this would be the last album they ever made.
Every Mother’s Nightmare: Wake Up Screaming (12)
More pleasant metal. Wouldn’t be the last album they ever put out, but it would be the last they put out for the rest of the decade. Album of the month.
Sloan: Smeared (13)
The The: Dusk (25)
Belly: Star (25)
Soft spoken with slightly harder/faster beats. Another girl band that I enjoy.
Chris Rea: God’s Great Banana Skin (?)
- Leprechaun. I don’t care how much of a cult classic this movie is. It’s fucking boring.
- Body of Evidence. The Modanna movie with William Dafoe that has, uh, strange sex scenes. And, honestly, it isn’t all that great.
Have to admit, this year had a hell of a start compared to last year.
Scent of a Woman (8; limited release December 1992)
It’s not bad, albeit overlong. They could’ve taken out a sequence or two and it wouldn’t have lost anything (the blind man driving sequence in-particular). It’s regarded as a classic, and it may have some memorable moments (with Pacino being his usual self); but I found the best part of the film to be his rant at the end at the university. I am interested in seeing the foreign film this is a remake of.
Chaplin (8; limited release December 1992)
This movie is ok, but it’s all too depressing for what it is. It showcased Charles Chaplins life to be consistently depressing with little to no joy. I’m not so sure that’s how it was. And I question some of the liberties it takes with history. Something tells me I would hate it if I did actual research into Chaplin’s life. Regardless, it’s a decent enough movie. Most fun part of the movie is them running around stealing film like it’s a Scooby Doo chase.
It may run too long for what it is, but otherwise it’s a decent survival story about these people whose plane crashes up in the winter mountains, where they must endure the cold and hunger.
Nowhere to Run (15)
A decent albeit typical Van Damme movie.
Hard Boiled (21; foreign, limited)
This may have been a limited release stateside, but this one is definitely worth acknowledging. John Woo’s magnum opus of ridiculous over-the-top gun shootout films, that basically defined the genre (if his prior film The Killer didn’t do it already). Film of the month, with the caveat that this is a foreign film with a limited release. Honestly though, I can’t believe this is the movie poster they went with.
Damage (22; limited release December 1992)
Whew. This is quite an erotic drama. Though the sex scenes aren’t really of the kind that are going to come off as all that stimulating, they’re not supposed to. They’re metaphorical in a sense, with an artistic use of restricting how much nudity is shown. The madness of attraction, connected with prior past emotional incidents. The last 20 minutes are as damaging as they are intriguing.
Aspen Extreme (22)
I was expecting this to be a low-brow comedy in the same vein as the ski films of the last few years. But to my surprise, this is more grounded, and much more of a drama than a comedy. This is one of the most underapprecciated films to have come out this year. It deserves more recognition than what it has. It has great ski stunts, and a solid drama story. And it stays relatively mellow for much of the runtime, which ended up being refreshing for me. And the poster is misleading.
Used People (22; limited release December 1992)
If you want a slice of life Jewish comedy drama family film that’s also a chick flick… well, there it is. Did think the dialogue got a little cringe when the kid started talking to his mom about how both of them were crazy.
This was more entertaining than I expected it to be. It was very fun seeing Claudia Christian in this type of role before she went on to do Babylon 5. And yes, she does get naked, and is in a sex scene. The film gets better as it goes, and becomes an absolute riot during the middle act. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like they knew how to end this flick, so they just went by the Hollywood film-writing book for some typical last act. Regardless, I thought it was fun enough to make up for its faults. Plus, there’s just something endearing seeing Claudia act so over-the-top. And trust me, if you watch this film before THAT episode of Babylon 5 where she has to have sex with an alien to close a deal, it’s going to make that episode a lot more hilarious.
This movie would’ve been better if it reversed its priorities, putting John Goodman’s character front and center, and having all the teen love triangle coming of age stuff been more in the background. That being said, this film still offers some good entertainment and laughs, particularly with the 50s monster film spook Mant (half man, half ant). Also does a good job at giving a feel for the Cold War paranoia at the time, with regard to duck and cover.
I thought this was just an ok movie. Not great, not terrible, just ok. Yet somehow it spawned a franchise with God knows how many films.
Lorenzo’s Oil (29; limited release December 1992)
As usual, this Hollywood film took liberties with how effective this oil is that the family managed to make themselves for treating people with this tragic condition. But it does have an earnest message at least. But it’s also rather irritating that it was using music from Platoon for the dramatic moments; especially when no one was getting shot. Anyway, expect an emotional drama that will likely be difficult to stomach at times because of the suffering this kid goes through.
- Raiden II (Arcade). Shmup.
- Batman Returns (NES). Better than the Sega Genesis version at least, but not good enough.
- Overlord (NES). I’m stunned that this console would port this Amiga game from January 1990. It’s not a good port, but I admire the effort.
- Race Drivin’ (Game Boy). Again, I’m amazed the Game Boy managed a port that simulated the 3D effects of the arcade version. But being the Game Boy, it’s not exactly the most pleasant way to play this game.
- The Berenstein Bears’ Camping Adventure (1993; Sega Genesis)
- Caesars Palace (1993; Sega Genesis)
- Fantastic Dizzy (1993; Sega Genesis)
- Cosmic Spacehead (1993; Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Amiga)
- Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck (1993; Game Gear)
- Double Switch (1993; Sega CD, Saturn ). Capitalizing on Night Trap, except this gameplay is worse.
- The Hunt for Red October (SNES)
- Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (1993; Turbografx)
- World Sports Competition (1993; Turbografx)
- Ken’s Labyrinth (PC). Independently made (by one person) glorified Wolfenstein clone.
- Aces Over Europe (1993; PC)
- Shadowcaster (1993; PC)
Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (1993; Arcade)
Cult classic arcade beat-em-up, with some RPG leveling elements that get reset to 0 each time you die.
Alien³ (January; Game Boy)
Interesting that this game toys with survival horror before it became a mainstream thing (aside from Alone in the Dark on PC from last year).
Star Wars (1993; Game Gear)
Better than the NES version.
Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl (January; Sega Genesis)
Port of a 1990 arcade game. It’s a fun enough football game that isn’t as serious as the Madden NFL stuff. More loose with rules of play too. As in play continues until someone makes a score; until then you’ll get tackled and punched and run into obstacles.
Rolo to the Rescue (January; Sega Genesis)
A lesser known yet quite good Genesis game where you play as an elephant who must save his animal friends, who each have an ability for getting through levels. And you can swap between them during the level.
Sorcerer’s Kingdom (January; Sega Genesis)
The beginning of this is a lot like the first Phantasy Star. Finding and killing a weak enemy, running back to town, healing up, rinse and repeat for an hour or so until you can finally hold your own and begin your journey proper. I’m not a big fan of games that start out that way, but if you can manage to get through that very rough beginning, this can be rewarding. More lesser known than Rolo.
Raiden Trad (1993; Sega Genesis; SNES , Atari Jaguar )
Better than the later SNES version, but the upcoming Jaguar version of the game would be superior.
Thunder Force IV, aka Lightening Force (January; Sega Genesis)
And here I thought Thunder Force III was supposed to be the definitive Genesis shmup game. Well, apparently, the sequel topped it. And that is not an easy thing to do. So good that some hail it as the greatest 16-bit shmup game of all time.
Chiki Chiki Boys, aka Mega Twins (1993; Sega Genesis, Arcade [June 19, 1990])
This is a prime example of a hidden gem. No one knew about this game, and yet it’s one of the best games ever to come out on the Genesis (even though the arcade version came out earlier). Though it does come with the caveat that any non-Japanese version removes the scantily clad babes you can rescue (boooooo!!!!!).
True Golf Classics: Pebble Beach Golf Links (1993; Genesis, SNES [April 1992], Saturn , 3DO )
I usually resist the urge to put sports games on this list, especially golf games. But this one is a significant enough classic that it merits mentioning. The Genesis version is better than the SNES version, but the Saturn version takes the cake.
Revenge of the Ninja (1993; Sega CD)
Basically an Asian-themed Dragon’s Lair.
Uncharted Waters (January; SNES, Sega Genesis )
This is a love it or hate it type of game, where you’ll either enjoy the plotting and recording locations, or you won’t. But it does have a classic status.
Buster Bros. (January; Turbografx-16)
Fascinating sphere-popping game. Port of a 1989 arcade game. Also had an SNES version in October 1992. Unlike the SNES version, this one allows for 2 player co-op.
Bomberman ’93 (1993; Turbografx-16)
More of the same as the last bomberman game, but with greater challenge.
Magical Chase (1993; Turbografx-16)
Cutesy shmup. Aka cute-em-up.
Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure (1993; Turbografx-16)
Final entry in this turbografx mascot franchise.
Simon the Sorcerer (January 2; PC)
Probably overrated, but it is considered an adventure game classic.
The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: Hand of Fate (1993; PC)
Much better than the first game.
Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist (1993; PC)
Comedy point-and-click adventure game.
Ultima VII: Serpent Isle (1993; PC)
Expansion pack for Ultima VII that continues the story, and ends on a bigger cliffhanger. The last great ultima game.
Wow. I have to admit, nothing started 1993 out with a bang in the entertainment industry like the tv shows the debuted this month.
- Class of ’96 (Fox). Honestly, it’s a decent enough drama, but it’s not all that memorable to me, and apparently not memorable enough for others as it wouldn’t last very long.
- Key West (19; Fox)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1; CBS)
Fucking liberal as shit. People can claim it’s historically accurate all they want, but when this show altered history to suit its fiction, it did so to portray certain people and ideals in the same biased light that it does today (including everyone’s favorite: indians who aren’t savage). Fucking hate that this show was ever popular, let alone when for multiple seasons (while shows like Space Rangers didn’t).
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (3; Syndication [or UPN channel 13])
Ah yes, this. Some consider this to be the greatest Star Trek show ever made. I haven’t personally seen it yet (beyond the first episode), but I will say it does start off better than TNG at least. I’m also willing to buy that this is probably the last great/decent Star Trek show ever made (not a fan of Voyager, and many aren’t). Still rather miffed that it ripped off aspects of Babylon 5, which had been in development since the late 80s, and would finally get its release next month. Still though, you have to admit those were great times when you were living during a period when 2 of the arguably greatest sci-fi shows of all time first came out, let alone ongoing. And I have to give it kudos for being less 2-dimensional with its characters and events compared to TNG, and being a darker series overall. Show of the month.
Space Rangers (6; CBS)
Now this is a sci-fi show I wish went on longer than it did. I thought it was rather fun, and deserved more than just 6 episodes. It’s nice to have characters who have all been through shit and have battle scars.
Hotel Room (8; HBO)
A 3-part miniseries partly created by David Lynch (or at least parts 1 and 3 were). Expect the Lynchian stuff.
The Untouchables (11; Syndication)
Heheh, basically a television series version of the movie. And honestly, it’s not bad. Of course, it got cancelled after a couple seasons, but that’s probably for the best as they started doing what they always do with shows like this. Not intending to end it at any point, so they make it more over the top as it goes (not a good thing). But it’s entertaining enough.
WWF’s Monday Night Raw (11; USA)
Nice to have WWF Raw come on television, but it would be a while before it gained attitude. But still, yay for 90s professional wrestling. Didn’t get into watching this show yet, and it would be many years before I did (unfortunately). From what I’ve researched though, I do believe the early 90s was when professional wrestling, in terms of in-ring talent matched with promos, was an improvement over wrestling of the 80s (even though that decade had its fair share of memorable wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan).
Time Trax (20; PTEM)
You know, the backstory to the main character and his time period is interesting to the point of frightening in today’s climate. Patriotism is considered quaint. Whites are a minority race, and “blanco” is the 22nd centuries most used racial slur. So he travels back in time to get 100 criminals who also traveled back in time. Nice concept, but making it 200 criminals was too much for a show like this that didn’t have enough complexity to the plot to keep it interesting, so it had the typical dumb tv tropes to keep it going until it was cancelled.
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (27; PTEN)
A series sequel to a 70s show. With the original star showing up to start it off. 20-30 years later. How often does that happen?
Homicide: Life on the Street (31; NBC)
David Simon’s hit show that revolutionized television (in a similar manner that NYPD Blue did, more on that later, in another month), before he did his hit shows The Wire and Oz. So… cop drama.