Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: January 1994

Nintendo proclaims “1994: The Year of the Cartridge,” to celebrate the sale of 1 billion game cartridges. Howard Stern’s New Year’s Eve Beauty Pageant. International Year of Family. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect. Battles between army & rebellious indians in South Mexico, kill 57. Restoration of South African citizenship, announced on 15 December 1993 by the South African parliament led by President F. W. de Klerk, becomes effective four months before the first South Africa non-racial polls of 27 April, 1994. US figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan is attacked by Tonya Harding’s bodyguard at the US Championships in Detroit. Tonya Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eric Eckardt & Derrick Brian Smith arrested & charged with conspiracy in attack of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. US female Figure Skating championship won by Tonya Harding. Malcolm X’s daughter arrested for plotting Louis Farrakham’s murder. 15th ACE Cable Awards: Michael Fuchs wins the Golden CableACE for outstanding achievements in advancing the development of cable programming. 6.6 Earthquake hits Los Angeles killing 60, $30B in damage. The Cando event, a possible bolide impact in Cando, Spain; witnesses claim to have seen a fireball in the sky lasting for almost one minute. Accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy, Michael Jackson settles a civil lawsuit out of court. Romanian social democrats form government with anti-Semites. Helicopter crashes into office building in San Jose California, 1 dead. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates (38) marries Melinda French (29). American actor Cesar Romero (Batman, Ocean’s 11), dies at 86.


Honorable mentions:

  • Mark Lanegan: Whiskey for the Holy Ghost
  • Underworld: Dubnobasswithmyheadman
  • New Kids on the Block: Face the Music
  • John Michael Montgomery: Kickin’ It Up

ZZ Top: Antenna (18)

King’s X: Dogman (18)

Black the Sky. Flys and Blue Skys.

Prong: Cleansing (25)

Alice in Chains: Jar of Flies (25)

Normally I wouldn’t list an EP, but this is a significant exception. Can’t ignore hits like I Stay Away, and No Excuses. Album of the month.

Meat Puppets: Too High to Die (25)


P.O.D.: Snuff the Punk (25)

Their debut. I primarily know them from their album Satellite, but that’s a long ways off.

Black Sabbath: Cross Purposes (26)

Tori Amos: Under the Pink (31)

Richard Thompson: Mirror Blue (January)


Other mentions:

  • House Party 3. In all fairness, it’s better than the 2nd one. While it has some fun moments and some laughs, it doesn’t have that extra bit of heart to it the first one does that elevates it into being a good film. So I’d say it’s a little fun, but ultimately forgettable. Plus it went a little too hard on the sex jokes, given the kids involved.
  • Intersection. Uninteresting remake of Les Choses De La Vie.
  • Blink. Boring.

The Air Up There (7)

Typical by the numbers sports flick, but sometimes that’s ok.

Cabin Boy (7)

I didn’t find it to be all that funny (except for this one bit during the last act, which was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen), but what it lacks in laughs it makes up for in some wacky and bizarre moments. You may find it too stupid to watch, but it’s a bit of a cult classic.

Body Snatchers (14)

Not my favorite of the body snatcher movies, but it is the last decent one we’re ever going to get. Some allegory about conforming to military mindset and having no independent thought, the importance of race vs the individual, etc.

Iron Will (14)

I grew up with this movie. I can’t help but love it. Plus I still think it’s a solid dog-sled race flick, even if it’s Disney-fied a bit. While Body Snatchers is probably the objectively better film, this is the subjectively better one for me. Film of the month.

Suture (January; limited)

This film went for a strange angle. In a case of mistaken identity, a black guy is mistaken for a white guy. How is that possible? Alluding to reality not being how it appears in the beginning of the film (ie don’t believe everything you see), no one ever acknowledges this racial discrepancy. They point out various specific facial features here and there, but no one ever acknowledges that he’s black while the suspect is white. It’s rather (intentionally) bizarre, played completely straight (along with some off-kilter delivered dialogue), that results in an odd film that encourages a strange level of disbelief, while also being darkly humorous. I think it also showcases what a downside would be when, quite literally, everyone in color-blind. Hence why the film is shot in black-and-white. It’s worth a watch.


Honorable mentions:

  • Goofy’s Hysterical History Tour (Genesis)
  • Joe & Mac (Genesis). Already listed in January 1992 for SNES.
  • Dragon’s Lair (Sega-CD, Arcade [1983]). The arcade is the better way to play this. Or on some other more modern platform (even a blu-ray disc).
  • Powermonger (Sega-CD, Mac, Amiga [October 1990], PC [September 1992], Atari-ST [October 1990], SNES [1993]). See September 1992 entry.
  • Riddick Bowe Boxing (SNES)
  • Cyberia (PC, Sega Saturn [1995], 3DO [1996], Playstation [1996]). If you’re to play this at all, avoid the Playstation version.
  • Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine (1994; Sega-CD, PC [1995]).
  • Midnight Raiders (1994; Sega-CD).
  • Gone Fishin’ (1994; PC)
  • Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb (1994; PC)

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (25; Arcade)

The definitive D&D arcade experience, that’s more faithful to the lore than you would think, plus player choice for branching narrative paths at times, making it more in-depth than your average beat-em-up. Not to mention leveling up. It’s like an advanced version of Golden Axe (far superior in my opinion).

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (January; NES)

So it begins. The last year any NES games would be released. This is one of the last ones, and it’s not bad, though not as good as the first.

Dune: The Battle for Arrakis (January; Genesis)

This was major as far as ports are concerned (this being a port of the famous PC game from December 1992). One of the better PC to game ports done, and one of the best games on the Genesis. The RTS game that defined the genre.

Dark Wizard (1994; Sega-CD)

An overlooked gem on the Sega CD. A tactical RPG in the same vane as Warsong and Shining Force. And it, quite possibly, could be better than both of them.

Jurassic Park (1993/1994; Sega-CD)

Not something I’d play today. A product of its time that was interesting (and possibly fun) back then, but less so now. Regardless, this gets enough kudos points for how it was back in the day.

Novastorm (1994; Sega-CD, 3DO, Playstation [1995])

One of the better FMV shooters out there.

Lester the Unlikely (January; SNES)

This game isn’t one I would consider great, but it’s worth a highlight because it does something I don’t really see much in games. How your character starts as a wimp and evolves into a badass. It does it differently than RPGs. It’s not that you get stronger, but that your characters animation mannerisms change as the game goes on. He becomes less wimpy and more steadfast. It goes from being irritating to be into being, eh, adequate to play. It’s a ballsy move, I wouldn’t say it does things well enough to be something that should be remembered that fondly. But it is something worth highlight of the early 90s.

Skyblazer (January; SNES)

Hidden gem of the 90s.

Zool: Ninja of the “Nth” Dimension (January; SNES, Genesis [1993])


Choplifter III (1; SNES)

Basically a sequel/port of a popular arcade game from the 1980s. It’s fun.

Super Battletank 2 (11; SNES)

Apparently only the SNES was good enough for the sequel.

Mega Man X (19; SNES)

Mega Man got a reboot. And it’s a very fucking good one. One of those “greatest games of all time.” Game of the month.

Burning Soldier (January?; 3DO)

Typical FMV on-rails shooter, but it’s fun enough, and short.

Total Eclipse (8; 3DO, Playstation [1995])

Cannon Fodder (1994; 3DO, PC, Atari Jaguar [1995])

The 3DO version brings out the definitive cheesiness to be had from this experience.

Quarantine (1994; PC, 3DO [1995])

Commander Blood (1994; PC)

Ecstatica (1994; PC)

Now Alone in the Dark was no longer alone in the survival horror genre in games, though this one in particular never rose in popularity enough to rival that franchise, let alone the ones that would help make the Playstation famous (when that gets released). This though, is intriguing.

DreamWeb (1994; PC)

Huh, a top-down mystery horror game, on PC.

Dragonsphere (7; PC)

Ho-hum point-and-click adventure.


Honorable mentions:

  • The Mighty Jungle (The Family Channel).
  • You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown! (NBC)
  • Burke’s Law (CBS)
  • The Good Life (NBC)

Ancient Mysteries (7; A&E)

Big time stuff back in the day. Really wish “mystery” documentary shows, even ones on really shitty subjects, were more like this. Taking itself more seriously, being less stylized and flashy, actually has a narrator who is great at narrating (Leonard Nimoy), and relying far less on hosts saying something along the lines of, “Oh shit!” just before cutting to commercial.

America’s Castles (9; A&E)

You know, it’s a bit refreshing to have a show that covers these grand rich castles, and isn’t condescending about it. With an attitude of, “Yeah, this looks nice and all, but these people were pricks and you should be ashamed for even considering admiring anything upper class like this, because boohoo everyone else.” You know, just to objectively analyze what these structures are made of, what they contain, the history behind the structure itself and the works of art they contain. God forbid you start to think wealthy people have good antiquated tastes.

The George Carlin Show (16; Fox)

It’s mellowed down George Carlin, in that its network television pre-2002, so we weren’t going to get any cursing. But it’s still George Carlin.

TekWar (16; Syndication)

A bit like the Cosby Mystery situation, except it was 4 films that were released first, before the series started airing in December. I’m still counting it here. Guess Shatner was still giving Nimoy competition on television, as was Chekov with Babylon 5. Anyway, this had a cool cheesy 90s edge to it, even if its potential wasn’t ever fully realized. Regardless, this is my kind of 90s schlock.

The State (21; MTV)

I’ll just let the commercial speak on the skit show’s behalf.

The Critic (26; ABC)

I have a fondness for this little comedy. Probably because it’s about a movie critic who is jaded about everything except artsy French flick. I can almost relate… it’s just that I don’t really like artsy French flicks (and believe me, I tried to enjoy them). While it’s not always as funny as I would’ve liked, it’s funny enough. Show of the month (I did grit my teeth a bit, giving this the edge over Ancient Mysteries and TekWar).

The Cosby Mysteries (31; NBC)

So I’m cheating a bit with this one. The movie, which ended up being a glorified pilot episode, aired on the 31st, but the actual episodes of the series didn’t start airing until September. Regardless, I’m counting it here. Honestly, this is just a mediocre show that is propped up by Cosby being the only real interesting thing about it. He makes it watchable, but otherwise it’s just ok. Definitely could’ve used a better director. It was just trying and failing to latch onto the popularity of Murder She Wrote.

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