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This Week in Nerd History | July 17-23

Nerd culture is a vibrant tapestry of events, releases, and milestones that have shaped the entertainment landscape. From iconic movies to groundbreaking games and significant literary contributions, this article takes a trip down memory lane to explore the notable nerd culture events that occurred from July 17th to July 23rd in history. Let’s celebrate these cherished moments that have left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans around the world.

Photo Credit: ABC7

July 17, 1955 | The Grand Opening of Disneyland

On this day, Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy and futurism, opened its gates to the public for the first time, welcoming thousands of guests to explore its five themed lands and 20 attractions.

Nerdy Fact: About half of the 28,000 guests had forged tickets, which caused overcrowding, food shortages and ride breakdowns. It was such a chaotic day that the employees dubbed it Black Sunday.

Photo Credit: WWE

July 17, 2011 | CM Punk Absconds with the WWE Title

On this day, at Money in the Bank 2011, CM Punk defeated John Cena in a five-star match to win the WWE Championship and then left the company with the title, creating one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.

Nerdy Fact: According to the storyline, CM Punk was not under contract with WWE when he won the title, meaning he could have legally taken the belt to any other promotion. He even teased doing so by blowing a kiss to Vince McMahon and posing with the title while leaving through the crowd. In actuality, he had resigned days earlier.

Photo Credit: TIME

July 17, 2015 | Ant-Man Makes a Big Movie

On this day, Ant-Man premiered in theaters. This superhero film follows Scott Lang, a former thief who gains the ability to shrink and communicate with ants, as he teams up with Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Van Dyne to stop Darren Cross, Pym’s former protégé who wants to use the same technology for evil purposes.

Nerdy Fact: The Ant-Man movie was in development for almost 30 years12, as Stan Lee first pitched the idea to New World Entertainment in the 1980s, but it was rejected due to Disney’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Later, Howard Stern tried to buy the rights in 2000, but failed. Finally, Edgar Wright was hired to direct in 2006, but he left the project in 2014 due to creative differences. Peyton Reed took over and finished the film for its 2015 release.

Photo Credit: Press Start Australia

July 17, 2020 | Ghost of Tsushima

On this day, Ghost of Tsushima released. This action-adventure game follows Jin Sakai, a samurai who must defend his homeland from the Mongol invasion by adopting the stealthy and dishonorable tactics of the Ghost.

Nerdy Fact: The game features a Kurosawa mode, which is a black-and-white filter that mimics the style of legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who directed many classic samurai movies. The mode also adds film grain, wind effects, and altered audio to enhance the cinematic experience. Sucker Punch even got the approval of Kurosawa’s estate to use his name for the mode.

Photo Credit: VG247

July 17, 2020 | Paper Mario: The Origami King

On this day, Paper Mario: The Origami King released in America. This action-adventure role-playing game follows Mario and his allies as they try to stop King Olly, an origami tyrant who wants to fold the world into his own image, using a ring-based puzzle system and various paper-themed abilities.

Nerdy Fact: The game features a hidden Luigi, who can be found in various locations throughout the game. Luigi is always looking for the key to Peach’s Castle, but he always ends up finding something else instead, such as a bone, a mushroom, or a baseball. If the player finds Luigi in all of his hiding spots, they will unlock a secret ending after the credits.

Photo Credit: Syfy

July 18, 2006 | Welcome to Eureka, Oregon!

On this day, Eureka premiered. This American science fiction comedy-drama series aired on Syfy until 2012, following the adventures of Jack Carter, a U.S. Marshal who becomes the sheriff of Eureka, a secret town in Oregon where the most brilliant minds in the country work on cutting-edge inventions for the government.

Nerdy Fact: The show has a reference to Back to the Future, as Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc Brown in the movie trilogy, guest-starred as Dr. Isaac Parrish, a scientist who works at Global Dynamics and is the father of Fargo’s rival, Dr. Douglas Parrish. In his first appearance, he says “Great Scott!” when he sees his son’s invention, which is a nod to Doc Brown’s catchphrase.

Photo Credit: Medium

July 18, 2008 | “Why So Serious?”

On this day, The Dark Knight premiered in theaters. This superhero film follows Batman as he faces his greatest challenge yet: The Joker, a psychotic and anarchic mastermind who unleashes a wave of chaos and terror on Gotham City, testing Batman’s morality and pushing him to his limits.

Nerdy Fact: Heath Ledger designed the Joker’s makeup himself, using cheap drugstore cosmetics that he applied and smudged with his fingers. He wanted the character to look like he did his own makeup, as opposed to having a professional do it. The makeup team then recreated Ledger’s look for the film, making minor adjustments for continuity and lighting.

Photo Credit: RPG Ranked

July 19, 2001 | Final Fantasy X

On this day, Final Fantasy X was released. This role-playing video game was developed and published by Square as the tenth main entry in the Final Fantasy series, featuring a turn-based combat system, a character progression system called the Sphere Grid, and a story that follows Tidus, a star athlete who is transported to the world of Spira, where he joins forces with Yuna, a summoner on a quest to defeat the monstrous Sin.

Nerdy Fact: The game features a hidden boss called Penance, which is considered to be the most powerful and difficult enemy in the game. Penance only appears after the player has defeated all the Dark Aeons, which are stronger versions of Yuna’s summons. Penance has 12 million HP, four limbs that can regenerate, and attacks that can inflict massive damage or instant death. Defeating Penance rewards the player with the trophy “Perseverance” and a sense of accomplishment.

Photo Credit: TIME

July 20, 1969 | One Small Step for a Man

On this historic day, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step out of their lunar module and walk on the dusty surface of the moon, fulfilling the dream of President Kennedy and inspiring millions around the world.

Nerdy Fact: Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon, making it the first food and drink consumed there. He had brought a small kit with bread, wine and a chalice from his church and read a verse from the Bible before taking part in the sacrament.

Photo Credit: Arcade Archives

July 20, 1983 | Meet the Mario Bros

On this day, Mario Bros released. This arcade game by Nintendo features the twin plumbers Mario and Luigi who have to clear the sewers of New York from various creatures by flipping them over and kicking them away.

Nerdy Fact: The game was originally meant to be a Popeye game, but Nintendo lost the license to use the characters. Instead, they reused Mario from Donkey Kong and created Luigi as his brother. The enemies were also based on Popeye’s foes, such as Bluto and the Sea Hag.

Photo Credit: The A.V. Club

July 20, 1984 | Revenge of the Nerds

On this day, Revenge of the Nerds released in theaters. This American comedy film follows a group of nerdy and outcast college students who fight back against the bullying and pranks of the jock fraternity, the Alpha Betas, and their sorority allies, the Pi Delta Pis.

Nerdy Fact: The musical number that the nerds perform at the end of the movie was composed by Thomas Newman, who later became an Oscar-nominated film composer for movies like The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty and Finding Nemo. The rap that Lamar performs as a part of the song was written by Larry B. Scott, who played Lamar. He also choreographed the dance routine that goes along with it.

Photo Credit: JB Motors

July 21, 2007 | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

On this day, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows released in book stores. In the final installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry, Ron and Hermione embark on a perilous quest to find and destroy the Horcruxes, the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction, while the wizarding world is plunged into a dark and deadly war.

Nerdy Fact: The book sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release in the U.S., breaking the record set by the previous book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold 6.9 million copies in one day.

Photo Credit: IGN

July 21, 2017 | Fortnite

On this day, Fortnite released on several platforms. This online multiplayer game was developed by Epic Games, with the most popular mode being Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play game where up to 100 players compete to be the last one standing.

Nerdy Fact: Fortnite was inspired by a Japanese film and novel called Battle Royale, where school kids are trapped on an island and fight it out until just one of them is left. The film was released in 2000 and the novel was written in 1999.

Photo Credit: Variety

July 22, 2011 | The First Avenger

On this day, Captain America: The First Avenger released in theaters. This superhero film tells the origin story of Steve Rogers, a frail but brave man who becomes a super-soldier after taking an experimental serum and fights against the Nazi-backed HYDRA organization during World War II.

Nerdy Fact: The very first Captain America comic appears in the film, as a propaganda tool to boost the morale of the American troops. The comic was actually published in 1941 in real life and featured Captain America punching Hitler on the cover.

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