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Today in Nerd History | May 29

Get ready for a high-flying adventure, a splash of colorful combat, and a comedic journey into the final frontier, because today we’re celebrating the release of “UP,” “Splatoon,” and “Space Force.” Each of these entries has brought unique joy and innovation to their respective genres, from the heartfelt skies of an animated classic to the inky fun of video game battles and the satirical spins of a space-bound sitcom. Let’s explore some “Nerdy Facts” about these popular contributions to film and gaming.

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.

© Disney/PIXAR

2009: UP (Theaters)

Pixar’s “UP,” an animated film about an elderly widower’s quest to fulfill his lifelong dream, soared into theaters, capturing hearts with its touching story and stunning visuals. It quickly became known for its emotional depth and imaginative storytelling.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Opening Sequence: “UP” is widely praised for its poignant opening montage, which tells the love story of Carl and Ellie Fredricksen in just a few minutes, often cited as one of the most touching sequences in animation history.
  • Award-Winning Film: “UP” won two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. It was also the second animated film in history to be nominated for Best Picture.
  • Balloon Spectacle: The film’s iconic floating house was animated with the help of physics simulations to realistically portray the lifting power of 10,297 balloons, the number calculated by Pixar’s artists to lift a real house.

© Nintendo

2015: Splatoon (Wii U)

Nintendo’s “Splatoon” burst onto the gaming scene with its innovative take on the shooter genre, featuring squid-like characters called Inklings battling in vibrant, paint-splattered arenas.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Innovative Gameplay: “Splatoon” introduced a novel concept where players shoot ink instead of bullets, with the goal to cover the most territory rather than simply eliminating opponents.
  • Cultural Phenomenon: The game quickly turned into a cultural phenomenon in Japan, inspiring fashion lines, tournaments, and even concerts featuring its fictional pop star characters, the Squid Sisters.
  • Community Engagement: “Splatoon” was notable for its Splatfests, special events that divided players into teams based on preferences (like cats vs. dogs) to compete in themed challenges, driving community engagement and replayability.

© Netflix

2020: Space Force (Netflix)

“Space Force,” a comedy series created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, launched on Netflix, satirizing the creation of the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces tasked with space operations.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Star-Studded Cast: Led by Steve Carell, who also co-created the series, the cast includes John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, and Ben Schwartz, among others, each bringing a unique comedic flair to the show.
  • Timely Satire: The show was inspired by the real announcement of the United States Space Force as a new branch of the military, aiming to explore the comedic potential of government bureaucracy and space exploration.
  • Mixed Reception: While “Space Force” received mixed reviews from critics, it found a dedicated audience appreciative of its humor and character dynamics, leading to a renewal for a second season.

May 29 is a day to appreciate the creativity and emotional resonance of Pixar, the innovative fun of Nintendo, and the satirical wit of television comedy. Each of these pop culture milestones has added depth and color to our lives, reminding us of the power of storytelling, gameplay, and humor. Happy Nerd History Day to all who enjoy taking their imaginations to new heights, battles, and orbits!

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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