Views and announcements

Share

This week in tech history

  • A look back at the biggest things that have happened in the history of tech this week.

    Donkey Kong and Mario’s Birthday

    July 9, 1981

    The game that launched two of the most famous characters in video game history is released for sale. Donkey Kong was created by Nintendo, a Japanese playing card and toy company turned fledgling video game developer, who was trying to create a hit game for the North American market. Unable at the time to acquire a license to create a video game based on the Popeye character, Nintendo decides to create a game mirroring the characteristics and rivalry of Popeye and Bluto. Donkey Kong is named after the game’s villain, a pet gorilla gone rogue. The game’s hero is originally called Jumpman, but is retroactively renamed Mario once the game becomes popular and Nintendo decides to use the character in future games.

    Due to the similarity between Donkey Kong and King Kong, Universal Studios sued Nintendo claiming Donkey Kong violated their trademark. Kong, however, is common Japanese slang for gorilla. The lawsuit was ruled in favor of Nintendo. The success of Donkey Kong helped Nintendo become one of the dominant companies in the video game market.

    Gil Amelio Ousted from Apple

    July 9, 1997

    Apple Computer announces the resignation of Gil Amelio as CEO. Having been ousted by the board of directors, Amelio’s departure paved the way for Steve Jobs to re-take the helm of Apple. Ironically, it was Amelio who brought Jobs back into the fold of Apple by purchasing Jobs’ company NeXT to use as the basis for the next Mac operating system.

    First International Communications Satellite

    July 10, 1962

    The world’s first international communications satellite, Telstar I, is launched into orbit. A collaboration between the US, Britain, and France, Telstar I introduced the world to trans-Atlantic video feeds and ushered in a new era of communication.

    Not-So Final Fantasy

    July 12, 1990

    Nintendo releases the original Final Fantasy video game for its Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. One of the most successful role-playing games for the NES, Final Fantasy helped to popularize the genre and has gone on to spawn one of the most well-known RPG franchises in history. Ironically, the game’s creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, thought the game would be his last one, hence the “final” in Final Fantasy. Had the game not sold well, he would have quit making games and gone back to college. So much for that.

    Code Red Worms its Way into the Internet

    July 13, 2001

    The Code Red worm is released onto the Internet. Targeting Microsoft’s IIS web server, Code Red had a significant effect on the Internet due to the speed and efficiency of its spread. Much of this was due to the fact that IIS was often enabled by default on many installations of Windows NT and Windows 2000. However, Code Red also affected many other systems with web servers, mostly by way of side-effect, exacerbating the overall impact of the worm, ensuring its place in history among the many malware outbreaks infecting Windows systems in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
     

    First Mars Fly-By

    July 14, 1965

    NASA’s Mariner 4 becomes the first spacecraft to perform a successful fly-by of Mars and the first to send back photographs of another planet from deep space. The photographs are the first showing details of Mars’ surface including extensive cratering.

    Nintendo Releases Famicom

    July 15, 1983

    Nintendo releases their Famicom system, short for “Family Computer,” in Japan. The Famicom would be slightly modified with a copy protection system, a redesigned chassis, a front loading cartridge mechanism, and released in North America just over two years later as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The Famicom/NES system would become one of the most influential game systems ever produced, making Nintendo the premier company in the video game industry during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, picking up the mantle where Atari left off.

    About the author

Share this story