To recap: This is a series of posts that will cover each year of my life since my birth in 1987; mainly the things that interest me that happened/were released or conceived that particular year. This will include happenings in the world of music, video games, literature and television that are of particular importance or nostalgia to me. I’m hoping that this will give my followers a better idea of where my interests and passions in life lie 🙂
Check out the previous post for 1991 here.
On to 1992!
- January 8 – George H. W. Bush is televised falling violently ill at a state dinner in Japan, vomiting into the lap of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and fainting.
- February 1
- August 18 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major announces the creation of the Iraqi no-fly zones.
- November 20 – In England, a fire breaks out in Windsor Castle, causing over £50 million worth of damage.
- November 24
- In the People’s Republic of China, a China Southern Airlines domestic flight crashes, killing all 141 people on board.
- Elizabeth II describes this year as an annus horribilis (horrible year), due to various scandals damaging the image of the Royal Family, as well as the Windsor Castle fire.
- The first commercial worldwide release in the videogame industry, nicknamed “Sonic 2sday”, celebrates the release of the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, with an international release day event for the now best selling Sega Genesis game, Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
R.E.M. – Automatic for the People (Released October 5th, 1992)
Another of my favourite R.E.M. albums. This one includes one of their most famous tracks ‘Everybody Hurts‘, which I already did a detailed write-up on. Other favourites of mine on this album are ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite’, ‘Man on the Moon’ and ‘Nightswimming‘. This album perhaps has a more understated and sombre feel than the previous album, ‘Out of Time’ – and indeed, they claim the album ‘dealt with themes of mourning and loss, inspired by that sense of turning 30’ – something I am only a year away from myself, so perhaps I can especially relate to these songs now! According to Wikipedia, it reached number two on the U.S. album charts, sold 18 million copies worldwide and is widely considered one of the best records released in the 1990s. So well worth a listen, then.
Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith (Released November 3rd, 1992)
The title track of this album always evokes memories of childhood car rides, usually on our way to that year’s holiday – this was one of the tracks my Mum had on her various cassette tapes (when it was Dad’s turn it would be R.E.M. or Stone Roses). It’s another one of those songs that just always cheers me up when I’m feeling down and keeps me going – as suggested by the title. I find the lyrics speaking to me as I sit down and type this now in particular, after a particularly stressful couple of days; ‘I have suffered for my anger/There are wars that can’t be won’ – something I feel we all need to remind ourselves of every now and then! The reassurance of ‘You know you’re gonna live through the rain’ is a welcome comfort as well. It’s just a very nostalgic song for me and has a timeless quality to it, like so many of his songs. ‘In These Arms’ (I can relate especially to ‘I need you like a poet needs the pain’!) and ‘Bed of Roses’ are also fantastic tracks from this same album.
In Video Games:
November 21 – Sega publishes Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear). The game introduced Sonic’s signature ability the Spin Dash and Sonic’s sidekick Miles “Tails” Prower. A seventh Chaos Emerald is introduced and with it the ability to turn into Super Sonic.
As mentioned in this year’s world events, this was the first video game to be released the same day worldwide – Tuesday, November 21st, 1992, so it could therefore be dubbed ‘Sonic 2sday’. So this game was a pretty big deal, being the sequel to the hit original game released the previous year (read about that in my 1991 post). This was actually the first Sonic game I played, as well as the first Mega Drive game. It is also pretty much responsible for getting me into video games in the first place; sure, I had played things like Pac-Man on my parents’ old Atari, but this was the game that really got me into gaming proper. I remember the day I first played it quite vividly, my parents buying me and my brother a Mega Drive II with this game bundled with it, and then continually asking if we could stay up just that little bit later to try and get further in the game (it wouldn’t be until the next major sequel in the series that a save system would be put in place – back in the day, with a few rare exceptions, you had to finish a game in one sitting and that was that)
The sequel generally has a more streamlined feel than the first game, and it also ramps up the speed even more (thanks in part to Sonic’s new spindash ability). Also introduced in this game is Sonic’s sidekick, Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, who became my favourite character in the series – I think mainly because he is orange (my favourite colour) and that he is just so darn cute and adorable. In this game, he plays exactly the same as Sonic – his trademark twin tails allow him to fly, but this is only seen controlled by the CPU when he is trying to catch up with his blue buddy – players wouldn’t be able to control his flight ability until later games. He seems to have mainly been introduced in order for Sonic 2 to have a 2-player mode – where the two heroes race to the finish, the screen split into two. I spent a lot of time playing this mode with my brother back in the day, perhaps even more so than the actual main game. It was certainly a fun addition.
I never actually completed the game properly back then, but it was fun to try, and never frustrating. I discovered the level select cheat many years later – and also the ability to turn into Super Sonic (I never came close to getting all the Chaos Emeralds either). This seriously wowed me as a kid, seeing Sonic suddenly turn glowing yellow and become near invincible; this was one of the first video game secrets or ‘easter eggs’ I discovered, and I still remember that initial thrill very clearly. Overall, this is a solid sequel and, as I discovered, is still accessible and easy to pick up even if you didn’t play the first one. A timeless classic.
December 1992 – Streets of Rage 2 released for Sega Mega Drive.(US, released in Europe and Japan in 1993)
And following Sonic’s bigger and better sequel, 1992 saw a second Streets of Rage game as well. Once again, I played this long before playing the original game, but I’m glad this was the one I started with. I remember the day I first got it very clearly – we were on a family holiday in the UK seaside town of Hunstanton – possibly the summer of ’93, in any case it was a particularly hot and sticky one. I seem to recall that on the way we stopped at a retail park and were looking at the games section in what was probably a Currys, or a Comet or something of that nature. I spotted this on the shelf, having seen pictures of it in magazines as well as footage on an old VHS promoting Sega games of the time. I remember thinking how great the graphics looked and how awesome the music sounded, and of course punching the living daylights out of passing thugs looked like a lot of fun. Dad agreed to buy it for me, and me and my brother were soon playing it and having a blast doing so once we were in our holiday chalet (the Mega Drive packed amongst our luggage, naturally). Unlike Sonic 2, this was a game we managed to complete – several times, it somehow never getting boring. That’s how addictive this game is.
Everything about this sequel is just bigger, better and brasher than the first game – the character sprites have far more personality to them, the levels are more vibrant – and Yuzo Koshiro once again outdoes himself with the soundtrack, with complements the action perfectly. Adam from the first game has been kidnapped this time, so Axel and Blaze are joined by his kid brother, Skate, who, appropriately, dashes through the streets on his rollerblades, and is the ‘weak but fast’ character (usually my brother’s choice of character, while I went for the all-rounder Axel), and also Max, a wrestler who fills the ‘slow but powerful’ character slot. The characters are therefore a lot more distinct from each other this time, and there is also a lot more variety in the enemies. The levels themselves are very inventive as well, ranging from a bar where the tables and chairs can all be smashed to bits, an amusement park complete with an arcade and pirate ship, a baseball stadium, a lush jungle with hordes of bikers zooming past you, etc. It’s a simple, arcadey experience that is still a blast to play on repeat playthroughs. I’d have to say this is definitely my favourite of the trilogy – the third game goes off the rails a bit, which we’ll cover once we get to 1994 – it’s just one of those games that anyone who ever owned a Mega Drive will no doubt fondly remember, and well-deserving of its reputation. If any game encapsulates the overall feel of the 90’s, it’s probably this one.
A selection of SOR2 music:
(…which doesn’t sound anything like ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace of Base, does it? No sir, not at all…)
And that, ladies and gentlemen, wraps up 1992. See you next time!
Previous entries in ‘Years of My Life’:
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