The world made it through one year of the 1990s. Things were looking up. The Soviet Union collapsed, and my older brother was born. I consider 1991 to be one of the best years of the 1990s, and maybe even THE best. A cultural shift occured in this year, and popular opinion is that 1991 was the end of the '80s.

Politics in 1991



One of the biggest accomplishments of 1991 was the collapsing of the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact was also demolished. The Gulf War conflict between the United States and Iraq went on but ended in this year. Mike Tyson gets arrested for rape.


Music in 1991



1991 marked the beginning of the "Grunge Revolution". Nirvana released "Nevermind", which became one of the most popular albums of the decade, and Pearl Jam released "Ten". Other bands helped make 1991 a great year, musically, with releases such as the Smashing Pumpkins's "Gish", Metallica's "Metallica", Michael Jackson's "Dangerous", Tupac's "2Pacalypse Now", and the Red Hot Chili Peppers's "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". Overall, pop music begin to phase out, and slowly, big hair, mullets, and leather were replaced by greasy hair and flannel. Britney Spears makes her first singing appearance on "Star Search".
Here are the groups that were popular in 1991:

Bell Biv DeVoe
C+C Music Factory
Guns N' Roses
Madonna
M.C. Hammer
Metallica
Michael Jackson
New Kids on the Block
Nirvana
Pearl Jam
Poison
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Soundgarden
Tupac Shakur
Vanilla Ice
ZZT Top

Not all was great, though. Freddie Mercury finally died of AIDS in this year, ending Queen, a truly great rock band.


Television in 1991



Not much happened in 1991 for television, but Nickelodeon started airing their first "Nicktoons" - "Rugrats", "Doug", and "Ren and Stimpy", which are still loved by many today. The horror that is "The Jerry Springer Show" also hit airwaves. Popular shows that first aired in 1991 include:

Darkwing Duck
Dinosaurs
Doug
Home Improvement
The Jerry Springer Show
The Ren and Stimpy Show
Rugrats
Step by Step

Many cartoons from the 80's ended in this year, such as "Alvin and the Chipmunks", "Gummi Bears", and "Muppet Babies".


Movies in 1991



Disney produced another animated masterpiece in this year, and the Terminator was given a sequel. Here are the popular movies released in 1991:

The Addams Family
Beauty and the Beast
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
Child's Play 3
Father of the Bride
Godzilla vs. King Gidorah
Hook
Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
Silence of the Lambs
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze
Terminator II: Judgement Day
What About Bob?


Video Games in 1991



1991 marked the start of the 16-bit age, when Nintendo released its 16-bit console, the Super NES, and SEGA released "Sonic the Hedgehog" on the Genesis, which allowed it to become the main rival for Nintendo. SEGA releases a full-color handheld system called the Game Gear. The Atari 2600 and Intellivision retire in this year, and the SEGA Master System retires in the United States, but still holds strong in other countries. The first "Duke Nukem" game is released, as well as "Goodbye, Galaxy!", the worthy and much-improved sequel to the first Commander Keen trilogy. A Simpsons arcade game also makes it way into arcades, as well as the smash-hit fighting game, "Street Fighter II". A system released by Panasonic and Phillips known as the CD-i is released and becomes a flop over time. Here's a list of all of the great 1991 video games:

BattleToads
Captain Comic in Fractured Reality
Civilization
Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy!
Dangerous Dave and the Haunted Mansion
Duke Nukem
Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan)
F-Zero
Hover-Tank 3D
Mega Man IV
Solavou
Sonic the Hedgehog
Street Fighter II
Super Mario World


Miscellaneous

- Pogs become a popular fad in this year

- Vanillia Ice writes "Ninja Rap" for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II".

- Beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss, dies in this year.


With grunge rock, a new generation of video games, the collapse of an empire, the end of a war that lasted for decades, and a new beginning, the identity of the 1990s was already being set... stay tuned for my next article on... 1992!