The Cannonball Run and the Birth of the Mainstream Big Game

This is my paper and presentation for Frank Lantz’s Big Games class

The year is 1981. In January, Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President. And then shot by John Hinckley, Jr. two months later. He’s not the only one to survive an assassin: in May, Pope John Paul II is shot in Rome. In June, the first recognized cases of AIDS are reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new cable channel launches in August called MTV and eventually – for better or worse – revolutionizes media. Bob Marley dies. Paris Hilton is born. And all the while the Cold War rages on. In a word, 1981 sucked. In retrospect, if ever there was a year where the world needed some fun, it was perhaps this particular year. The world needed a laugh. The world needed a game.