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For Want of a Nail — Gaming

    Fourth Generation of Console Video Games (1987-1995): 

  • With no deal with Philips, the Philips CD-i is just a footnote in gaming history. The Mario and Zelda CD-i games of OTL never get made, and never get used in YouTube Poop parodies. Instead Hotel Mario gets all the Mario elements removed and is released as a SNES-CD game called Hotel Havoc, which even gets a sequel.
  • In general, with the existence of the SNES-CD, games that originally released on the Super Nintendo (and, in some cases, the Genesis/Sega CD) become SNES-CD games instead. In fact by late 1994 Nintendo and their Third Party developers would begin shifting all their efforts purely to the SNES-CD.
    • Super Mario Kart becomes a SNES-CD launch game when the original Mario platformer for the add-on, Super Mario World 2, is delayed in development, resulting in Kart being made for the SNES-CD (with a much-touted four-player mode) instead of the Super Nintendo just so there is a Mario game of some sort at launch.
    • OTL's Final Fantasy Mystic Quest becomes ITTL Final Fantasy: New Generation for the SNES-CD. It does well enough that Square decides to localize the SNES-CD version of Final Fantasy V.note 
    • Star Fox becomes a SNES-CD game — with live-action cutscenes by the Jim Henson Company. The first game to utilize the SuperFX chip is Super Squadron X, a sequel to X on the Game Boy.
    • Secret of Mana was in fact originally planned to be a SNES-CD game. With no retooling needed to fit the limits of a Super Nintendo cartridge, this means a more fleshed-out game than OTL, with Multiple Endings and a better localization. The result goes on to be acclaimed as one of the SNES-CD's best games and, in time, one of the greatest RPGs ever made.
    • Contra: Hard Corps for OTL's Genesis becomes Contra IV: Hard Corps for the SNES-CD. The Genesis would get instead Contra: Probotector, a game that had a Robot War plot instead of an Alien Invasion, introducing the Probotector concept outside of Europe.note 
    • Instead of a port to the Sega CD, Snatcher is ported to the SNES-CD under the helm of Masahiro Sakurai at HAL Labratories. With the SNES-CD way more successful than the Sega CD in the our timeline, the game reaches around 400,000 copies, even with an M rating, and becomes a Cult Classic that influences an entire generation of developers.note 
    • Donkey Kong Country was planned for the vanilla SNES as OTL, but Nintendo asked Rare to make it for the SNES-CD instead, signifying that even Nintendo was moving away from developing SNES cartridge games.
    • Pulseman is developed for the SNES-CD instead and published by Sony, along with Western releases. (OTL Pulseman only made a North American release via the Sega Channel before made available via the Virtual Console.) It would be the basis of a relationship between Sony and the game's developer, Game Freak.
    • Final Fantasy VI is purely developed for the SNES-CD instead of being a ported cartridge game. The game is the first in the series to feature lyrical music during the game's classic opera scene (with Celes' part performed by then-unknown singer Kristin Chenoweth). The World of Ruin arc is made more linear, and certain sidequests integrated to the story. ITTL, it is the first game to keep its numbering in Western localizations, as well as use the updated localized names for spells and attacks introduced in Final Fantasy VIII in OTL.
    • Tales of Phantasia (or rather, Tale Phantasia) also ends up a SNES-CD game. More notably, however, it's Nintendo that helps finances the game's development (and later its localization) instead of Namco in OTL.note 
    • Chrono Trigger, which becomes the first major multi-CD game for the SNES-CD (two discs in total), and also the first Squaresoft game to feature spoken dialogue and FMVs (45 minutes of animation from Akira Toriyama).
  • Nintendo's new deal with Sony includes provisions that Nintendo of America will not censor games for the CD add-on. As a result, Mortal Kombat is released uncut on the SNES-CD. This gets Nintendo in as much hot water as Sega with Congress on the subject of video game violence, the hearings taking place September 1993 instead of December 1993. Following that, Nintendo heavily markets Secret of Mana during the 1993 holiday season as a way to combat the controversy, boosting the game's profile considerably.
    • Also as a result, Nintendo gets over its reluctance to promote more mature games much quicker. They quickly see the potential of marketing their console to adults, and even go out of their way to ensure the SNES-CD port of Doom is as close to the PC version as possible. As such, Nintendo quickly shakes off the "kiddie" reputation of OTL, and retains considerable developer support.
  • In response to the SNES-CD's big 1993 holiday sales, Sega reorganizes their pre-Saturn plans. The 32X add-on is dropped, and instead Sega comes up with the Mega Charger, which is similar but, at only $50, is much cheaper. It combines the lock-on technology used in OTL's Sonic & Knuckles with processing chips from Silicon Graphics. 30% of the eventual Genesis library would take advantage of it, with a dozen or so titles outright requiring it. Among those games: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which ITTL includes the Sonic & Knuckles content and becomes a Killer App for the Mega Charger. The hardware would later be incorporated in a 1995 hardware revision of the Genesis and be included in the Genesis's portable incarnation, the Sega Venus.
    • In fact, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is so popular ITTL, it wins the "Favorite Video Game" award in the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards (which Donkey Kong Country won IOTL).
  • As part of the Mega Charger push, Sega insists on a port of Lunar: The Silver Star for it. A lot of content is lost in the transition, resulting in a substandard port that bombs in the market. This incredibly sours Sega's relations with Working Designs, which get worse when Sega reveals they can't finance the localization of Lunar: Eternal Blue. As a result, Working Designs outright leaves Sega's camp, eventually joining Nintendo's with a localization of Tale Phantasia.
  • invoked Games that were never released outside of Japan during the 8-bit and 16-bit eras in OTL get localized or Remade for the Export. Most notably, a large number of Japanese RPGs cross the Pacific thanks to Secret of Mana raising the genre's profile much earlier in the timeline. It culminates in Nintendo marketing a "Year of the RPG" in 1996 towards the end of the SNES-CD's life, partly in order to slow the Sega Saturn's building momentum before they release the Ultra Nintendo; as James Rolfe notes years later, it was effectively an attempt to pit gameplay and story against the Saturn's next-gen graphics, and one which had mixed results. Some of the games localized include:
    • The second, third, and fifth games in the Final Fantasy series, all receiving SNES-CD releases. The former two games are released together (along with the the first game) as Final Fantasy Origins under their original titles, sorting out the problem of Market Based Titles early on before confusion started to really set in; later reprints of the American Final Fantasy II and III are done under their proper names, Final Fantasy IV and V (ITTL, it was V and not VI that got released as III initially).
    • A Super Nintendo remake of Mother, becoming this timeline's EarthBound, the game's promotion not using any Toilet Humor. As for the sequel (OTL's EarthBound), it heads for the SNES-CD instead.
    • Super Detective Club, a remake of two Famicom Disk System mystery games from Nintendo.
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem gets localized as Fire Emblem.
    • Enix, seeing an opening since Square was focusing on the SNES-CD instead of the Super Nintendo, localizes Dragon Quest V (still a cartridge game) as Dragon Warrior V. This would be followed by Dragon Quest VI exclusively for the SNES-CD.
    • Shin Megami Tensei gets localized, and practically gives Jerry Falwell a heart attack when he finds out about its subject matter. Despite Falwell's attempts to whip up controversy, it goes mostly ignored in the West, selling around 20,000 copies. The next game released in the US, Devil Summoner, becomes more known for the controversy around it than anything else (see the section on Eric Rudolph in "Non-Gaming" below), but said controversy does result in Persona getting localized, which becomes a Cult Classic.
    • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is made for the SNES-CD and no pared down version for the SNES is made.
    • Policenauts, which was planned to be localized in OTL but later dropped, actually comes overseas in 1996 for the SNES-CD thanks to the success of Snatcher.
    • As a result of the success of Secret of Mana (see above), Seiken Densetsu 3 is localized in late 1996 as Elements of Mana. It's not as successful as Secret of Mana was, becoming a Contested Sequel due to its predecessor being a Tough Act to Follow, though it's still a big hit.
    • Terranigma gets released in the US to rave reviews, ultimately selling over 1.2 million copies worldwide, thanks to lack of censorship on the part of Nintendo (a major stumbling block for its American release in OTL was Nintendo's unease at its religious themes). It's the second-to-last Enix game ever released on a Nintendo console; Nintendo had been hoping to lure Enix away from Sega by heavily promoting the game, but by that point in time, Enix's exclusivity deal with Sega was already signed.
    • Super Mario RPG is a collaboration between Nntendo and Squaresoft.
  • Square doesn't develop Secret of Evermore. As a result, Jeremy Soule starts his career with Sega instead, with the latter having Jeremy work on the Ultima series.
  • MTV creates a successful video game program reminiscent of OTL's X-Play, titled GameTV, that runs from 1995 to 2000. The show's hosts (Ted Crosley, Alex Stansfield, John Walden, Brittany Saldita, Kazzi DeCarlo, Gary Westhouse, and Lyssa Fielding) become celebrities and geek icons during their run on the show, as well as major recurring characters in the story, reviewing the various games that come out ITTL. Many of them use the show as a launchpad to successful careers later on; Stansfield becomes a respected games journalist running a site called Games Over Matter, Walden becomes the host of The Price Is Right, and Fielding enjoys success as a comedy actress on par with OTL's Anna Faris. The show enjoys a revival in 2017; one of the hosts of the new GameTV is Christina Grimmie (who, in OTL, became a singer and YouTube celebrity before being shot dead by a Loony Fan in 2016).
    • Speaking of Lyssa Fielding, she was brought over to GameTV thanks to her successful run as a co-host on Singled Out. This butterflies away the career of Jenny McCarthy, the show's female co-host in OTL, who remains an obscure Playboy Playmate instead.
  • The Virtual Boy is never released, due to Nintendo's efforts being focused on their SNES-CD platform and, later, Gunpei Yokoi working with Ken Kutaragi on the Ultra Nintendo and the Game Boy Nova.
    • And on a related note, Gunpei Yokoi stays on with Nintendo due to seeing the potential of their fifth generation console, and plans to make a new Metroid game for it instead of retiring, butterflying away the Wonderswan (if Bandai's own mishaps didn't do it in) and Yokoi's own death.
  • Tom Hall acquires the rights to Commander Keen from id Software and makes the "Universe is Toast" trilogy that never saw production OTL. The trilogy sees ports to the Saturn and the SNES-CD. The former is an enhanced port of the original shareware games with animated cutscenes and smoother gameplay, while the SNES-CD version is far less polished. The Commander Keen series goes on to become a major second-party franchise for Sega.
  • The Game Boy line advances quicker compared to OTL. The Game Boy Pocket is released in 1994 (originally 1996), while the Game Boy Color (now with a Sony sound chip) is released in 1996 (originally 1998).
  • Instead of writing for The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo (which gets canceled after only a few episodes, a victim of Nickelodeon's focus on its other hit shows ITTL), Suzanne Collins writes the game Syrielle, a late-cycle game for the SNES-CD. Syrielle is a game that follows the titular Ordinary High-School Student who learns that she's part-spider and has a number of strange abilities, with gameplay described as a "friendship sim" that's part Visual Novel and part platformer. The game becomes a Sleeper Hit that spawns not only a franchise (the first sequel, Syrielle Soul, is released in 1999 for the Ultra Nintendo), but also an animated series and a book line written by Collins.
  • Fire Pro Wrestling Presents WCW Nitro is released on the SNES-CD in 1996.
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    Fifth Generation (1995-2001): 
  • With the early success of the SNES-CD, Sega of America's president Tom Kalinske convinces his bosses in Japan to work with Silicon Graphics, resulting in the Sega Saturn having the guts of OTL's Nintendo 64. Also, the Saturn's surprise North American release at E3 1995 is butterflied away thanks to an Executive Veto on Sega of America head Tom Kalinske's part overriding Sega of Japan's desire to get a head-start on Nintendo. As a result, its release on "Saturnday", September 2, 1995 gives developers plenty of time to finish games for it, and it enjoys just as much success in the US as in Japan. Alongside securing Namco and Enix as Saturn-only developers, it nabs a number of early exclusives that went to the PlayStation IOTL. Its big games include:
    • Resident Evil, largely unchanged from OTL except for better graphics and Rebecca Chambers being renamed Abigail (see One Mario Limit below for why). Its status as a Killer App for the Saturn is short-lived, however; a Polished Port Director's Cut version is soon released for the Ultra Nintendo in January 1998.
      • Resident Evil 2 is also a timed exclusive for the Saturn, being released in 1998 several months before the Ultra Nintendo version. The game diverges slightly from OTL's RE2, mainly with the addition of human enemies in the form of the Umbrella Corporation's mercenaries (not unlike OTL's Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City), along with Ada Wong being the mercenary leader's second-in-command and getting Killed Off for Real as opposed to being brought back in the sequels.
      • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica is still Sega-exclusive, except for the Ring-enhanced Sega Saturn instead of the Sega Dreamcast OTL.
    • Tomb Raider, which enjoys superior graphics and gameplay (especially platforming and melee combat) over its incarnation on OTL's PlayStation. The plot is changed substantially, revolving around Lara Croft fighting a rival treasure hunter named Jade Bessemer for seven artifacts that contain the secret of immortality. Lara's famously large chest is also butterflied away, with the developers giving her more realistic proportions later in development as the game's graphical fidelity improved. She still becomes a gaming sex symbol, but this was mainly an unintended consequence. Later games start to suffer from Seasonal Rot much like in OTL, though it is not as pronounced.
    • King Crab, a mascot collectathon platformer released in 1998 featuring an anthropomorphic crab named Crust. It becomes popular for both its beautiful graphics and its fun combat, making full use of Crust's two claws, and the spunky, fun-loving Crust becomes a popular Sega mascot comparable to Ecco the Dolphin.
    • Z-Stomper, another mascot platformer released the same day as King Crab. This game had a lot more attitude, including a theme song by Busta Rhymes and a Hip-Hop-inspired aesthetic. While it wasn't as big a hit as King Crab, it also got very good reviews.
    • invoked Commander Keen: Mars' Most Wanted, the Saturn debut of the Commander Keen series (see "Fourth Generation" above), which becomes a Killer App for the system at a time when Sega desperately needed one in the face of competition from the Ultra Nintendo.
    • Nightsyren, a Survival Horror game from Kenji Eno (creator of D) that follows two women trapped in a city overrun by mutants from the sewers. It becomes notorious for its Nintendo Hard difficulty thanks to its Checkpoint Starvation, and it earns a reputation as either one of the scariest games ever made or an exercise in controller-throwing frustration — with no middle ground between those two opinions. Regardless, it becomes a Cult Classic.
    • Soul Edge retains its name for the North American release, due to Sega of America's lawyers preventing EDGE Games from filing a trademark suit.
    • Sam and Dan Houser ultimately shelve Grand Theft Auto (temporarily, at least) in favor of developing the original basic design of Race 'n Chase in which you play as both the police and as a criminal. However, the game incorporates most of OTL GTA's sandbox elements, with Sega giving some tips on the game and also refusing to censor the violence. It is released on September 29, 1997 on the Sega Saturn to even more controversy than OTL, due to it being released in both the US and the UK and media coverage over its violence. Although critical reception was average, it still sold very well due to the controversy, and it receives a pair of sequels that are ported to the Ultra Nintendo.
    • Three Ultima games are made for the Saturn. While the first two were fondly received, the third, The Resurrection Stone in 2000, is widely criticized for its linear gameplay that was seen as an attempt to copy the Zelda games. It sells well regardless, though EA and Origin start to wonder if they should continue making Ultima games for consoles at all.
    • Vintage Speed Series, released in 2000, is seen as Sega's answer to Gran Turismo 2, though it was developed independently. Unlike its competitor, the game focuses strictly on vintage cars from the turn of the 20th century through The '60s, including the 1955 Chevrolet Corvette, the Shelby Cobra, the Hudson Hornet, the Auto Union Type C, and even the Ford Model T; the roster of vehicles is much smaller (only 46 versus the 800+ of GT2), but all of them are highly detailed. Likewise, while it too is a simulation racer, it's notably more forgiving and less hardcore about realism than the GT games. It is a success in both sales and review scores, and becomes Sega's flagship simulation racing series.
    • Skies of Arcadia is a Saturn game, released in 2000. There is a greater focus on the ship-to-ship combat of the original, as well as a surface world to explore, though most of the game still takes place amidst the sky islands. It is praised for its epic storyline (spanning five discs, it is one of the Saturn's largest games) and its graphics, which are seen as the pinnacle of what the Saturn is capable of
  • When Apple pulls out of development of the game console they were working on with Bandai, Bandai is left to shoulder the full weight of the failure of the Solaris (TTL's name for the Pippin). The company nearly goes bankrupt, saved only by Power Rangers merchandise, and to stay afloat, they're forced to sell the rights to the Tamagotchi to Hasbro (who turns it into a smash hit). Ultimately, Sega buys out what's left of the company for a song in 1998, liquidating it and taking control of its IPs.
    • With the aforementioned sale of the Tamagotchi and collapse of Bandai, the Digimon franchise is butterflied away.
  • Nintendo and Sony wait a little while to release their next console, the Ultra Nintendo. Not only are they still flush with the success of the SNES-CD, but they also spend much of 1994 and early '95 working out disputes over backwards compatibility, licensing, and royalties. The Ultra Nintendo is to be released in June 1997 in Japan and November '97 in the US, possessing backwards compatibility with the SNES-CD (at Sony's insistence), running new Ultra Nintendo games on a proprietary disc format of Sony's design called the Gigadisc, and powered by hardware comparable to a "proto-Dreamcast". The console is a record-breaking smash hit, selling two million units in 24 hours (with fights breaking out at stores across the country), experiencing shortages well into 1998, and quickly stealing the Saturn's thunder. Major titles include:
    • Super Mario Dimensions, the pack-in game at launch and a rough equivalent to Super Mario 64 as the first fully-3D Mario game. Vastly larger than its OTL counterpart, it takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom across 21 levels and four central hub worlds. Instead of jumping through paintings, Mario climbs through dimensional rifts (hence the title) to access the various levels. Luigi is also playable (rather than an Urban Legend of Zelda), unlocked after collecting all 180 stars.
    • Ultra Mario Kart, another launch title. It has the same character lineup as OTL's Mario Kart 64, but with twenty tracks instead of sixteen, and six battle stages instead of four. There's also dialogue from the characters beyond cheers and grunts, as well as a Large Ham announcer, two things that the Mario Kart series never had in OTL.
    • Star Fox 2, another launch title. It's larger than OTL's Star Fox 64, with a more open-ended progression and a new supporting character, Krystal (a fox whose homeworld was destroyed by Andross), but the story is largely the same. While TTL's original Star Fox had FMV and puppetry by the Jim Henson Company, this game instead uses fully CG cutscenes.
    • Final Fantasy VII, the biggest third-party launch title for the system, and the only launch title to use two discs. The gameplay and soundtrack are largely identical to OTL, outside of an optional multiplayer chocobo racing mode, and like OTL's game, it plays a huge role in raising the profile of Japanese RPGs in the West. The plot, however, is very different, especially after the end of disc one, where Cloud's relationship values with Aeris, Tifa, and Barret determining which one of them dies. This is the result of the monumental success of Secret of Mana, with its multiple paths and endings, influencing Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase during development, and while Aeris' death is considered canon, debate rages on among fans as to which path was superior. Outside gaming, it also has a huge impact on Voice Acting; with its big-name voice cast consisting of both union and non-union actors, it plays a pivotal role in the unionization of anime dubbing.
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a launch title that's largely unchanged from OTL outside of some FMV anime cutscenes, better graphics, and Nintendo Easter eggs (replaced with Phantasy Star Easter eggs in the later Saturn port). The biggest new feature is an Old Save Bonus; if one plays the game with an SNES memory card containing a Castlevania: Rondo of Blood save, they can play as Maria or Richter, with alternate dialogue and cutscenes.
    • Gran Turismo becomes an Ultra Nintendo game, with superior graphics over OTL's version and more cars and tracks, including Mario Circuit and Toad's Turnpike from Ultra Mario Kart as bonus levels (complete with music from the game). As in OTL, it revolutionizes the racing genre and becomes one of the most critically acclaimed games on its system. It also receives an endorsement from F1 driver Ayrton Senna, who survived the 1994 crash that killed him in OTL. Its sequel, released in 2000, boasts a staggering 800+ cars and some of the best graphics on the Ultra Nintendo, becoming one of the best-selling games in the system's history.
    • Tale Lemuria, a sequel to Tale Phantasia. It gets a slightly less positive critical reception than the original, mainly due to pacing issues, an iffy English dubbing job by Working Designs (which leads Telenet Japan to switch to another dubbing studio for the next Tale game), and Tale Phantasia being a Tough Act to Follow, but it still receives a ton of praise and becomes a commercial success.
      • Its sequel, Tale Illumina, comes out in 2000. Reviews are slightly more critical than for its predecessor, but without the expectations that Tale Lemuria had as a sequel to Tale Phantasia, it gets a fairer shake upon release. The voice acting in particular is seen as a massive improvement, even if, compared to the competition, the graphics are regarded as dated and the story a bit simplistic.
    • Killer Instinct Ultra earns a much better reception than OTL's Killer Instinct Gold, essentially serving as a Polished Port version of Killer Instinct 2 rather than a new game. It comes with arcade-perfect graphics, improved music and sound, and five console-exclusive characters, and becomes another Killer App for the Ultra Nintendo with its massive sales.
    • Instead of GoldenEye, the major game from Rare in 1997 is a Star Wars fighting/lightsaber duel game, Masters of Juyo, based on the Killer Instinct engine. It is basically a better version of OTL's Masters of Teräs Käsi, with a much more positive reception.
    • Rare does still make GoldenEye. However, due to the later release date of the Ultra Nintendo, it isn't released until Spring 1998. The game features fewer but bigger levels from OTL, the likenesses of the previous Bond actors for the multiplayer mode (planned in OTL but fell through), and a bonus level featuring SPECTRE and Blofeld. It is as acclaimed as OTL's game, and becomes the Ultra Nintendo's biggest hit at the time, surpassed only by...
    • The Legend of Zelda: Temple of Time, TTL's version of Ocarina of Time and, like its OTL counterpart, a candidate for the title of the greatest video game ever made. Gameplay is similar to Ocarina, although the graphics are heavily improved and the story now revolves around the seasons. It is another Killer App for the Ultra Nintendo, surpassing even GoldenEye, though notably, its success doesn't put much of a dent in the sales of the Ring of Saturn.
      • Temple of Time is followed up by Majora's Mask in 2000. Graphics and gameplay are largely similar to OTL's game barring the increased graphical fidelity of the Ultra Nintendo, with the three-day time system and large number of magical masks carrying over largely unchanged. However, the Courage meter is replaced with a Temporal meter, which allows Link to spend some of the time he has left to gain boosts in battle. The story is similar to OTL, though expanded given the increased storage capabilities of optical media, with six dungeons instead of four and, in turn, six guardian spirits replacing the Four Giants; the expansion of the main quest renders the game somewhat more linear than OTL's game, with fewer sidequests. It is remembered as Shigeru Miyamoto's final game, debuting at E3 2000 less than two weeks after his sudden death, and the cloud of his passing undoubtedly colors the game's critical reception. It is seen as roughly on par with Temple of Time, and it contends with Metroid: Darkness as one of the best games of the year, the two games helping to drive sales of the Ultra Nintendo during the 2000 holiday season.
    • Rare's Spiritual Successor to GoldenEye, released in 2000, is known as Velvet Dark instead of Perfect Dark. The story is almost completely different from OTL's game; while the protagonist is still a woman named Joanna Dark, here she's a corporate spy for DataDyne in a plot involving AI research instead of aliens. There is also a second protagonist, Joanna's long-lost twin sister Velvet who is often fighting on the other side and clashing with her sister, and who turns out to be an AI replica of Joanna. The plot is widely compared to both the Terminator franchise and the works of Isaac Asimov, and the gameplay is lauded for its customization. It is considered the greatest console FPS ever made, and up there with Half-Life and Doom as one of the greatest shooters period. A sequel becomes a no-brainer.
    • The Darkest Night, an Ultra Nintendo sequel to The Darkest Ritual with heavily beefed-up production values, including voice acting by a young Sara Bareilles as Etienne. The game becomes famous for its Player Punch Plot Twist in which Etienne and Kris are betrayed by their partner Sephora, and Etienne is Killed Off for Real in the process, causing a great degree of Cerebus Syndrome as the rest of the game revolves around Kris overcoming the grief of Etienne's death while seeking revenge on Sephora. The game is acclaimed as one of the Ultra NES' best RPGs, turning the cult hit of the original into a truly successful franchise, and notably, it has a major impact on the life of Polly Klaas (see below).
    • Resident Evil: Operation Stormwind is an RE game made exclusively for the Ultra Nintendo designed to show off the console's graphical power. It's a more action-oriented title than Code: Veronica, featuring Chris and Jill infiltrating an Umbrella compound in the Pacific where they are testing a new virus on American soldiers. While the game outsells Code: Veronica on the Saturn, it's generally agreed by critics and RE fans to be the inferior game by a long shot despite its gorgeous graphics, mainly due to its gameplay and a weak story. While it's not a truly bad game, it's still seen as one of the worst games in the series in hindsight.
    • Metroid: Darkness, released in 2000, marks Samus Aran's debut on the Ultra Nintendo, serving as a 2½D game with full voice acting and cutscenes. The story, set two years after Super Metroid, has Samus (voiced by Jennifer Hale) trying to settle down and lead a normal life as the head of security at a heavily-populated space station colony, only to be dragged out of retirement when monsters in an experimental lab aboard the station break out and start killing people. It wins rave reviews, with some calling it the best game in the entire series, and its sales surpass even Pokémon Sun and Moon.
    • Legend of Mana marks the World of Mana series' debut on the Ultra Nintendo in 2000 (after Secret of Mana and Elements of Mana, which it serves as a prequel to). It is more influenced by its predecessors than OTL's game, and is widely considered one of the best-looking games on the Ultra Nintendo.
    • Castlevania: The Occulted Circle, released in 2000, is similar to OTL's Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, especially with the DSS card system. The game is an Acclaimed Flop; while those who played it loved it, with some calling it even better than Symphony of the Night, it sold less than half as much as Symphony did, due to poor advertising, competition from Legend of Mana (released the same month), and its relatively primitive 2D side-scrolling graphics.
    • Wrath and Ruin is a JRPG made by the same team behind OTL's The Legend of Dragoon and possessing a similar battle system, telling a dark story of a boy who lost his family who sets out to battle the seven gods that rule and ravage the world. While not as acclaimed as comparable RPGs, it sells well due to solid promotion.
    • The Bouncer is a late-cycle Ultra Nintendo game instead of Squaresoft's PlayStation 2 debut. While it has excellent graphics for the Ultra Nintendo, it comes in for many of the same criticisms as OTL's game, most notably its short length and dumb plot. However, as there was less riding on it, it's considered a mere misstep for Square rather than a flop.
    • Steel Battalion is known ITTL as Iron Battalion, and still uses the massive, 40-button, $200 controller, though here it serves as a Gaiden Game to the Iron Combatant franchise. Owing to the different console, the graphics are obviously downgraded (development started too early to switch to more powerful hardware), though it has more of a plot to it. It is a success despite its high price, its attachment to a popular franchise as well as its unique controller driving interest, and it eventually receives a sequel in 2003 on the Xbox with graphics more in line with OTL's game.
    • Conker's Twelve Tales never becomes Conker's Bad Fur Day like in OTL, instead being more family-friendly and having much in common with OTL's Banjo-Kazooie. The lack of Bad Fur Day's adult content means it becomes much less of a Cult Classic for that reason, but it is still acclaimed as the best platformer the Ultra Nintendo has seen since Super Mario Dimensions.
  • In Fall 1999, Nintendo is set to release in Japan the new Game Boy Nova, a handheld with at least the power of the SNES-CD, followed by a March 2000 release in North America. Games planned it include an original Super Mario 2D-style platformer, upgraded versions of Link to the Past and Super Metroid, and of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon.
  • In response to Sega seeing the Ultra Nintendo's raw power advantage over the Saturn, in 1997 they devise plans for a peripheral called the "Ring of Saturn" that will boost its memory to make it competitive with the Ultra Nintendo. The Ring is released in time for the 1998 holiday season. The Saturn exclusives that require the Ring include:
    • Spare Parts, a 3-D platformer from the makers of NIGHTS Into Dreams, is the first of the Ring's launch titles. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a pandemic disease wiped out most of humanity, the protagonists are two robot children, Zacki and Ella, created Just Before the End as playmates for children who'd lost friends and family to the plague. The plot revolves around rebuilding civilization out of the robots that the humans left behind, battling monsters created from the despair of the people who had died during the plague, and discovering the last surviving human colony, living in a bunker under the totalitarian control of a malevolent AI (which is compared to AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream). It becomes a Killer App for the Ring, praised for its deep story, amazing graphics, great gameplay, and vast worlds.
    • Arbiter of Sin, the second launch title, is a First-Person Shooter about a modern soldier named Mitch Atwater who, upon suffering fatal wounds on the battlefield, is rescued by Satan, imbued with demonic powers, and sent back in time to the Crusades to fight The Knights Templar. The game becomes incredibly controversial for both its extreme violence (it almost received an AO rating) and its plot about battling the forces of God in the name of Satan, with many Christian conservatives accusing it of promoting devil worship and calling for a boycott of Sega (there's even a burning of Sega merchandise in Texas). Nevertheless, it's a hit, with particular praise going to its level design even if the plot is seen by some as pure Rated M for Money.
      • Arbiter of Sin 2, however, is a dud. It made few technical improvements over the original, and the level design, one of the high points of the last game, was seen as uninspired here. The plot, about Mitch heading to Earth to battle the forces of the Archangel Michael alongside a pair of sidekicks (a Serial Killer named Blade Kruger and a sexy, moody goth woman named Shade Sicora), was criticized as a childish attempt at edginess and trying to offend as many people as possible, and while it worked in that respect and sold a ton of copies, it was seen as a major Sophomore Slump compared to the original. The only thing notable about it was its connection to the Manchester High School massacre (see "Other", below), which helped to reignite the controversy over video game violence.
    • Shenmue, the third and final launch title, is made for the Ring as opposed to OTL's Dreamcast, and the technical limitations force Yu Suzuki to somewhat scale back his original plans. Regardless, it still wins acclaim for its plot and its combat, and while it's not as big a commercial success as Spare Parts or Arbiter of Sin in the West, it outsells both of them combined in Japan. It's seen as playing a role for the Ring similar to that which Secret of Mana played on the SNES-CD, helping to deflect controversy over video game violence (in this case, that of Arbiter of Sin instead of Mortal Kombat) by showing critics that games can also tell deep, involving stories with great artistic value.
    • The Savateur, released in 2000, is a game set in 19th century France that revolves around uniting Paris' street gangs in order to lead a revolution against the upper classes, characterized by vicious brawler gameplay and an in-depth combat system rooted in the French martial art of savate. Reviews are highly polarized, with some praising its graphics and grimy atmosphere and considering it to be one of the best games of the year, and others criticizing it for repetitive gameplay with only a few moves being worthwhile to learn. (Gamespot in particular gives it a scathing 5.5 out of 10 and dismisses it as pure style over substance, in a review that winds up causing controversy.) Regardless, it is a sales disappointment, selling only half of what was projected for it, and its failure is seen as a sign that the Saturn, even with the Ring add-on, is nearing the end of its life as players wait for the next-gen Katana.
    • Extremis is a Survival Horror game reminiscent of Dino Crisis, though instead of dinosaurs, it's about animals mutated into aggressive beasts. The protagonists are a zoologist researching The Virus trying to survive after it mutates and starts infecting the surrounding wildlife, livestock, and pets, as well as a teenage girl named Amy who was visiting the zoo on a class trip. It is praised for its graphics, its horror atmosphere, its gameplay, and the voice acting by Nolan North and Francesca Marie Smith as the protagonists, and together with Vintage Speed Series, it is remembered as one of the last big hits on the Saturn before the release of the Sega Katana.
  • Sega brings the Segata Sanshiro ad campaign to the US in order to compete with the Ultra Nintendo's "It's an Ultra World" ads. While similar to the Japanese campaign, the US versions has Segata beating up those who prevent gamers from playing the Saturn, from teachers to an Ultra Nintendo salesman (since in the original campaign Segata was somewhat of a Designated Hero for beating people who weren't playing a Saturn).
  • TTL's version of the Spice World video game is made by Tetsuya Mizuguchi for the Saturn, and what he creates is not unlike OTL's Space Channel 5, with, to quote Brittany Saldita of GameTV, "the Spice Girls fighting aliens with The Power of Rock." (Indeed, the game was almost named Spice Channel 5, and Ulala does show up as a reporter for a news network by that name, later getting a spinoff in 2000.) The game is regarded as quirky, but fun, and even long after the Spice Girls have ceased to be relevant, it's still regarded as the best thing they were ever involved in.
  • Instead of becoming Pokémon Red and Blue, the first two localized Pokémon games retain the same version names as their Japanese counterparts, Red and Green.
    • The follow-ups, Pokémon Sun and Moon, are released on the Game Boy Nova in 2000 with graphics similar to OTL's fifth generation games (3D overworld and animated battle sprites.) Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile are still the starters, as in OTL. Ariados, Ampharos, and Ho-oh are confirmed and included new monsters resembling a timber wolf and a tarantula wasp.
  • invoked The game that evolved into Xenogears in OTL instead becomes Final Fantasy VIII, although with elements of the OTL versions of both games. This is due to Xenogears's director, Tetsuya Takahashi, becoming the director for Final Fantasy VIII ITTL. The game is primarily set in the world of OTL's Final Fantasy VIII, but with the main characters being Guardian pilots and some Xenogears characters incorporated into the plot.
  • Also in Squaresoft news, Parasite Eve isn't released alongside Xenogears like in OTL, and instead receives the lion's share of the company's focus as their big title in 1998. The game follows roughly the same beats as OTL, but expanded, with the Brutal Bonus Level in the Chrysler Building instead made into the final dungeon (with difficulty tempered accordingly, though it's still a challenge) and a new bonus dungeon created in the World Trade Center that's even more difficult. The game is a smash success, with what little criticism it receives (mainly for its fairly short length) more than balanced out by wonder at its graphics, cutscenes, storytelling, and combat. Its reception is compared to that of OTL's Donkey Kong Country, a technological marvel whose reputation would decline in the years to come as newer, better-looking games came out, but which is still remembered pretty fondly.
  • Daikatana is released on time in 1998 instead of going through its infamous Development Hell, with John Romero wisely scaling back his more ambitious designs. The general reception is that, while it isn't a world-changer, it's still a pretty good little shooter, and Romero's reputation isn't destroyed like it was in OTL.
  • Silent Hill is a very different game, the result of a redesign that saw it delayed to fall 1999. While retaining some of the characters and plot elements of OTL's game (including Cybil getting possessed and Harry having to either rescue or kill her), it notably contains almost no combat. Instead, it revolves around Harry exploring a Silent Hill that is still a functional town (initially, at least, before the monsters show up), getting involved in the lives of several of its inhabitants as he searches for his daughter, with six different endings depending on how the player goes about things. Much like OTL's Silent Hill, it is acclaimed as one of the most unique and terrifying horror games out there for its focus on psychological horror and character interactions as opposed to combat and jump scares.
  • White Mountain Extreme Snowboarding, TTL's rough analogue to SSX, is released in 1999 for the Ultra Nintendo and ported to the Saturn the following year. It is acclaimed as the snowboarding equivalent of Tony Hawk and one of the greatest extreme sports games ever made, with a bevy of modes, a soundtrack of twenty-one contemporary rock songs, four-player multiplayer, and most importantly, great gameplay that's easy to learn yet contains a ton of depth. As such, it goes on to sell two million copies and spawn a franchise.
  • On May 6, 2000, Shigeru Miyamoto dies when he is hit by a car while on his bicycle. (Word of God states that, ironically, he was out to pick up Dragon Quest VII for the Sega Saturn.) This triggers a massive shakeup at Nintendo; Katsuya Eguchi is selected as his replacement as the director of the company's Entertainment Analysis and Development team, leading to Animal Crossing being put on the back burner as Eguchi was working on an Ice Climber remake at the time.
  • In 2000, Squaresoft releases Mystic Creature, an RPG that serves as their response to Pokémon, albeit combined with a traditional JRPG plot. The battle system and art style are highly praised, while the story is considered compelling, yet convoluted. While it's not considered one of Square's best games, it's still a success that stands out in what was an excellent year for RPGs.

    Sixth Generation (2001-2007): 
  • The Sega Katana, TTL's version of the Dreamcast as the successor to the Saturn, launches in 2001, boasting a DVD drive (as do the other major consoles that generation) and a surprisingly low launch price of $250. Its exclusive titles include:
    • Commander Keen: Worlds United, which is pushed as the console's flagship launch title as Sega didn't have a Sonic game ready at launch. It is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover between various Sega franchises, with Dr. Robotnik serving as one of the game's bosses.
    • Phantasy Star Online, another launch title, is intended as the Killer App for the Katana's online capabilities.
    • The 2K line of sports games kicks off with the Katana. NFL 2K1 serves as a launch title, with NBA 2K2 and NHL 2K2 launching the following year.
  • Also debuting in 2001 is the Xbox, Microsoft's foray into video game hardware. It is slightly more powerful than the Sega Katana, though it doesn't have the massive advantage in horsepower that it had over the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in OTL. While it doesn't have and online service on day one like the Katana does, Microsoft plans to implement such a system in the first couple of years after launch and make it a main focus of the console. Its exclusives include:
    • The Covenant, TTL's version of Halo, is the Xbox's flagship launch title, meant to show off its multiplayer capabilities in particular (even without online play). It is a Third-Person Shooter, Bungie having switched from a First-Person Shooter after seeing the success of Squad Four: Rebellion. It also has what seems to be a Robot War plot, as well as Master Chief being able to command various squadmates.
    • The Witcher, an Enhanced Rerelease of the 1997 game with a graphical overhaul and lots and lots of voice acting and Full Motion Video, is another launch title.
    • Dead or Alive 2 becomes an Xbox exclusive and launch title.
    • The Grand Theft Auto series is born as an Xbox exclusive, with Microsoft eagerly snatching up the Houser brothers (hot off the success of the Race 'n Chase series) in the hopes of securing a Killer App. The Housers hold out for timed exclusivity, as they weren't sure if the Xbox would be a success.
  • Rome: Total War is more akin to the Rome:Total Realism mod ITTL, with a single Rome faction (along with a non-playable "Roman Rebels" faction to simulate uprisings and civil wars) and a larger campaign map, along with all the historical battles that were Dummied Out OTL. The "Caesar in Gaul" campaign, dummied out OTL, is later released as an expansion pack.
  • Aside from Ys and the Kiseki Series, Falcom is developing a third franchise called The Wheel of Time after the first game of the same name was released to critical acclaim in North America. Falcom is also looking to localize all of its titles worldwide after said game's success.

    Seventh Generation (2006-): 

    Future 
  • A one-off quote by a "North American Director of Community Engagement at Samsung" indicates that Samsung enters the video game industry in some capacity by 2014.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sailor Moon is brought to America with less Bowdlerisation, thanks to Toei rejecting DiC Entertainment's bid on account of how many Japanese video games were being brought over with little censorship. Instead, it's adapted by Saban Entertainment and The Ocean Group. It premieres in 1995 on Fox Kids, winning acclaim as a Distaff Counterpart to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but only the first two seasons are brought over due to fears of controversy over Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune's romantic relationship (especially as it would've been right after Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian). It does eventually get picked up by Cartoon Network for Toonami in 1998, which is willing to show the remaining three seasons without censoring the Uranus/Neptune romance, but the year-long wait for new episodes, combined with a disappointing video game adaptation, takes a toll on the show's American fandom. Still, Sailor Moon has a big impact on American children's programming as a result:
    • With the reduced censorship, this version of Sailor Moon retains the depictions of the Sailor Guardians dying (if toned down for broadcast standards) at the end of the first season, which is seen as a watershed moment for children's television. In its wake, other children's programming would push the envelope in terms of content a bit more early on.
    • In regards to Fox Kids, Kamen Rider BLACK RX, Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto are never brought over as Masked Rider and Beetleborgs. The former doesn't happen due to Saban Entertainment using their money to secure the Sailor Moon license instead. The latter doesn't occur as Fox Kids decides to opt for another girl power series to air following the success of Sailor Moon. The first one? The Powerpuff Girls, or rather the The Buttkickin' Girls. After they drop Sailor Moon from the lineup, they try to replace it with Magic Knight Rayearth, which doesn't do as well.
  • Sega, flush with cash from the success of the Saturn, steps in to fund the production of Neon Genesis Evangelion. This results in increased production values (especially in the final few episodes) but also Executive Meddling by Sega, clashing with Hideaki Anno and requiring that he seek help with his depression. Fortunately, their clashes produce a widely acclaimed series nonetheless, and Anno acknowledges that Sega insisting he receive therapy was indeed for the best. Anno would later use his writing talents for Sega's games.
  • Toonami debuts a year earlier starting Fall 1996, with Robotech, Reboot, Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, and Slayers. Jonny Quest in particular ends up lasting three seasons with a TV movie finale. The programming block is then chosen to air the Pokémon anime for American audiences in September 1998.
  • While Pokémon still comes to the US, the episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" from the anime sees its infamous seizure-inducing scenes butterflied away. Ken Kutagari, while reviewing the episode, remembers a college friend who suffered from epilepsy, and suggests to the animators that the scene of flashing lights be replaced with a simple explosion out of consideration for viewers' health. This would allow Pokémon to continue airing as scheduled instead of going on a four month hiatus, but at the same time where would be no industry-wide move to change animation techniques to minimize triggering epileptic seizures.
    • The direction of the series also changes. While Sato's journey to earn the eight Kanto Gym badges is similar to OTL's Ash's, it diverges at the Indigo Plateau tournament, where Sato outrights wins it, with his final opponent being a trainer who caught a Zapdos. Following the tournament, the next thirty episodes has Sato training and battling the Elite Four and the Kanto Champion, Giovanni, who is not only just the head of Team Rocket, but Sato's long lost father as well. After Sato is victorious, Giovanni concedes defeat and disbands Team Rocket. Giovanni also leaves Sato another quest of catching all the currently 150 catalogued Pokémon, serving as an And the Adventure Continues ending for Sato's Kanto story. This would lead to Pokémon: The First Movie, which is a in-canon story of Sato's attempt to prove himself worthy to catch Mewtwo.
    • For the American localization, Bang Zoom! Entertainment is chosen to produce the dub, although John Loeffler and Rave Music would still be contracted to produce music like OTL, so the original English opening is mostly retained.
    • Due to having a half-year gap between the last Kanto League arc episode and the launch of Sun and Moon, Nintendo and Sony push for additional episodes that is a set up for the Sun and Moon based arc. It takes places 3 years after the Kanto arc, featuring Sato facing of against Team Shrapnel, a group formed from the disbanded Team Rocket, and meeting some of the new Pokémon of Sun and Moon as well. The 26 episode arc ends with Sato finally defeating Tracker, a high level Team Shrapnel operative, and then setting off alone into the Johto region while Brock and Misty return to their spots as Gym Leaders.
  • Detective Conan is dubbed later than OTL, and by The Ocean Group rather than Creator/Funimation. It never makes it to Toonami, but is released on DVD every few months and shown on Teletoon in Canada. It's still being dubbed ITTL 2018, with Conan voiced by Ashleigh Ball. (Not making it to Toonami probably saves the dub, as IOTL it was broadcast when nobody would usually be watching.)

    Comic Books 
  • Butterflies from the success of the video game adaptation of Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility lead to Ben Reilly permanently becoming Spider-Man in the comics, as the game, which features Ben as the main character, causes him to develop many fans. Peter Parker, meanwhile, retires from being Spider-Man so that he can be with Mary Jane. On one hand, most of the widely-derided Clone Saga is averted, but on the other, a Broken Base develops between Peter Parker fans and Ben Reilly fans.
  • DC Comics delays Zero Hour! to February 1995 to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths and becomes a different product altogether. Hal Jordan is still ostensibly the villain as Parallax, who wants to restore the The Multiverse and Coast City along with it but is instead a pawn of the Time Trapper as part of his plan to use the chronological instability to reshape the universe.
    • Hal Jordan performs a Heroic Sacrifice to restart the universe and thus vindicates the character after Emerald Twilight.
    • Fan backlash after a leaked memo saves the Justice Society of America from decimation and are given retirement instead.
    • Power Girl dies in a similar fashion to her previous Earth-1 counterpart.
    • Wonder Woman and the Silver Age Hawks have their timelines adjusted and their places on the Justice League of America restored.
  • Under pressure by DC Comics and Warner Bros. publicity departments, Paul Levitz reluctantly approves of Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, and Mark Millar's 2000 proposal. This relaunch of the line proves to be controversial because it gets rid of Superman's red underwear and magically erases Superman's marriage to Lois Lane in a fashion not unlike One More Day. However, unlike One More Day, Superman makes a deal with Mr. Mxyzptlk to save Lois' life by resetting reality and the couple receives a proper good-bye. Fans decry the "Super Annulment" as pandering to Silver/Bronze Age nostalgia, and the marriage returns after Morrison and his compatriots conclude their runs.
  • Disney buys WildStorm from Jim Lee instead of DC Comics in 1998. This results in a (presumably toned-down) Gen13 animated series.

    Film 
  • Batman Forever has a darker tone compared to OTL's version (but not to the extent of Batman Returns) due to Joel Schumacher playing Snatcher, seeing the value of a more mature storyline, and pushing back harder against Warner Bros.' Executive Meddling. The aforementioned Selena also contributes a song to the film's soundtrack, performing it at E3 1995. Billy Dee Williams is also retained as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, while Leonardo DiCaprio is cast as Dick Grayson/Robin. The film is far more successful than OTL's film, leading Warner Bros. to push for more films based on DC comic superheroes, eventually leading to the emergence of a DC cinematic universe in the late '90s. These films include:
    • Superman: Last Son of Krypton, a reboot of the Superman films starring Bruce Campbell as Superman, Kevin Spacey as an especially hammy Lex Luthor, Laurence Fishburne as Brainiac, and Dana Delany as Lois Lane (reprising her role from Superman: The Animated Series). The plot revolves around Superman and Lex Luthor being forced to put aside their differences and work together to stop Brainiac from turning Metropolis into a bottled city for his collection. It becomes the third highest-grossing film of 1996..
    • Superman: Man of Tomorrow roughly adapts The Death of Superman with elements of a James Robinson-penned Kingdom Come starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Parasite and Vin Diesel as Magog. Shaquille O'Neal lobbies for the role of John Henry Irons but loses to Michael Clarke Duncan. The film opens to a then record-breaking $83 million on November 24, 1999 and gains more critical and fan acclaim than its predecessor, although there are complaints by purists for combining Magog with Doomsday. Warner Bros. filmed the sequel, Superman: Man of Steel back-to-back and is slated for release November 2000.
    • An alternate version of Batman & Robin that, much like Forever, avoids many of the pitfalls of OTL's film, with a script co-written by Boyd Kirkland of Batman: The Animated Series fame. Val Kilmer and Leonardo DiCaprio return from Forever as Batman and Robin, while Patrick Stewart plays Mr. Freeze instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger; the studio initially considered Arnold, but he was rejected by Schumacher after being disappointed with his screen test. Claire Danes plays Barbara Gordon, who ITTL becomes Batgirl after her father is taken hostage and injured by Rupert Thorne (played by John Goodman). While the film is regarded as a step down from Forever, it receives a much better reception than OTL's Batman and Robin.
      • The fifth film, Batman Triumphant, comes out in June 1999. Kilmer, DiCaprio, and Danes all return as Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, and are accompanied by Madonna as Harley Quinn (who beat out GameTV's Lyssa Fielding for the role), Brad Dourif as Dr. Jonathan Crane, and Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer reprising their roles as The Joker and Catwoman (who Batman has nightmares about). In this version, Harley Quinn is the Joker's daughter, and goes on a crime spree in an effort to imitate him, culminating in the twist that Dr. Crane was the true Big Bad and that he was manipulating both Batman and Harley with his experimental fear toxin. Harley is ultimately saved (though locked away until the drugs wear off), and Dr. Crane/Scarecrow is defeated by Batman, Robin (who becomes Nightwing at the end), and Batgirl. The film is probably the least well-received of the series; while Madonna was praised for her performance as Harley, Dr. Crane was seen as a weak villain even with Dourif's performance. However, it's still seen as decent, and an appropriate sendoff for the "Burton/Schumacher Batman series".
    • A Green Lantern trilogy starring Billy Zane as Kyle Rayner and Joe Morton as John Stewart. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin make the first film in the series in 1998, partly adapting from Emerald Twilight, having passed on the Godzilla adaptation in order to do it. Richard Harris also appears as Ganthet, Denise Richards as Alex DeWitt, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the psychopathic Major Force. The film gets a mixed-to-positive reception; the similarities to Star Wars (especially in its use of The Hero's Journey) are noted by many critics, Alex being gruesomely Stuffed into the Fridge outrages many feminists, and the Product Placement for the Ultra Nintendo is seen as jarring (though it does produce a classic scene of Kyle making a construct of Link in his final battle against Major Force), but the overall arc of the film is well-received, and the special effects amaze many viewers. The success of the film convinces Warner Bros. and DC that they don't have to depend on their "Big Two" superheroes, Superman and Batman, to carry all their films, and leads to plans to bring their B-list heroes to the big screen.
    • invoked A sequel to the above, Green Lantern: Chapter II — In Brightest Day, is released in 2000. Emmerich and Devlin are not involved in this film, having departed the series due to Creative Differences, though in their place are Richard Donner and Geoff Johns.
    • A Wonder Woman movie comes out in 2000, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Joss Whedon as an adaptation of the "Gods and Mortals" arc, albeit ending on a stinger setting up Darkseid (played by Tony Todd) as a future villain for the DC cinematic universe — the first film to have such a post-credits scene. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the title character, while Matthew McConaughey plays her Love Interest Steve Trevor, Alfred Molina plays the villain Ares, Demi Moore plays Athena, Nathan Fillion plays Hermes, Christopher Lee plays Zeus, James Woods plays Hades, and Lynda Carter, in a Remake Cameo, plays Wonder Woman’s mother and Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. The film is second only to Man of Tomorrow as the most successful DC movie, largely on the strength of female moviegoers turning out in large numbers, which leads to DC commissioning a Wonder Woman animated series for the then-struggling Kids' WB! block.
    • Films based on The Flash and Justice League of America are confirmed for 2003 and 2004 respectively.
  • Marvel gets bought up by News Corp. after its bankruptcy. Its foray into film happens slightly earlier thanks to both this buyout and the fact that TTL's Batman & Robin didn't briefly discredit comic-book movies. The rivalry between Marvel/Fox and DC/Warner Bros. comes to be called the "Superhero Wars".
    • Bryan Singer's X-Men is released in 1998. Patrick Stewart still plays Professor Xavier; while he was initially afraid of Typecasting thanks to both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Batman & Robin, Singer ultimately convinced him to take the role, which he embraced in time. Singer also managed to get his first choice for Wolverine, Russell Crowe, cast in the part by offering Crowe a degree of creative control. The rest of the cast includes Famke Janssen as Jean Grey (like in OTL), Michael Biehn as Cyclops, Angela Bassett as Storm, Glenn "Kane" Jacobs as Colossus, Bryan Cranston as Beast, Rutger Hauer as Magneto, Clancy Brown as Sabretooth, Rebecca Romijn as Emma Frost (instead of Mystique like in OTL), and Patricia Ja Lee as Jubilee. The plot is similar to OTL's film (as are the costumes), though the Sentinels are introduced much earlier, their designs influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion, and The Stinger alludes to the Dark Phoenix Saga showing up in the sequels. The film is seen as flawed, but good; while Hauer's performance as Magneto and the focus on Wolverine are criticized, the film is still a smash hit (especially in Asia) that serves as the foundation for Marvel's "Media Universe" (so named because Marvel would later collaborate with Studio Gainax for anime and video games set in the universe), while Jubilee becomes an Ensemble Dark Horse, boosting both her profile in the comics and Patricia Ja Lee's acting career. The film also spawns a notable Memetic Mutation where Wolverine "snikt"'s Sabretooth right in the family jewels; the leak of the script online, combined with fan reaction to that scene in particular, leads Marvel to start alluding to it in ads for the film.
    • Chris Columbus directs a Fantastic Four movie in starring in George Clooney as Mr. Fantastic, Christina Applegate as the Invisible Woman, Neil Patrick Harris as the Human Torch, and Michael Chiklis as the Thing with Gary Oldman as Doctor Doom. David Hasselhoff reprises his role as Nick Fury from the failed television pilot, preempting Samuel L. Jackson from the role. Fans generally hold a positive view of the film, praising Chiklis and Oldman's performances, but are lukewarm towards Clooney and Hasselhoff. The film underperforms at the box office due to a crowded blockbuster season but nevertheless has a sequel greenlit for 2002.
      • Hasselhoff stars in a television spin off "Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." that is best described as a bizarre lovechild of Knight Rider and Marvel lore. Fox cancels the show after six episodes, but the series gains a reputation of being So Bad, It's Good.
    • Casper Van Dien stars in a Captain America film released in 2001 as the titular character. Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman star in as Tony Stark and Obidiah Stane in a 2003 version of of Iron Man.
  • A sequel to The Mask is made in 1995, with Jennifer Morrison playing the niece of Cameron Diaz's character Tina. James Rolfe also wins a walk-on role in a Nintendo Power contest; he and Morrison meet and become friends on set, eventually falling in love and getting married in 2007. Rolfe, in addition to doing The Angry Video Game Nerd as a hobby, also becomes a director of independent films.
    • And the reason the sequel was made? Batman Forever having a more serious characterization for the Riddler, which ended up being a tough role for Jim Carrey to pull off. This leads to Jim Carrey actually accepting the offer to do the sequel of The Mask.
  • Martin Lawrence's Creator Breakdown in 1996 ends with him committing Suicide by Cop, charging at an officer with a knife.
  • Happy Gilmore is never made, with Adam Sandler's next role after Billy Madison instead being a movie called Barcode, where he played a semi-comic, yet tragic, figure and love interest to Milla Jovovich's character. Sandler would be praised for his performance, and would be pursued for other dramatic roles. His roles in Saving Private Ryan and A Streetcar Named Desire would win critical approval, but when playing the character Maximus in the movie Gladiator, his performance was deemed weak in an otherwise good film.
  • Star Trek: First Contact is morphed into Star Trek: Rubicon, a film with a roughly similar plot but which sees the Enterprise and the Borg traveling back in time to Ancient Rome instead of the year 2063. There, the Enterprise crew teams up with Julius Caesar (played by Ed Harris) just before his crossing of the Rubicon in order to stop the Borg. The film gets mixed reviews and is seen as something of a disappointment. It would be the last Star Trek film in a while, due to Patrick Stewart leaving.
  • Matt Damon is cast as Jack Dawson in Titanic instead of Leonardo DiCaprio. This proves to be for the worse, as his performance is considered decent, but not particularly impressive, especially compared to his co-star Kate Winslet. While the film doesn't flop like many feared it would, it only becomes a big hit instead of a generation-defining classic. Its box office gross in the US is almost half of OTL's ($295 million vs $600 million), while its total worldwide gross falls just short of a billion, only making about $700 million in foreign markets (unlike the $1.2 billion the original release made in OTL).
  • Chris Farley goes into rehab, butterflying his death on December 18, 1997. One result of this is that Mike Myers isn't called in to replace Farley in Shrek, which ends up being canned when another of Dreamworks Animation's films don't do so well.
  • George Lucas is convinced to reconsider putting in Jar-Jar in The Phantom Menace after Steven Spielberg presses Lucas on the subject. Instead, he looks to Elaine Marley of Monkey Island as inspiration for a proper foil to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, heavily basing Padme off of her. Haley Joel Osment is also cast as young Anakin thanks to Spielberg's suggestions.
  • Phil Hartman lives, as Andy Dick never got the chance to reintroduce Phil's wife Byrnn to cocaine at a Christmas Party as in OTL.note  In this timeline, Andy got in a fight with Vince Offer at the party, causing Hartman to kick both of them out. Furthermore, on the morning of March 27, 1998, Vince ends up stabbing Andy in a fight, killing the latter. Vince would be charged with second-degree murder while he claims self-defense. Andy's autopsy would reveal a lot of cocaine in his system.
  • With Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin working on Green Lantern ITTL, the job of writing and directing the 1998 Godzilla reboot goes to Quentin Tarantino. His film, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Daryl Hannah, and Hank Azaria, features Godzilla coming to New York to attack a nest of moth-like monsters underneath a nuclear power plant, ending in a three-way fight between Godzilla, Mothra, and the military. It is Tarantino's only PG-13 film (though it heavily skirts the edge of the rating), and the biggest hit of his career, earning $210 million in the US and doing especially well in Japan (thanks to the casting of Meiko Kaji as a Japanese businesswoman stranded in New York who survived the original Godzilla attack).
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman dies sometime before 2010.
  • Gene Siskel is still alive as of April 2000. Presumably, the surgery that had unexpected complications that ended up deadly in OTL went much better ITTL.
  • After Titanic turns out to be a success but not the monster hit that it was in OTL, James Cameron returns to the Terminator franchise for the third film, Last Stand, which reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, and Linda Hamilton as the T-800 and John and Sarah Connor. The story revolves around alternate universes, and has a Skynet from another world where Judgment Day did not come to pass invading our own in order to ensure that it happens, sending a "T-Omega" model played by Michael Clarke Duncan to kill John and Sarah. A T-800 is sent over by the resistance to protect them, and they also encounter a mysterious woman named Skye, played by Jessica Alba, who claims to have information about Skynet... and turns out to actually be Skynet, uploaded into a Terminator body as the human resistance destroyed her central core and jumping to John and Sarah's timeline. However, Skye winds up falling in love with John, and is eventually redeemed by The Power of Love, self-terminating in order to prevent the T-Omega from using the data in her head to recreate Skynet. While the plot is seen as a mess, the acting and characters are its saving graces, and it is well-received by critics and becomes a box-office hit over Memorial Day weekend in 2000.
  • Mission: Impossible II, released in the summer of 2000, has a fairly similar plot to OTL's film, with one key difference: the villains are fanatical Christians. This leads to controversy from Christian conservatives, which winds up drawing attention to star Tom Cruise's Scientologist faith. However, the film earns a better reception than it did in OTL.
  • Instead of What Lies Beneath, Harrison Ford instead does Marked Man in 2000, a film with a roughly similar plot to OTL's Taken years later. While seen as corny and cliched, it is still a box-office hit.
  • One of the biggest comedy hits of 2000 is Shut Up!, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Elisha Cuthbert as polar-opposite college roommates (Hart a nerd, Cuthbert a party girl) who start feuding over a boy they both have a crush on. The film becomes huge among girls and young women, with Hart and Cuthbert praised for their performances, which leads to Hart's career not fizzling out like it did in OTL.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is never made, instead falling into Development Hell after Sony started working with DreamWorks Animation. Attempts by Sony to get DreamWorks and Square Pictures to collaborate on production never went anywhere, as DreamWorks wanted to go with a more stylized look instead of the photorealism that Square was looking for. However, some of the plot ideas were later recycled for Final Fantasy X, including the protagonist Aki Ross. Having never produced the film (which was a Box Office Bomb in OTL), Squaresoft is never forced into the dire straits that led to its merger with Enix.
  • Mary Tyler Moore plays Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream instead of Ellen Burstyn. Much like Burstyn, Moore is nominated for an Oscar for her performance but loses to Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich.
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider still stars Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, though it also star Alison Doody as Lara's rival Jade Bessemer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ray Combs' work on the Family Feud FMV game butterflies away his suicide in 1996, and he in turn helps Mary Kay Bergman back from the brink as well.
    • Bergman's survival is also attributed to Tom Hanks, whose encouraging words about the voice actress helped her get the speaking role of Jessie in Toy Story 2 (IOTL, Bergman only voiced Jessie's yodeling and Joan Cusack did her speaking voice). The praise from such a well-respected actor kept Bergman alive long enough for her to get help for her anxiety and depression later on.
  • Katey Segal's pregnancy is butterflied away, and with it, the Wanker County arc on Married... with Children.
  • Linda Hamilton plays Captain Janeway (whose first name is Nicole rather than Kathryn) on Star Trek: Voyager instead of Kate Mulgrew. The show also starts airing in the fall of 1995, instead of January 1995. The show ends up cut short earlier than OTL due to problems facing with the Star Trek franchise as a whole. The next show planned is Star Trek: Nemesis which features descendants of the Voyager crew, which has become a mercenary ship. The show is also being headed by J. J. Abrams.
  • Christopher Reeve never has the horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed IOTL. Instead, he stars on a CBS sitcom called Extracurricular with Jane Kaczmarek and Heather Locklear.
  • Naughty Dog's hit SNES-CD platformer Dog Dash causes a controversy due to the boss of World Three, an evil game show host who many see as a parody of The Price Is Right host Bob Barker — including Barker himself, who considered suing to have the game pulled from shelves. He's never able to, though, as he's struck dead by a heart attack in late 1996 due to the stress that the game caused him. Barker's death leads to a shakeup that comes to be known as the "Great Game Show Shuffle", with Supermarket Sweep host David Ruprecht tapped to replace Barker in early 1997 (a position he holds for twelve years) and Marc Summers from Double Dare in turn replacing Ruprecht on Sweep. Summers' arrival on Sweep sees the introduction of physical challenges similar to those on Double Dare in his second season, which prove unpopular; the show is eventually canceled in late 1999... which in and of itself is also a change since, IOTL, it got cancelled in 1995.
  • Due to the increasing interest in more mature children's entertainment, the Power Rangers Turbo movie is completely different compared to OTL. The main differences between this and the OTL version is that the original five Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers are captured to be sacrificed (David Yost stuck around for the end of Zeo ITTL, and Walter Jones and Thuy Trang were also brought aboard at the insistence of Fox), TJ Johnson replaces Justin, Divatox explicitly destroys the Zeo powers, and Rocky DeSantos dies saving the others in a prisoner exchange gone wrong. Maligore restores and corrupts the original Dinozord powers and pits the original Mighty Morphin' rangers against the Turbo Rangers and ends with the Mighty Morphin' rangers purified and a team-up of the Dino and Turbo Megazords against Maligore. Tommy and Kimberly's relationship gets some proper closure. The film receives better reviews and is even more fondly remembered than the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie.
    • The success of the film reverses the declining ratings of the television show, though the slapstick nature of Gekisou Sentai Carranger (and thus the stock footage clashing with the American footage) still makes it marginally divisive amongst fans. Jason David Frank and Catherine Sutherland still leave, and are replaced with Brad Hawkins reprising the role of Ryan Steele to replace Tommy as the Red Turbo Ranger and Tracy Lynn-Cruz, who instead becomes the Pink Turbo Ranger. Fans are not as receptive to Hawkins replacing Frank, though their opinions change when he switches to the Black Ranger next season. Grimlord from VR Troopers also returns to become the co-villain of the series to establish a continuity between both series. Overall, the season ends with a Downer Ending as OTL, but with Bulk and Skull taken prisoner by Divatox after their Big Damn Heroes moment buys the Rangers some time to escape capture.
    • Power Rangers in Space is called "Mega Force" in this timeline after its Sentai counterpart, Denji Sentai Megaranger with American-born Kane Kosugi playing the role of Andros, becoming the first actor to work on both Super Sentai and Power Rangers. The plot is largely the same as OTL's In Space, with the forces of evil being wiped out by Zordon's energy wave, although Billy is the one to leave hints regarding Zordon's location, and Bulk and Skull, instead of leading the citizens of Angel Grove in an I Am Spartacus moment in the finale, instead become part of a resistance group and turn into galactic folk heroes by accident; this leads to them bringing an army to help the Rangers during "Countdown to Destruction".
    • The next three seasons — Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, and Time Force — are also largely unchanged, though none of them can provide help to the inevitably declining ratings of Fox Kids, and thus the franchise eventually moves to Fox Family. Additionally, with Disney not buying the franchise (thanks to Fox and Saban's issues with Fox Family) like in OTL, production never moves to New Zealand to cut costs.
    • The 11th season, instead of OTL's Ninja Storm, is Amit Bahumik's infamous "Hexagon" proposal, involving a Ranger Civil War and many past Rangers returning.
  • When Fox Kids/Saban decided to buy out The Family Channel in 1997 to provide them with a cable presence, Margaret Loesch convinced Rich Cronin not to scrap most of the existing Fam lineup to target younger audiences- having seen value in their lineup, she persuades him to build on it with additional family-oriented shows in addition to the kid/teen programming; as a result, the renamed Fox Family is quite a bit more successful amongst older audiences (who still watch the Westerns and game shows) and isn't as concerned with being 4th amongst kids networks (as compared to OTL, where it did scrap said programming and resulted in a channel many people didn't watch or care/know about, which ultimately got it sold to Disney). Many underrated/obscure game shows are given revivals, including Catchphrase (hosted by Peter Tomarken {who in OTL, hosted Paranoia for FF}), Hot Streak (hosted by Jim McKrell of Celebrity Sweepstakes), Split Second (hosted by John Moschitta Jr.) and Three on a Match (hosted by Bob Goen); when Millionaire brought high-stakes primetime quizzes back into vogue, Fox Family revived The Big Showdown with Bill Rafferty at the helm, a $25,000 endgame payoff and regular tournaments for bigger prizes. In addition, thanks to Fox Kids' existing relationship with Scholastic, the Animorphs TV series lands here instead of Nickelodeon, has a bit better writing and budget, and manages to last for 5 seasons.
  • The hosts of Family Feud from Ray Combs onwards are completely different from OTL due to butterflies:
    • After Family Feud is returned to syndication in 1999 ITTL, Chuck Woolery hosts from 1999 to 2004.
    • Ryan Stiles hosts from 2004 to 2008, presumably not doing Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the process.
    • Bernie Mac takes over in 2008, and is still hosting as of 2015 ITTL; his 2008 death IOTL having presumably been butterflied away.
    • As for the OTL hosts, Richard Dawson dies in 2012 as OTL, Ray Combs is still alive as of 2015 ITTL, Louie Anderson dies of a cocaine overdose in 2000, and Richard Karn and John O'Hurley remain as minor character actors. Steve Harvey is still a popular stand-up comedian ITTL.
  • The 1998-99 TV season sees ABC cracking NBC's Thursday night "Must-See-TV" dominance with a host of sci-fi and adventure programs that even they weren't expecting to be as successful as they were. Leading the charge is the Michelle Yeoh-starring series Empyreon, in which Yeoh's computer programmer opens a portal to an Alternate Universe, High School Heroes, about teenagers who gain superpowers, and the Michael Madsen-starring Shattered, a gritty, violent detective series (TTL's version of Vengeance Unlimited). The ratings challenge causes NBC to give Friends, which slipped in the ratings as a result, a poorly-received Retool in the sixth season (eventually revealed to be "the introduction of several unpopular, younger characters to the cast"), while CBS and Fox smell blood in the water and launch their own heavily-hyped shows on Thursday night.
  • Nickelodeon revives Nick Arcade in 1998, this time with the bonus round involving a member of the winning team facing off against Ted Crosley, Alex Stansfield, or Brittany Saldita from GameTV to win the grand prize (Viacom's ownership of both Nickelodeon and MTV enabling this brand synergy). This challenge became a notorious instance of Nintendo Hard, as all three of them were hardcore gamers who had no problem stomping the competition; in the 52 episodes of the show's first season, only three saw the contestants win the grand prize, and Saldita in particular had an undefeated record. She would go on to remark that many contestants picked her because they thought that girls weren't good at video games, and that she "cost more kids trips to Space Camp than the Challenger disaster." The second season saw the GameTV hosts replaced with less seasoned "gladiators" as a result, as the constant curb-stompings and lack of winners meant low ratings. It wasn't enough to turn the show's ratings around and save it from cancellation, but many fans later on came to view "Nick Arcade 2.0" as the better version of the show.
  • Butterflies hit The X-Files around the end of the show's fifth season.
    • The movie Fight the Future reveals the existence of alternate universes (shades of OTL's Fringe), with the Cigarette-Smoking Man killed by a mysterious agent who has the power to open rifts between these worlds. Among the worlds shown to exist are one where the object that hit Tunguska in OTL instead impacted New York City in 1908, and another where a dimension-hopping agent rescued Joan of Arc from being burned at the stake (and subsequently brought her to our dimension's present day), causing The Hundred Years War to last for another five hundred years. An Enemy Civil War is also revealed within the aliens' ranks, with Scully making contact with the rebel alien faction at the end of season 6. Behind the scenes, production on the show never leaves VancouverDavid Duchovny still wanted to relocate to Los Angeles to be closer to his wife Tea Leoni, but their marriage starts falling apart due to Leoni losing out on the lead role in Deep Impact, culminating in them divorcing in 1999 and Duchovny withdrawing his request.
    • This retool of The X-Files was controversial and led to a ratings dip in season 6, but the show came roaring back in season 7 as old plotlines were resolved, the Government Conspiracy was reintroduced, and a new creative talent entered the show. That man? M. Night Shyamalan, whose pitch for The Sixth Sense was rejected and who wound up instead getting hired by Chris Carter, writing four pivotal episodes that season (including the season finale, which incorporates elements of The Sixth Sense). Shyamalan continues working on the show until the end of its run in 2002, developing a friendship with Vince Gilligan in the process.
    • Also, a throwaway line concerning said season finale, "Sixth Sense"note , implies that David Duchovny never got the idea to sue Fox for residues from reruns of the show, which wound up getting him in trouble.
  • Drew Barrymore becomes the host of Late Night by 2012.
  • Survivor debuts in 2000 largely unchanged from OTL, including in terms of success, though Ron Goldman, who lived ITTL thanks to butterflies in the O. J. Simpson case (see "Sports", below), is one of the contestants on the first season. He winds up winning the whole thing instead of Richard Hatch (who tries a similar strategy that won him the competition in OTL, but gets Out-Gambitted here), and he uses some of his prize money to bail out his restaurant and turn it into a chain. By 2016, "Goldman's" has sixteen locations in California and Arizona, with a seventeenth set to open in Scottsdale and Goldman considering expansion into Las Vegas.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis, instead of being a feature film, is instead a TV series on UPN helmed by J. J. Abrams and Ronald D. Moore. It follows the descendants of two Federation vessels after both ships were stranded on the other end of the galaxy and made a 75-year voyage home; upon their return, after failing to reintegrate into Federation society, the crew members are recruited by a rogue faction within Starfleet intelligence to steal a prototype Romulan spaceship, the Nemesis. The protagonist, Jennifer Drake, is played by Keri Russell, who in OTL worked with Abrams on Felicity.
  • TheAmazingRace still debuts in September 2001, though with different winners for the first two seasons. Also the show goes to different countries in some of the legs. Not to mention Polly Klaas and her father participate in the second season.
  • The first season of Degrassi: The Next Generation debuts in Canada and the United States like IOTL in October 2001, but has some major changes in regards to characters and plots. Ashley Leggat and Michael Seater from Life with Derek both play students named Jess and Zach (which butterflies Seater's role in Black Hole High), with the former student being a popular girl while the latter one is a studying nerd. Marieve Herrington, who IOTL played a reoccurring student in How I Met Your Mother, plays another student named Adelaide, and Kris Holden-Ried (who played Sean's older brother Tracker in OTL's Degrassi for the first 3 seasons) now plays a teacher named Lenny. Michael Kinney, who played Coach Armstrong in a reoccurring role on Degrassi IOTL, gets a regular casting role as the same character.

    The episode list also increases from 15 to 20 episodes, which include topics such as alcohol intoxication, relationship advice and friendships. In addition, some of the casting gets changed. Although most of the casting is the same like IOTL, Jake Goldsbie now portrays J.T Yorke, while Ryan Cooley (who played J.T IOTL) now portrays Tobias Isaacs. Robert Clark also now portrays Sean Cameron instead of his older brother Daniel.
  • Stephenie Meyer doesn't do Twilight, but she does go on Jeopardy!, where she has a 61-day winning streak totaling $1,790,216.
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    Music 
  • A 21-year-old Marshall Mathers gets gunned down in a dispute over a game console he was sharing with an acquaintance.
  • A domestic dispute between Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain over the latter playing too many video games leads to Cobain getting sent to rehab and eventually getting clean, preventing his suicide. He and the rest of Nirvana release the band's fourth album, Stains, in August 1995, and their fifth album, Waste of Time, in 1999. The latter album is a critically-acclaimed, chart-topping smash that gives Nirvana its first #1 hit with "Way No Way", though it creates a Broken Base among fans, with some viewing its move to a more mainstream rock sound as having produced their best album yet and other fans viewing it as a sellout. Also in 1999, the band experiences a close call when, while passing through Bellingham, Washington in their tour bus, they're caught in a substantially deadlier version of the Olympic Pipeline explosion, which kills 91 people and causes their bus to crash (they escape with only minor injuries); as such, they briefly suspend their Waste of Time Tour in order to perform a benefit concert for the victims.
  • Also in grunge, Soundgarden's breakup in 1997 proves to be a 10-Minute Retirement, as they quickly reform two years later with Justin Chancellor on bass. Their 1999 album In the Shade is also acclaimed by critics, though not as successful in sales as Waste of Time.
    • Due to the death of Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopez ITTL (see "Sports" below), the song "Waterfalls" is butterflied away.
  • Selena Quintanilla-Pérez survives the attempt on her life that killed her in OTL thanks to butterflies from her husband, Chris Pérez, being childhood friends with a successful video game developer. When the success of this friend's game Frederico prompts him to call Chris to remind him of a Side Bet the two made, the timing of the call wakes Chris up in time to accompany his wife to her fateful meeting with Yolanda Saldívar, stopping Saldívar when she pulls a gun on Selena. Selena goes on to have a very fruitful pop career, including multiple #1 hits, her album Dreaming of You (which was delayed to 1996 due to her having more time to work on it) dueling with Céline Dion's Falling Into You for Album of the Year at the 1997 Grammys, and performing the theme song for Frederico 2: Garcia's Revenge!. By 1999, she's easily the biggest female pop star in America, leading the Latin pop wave of the late '90s along with Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana, and Enrique Iglesias.
    • Selena-Quintanilla Pérez, as of 2004, is now pregnant with her first child, and her hometown of Corpus Christi is called the Latin Nashville, with over 300,000 people and many music venues, as well as a few sports teams.
  • Tupac Shakur survives the attempt on his life on September 7, 1996, though at a terrible cost: the shooting degenerates into a massive spray of gunfire on the Vegas Strip that sees five people killed and seventeen injured (including Suge Knight). The shooting leads to a retaliatory hit against The Notorious B.I.G. six months later; again, Biggie survives, but his bodyguard and eight bystanders are killed, not counting one of the assassins who was gunned down by police. Tupac and Biggie, distraught that their feud was getting their fans killed, agreed to a truce and eventually became close friends. They appear together at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards and perform an anti-violence song called "Increase the Peace", which becomes a monster hit that tops the Billboard Hot 100 for at least fourteen weeks in late 1997.
  • Biggie's continued survival also butterflies away the song "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans, written as a tribute to him after his OTL death. This clears the way for "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks to become a #1 hit for nine weeks and the song of the summer in 1997.
  • Bob Dylan's bout with pericarditis in 1997 winds up giving him a fatal heart attack on May 12. He was 55 years old when he passed away.
  • All we are told about concerning Woodstock 1999 ITTL concerns Nirvana's involvement, but what is told speaks miles:
    • Ultimately, while there is still rioting, only 14 people wind up being injured and the concert is ended early.
    • Kurt Cobain wound up charging from the stage to prevent a gang rape, and got his nose broken in the process.
    • Following Woodstock 1999, Kurt personally tells Dave Grohl while getting treated for his nose that "[he's] fuckin' done with music after that bullshit".
  • Avril Lavigne suffers a bout of laryngitis in 1995, leaving her temporarily unable to sing and leading her to take up skateboarding while her voice recovered; she soon finds out that she's really good at it. This butterflies away her pop music career and leads her to become a professional skateboarder instead, appearing in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 in 2000 at the age of fifteen and becoming one of the most popular riders in the game save for Hawk himself.
  • Michael Jackson is found guilty of child molestation in his trial during September 2006. He kills himself shortly afterwards.
  • As an additional side effect of Gore winning the presidency in 2000 ITTL as well as no Iraq War, the Dixie Chicks doesn't get shafted by the notoriously patriotic country music industry as a result of anti-Iraq War comments, as Natalie Maines never gets the chance to say so. This means however "Not Ready To Make Nice" is butterflied away.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin doesn't have his neck injury at Summerslam 1997, managing to have his head miss the canvas by half an inch, allowing him to keep the WWF Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships.
  • As Mike Tyson's boxing career is still going strong ITTL's 1998, he doesn't have any time to appear at WrestleMania XIV as the special guest ring enforcer for the WWF Championship match between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Instead, the Austin vs. McMahon feud gets an earlier than OTL start, as Vince McMahon appoints Owen Hart as the special referee and attempts to blackmail him into screwing Austin, just like Vince had done to Bret at Montreal (yes, the Montreal Screwjob still happens). Owen refuses and Austin becomes champion like IOTL. This also leads to a fair portion of Owen vs. Vince and it also seems like Shawn Michaels hasn't suffered from the back injury that put his career on a hiatus IOTL, as there's mention of an iron man match between Owen and Shawn at that year's SummerSlam.
  • And speaking of Owen, not only is his death at Over the Edge 1999 averted, but at the same event he wins the world title off of Steve Austin in a match where the Montreal Screwjob is recreated.

    Sports 
  • James Jordan, father of Michael Jordan, lives when the criminals that killed him in our history instead target a truck full of video game consoles. With him alive, instead of his one-year retirement to play baseball, Michael would stay on the Chicago Bulls for several years afterward. His Chicago Bulls lose the 1994 NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets, but he'd have his revenge in the 1995 Finals, leading the Bulls in a clean sweep against the Rockets.
    • The butterflies in Michael Jordan's life produce a very different Space Jam in 1996. The defeat of the Bulls in the 1994 NBA Finals figures heavily into the story, the film taking place right afterwards with Jordan doubting himself, unsure if he can still lead a basketball team to victory. The Big Bad Swackhammer, after watching footage of the 1994 Finals, also decides to steal the talent of the Rockets' Hakeem Olajuwon, as he was the "only man ever to beat Michael Jordan". The resulting film is seen as slightly better than OTL's due to its exploration of Jordan's public persona, even if it's still generally admitted that Jordan can't really act; notably, Doug Walker decides not to do a Nostalgia Critic review of it, feeling that it was So Okay, It's Average and didn't have enough material for a funny review.
      • Sidenote, there's two things about this that are worth pointing out: the date of the episode where this comes from is November 13, 2007, implying that Doug Walker starts up "The Nostalgia Critic" earlier than OTL. Secondly, the episode in question? It's a review of The Mask II...
  • Tonya Harding's plan to take Nancy Kerrigan out of contention in the Olympics is foiled when the man she hired to break her knee slacks off on the job because he was playing too many video games.
  • The OJ Simpson case is instead a Murder-Suicide, with both OJ and Nicole found dead by Ron Goldman.
  • The spat between Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes and Andre Rison in 1994 that, in OTL, ended with her burning down his house ends here with him killing her. The resulting distraction and controversy leads to Rison spending eight years in prison, and Rison's San Francisco 49ers losing the NFC Championship to the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys then defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (who themselves beat the Chargers who won that year's AFC Championship IOTL) in Super Bowl XXIX, making them the first NFL team to win three straight Super Bowls. Lopes' death (coming so soon after the aforementioned OJ Simpson Murder-Suicide) became the climax of a massive controversy over domestic violence among NFL players, which would eventually lead then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to resign.
  • The Cleveland Indians win the 1995 World Series, after losing the first two games against the Atlanta Braves.
  • The Seattle Mariners win the 1996 and 1997 World Series. In 1996, Ken Griffey, Jr. breaks the season home run record, scoring 62 home runs in '96. In '97, he falls back a bit to 56 home runs, but makes up for that with 15 in the playoffs.note 
  • The boxing match Tupac was attending on the night of the attempt on his life was between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield rather than Tyson and Bruce Seldon. Tyson's brutal first-round knockout victory saw Holyfield retire from boxing the following year, butterflying away the infamous Tyson vs. Holyfield II fight in 1997 (aka "the Bite Fight").
  • invoked On March 16, 1997, a fight breaks out at an NBA basketball game between the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. It starts when the Magic's Dennis Rodman is ejected from the game for getting into a shouting match with the referee over a foul, followed by a Celtics fan tossing a racial slur at him; this causes him to go ballistic, run into the stands, and attack him. Meanwhile, back on the court, Shaquille O'Neal punches Penny Hardaway in the nose, setting off a melee between the Magic and the Celtics. Rodman is suspended for the rest of the regular season, both he and Shaq see their careers tarnished by the "basketbrawl", and the Orlando Magic enter a Dork Age.
  • Race car driver Ayrton Senna survives the crash in 1994 that killed him in OTL. Years later, he makes the switch from Formula One to NASCAR, and even becomes the spokesman for the first Gran Turismo installment.
  • The 1998 FIFA World Cup is won by Holland, who overcome the penalty curse that afflicts them OTL; their victories against England in the quarter final (who are implied to have beaten Argentina ITTL), Brazil in the semifinal, and France in the final all come on penalties.
  • The Boston Celtics win back-to-back NBA Championships in 1999 and 2000.
  • Jason Collier of the Detroit Pistons winds up dying on December 10, 2000, five years before OTL and of the same heart condition. Furthermore, he dies on the court, collapsing at the foul line while shooting free throws in a game against the Toronto Raptors.
  • Bob Knight remains on as the head coach of the University of Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team even after the Kent Harvey incident, largely due to his team winning the NCAA Championship in 2000, leading the administration to give him another pass despite his history of controversial behavior.
  • The New Orleans Saints, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, crush the New England Patriots 41-7 at Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. The halftime show is performed by Selena, Santana, and Rob Thomas.
  • The 2004 Summer Olympics are held in Tokyo.
  • The 2006 FIFA World Cup is won by Brazil, who defeat Iran (who eliminate the USA team in the group stage), England (in what is regarded as the most exciting game of the tournament) and France (after a penalty shoot-out lasting 12 rounds) before beating Argentina in the final.
  • The Seattle Supersonics NBA team never relocates to Oklahoma City ITTL as of 2009.
  • The Cleveland Browns win Super Bowl XLI due to Michael Vick, meaning that shit utterly hits the fan once Vick's dogfighting ring is exposed (after a TTL attempt at obstruction of justice by the city of Cleveland). In the span of a single year, the Browns are fined $25 million, forced to forfeit a total of 15 draft picks over the next five years, and win only 3 out of 64 games during the next four years.

    Toys 

    Western Animation 

    Other 
  • Polly Klaas becomes a Forrest Gump-esque figure in the story.
    • To start with, she is never murdered because her would-be kidnapper tripped over her SNES-CD console, giving her father time to catch and subdue him until police arrived. She and her family become minor celebrities after the incident, with talk show appearances and Polly being enrolled in a lifetime "free game every month" program by Nintendo.
    • More significantly, she and her family later move to Littleton, Colorado, where she attends Columbine High School. There, she encounters a boy named Eric Harris suffering a round of bullying, and while trying to console him, she notices that something is definitely "off" about that kid. Her presence at the school significantly disrupts the Columbine massacre. For one thing, it causes Dylan Klebold, Harris' OTL partner-in-crime, to drift away from him, causing him to attempt to carry out the attack alone. Furthermore, thanks to Klaas catching him in time (and his poorly-made bombs failing to detonate much like in OTL), Harris ultimately only succeeds in killing two people: his ex-girlfriend (and Klaas' best friend) Caitlyn, and himself.
      • Polly's interactions with Eric also means that it helps Dylan pull away from Eric's orbit and eventually gives Dylan the courage to cut contact with Eric, which means he actually refuses to help Eric to shoot up the school and leaves Columbine mostly intact after the events of April 20, 1999. Word of God states that he is a police detective with the Denver Police Department as of TTL 2015.
    • After the Columbine incident and Caitlyn's death, Klaas consoles herself by playing The Darkest Night, a game whose key plot twist winds up carrying tons of emotional resonance for her. This leads her to become a researcher of video games in adulthood, working as the director of the Stanford University Institute For Media and Human Psychology by 2019.
    • In 2002, Polly and her father Marc participate in the second season of TheAmazingRace, where they finish in third.
  • Timothy McVeigh, instead of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, assassinates Attorney General Janet Reno while his two co-conspirators, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, attempt to carry out the bombing. Ironically, Reno's murder would lead to the failure of the bombing, as all federal buildings would be immediately placed on alert afterwards. The duo would end up getting stopped by a security guard and arrested before they can pull it off.
  • invoked Thanks to the Sleeper Hit success of Naughty Dog's game Tales of the Seven Seas in 1995, pirate-themed media isn't fully killed by Cutthroat Island like it was IOTL. In fact, there's a minor boom in pirate movies, games (such as Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, whose sales are boosted as a result), etc. in the ensuing years, and when combined with Power Rangers running a ninja-themed arc that year to coincide with the movie, the Pirates Versus Ninjas meme begins a decade earlier as both become popular Halloween costumes in 1995.
  • The bombing of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta ends up much deadlier due to Richard Jewell, the security guard who discovered the bomb in OTL, being sick that day. Since he didn't go to work, no one discovered the bomb. While the bombing in OTL only killed two people (one from a heart attack) thanks to Jewell finding the bomb and clearing out Centennial Park, seventeen people were killed here, including Max Carl, lead singer of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, while hundreds more are injured.
    • However, the bomber, Eric Rudolph, who was only arrested in 2003 OTL, would be caught just months later when he attempts to bomb a Sonic the Hedgehog 4 launch party in Los Angeles. His motive for the attack? Atlus's Devil Summoner being available on the Saturn. The bombing was quickly averted due to LAPD officer Mark Fuhrmannote  discovering the bomb, which was quickly disposed of with no loss of life, followed by Rudolph's quick arrest when he was seen nearby acting suspiciously. The aftermath has serious repercussions on the Parents Television Council, whose head L. Brent Bozell III makes a number of offensive comments seen as defending Rudolph, leading to a massive backlash that sees the organization fall apart by late 1997.
  • The 1996 US Presidential election is largely unchanged from OTL, though Bill Clinton wins by a slightly greater margin, his razor-thin loss in Kentucky more than made up for by his gain of Georgia. Two butterflies played into this outcome. First, Clinton's rival Bob Dole alienated young voters with his calls for government censorship of violent video games like Resident Evil. Second, a much deadlier 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing not only placed an unforgiving focus on the rhetoric of the Christian Right, it also produced a gaffe on Dole's part in which he claimed that it was "impossible for any true Christian to commit an act of terrorism". The butterflies also cost the Republicans three seats in the House of Representatives that they won in OTL, reducing their gains to 224-209.
  • The slightly weaker position of the Republican Party and the conservative movement during these years means that Bill Clinton avoids being impeached over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, thanks to a weaker Republican majority after the 1998 midterm elections meaning that they don't have the votes to impeach.
  • By 1997, the butterfly effect has trickled its way to the weather. Thanks to different twisters striking different areas, the Central Texas tornado outbreak that year is far more catastrophic, killing 496 people instead of 28. Most of the casualties come from the F-5 tornado that IOTL wrecked a subdivision in Jarrell staying on the ground for 40 miles instead of just 7.8, allowing it to kill 471 people in Austin's northern suburbs (including over two hundred people trying to escape on Interstate 35) and come within just two miles of downtown Austin. With wind speeds of 347 miles per hour note  this storm actually broke the Fujita scale; many news outlets unofficially called it an F-6 tornado as a result.
  • Andrew Cunanan, who in OTL was a Serial Killer who murdered five people (including fashion designer Gianni Versace) over three months in 1997, instead becomes a spree killer, going on a shooting spree in Beverly Hills on July 31, 1997. Seven people are killed and nineteen are injured; among those wounded in the shooting is talk show host Jay Leno. His stated motive upon his capture by police? "I wanna be famous."
  • Princess Diana's death is butterflied away, the result of her and Dodi Fayed taking a trip to Marseilles as opposed to Paris like IOTL. Instead, on August 31, 1997, three paparazzi on motorcycles get killed in a fiery wreck while trying to nab pictures of French actress Juliette Binoche. In the same tunnel Diana died in OTL, even. This incident, together with a later incident that Word of God has hinted at, leads to laws cracking down on the paparazzi.
    • Due to her death being butterflied away, Elton John's 1997 version of "Candle in the Wind" (in tribute of her death OTL) never gets made.
    • The other incident that gets the paparazzi in hot water? Céline Dion dying in a car crash on February 21, 1998, when her driver tried to escape from a group of them but lost control while making a turn.
  • Jared Fogle, who in OTL became a spokesman for the fast food chain Subway (crediting them with helping him lose weight) before being arrested in 2015 on child pornography and statutory rape charges, dies in his college dorm on November 20, 1997 (the night before the Ultra Nintendo launch) from a heart attack brought on by his obesity.
  • The Olympic Pipeline explosion winds up being delayed somewhat, happening on June 22, 1999 instead of June 10. Instead of three deaths, there are 91, and among those who were injured in the blast were the rock band Nirvana, whose tour bus got flipped over by the explosion. Fortunately, the only people that got hurt were members of the band's equipment crew. Nirvana survive the bus being flipped, although they wind up suspending their "Waste of Time" tour to do a benefit concert for explosion victims.
  • Hurricane Floyd in 1999 is a far more devastating storm, making landfall in Miami as a Category 4 hurricane before turning north and doing severe damage to Central Florida all the way up to Daytona Beach (Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida in Orlando are both specifically mentioned as having been walloped). From there, it moves out to sea and rakes the East Coast, making two further landfalls in the Outer Banks (as a Category 2 storm) and Long Island (as a Category 1). Floyd goes down as the second-costliest natural disaster in history with a toll of $60 billion, behind only the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and far greater than the $6.9 billion in damage it left in OTL. 128 people are killed, almost double the storm's OTL death toll of 73, but a successful evacuation of Miami (the largest in US history) prevents it from being far greater. The relief effort is widely praised, helping President Clinton bounce back from the Lewinsky scandal with sky-high approval ratings, which his Vice President Al Gore was quick to capitalize on in his own campaign for President the following year.
  • Elián González dies before reaching Florida instead of his mother, causing Bill Clinton to toughen his stance against Cuba and Fidel Castro.
  • The 2000 US Presidential election veers off course from OTL, as John McCain manages to defeat George W. Bush in the Republican primaries and selects Steve Forbes as his running mate. (Al Gore won the Democratic primaries and selected Joe Lieberman as his running mate, as he did in OTL.) Among other subjects, video games were brought up in the debates, with McCain vowing to ban the sale of violent video games to children while Gore defended them as an art form that should be celebrated (butterflies from his enjoyment of Secret of Mana back in 1994) while supporting the ESRB rating system as a means of keeping violent games out of children's hands. Donald Trump also runs for President on the Reform Party ticket (which he considered at the time in OTL), with Jesse Ventura (who, ITTL, failed in his 1998 run for Governor of Minnesota) as his running mate, while Ralph Nader still grabs the Green Party nomination and runs to pressure Gore from the left, especially on environmental issues.

    The count in Florida on November 7, 2000 is even more razor-thin than IOTL, with the initial count suggesting that Gore led McCain by 12 votes. Unlike OTL, the United States Supreme Court does not order the halt of the manual recount (something they did do IOTL), leading to Gore winning the election by one of the narrowest state margins in US history. Trump wins 4.9% of the vote, his share probably hurt by Ventura's vocal Conspiracy Theorist tendencies, while Nader wins 1.8%.
  • On February 14, 2001, Christian Weston Chandler (of Sonichu infamy in OTL) goes on a shooting spree at Manchester High School in Midlothian, Virginia. He claims the lives of eighteen students (not counting his own death by self-inflicted gunshot), fourteen of them female, and three faculty members. Among the victims is Shonda Rhimes, who worked at the school as an English teacher after her attempts to break into Hollywood failed to pan out, and who endured numerous incidents with Chandler in the classroom over his rude and sexist behavior, including stalking a female classmate.

    The massacre leads to a renewed backlash against violent video games once it was discovered that Chandler was a huge fan of Arbiter of Sin 2. Jack Thompson files suit against both Nintendo and Sega, blaming their games for the massacre, and manages to get eight families of the victims (suffering from uncontrollable grief and seeing news reports regarding Chandler's gaming choices) into joining him in his crusade against the entire games industry. On an even more depressing note, initial reports (later determined to be untrue) that Chandler was autistic also lead to the stigmatization of people with autism and Asperger's syndrome, such that the phrase "sperging out" briefly enters the lexicon to describe going on a mass murder spree (similar to "going postal"). Related to this, anti-vaccination activists blame vaccines for the massacre, claiming that they were responsible for Chandler's mental state.
  • Trans World Airlines survives its economic troubles (butterflies including the rejection of the Karabu deal and the earlier ousting of Carl Icahn) and doesn't go bankrupt in December 2001 and merged into American Airlines like OTL, and remains a strong legacy carrier in the United States.
    • In addition, TWA Flight 800 (the plane crash that exacerbated TWA's already dire financial straits IOTL) survives its fateful flight to Paris, and one month after that flight, the Boeing 747-131 that flew Flight 800 gets pulled out of service by TWA due to the discovery of severe electrical faults in the plane itself by in house maintenance staff (which the NTSB IOTL concluded lead to the crash).
  • Although the September 11 attacks still occur, the crashes at the Pentagon and in Shanksville are butterflied away, as Flights 77 and 93 are landed safely. However, the damage from the collapse of the World Trade Center kills 4,728 people, mainly due to Flight 11 striking the North Tower at a lower level than OTL.
    • Among the victims are basketball players Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and actress Nicole Sullivan.
  • Osama bin Laden is killed 9 years earlier than OTL, on December 1, 2002.
  • A major disaster when the Son of Beast collapses at Kings Island results in 22 people being killed and Cedar Fair going out of business from the resultant lawsuits. Kings Island itself is subsequently closed down.
  • Michael Eisner and Disney lowballed the expected attendance for the opening of Euro Disneyland under the belief that it wouldn't as successful as Tokyo Disneyland. As a result, there was no attempt made to try and warn people to not to come all at once to prevent conjestion. This meant that the park's opening in 1992 saw a surprise attendance figure of 500,000note , causing mass traffic jams across the region.
    • Because Euro Disneyland was a massive success, Michael Eisner greenlit the construction of Discovery Bay, which opened on March 24, 1995.

In Spite of a Nail

  • Nintendo still starts using the "Play It Loud" slogan mid-1994.
  • Despite the availibity of the more powerful Super Nintendo CD, Yoshi's Island is still a SuperFX enhanced cartridge game.
  • Nintendo will still undo their Dub Name Change for Princess Peach in 1996. It just happens with Super Mario RPG instead of their Super Mario 64 equivalent.
  • The Houston Rockets still become champions of the 1993-1994 NBA season. The only difference is that their opponents were the Chicago Bulls (with Michael Jordan still playing for them) instead of the New York Knicks.
  • Television shows Steven Universe and Once Upon a Time, among others, still exist in this timeline, with the latter still starring Jennifer Morrison to boot (even with her personal life taking a drastic turn). That said, there is an episode of Once Upon a Time that revolves around TRON, directed by none other than James Rolfe.
  • DC Comics would still retcon Parallax as an entity that possessed Hal Jordan in 2002’s Green Lantern: Recharged. However, this idea has precedence ITTL due to the first Green Lantern movie showing Hal Jordan sacrificing himself against Parallax in the introduction.
  • Nintendo Power still runs the contest to win a walk on role for The Mask II. Not only does The Mask II actually get made ITTL, but James Rolfe wins it.
  • Even though the Saban Sailor Moon dub is far more faithful than the OTL Dic dub, Zoisite is still gender-swapped.
  • The fifth game in the The Legend of Zelda series is made for a console, involves an ocarina, and is considered the best game ever for the year of its release. In this timeline however, it's the 1995 release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Dreams for the SNES-CD.
  • Peter Molyneux still leaves Bullfrog Productions in 1997, here doing so after the release of Dungeon Keeper and the SNES-CD port of Syndicate Wars.
  • The Montreal Screwjob still happens ITTL.
  • Jeff Gerstmann still founds Giant Bomb after a controversy with a game review.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is still released in 1999 (albeit for the Ultra Nintendo and the Saturn), and still becomes a major franchise and a pop-culture-defining cultural touchstone of the late '90s. This is lampshaded in the story — a post in TTL's version of AlternateHistory.com, in a thread discussing what the butterflies would be from Nintendo siding with Philips instead of Sony (i.e. what they did in OTL), argues that THPS was the sort of game that was always going to happen, barring Tony Hawk himself suffering a freak accident or Alien Space Bats invading in the '90s and outlawing skateboarding.
  • The Scream films are still successful, and furthermore, so is the Scary Movie franchise, which still stars Anna Faris and makes her a comedy star.
  • Chris Benoit still kills himself. He doesn't kill his wife and child beforehand, however.

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