Aaah… the 90s! A decade that will go down in history for its terrible fashion and bowl cut hairstyles. But let me assure you that, despite its outward appearance, the 90s were truly a phenomenal decade. It was the decade that witnessed the birth of the sitcom Friends, the greatness of Michael Jordan, and the sweet, sweet tunes of the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girl. And while the grown ups who lived through the 90s prepared themselves for the certain zombie apocalypse that awaited them in the year 2000, for kids it was a decade filled with treasures and memories that children from future generations will never have the privilege of understanding. So as you peruse this list, be prepared to experience a true blast from the past. Try and relish in the memories of simpler times, in this episode of the infographics show, 10 things only 90s kids will remember.
10 – Playing Tetris on a black and white Game Boy
Before the days of smartphones and tablets, kids had to find other ways to pass the time. Cue the Game Boy. This grey, brick-sized video game device with its fuchsia buttons and interchangeable game cartridges endlessly entertained a whole generation of children during the 90s. And the game that was a must for all Game Boy owners? Tetris. Hours a day were spent rotating different-shaped tiles as they dropped down the screen, and perfectly stacking them to create horizontal lines with no gaps. Trust me, it was quite the addiction!
9 – Hacky Sacks
These multi colored, crocheted balls filled with sand or plastic pellets were all the rage with 90s kids. Whether it was kicking it around with a circle of friends or showing off in front of your high school crush, the aim of this entertaining game was to prevent the Hacky Sack from touching the ground, using any part of your body except your hands and arms. And if you were a real pro, you could prove your skills by catching the ball with the back of your neck or bouncing it off your chest and knees. It certainly required mad skills!
8 – VHS and Blockbuster
Move over, Netflix! You may be the new kid on the block, but it’s the VHS that is the true hipster! Every 90s kid had stacks of their favorite video tapes in their homes, which they would watch tirelessly day after day and obviously know by heart. And if they didn’t happen to own a particular movie? Fear not! They would head down to the nearest Blockbuster and, for a couple of bucks, rent out the latest releases. And if you truly were a regular at your local video rental store, you would know the VHS golden rule: Be kind, rewind!
7 – A different form of texting
However hard the current generation may find it to believe, Samsungs and iPhones were not always around, texting has not always been a thing, and owning your own mobile device as a teenager was unheard of! This made it so much more of a challenge to share with your BFF that essential piece of gossip while sitting in class. But trust Millennials to find a way. A sheet of paper torn out of your notebook, some super-cool handwriting, preferably bubble letters, and some impressive folding skills, these 90s “text messages” were passed across classrooms worldwide until they were delivered into the waiting hands of your trusty bosom-buddy.
6 – The disappointing CD leaflet without song lyrics in them
Before the days of easy internet access and a quick Google search, kids relied on the leaflets inside CD boxes to be able to accurately sing along to their favorite hits. There are not many feelings of disappointment that hit as deep as when you had been saving up for a new CD and you are finally able to rush down to the store to buy it, rushing home and putting it into the CD player, ready to belt out alongside Britney or Christina and realize that this CD leaflet, instead of containing all the juicy lyrics, simply have the copyrights and the artists’ “thank you’s.” You know all those hilarious videos of misheard lyrics? They originated in the 90s.
5 – Pixelated Super Mario Bros on Nintendo 64
Many a hang-out session with friends in the 90s consisted of crowding around a TV and taking turns playing Super Mario Bros on a bulky Nintendo 64. But this wasn’t the smooth, slick and shiny Mario of modern-day video games. This Mario was a very square-looking little man, with completely indistinguishable facial features, running around a very square-looking world with his very square-looking friends. That was the 90s, folks! None of this high definition nonsense!
4 – Multifunction pens
Every pencil case of every cool kid that was in school during the 90s was required to have one of these multifunction pens in it. Blue, black, red and green: these colors were absolutely essential in one’s pencil case and how better to have them than in one of those awesome 4-in-1 pens! But then things got truly out of control when they released the new and improved version with no less than 8 colors! True, the yellow pen seemed completely useless, but the point was that with one of these in your pencil case, you were unstoppable! And it doesn’t matter how many times you tried, and we did all try it at least once, pulling two colors at once never actually worked!
3 – Making mix tapes by recording from the radio
If there is one thing that the 90s will be forever remembered for, it is mix tapes. You gave them to your boyfriend, to your best friend, to your siblings, to your parents and, of course, you would have an entire collection of theses babies stashed away in a drawer somewhere. But making a mix tape required a certain skill… Do you remember coming home from school and, before doing anything else, you would run to turn on the radio on your cassette player? That’s right! Hours on end were spent listening to the radio waiting for your favorite tunes to come on to quickly press the Play and Record buttons to catch as much of your favorite songs and possible. There was definitely an art to it!
2 – Pokémon trading cards
We all know that the cool kids today are playing Pokémon GO. It’s on social media, it’s on the news, it’s in magazines… Anywhere you look, it’s all about Pokémon GO. But what this generation of kiddies doesn’t realize is that there really is nothing new under the sun and that Pokémon is so, like, twenty-five years ago. In the good old days, when phones were used, shockingly, to make calls and not play games, Pokémon was all the rage and every kid’s life ambition was to “catch ‘em all”. Too many monthly allowances were spent buying Pokémon trading cards and making deals with your friends in order to get as many of these elusive, quirky creatures as possible.
1 – Paper Fortune Tellers
Every 90s kid had mastered the art of carefully folding a square piece of paper to create a paper fortune teller. Hours were spent trying to pick the right combination in order to ensure that you would end up marrying the man of your dreams or becoming a millionaire. Even the coolest kids couldn’t resist picking a color and shouting out a number to find out what fate had in store for them!
So I bet you are now feeling all nostalgic and ready to head up to the attic to rummage through all those dusty boxes in search of your past. What a great decade the 90s were! And remember, no matter how many years have passed, it’s never too late to party like it’s 1999!
Did we leave out any essential 90s memorabilia? Let us know in the comments!