30 Things From the 90s Only Oldies Will Remember
The 90s was an incredible decade. In the era before Y2K occurred so many things happened that have informed the lives of kids who grew up during that period. Things from the 90s that people look back on with feelings of nostalgia include grunge music, Tamagotchis, Blockbuster, Friends, and the Super NES.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, with many major controversies and events happening, such as the OJ murder trial, President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the Gulf War.
But let’s not focus on the negatives. 90s kids were the last generation to grow up without social media and know noting about the obsession with reality TV that plagues many modern kids. It was a time when kids were still kids and enjoyed playing with toys, listening to good music, and eating snacks that no longer exist. So come on a journey through the 90s by remembering these incredible things sure to put a smile on your dial.
30 Things From the 90s Only Oldies Will Remember
1. The Internet
Something we take for granted these days, the internet came about in the 90s. Dial-up internet was excruciatingly slow and you had to listen to the iconic screeching sound as it connect to the World Wide Web. Who knew the internet would become one of the greatest (and worst) tools at our disposal for information and knowledge?
If your parents wouldn’t let you have a pet, the Tamagotchi was the ideal substitute. You had to feed it, play with it, train it, and walk it, all without the hassle of a real-life pet. The hardest part was when your pet died, but the good news was you could always start again.
3. Capri Sun
If you got a Capri Sun in your lunch box at school, you knew you were doing something right. This flavored drink came in a foil pouch (revolutionary for that time) and tasted pretty good. Some of the flavors were also incredible, including Wild Cherry, Grape Geyser, and Tropical Tide. Yummy.
4. Jurassic Park
Kids love dinosaurs, so when it was announced that the great filmmaker Steven Spielberg was making a movie about these ancient beasts, to say people got excited would be an understatement. Thankfully Jurassic Park lived up to expectations and is a thrilling dino adventure with a fantastic cast and special effects that still hold up today.
5. Beanie Babies
These stuffed toys flew off the shelves in the late 90s. They were considered the first Internet sensation by the book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute. While kids loved them because they were cute and cuddly, Beanie Babies became collectibles, with many people buying them to re-sell. Some still have a really high resale value today.
Production of Beanie Babies stopped in 1999, but a new Beanie Baby was released in 2000 and they are still on the market, although these current versions of the toy are nowhere near as popular as the 90s originals.
6. Harry Potter
Is there a bigger fantasy series for children than Harry Potter? J. K. Rowling’s story about Hogwarts and the young wizard Harry Potter has evolved into a series of seven novels, several spin-off books, and eight movies. Even though the legacy of the books has been slightly tarnished by Rowling’s controversial views, it remains one of the great intellectual properties to come out of the 90s.
7. Britney Spears
The late 90s was the era of the female solo singer and the male boy band. Of all the young artists to come out of that period, none left as big of a mark as Britney Spears. The pop icon burst onto the scene with the hit single “…Baby One More Time” and never looked back.
Spears has sold over 200 million records worldwide, has six number one albums to her name, and is one of the most influential artists of the past two decades. She even dated fellow pop star Justin Timberlake at the height of her powers.
While she has suffered in her personal life, she has just dropped a new single with Elton John that will hopefully revive her music career.
8. Troll Dolls
As ugly as they are, Troll Dolls were massive in the 90s. Essentially plastic dolls with fury hair, Troll Dolls were created by a Danish woodcutter. While first sold in the 60s, it was during the last decade of the 20th century that they became huge, thanks in part to several TV shows and video games that tied in with the dolls.
In hindsight, Friends really wasn’t that great of a show. It lacked diversity, had toxic relationships (Ross and Rachel), and jokes that really weren’t that funny. But it was a cultural phenomenon that turned out to be one of the biggest sitcoms of all time that is still watched by millions of people on streaming services today.
Remember when you had to go to a video store to hire a movie? That’s when Blockbuster was at its prime. Nothing beat the feeling of walking into your local Blockbuster and scanning the covers of hundreds of VHS tapes on the shelf and picking a movie to watch with your mates. What a time to be alive.
11. Spice Girls
Manufactured groups have always existed, but they went to the next level in the 90s. The Spice Girls were the cream of the crop; five English women, each with a distinct personality represented by the nickname they were given. You had Mel B (“Scary Spice”), Melanie C (“Sporty Spice”), Emma Bunton (“Baby Spice”), Geri Halliwell (“Ginger Spice”), and Victoria Beckham (“Posh Spice”).
Together for six years (1994 – 2000) during their first run, the Spice Girls helped push pop music, particularly British pop, forward and smashed numerous records on their way to global domination. While they have reunited and toured in recent years (albeit without Posh), they will always be remembered for ruling the charts in the 90s.
12. Power Rangers
Still, on the air today almost three decades after debuting in 1993, Power Rangers are still making big bucks. While the TV show got kids excited, it was the Power Ranger action figures where the money was made. They were a toy every kid wanted.
13. The O. J. Simpson Car Chase and Trial
People in the United States and across the world were glued to their television sets on June 17, 1994, as former NFL great O. J. Simpson led a slow car chase in his white Ford Bronco along the LA freeway after refusing to co-operate with police over the murder of his former wife and her new partner. Nothing like it had ever happened before, and the trial that followed became on of the most publicized events in history.
14. Pool Noodles
Although they existed in the 80s, for some reason it took a decade before pool noodles were found at every home with a pool. All they were was a long, foam cylinder that you could float on or whack your mates with. Fun for hours.
15. Backstreet Boys
The female version of the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys dominated the charts during the 90s. “Quite Playing Games (With My Heart),” “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “As Long as You Love Me,” and “I Want It That Way” are all classics that still hold up today.
Strangely the group never had success as solo artists. That’s why they continue to release albums semi-regularly and tour the world making the big bucks.
16. Polly Pocket
Polly Pocket was a series of dolls aimed at young girls. What set them apart from other dolls was their size. They were much smaller, and as the name suggests, could fit snuggly in your pocket.
17. Brick Phones
Before mobile phones became like mini-computers that could slip into your pocket, there were huge and heavy cell phones. Resembling bricks, these early versions of mobile phones were not convenient in any way, shape, or form. The first Motorola’s weighed close to two pounds, which is just crazy when you think how light phones are these days.
18. Game Boy
Video games have gotten better every decade, but for many, the golden age was the 90s. Nintendo and SEGA were battling it out for supremacy, with Nintendo grabbing the upper hand with the Game Boy. This handheld gaming system meant you could play your favorite video games (like Super Mario Bros.) on the move.
Sure, the graphics were basic and it wasn’t in color, but the first generation Game Boy was a smash hit. It continued to evolve over the years, with colored visuals and long battery life, until it was finally discontinued in 2003.
Yeah, CDs are still a thing today, but it was during the early 90s when compact discs began to take over from cassettes. CDs could hold more data and had better sound quality, and quickly became the new way to listen to music.
Incredibly they are still selling today, even with music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple dominating the market. People just don’t want to let go.
Total Request Live, aka TRL, was the must-watch program for millions of kids once their day was done at school. The program played the ten most requested videos of the day, which people would vote for by phone or online. The show helped increase the popularity of music videos and gave Carson Daly his big break.
21. Super NES
The 16-bit Nintendo Super NES revolutionized the gaming industry in the 90s. It sold almost 50 million units by the time it was discontinued in 2003 and powered past the SEGA Genesis as the best home video game console of the 90s in both sales and popularity.
22. The Magic School Bus
It’s true, the books first came out in the 80s, but it was the animated 90s TV series that really hooked kids in. Not only was it educational, but the voiceover work included some of the biggest entertainers in Hollywood, including the likes of Little Richard, Lily Tomlin, and Doly Parton.
23. Norm MacDonald Hosting “Weekend Update”
Saturday Night Live has been going for decades and one of the most popular segments continues to be the “Weekend Update.” Many comedians have hosted this segment, including Chevy Chase and Dennis Miller, but none quite made people laugh as much as Norm MacDonald.
Even Chase, a notorious grump, praised MacDonald’s take on the segment, claiming he was “the only other guy who did [the segment] funny,” according to the Saturday Night Live Backstage special.
24. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith can thank The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for his acting career. The fish out of water story was a fantastic coming-of-age drama that showed Smith could act as well as he rapped. While the gritty reboot is so-so, the original series is chock full of laughs and poignant moments.
25. Blank Tapes
Whether VHS tapes or cassette tapes, everyone had dozens of these lying around at home. They were the only way to record your favorite shows while you were out or capture the latest top 40 songs off the radio without having to buy the actual album on cassette. They also often had wild cover designs with lots of colors.
Although the genre didn’t last long it provided a voice for the voiceless. Coming out of Seattle, grunge merged punk aesthetics, heavy instrumentation, and melodic guitar riffs with lyrics about alienation, self-esteem, trauma, youth culture, and other relevant themes.
Nirvana were crowned the kings of grunge when their sophomore album Nevermind became a massive success around the world, opening the door for fellow Seattle acts Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Cali band Stone Temple Pilots to become huge.
While it all came crashing down with Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, grunge continues to live on today but will never match the success of the 90s.
27. Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin Williams was arguably at the top of his game when he took on his most famous role in Mrs. Doubtfire. Playing a father going through a divorce who has limited access to his children, Williams disguises himself as a nanny to spend more time with his kids, leaning a lot more about his children and himself. A comedy classic, Mrs. Doubtfire is one of the great 90s movies.
28. Slap Bracelet
First released in the 80s, it wasn’t until the following decade that slap bracelets became a thing. Coming in a variety of bright colors and patterns, they were a big 90s fad that thankfully went the way of the dodo.
29. The Macarena
Spanish duo Los del Río could never have imaged how big their song “Macarena” would become. Remixed by The Bayside Boys with an accompanying dance, the “Macarena” was ranked as the All Time Latin Song by the Billboard Charts.
30. Goosebumps Books
This hit series of horror novels for children were just scary enough to have you checking your closet before turning off the light for bed. R. L. Stine’s long running series of novels spawned spin-off books, several TV series, video games, comic books, and even a film adaptation. But nothing beats the original books.
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