Many polls conducted by major online and print media such as The Independent and Reader’s Digest among others have shown recently that even though we have greatly superior technology today, over fifty percent of the readers who participated in the polls apparently miss the more simple gadgets and glory days of analog technology of the ‘90s. Let’s face it: the ’90s are the new ‘80s and as time goes by, the nostalgia for that amazing decade will just keep growing bigger and bigger. Especially when you consider things like Britt Pop, Cassettes, Disc Mans, and so on. So why not take a nostalgic trip with us as we visit 25 things we secretly or openly miss from the ’90s.
Some kids today refer to Internet Explorer and Firefox as “old school” browsers and that is so wrong. Netscape Navigator is the truly old school browser, and for that matter, this year it celebrated its twentieth anniversary. It used to be the dominant browser software before Internet Explorer’s reign, but by the early 2000s its use had almost disappeared from the face of the earth.
Married with Children
Married with Children (first started in 1987) has got to be one of the greatest TV shows ever and an instant ‘90s classic. Never has so many negative stereotypes regarding a lower middle-class American family been portrayed in such a lighthearted, intelligent, and comical fashion. Though there were those who took offense, the majority of the audience responded with tons of laughter.
The show ran for eleven seasons (over 250 episodes), which is pretty incredible for a comedy and this alone should give you an indication of its dedicated fan base. Al Bundy paved the way for the actors who followed concerning how one should portray the ultimate loser that everybody hates to love.
Mew can control time, destroy mountains, and form the universe; Garchomp is the ferocious archetype of a dragon Pokémon; Metagross was born as the ultimate combo of brains and brawn. Gotta catch ’em all! Gotta catch ‘em all!
Oops, sorry guys I got carried away there for a moment.
Hard-core sci-fi geeks of the ‘90s will always reminisce with love over the adventures of Duncan MacLeod from the classic ‘90s Highlander series. The show was based on the 1986 film of the same name starring Christopher Lambert and the legendary Sean Connery, and explored the good and bad sides of being an immortal. The highlights of the show were without a doubt the special effects every time an immortal was decapitated and Duncan sucked out his power. I know, I know, it sounds too violent but there can be only one!
Here’s another curious case where nostalgia makes you miss things that in reality made you more miserable than happy. Despite the fact that Sony first came up with a portable CD player back in the eighties at an extremely high cost of $350 to $400, it wasn’t until the mid-nineties when CDs sent vinyl records and cassettes into the retirement home in the most brutal fashion that the Discman took off. Although the device skipped constantly at every bump and they were known for their very short “longevity,” we loved them regardless.
During the early and mid-nineties hip-hop used to be a pretty awesome genre; nothing like the mess it is today. Many artists back then wrote lyrics with deep social messages and they didn’t show off their expensive diamonds, gold chains, and fancy cars in their music videos and, most importantly, they didn’t hire porn stars to shake their booties right in their faces.
Classic artists such as Tupac, Ice-T, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Notorious B.I.G., Eric B. & Rakim, and many others left a bright legacy behind them shortly before the whole thing turned into one big circus filled with violence, sex, and floods of cash.
Back in the ‘90s bandanas used to be a must-have accessory for pretty much everyone. From Andre Agassi to Tupac, Axl Rose to Hulk Hogan, who still wears them by the way, and Bret Michaels of Poison to Erykah Badu, celebrities and common folks alike could wear bandanas and look cool. It didn’t matter if you were a rapper, a rock star, a tennis player, or a professional wrestler as long as it fit your style. Nowadays we’re afraid that only someone as cool as Matthew McConaughey can wear them and still get a pass for his outdated fashion style.
To be quite honest I was never a fan of this genre while growing up, mainly because it was a little too depressing for my taste. However, I was really upset when I found out that Kurt Cobain committed suicide since I always considered him one of the most authentic talents of his generation. As time goes by, however, and from an artistic point of view, even if you weren’t a fan of grunge you can’t help but respect those guys who wrote lyrics and made music like true artists and so didn’t care about expensive music videos, fancy clothes, jewelry, and other such nonsense.
Taking into account the ridiculously superficial world of music today, groups like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden were our era’s equivalent of Van Gogh and Jim Morrison.
At some point during the ‘90s this became the most favorite accessory for every kid under the age of thirteen who desperately tried to impress his friends or simply had kind or flush parents who could buy them a pair of LA Gear light-up sneakers. Despite the fact that they were ridiculously expensive and the batteries died before you could even say your name five times fast, some kids loved them more than their own life.
“You Gotta Own the Light, if you wanna own the Night.”
I was something like ten years old and thus a little too old to follow Power Rangers when they debuted in 1993, but somehow I still managed to get hooked in some ways. For some reason I had a huge crush on Rita Repulsa when most of my friends and other normal kids were in love with Kimberly, Aisha, and Kat. One way or another, this painfully cheap production with the ridiculously cheesy special effects managed to become a hit worldwide and a ‘90s classic. Respect.
It doesn’t matter what your cultural background or personal taste in music is because when it comes to Britpop we’re dealing with the very rare case of a music genre that was literally born and died in the ’90s. Even other extremely popular music genres from our beloved decade, such as grunge, electronica, hip-hop, or even techno, didn’t develop really during the ‘90s but Britpop did and for that reason, in our minds it is the true musical ambassador of that decade. So were you an Oasis or Blur fan?
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Very few things can be considered more ‘90s than The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and we all know it. The plot of the series was really catchy and smart, while a young, talented Will Smith made sure to execute his role perfectly: A boy born and raised in the inner city of Philadelphia is sent by his mother to live with his rich aunt, uncle and their children, the Banks, in Bel-Air, CA. Will’s transition from inner-city boy to “rich boy” is all-time classic material and the show is still fresh even after all these years.
You won’t find many things that were made in the ‘90s that you can still use or wear today without people looking at you like you came from another planet. Thanks to Casio, G-Shock is as cool now as it was back in our favorite decade but that is, of course, only if you don’t pick one that comes in pink, orange, yellow, and other “bright” colors that you were allowed to wear only back then when you were a kid.
The truth is that most guys with any dignity might never openly admit it, but there are times we catch ourselves watching music videos on YouTube or even worse, singing under our breath songs by the likes of New Kids on the Block, ‘N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, Hanson, and Five. Even if that’s not the case, we all still have to admit that even though boy bands from the ‘90s were as cheesy as it gets they still were way better and more talented than One Direction and the Jonas Brothers, no?
Beverly Hills, 90210
Do you remember Brandon, Kelly, Dylan, Brenda, David, Donna, and the rest of the gang from this epic ‘90s TV show? These guys were full of trendy and ridiculous (by modern standards) fashions that every 1990s teen imitated like a maniac. Of course, most of us didn’t have the money these characters had on the series and as a result, we bought only what resembled their original wardrobe. Now that I think about it maybe that’s why most of my junior high pictures are hidden somewhere I don’t even remember.
The Chicago Bulls
The NBA became incredibly popular internationally for the first time during the ‘90s mainly because of the best team that ever played the game, the Chicago Bulls. Okay, maybe the likes of Larry Bird and Magic J. laid the foundations for the NBA’s international reign during the ‘80s, but no one’s name will ever sell as many shoes and jerseys as Michael Jordan’s did during the ‘90s. Plus, last time we checked, Michael Jordan is THE only basketball player in history; the rest just pretend playing basketball.
Hard Rock Was Still Breathing
Hard rock entered the ‘90s as one of the supreme forms of commercial music in both album sales and live concerts, while the genre was experiencing a renaissance that started during the ‘80s with Glam metal. Bands such as Guns n’ Roses, Metallica, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, and Van Halen dominated the charts and arenas for the first years of the ‘90s but with the immense success of grunge in the US and Britpop in the UK, as well as other genres unrelated to rock such as Electronica and Hip-Hop, hard rock began losing popularity to the point where nowadays it’s hard to find it on mainstream radio.
No fan can deny the unquestionable influence of The X-Files on some of the coolest shows of the last decade such as Lost, Supernatural, and Warehouse 13 among others. It’s simply incredible how ahead of its time The X-Files was in its direction, story lines, special effects, and acting, especially if you take into account that we’re talking about a show made in the ‘90s. We’re not saying television was crap back then, but watching TV during the golden age of Prison Break, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Dexter, and The Sopranos to name but a few, makes one realize how The X-Files wasn’t just a great show from the ‘90s, but a pioneer and the dawn of a new era in which TV productions would outshine most films with ease.
Way before PSP, Xbox, PS4, iPads, laptops, and whatever other high-tech devices kids use these days for gaming, we had Game Boys and they were the coolest things ever! It doesn’t matter that they only offered a very limited number of games to choose from such as Super Mario and Tetris, or that the graphics were so primitive and horrible by today’s standards, or that you couldn’t play during the night if there was no light in the room because of those dark, small screens; as you can tell, we still dig ‘em.
Real Pop Stars
Nothing against Katy Perry who we adore, Miley Cyrus (mmm, watch where you put that finger), Rihanna (honestly, walk around with some headgear or something), Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber (put your clothes back on), Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift, but during the ‘90s the music charts were still dominated by the gigantic forces of Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael, Celine Dion, Cher, the Spice Girls, Whitney Houston, a prime Britney Spears, and a classy, in-shape Mariah Carey. To make a long story short, nothing compares to you guys!
This is a classic example of how nostalgia can trap you in the web of childhood memories and make you miss even things that you kind of hated back then or thought were super lame. There’s no doubt whatsoever that Netflix and various websites that allow you to download any movie you want, anytime you want, are way superior to the rectangular VHS tapes that didn’t offer the best quality to be honest. Still, over 30 percent of people surveyed by The Independent responded that they missed renting or buying videos from the local video store, which was so much more of an event than just flipping on Netflix.
What started as techno in Detroit during the late ‘80s and became massively popular all over Europe in the early ‘90s transformed into a new hard-core music style called Rave. Even though some will say that Rave wasn’t just a music genre but also a rebellious movement that wanted to change the social world, the only things most people remember about Rave are the awesome underground parties, the colorful clothes, the six-inch-high shoes, the extreme haircuts, the nose piercings, and drugs such as Ecstasy that unfortunately took the lives of many youngsters.
MTV (When It Was a Music Channel)
I know this might sound unbelievable to the younger generations that have grown up on the trashy shows that MTV has been airing for over a decade now such as Jersey Shore, Exposed, Next, Catfish, Yo Momma, and Date My Mom and other crap like this, but during the ‘90s MTV used to be an irrepressible music channel that “enlightened” every music fan around the world with music news and premiered the new videos by our favorite artists. Additionally, it showed unplugged shows and live concerts that are now a complete and utter rarity on the once-great music channel.
You all remember the sound, don’t you? Despite how expensive and slow the Internet was back in its infancy in the late ‘90s, and despite all those times your mom or siblings made you get offline because they had to use the phone while you were in the middle of a chat with the girl of your dreams from the other side of the world, for some sad reason you catch yourself secretly missing those unique times, and especially those primitive dial-up sounds fifteen to twenty seconds before you entered the wild, new, and promising world of the Internet.
Even though the cassette as a vehicle for music playing proved to be quite defective with a short life expectancy (especially if you played a song repeatedly) it was and probably will always be the simplest, most economical, and touching gift one could make for the girl (or boy) you had a crush on, or just a friend. Never again will so many different sounds, from Metallica to Aaliyah, Garth Brooks to Luciano Pavarotti, Mariah Carey to The Prodigy, and Maria Callas to you saying “I love you” like a would-be Julio Iglesias mixed with your mom’s voice in the background calling you for dinner, be found on any music format in history.