If you have a personal connection with the phrases “car phone” or “dial-up internet” then congratulations for surviving childhood and adolescence without a smartphone by your side! The kids of today will never know your true ’90s kid struggle of enduring a family road trip with only an army of cassette tapes by your side or asking your crush’s parents over the phone if [insert crush’s name] was home.
It’s easy to get all “back in my day” when wowing Gen Z with old-timey tales of VHS players and other outlandish doohickeys, but instead of bragging about enduring a life without TikTok, it seems more prudent to bond over the childhood loves that unite folks — video games, music, movies — regardless of the form they took. Because everyone’s begged their parents for five more minutes of gaming or talking to friends, and no matter what technology you were using as a kid, you can all find it right now on KSL Classifieds.
You spent your gaming days in a friend’s basement getting wrecked by their older brother, but kids these days are lucky enough to get wrecked by older brothers from around the world! Even before the new PS5 and X Box Series X/S came out, today’s kids had already experienced gaming in a way that couldn’t be dreamt of by the original Playstations and N64s of the ’90s. They’ve also got the combination handheld/TV-compatible goodness of the Nintendo Switch, which is just a touch more advanced than your old beloved Gameboy. But these whippersnappers don’t know the first thing about how to properly blow into a cartridge, so who’s the real winner?
Cellphones used to weigh about 10 pounds and emit more radiation than a microwave, but you didn’t have to worry about that because Zach Morris was the only kid cool enough to have one. Landlines were the norm back then, and that meant a lot of instances of, “MOM GET OFF THE PHONE!” while you were trying to spit game or talk trash about your mom. Now, with iPhones in every pocket, kids’ biggest concern is their parents following them on Instagram (although to be fair that is a much more daunting prospect).
Remember when you had to own music? And if you didn’t…you just…didn’t get to listen to that music? Dark times.
Actually, between bumping cassette tapes on your Walkman, waiting to hear your favorite tune on your boombox radio and making mixtapes (yes that’s why they’re called that), the challenge of finding the music you loved was pretty fun and it made you love it even more. Of course, kids now have every song to ever exist available to them on their phones, so they might not understand the allure of listening to Weezer on repeat for weeks at a time.
Movies and TV
“I’m going to rent a VHS down at Blockbuster” is a phrase that sounds so old you’d expect Indiana Jones to dust it off a tomb and read it in Latin, but it used to be your life every weekend. Unlike with the endless streaming services now available on tablets and Smart TVs, movies and TV shows weren’t available in an instant back then. Movies had to be rented and rewound (if you were kind) and TV shows had to be patiently waited for. And when your favorite show or movie was finally playing, it was on a 30-inch TV that somehow weighed about 70 pounds.
In the ’90s and early 2000s there used to be something called a home computer. It was a stationary computer that was shared by everyone in the house, and everyone wanted to use it at exactly the same time. Personal laptops and tablets were a far-off dream for kids, as were apps, YouTube, social media and, well, most reasons to use a computer. But chat rooms, AIM and email were in their prime, giving you the chance to type “Is [insert crush’s name] home?” instead of saying it out loud.
There are probably a million more examples of all the ways that kids of today have a technological advantage over those of the ’90s, but your mom needs to make a call so the internet’s going to be out for a while. When it comes back, you can search for both your favorite nostalgic treasures and the latest high tech breakthroughs on KSL Classifieds.