Memories from the 90s | Ashleigh Hayman

NSYNCChristmas may be long gone but the legacy of the extra pounds, embarrassing family memories and new gadgets remain. While the appeal of the latter may soon wear off, it has spurred conversations of presents from the past and created a definite nostalgia for the games and gifts of childhood. I’m not referring to Hide & Go Seek or Tag, but the true classics such as Crash Bandicoot, Bop It and Furbys. Not every student in UCC is a 90s kid, but basic logic would suggest that everyone has at least lived through the decade of beanie babies and boy bands.

While the graphics may not have been as sharp and PlayStation was still in its first edition, there is still something addictive about 90s video games and consoles. If you weren’t running around as Crash, you were hunting down orbs as Spyro, or spinning as Sonic. Dance mats had the double joy of killing not only hours but pounds. Maybe we are just spoilt for choice nowadays, but there was a simple joy in getting your first Gameboy Colour or new Sega product; it was less shooting games and Fifa, more go-kart racing and arcade spin offs.

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And if video games weren’t your thing, getting the latest NSYNC poster or Daft Punk CD instantly made you cooler. iPods and MP3s are rampant around campus but, despite their bulky simplistic nature, Walkmans were wrapped up and happily opened under many a tree. You had to pick your CD and there was no shuffle but you were none the wiser as to its drawbacks. Nicki Minaj lyrics may be played on a loop but lyrics from the likes of Eiffel 65 with ‘Blue’ or the Venga Boys are still catchy enough to be stuck in your head years later.

The box set of Love/Hate is great, but the Den, Sabrina and the Power Rangers had us sitting two metres from the screen and the Cartoon Network had us up at the crack of dawn. Being able to download and watch series online has made our life a lot easier, but you appreciated TV and movies so much more by having to fight off everyone else when your show was on the television or go down to the video store for the latest release. Then again, this was the time of releases such as Space Jam and The Lion King so maybe they were just worth the extra effort.

These were the good ol’ days when trading cards of Japanese cartoon characters was considered a serious pastime and people got obsessively maternal/paternal about their Tamagotchis. You could buy penny sweets when they were actually a penny and selection boxes were still put in your stocking.

iPhones didn’t exist, never mind the new Samsung Galaxy androids, and you were proud to have a Nokia 3210. You sat around happily on Christmas day in your dungarees, turtle neck and with your bowl cut, there was no Facebook to check or need to tweet about what you had for dinner. So while your new River Island clutch brings a smile to your face and your hand is glued to the console for Assassins Creed III, have a laugh about the gems of this time, that is undoubtedly clouded by the rose-tinted glasses of childhood but was ‘da bomb’.