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30 Things Only Those Who Are True ’90s Kids Would Understand

30 Things Only Those Who Are True ’90s Kids Would Understand

Ah, the ’90s. No other decade was quite as grungy, outspoken, or innovative. The decade saw incredible rises in new technologies, as well as unexpected social changes. Regardless of the worldwide implications of those 10 years, everyone knows ’90s kids were the real winners of this decade. The unique intersection of new technologies and new perspectives gave ’90s kids a truly distinctive growing up experience. So grab your POGs, CD ROMS, and Pokémon cards, these 30 experiences are things every ’90s kid can appreciate.

1. They Loved JTT

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    There are two kinds of ’90s kids, those who had a crush on JTT, and liars.

    2. They Hated NES Cartridges

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      Game consoles today are light years ahead of where they were for ’90s kids. Despite the limited graphics, wired controllers, nonexistent soundtracks, and simplified levels, we were still stoked to play video games even if the arcade was closed. Every ’90s kid shares the eternal bond of fighting with your NES system to get your game to play. Various combinations of dusting, breathing, and jiggling the power source will always be the hallmark of the ’90s kid experience.

      3. They Had To Be Patient

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        In less than 10 years we’ve gone from clunky cable to audiences controlling exactly when and where they watch a show. Incredible freedom to watch media on mobile devices means kids today will never know the pain of waiting seven entire days for the next episode. Binge watching a show was only possible through mass numbers of VHS tapes, but those always seemed to get ruined anyways. This is possibly the most disturbing hardship of the ’90s kid.

        4. They Had Limited Game Worlds

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          Along with game systems that were first-generation and full of glitches, ’90s kids were forced to play games with limited worlds. Whether the games took place in one room or had a simplified 8-bit scrolling track, the backgrounds, settings, and explorable space amounted to less than one room in Skyrim. 

          5. They Had Limited Game Songs

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            While ’90s kids were playing that game with only one objective over and over, we were happy to perpetually rock out to the 45-second MIDI loop that made the soundtrack. Not only was game space so limited that songs couldn’t even use real instruments, you were virtually guaranteed to sing the song for months afterwards. Oh, and by the way, there’s no memory on your game console, so you can’t save. Every ’90s kid can remember leaving their game system on for a week in order to pass a game, praying their parents wouldn’t notice.

            6. They Had the Real Power Rangers

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              ’90s kids also have the unique distinction of watching the Power Rangers when they used karate and quick thinking, not just weapons.

              7. They Were the Only Ones Who Loved the Internet

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                The Internet in the ’90s was not only limited in the number of websites available, it was also limited because many people from older generations thought the Internet was a trend. Despite the fact that our middle and high school papers had plenty of sources waiting at our fingertips, most ’90s kids can remember being forbidden from using the Internet for research at school. Sure, other generations can complain about having to do their homework by flipping through stacks and stacks of textbooks, but no other generation knows the pain of flipping through stacks of textbooks right next to a computer connected to the Internet. However, who knows how much research we could’ve done on a dial-up connection anyway?

                8. They Had Too Many 2D Cartoons

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                  Not only did ’90s kids have to suffer through subpar gaming, we also had much simpler cartoons. Not only were cartoons always two dimensional, the ones that were three dimensional were rendered on computers less powerful than your iPhone. Though this caused untold heartache, seeing Toy Story on the big screen for the first time was pretty cool.

                  9. They All Wished To Be Topanga

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                    After getting through the entire school week with none of the shows we liked to watch, ’90s kids would get together on Friday nights to tune in to our favorite shows. Every ’90s kid will remember the mainstay Boy Meets World, because all of us spent the weekend crying that we didn’t have Topanga’s hair.

                    10. They Had Too Many Road Trips

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                      I know what you’re thinking, yes, everyone is forced into a road trip at one time or another. But picture everything you hate about a road trip, with absolutely no screens whatsoever. Not only did we not have sophisticated mobile game options like the PSP or 3DS, there was no way to play VHS movies in vehicles for a long time. Plus, don’t forget that MP3 players were still a long ways off, so your very best hope was a pile of tapes and your parents’ Walkman. Combine this with less frequent air travel, and every ’90s kid likely has a few road trip horror stories to tell.

                      11. They Had TV-less Airplanes

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                        Much like being bored to death in the back your parents’ minivan, if you were lucky enough to fly somewhere instead, airplanes didn’t have television screens either. Unlike today, you couldn’t even suffer through reruns of shows you don’t watch anyway, you just had to watch the slightly sweaty stranger next to you slowly fall sleep.

                        12. “Bro, that hyper color looks rad.”

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                          There’s no way to explain why hyper color was cool. If you don’t get it, you just weren’t a ’90s kid.

                          13. They Weren’t Warned About Mufasa’s Death

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                            There were great moments for kids’ movies in the ’90s, and then there were traumatizing ones. Imagine if the first time you watched Simba’s father die, the image was as big as an IMAX screen. 

                            14. They Had To Be Kind And Rewind

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                              Every ’90s kid can commiserate together over the hours we’ll never get back from VCRs. Not only did you have to rewind the movie every time you viewed it, the last person at the video rental store usually didn’t. Infinite sleepovers, family nights, and parties were interrupted by needing to rewind. There is no way to measure the number of moods killed at the hands of this ’90s relic, not to mention the dollars we’ll never get back from overpriced video rental stores. To this day, I, like all ’90s kids, am tempted to bow down in front of a Redbox machine every time I see one.

                              15. They Had Tamagotchi

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                                Just like the plastic and paper toys we collected, ’90s kids were first to see the rise of mobile gaming. Looking at a Tamagotchi now seems boring, but at the time, we were more than happy to have games follow us wherever we went.

                                16. They Played With Gak

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                                  Though the decade was a sea of nonsensical trends, the ’90s also gave rise to one of the greatest toys of all time, Gak. This toy did nothing, had very few uses, and ultimately ended up permanently glued into your mom’s carpet, yet every ’90s kid had to have their own tub. Neon colored and virtually useless, every ’90s kid has a soft spot in their heart for this toy.

                                  17. They Saw Limitless Trends

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                                    Sure the ’80s saw a lot of consumers buy pet rocks, but nobody did trends quite like the ’90s kids. Aside from Gak and Tamagotchi, Pokemon, Digimon, Crazy Bones, POGs, and countless others made the ’90s a heyday of collectible toys. This is one thing ’90s kids remember that parents are probably glad to see go by the wayside.

                                    18. They Had Only Two Players

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                                      Early video consoles not only played simplified, less captivating games, most only had the capacity for two players. If you had a group of friends over or were having a party, you were forced to switch off between players, never truly getting a group experience.

                                      19. They Had Dramatic TV Goodbyes

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                                        In the pre-9/11 world, passengers were not the only people allowed into an airport terminal. Countless TV shows and movies revolved around a last-minute meeting at the airport terminal gate. Such a thing could never happen today, wiping out the credibility of countless TV and movie moments.

                                        20. They Loved Supergroups

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                                          Sure every decade has their share of musical groups, however the ’90s was a golden age of supergroups. Like collectible toys, ’90s kids had limitless choices when it came to boy and girl groups. Many people are happy that the music industry today has thrown away this particular trend, but nothing felt quite as exciting to a ’90s kid as a new N’Sync or Spice Girl CD.

                                          21. They Were Forced To Use The A: Drive

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                                            Only kids from the early ’90s can say they had to use more than four discs to install a game on the computer. Floppy disks were fragile, low capacity, and took up way too much space.

                                            22. They Had Sitcoms

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                                              Another thing ’90s kids have in common is being the last generation to be swept up in a multitude of TV sitcoms. The increasing options for where we get our media, including cable networks, online streaming, and greater access to foreign TV, makes for a much more diverse landscape of TV genres now. The last 15 years have seen a sharp decrease in three camera, laugh track ridden, location limited sitcoms. It seems the years of Seinfeld, Friends, Will and Grace, Roseanne, and similar shows, has finally come to an end.

                                              23. Their Screens Weighed More Than You Do

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                                                In today’s world of shrinking screen thickness, ’90s kids can likely remember having to haul computer or television screens that were a workout in themselves.

                                                24. They Had No Internet Speed

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                                                  Not only was the Internet disregarded by many as inconsequential, it was also slow as molasses. ’90s kids are likely to still hear internet dial-up tones in their nightmares.

                                                  25. They Had Jurassic Park First

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                                                    All the things ’90s kids struggled with we gained back in Jurassic Park. Easily among the most innovative films of all time, it was exciting and mind blowing to see such sophisticated special effects for the first time.

                                                    26. They Loved Mary-Kate and Ashley

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                                                      In a decade rife with tween and teen stars, nobody was quite as ingenious as Mary-Kate and Ashley. The bulk of their vast media empire was built when they were young teens, through a series of direct to video movies. Any ’90s kid, or at least any ’90s kid with a sister, will recall a childhood full of piles and piles of Mary-Kate and Ashley mysteries, stories, and movies.

                                                      27. They Treasured Logo Sweaters

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                                                        Much to the chagrin of our parents, ’90s kids were crazy about name brands. No ’90s closet was complete without at least a few sweaters showing nothing but a brand name in giant letters. Between GAP, Nike, Adidas, and many other brands, every ’90s kid was a glorified billboard at one point or another.

                                                        28. They Didn’t Need Reality TV

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                                                          Reality TV is one of the cheapest genres to shoot, since there’s no “name brand” talent, and filming can take place in everyday locations. With the advent of Survivor (which first hit TVs in Europe in the late ’90s), TV channels were more than happy to begin producing reality TV programs by the boatload. In today’s climate of more reality programming than not, every ’90s kid is caught wishing for the good old days.

                                                          29. They Saw The First Cell Phones

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                                                            When cell phones were invented, they were easily the size of a brick. Ignorant to the ultimately incredible and life-changing things cell phones would bring to the table, every ’90s kid can remember mocking their parents for using clunky, giant, heavy cell phones.

                                                            30. They Had To Use CDs

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                                                              Despite the limited space on CDs, most of us were more than happy to cart around a booklet of hundreds of disks and a Discman just so we could listen to music. Surprisingly, the worst part about using a Discman wasn’t the 30 CDs you needed along with it, it was the a laser that read the disk. If you were jogging, in a car, or even walking home, the laser would skip with the slightest bump to the device. Yet another reason all of us were beyond excited when MP3 players hit the scene in the early 2000s.

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                                                              Alicia Prince

                                                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                                              Published on April 7, 2021

                                                              6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                                                              6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                                                              Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

                                                              While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

                                                              1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

                                                              Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

                                                              If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

                                                              In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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                                                              2. They Make Everything Transactional

                                                              Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

                                                              For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

                                                              Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

                                                              A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

                                                              Some statements to be wary of include:

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                                                              • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
                                                              • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
                                                              • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
                                                              • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

                                                              3. They Criticize Everything

                                                              One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

                                                              However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

                                                              Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

                                                              • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
                                                              • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
                                                              • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
                                                              • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

                                                              4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

                                                              We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

                                                              For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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                                                              This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

                                                              5. They Socially Isolate You

                                                              Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

                                                              Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

                                                              This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

                                                              In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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                                                              6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

                                                              It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

                                                              Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

                                                              Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

                                                              • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
                                                              • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
                                                              • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
                                                              • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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