The ‘90s: a decade of collecting Beanie Babies, rewinding orange VHS tapes, and dreaming of getting slimed on “Slime Time.” So much oxygen was lost from blowing into our favorite Nintendo game cartridges, but the light-headedness was always worth it when Donkey Kong Country appeared on the screen. We learned our most valuable life lessons from Mr. Feeny who always had our backs after school. Slap bracelets, No Doubt, Skip-It, Hit Clips, Lisa Frank and the Oregon Trail are only a few things that represent a ‘90s kid’s childhood. Let’s all take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the triumphs, hardships and high-tech innovations of the greatest decade.
These plastic keychains on our backpacks caused many anxiety-filled school days. We sat in class fearful that our virtual pets died from hunger or neglect. Didn’t our teachers understand the responsibilities of being a parent? And when our beloved pets were banned from school grounds, we had to do the unthinkable: leave our virtual babies in the hands of our parents. Talk about anxiety. It was a traumatic day when we came home from school only to find our pet had died. And the cause of death was always “unknown,” but we knew our babysitters had slacked off. Thankfully, the grief was short-lived when a new egg appeared by pressing the reset button. Problem solved.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Making it through science class on a Monday morning was not an easy task for us ‘90s kids. What else was there to learn about earthquakes or thermodynamics? Obviously, we knew everything and were expert meteorologists and physicists. But when the teacher wheeled the TV into class, we became hopeful. Only Bill Nye the Science Guy knew the way to our young scientist hearts. “Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!” – the four magic words that transported our eager minds to Nye Labs. There is no excuse for forgetting “Inertia is a property of matter” because science is cool.
Naming the original Pokémon was an effortless task, but did you catch ‘em all? A daily Pokémon playground transaction was routine business for us ‘90s kids. Dropping two bucks for Diglett was worth sacrificing your lunch, even if it was Pizza Hut day. But things got real when you spotted that holographic Charizard card on the school bus ride home. We were willing to go to great lengths cause, you know, we had to catch ‘em all.
One of the creepiest toys of our childhood, the Furby was a tiny little demon disguised by a colorful fur coat. It was quite an accomplishment when your Furby told you it loved you in English, rather than in its native Furbish language. Despite loving our Furby unconditionally, we were always a bit fearful our adorable robot would turn on us and kill us in our sleep. The frequent mood swings and suspected multiple personality disorder of our 1998 Furbies may still haunt us to this day.
For most of us ‘90s kids, pogs bring back feelings of joy and hostility. Confident that your slamming abilities were up to par, you spilled your impressive collection of pogs and holographic slammer onto the cafeteria table. When your opponent flipped your favorite cardboard caps and won your coolest pogs, tears were shed and friendships ended. Since everyone on the playground played for keeps, schools viewed the game as childhood gambling and banned pogs. But when the bell rang, the highly competitive game of pogs continued to build champions.
The pens that drew on anything and everything. Your inner tattoo artist was awakened with the help of a milky pen. The power of a gel pen brought your homework to life, because what teacher wouldn’t want to decode a 2nd graders’ sparkly, yellow gel pen handwriting? Writing on a black piece of paper was finally possible. It was a dark day when your pen stopped working for no apparent reason and even your own spit couldn’t revive it.
What better role model for a ‘90s kid than Tommy Pickles? Acting as the Commander-in-chief of all babies, the one-year-old was always prepared to take his baby friends on an adventure thanks to his trusty screwdriver he kept in his diaper at all times. We panicked when the Pickles left Grandpa Lou at the gas station, and were heartbroken when Spike went missing for weeks. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil taught us to persevere through the tough times. Too bad the adults were completely unaware that they were in the presence of pure genius babies.