I was born right in the middle of the ’90s in August of 1995. I won’t pretend to remember any of these inventions coming out or the immediate impact they had on the true “’90s kids”. But what I can remember is what it was like growing up with all 5 of these inventions being part of my life. From my earliest memories all 5 of these inventions had an immediate impact on my life and 4 of them still do to this day. With that lets get into the top 5 inventions of the ’90s according to The List.
#1) The World Wide Web
Im not sure why but this seems like a cop-out for #1. The internet is arguably the most important invention ever but I was still hoping #1 would be something more iconically ’90s.
That being said, my entire life has and always will revolve around the World Wide Web. I grew up playing educational computer games in school, which transitioned to the infamous AOL era. Now, I start everyday opening my phone checking Twitter and catching up on the news. I’m aware that I am chained to the internet and I’m totally ok with it. A deserving #1 but still kinda boring.
#2) Text Messages
Riding the coat tails of the internet is texting at the #2 spot. Another huge part of my life, but I still don’t think ’90s when I think of texting.
If you don’t count my mom, grandmother, or co-op supervisor, there is a solid chance I haven’t called anyone since the year 2000. I still remember freaking out in middle school being in group chats getting tons of texts because I didn’t have unlimited texting. Back then, if my dad found out I had been racking up fees sending texts instead of calling my friends his head may have exploded. When he sees my siblings and I texting he still jokes “If only there was a way to speak into the phone and have your friends instantly hear you and respond”. Classic dad joke, gets funnier every time.
#3) Nintendo 64
Finally, an iconic “’90s kid” invention. I still remember my uncle dropping his used N64 off at my house. My brother and I played Super Smash Brothers religiously up until the Play Station came out. I still fire up the N64 every now and then when my friends are over and we need some mindless fun. Seeing that logo pop up on the screen after blowing into the game cartridge 100 times is just as satisfying a full 20 years later.
The fact that this thing is still working has got to be one of my most impressive accomplishments. I feel like it has to be like 1 of 100 functioning N64’s and is worth thousands but that thing is staying in my basement for eternity.
Another essential in my life. Flipping through those plastic sleeves of DVD’s and games brings back memories of those Backyard Sports video games (shoutout Pablo Sanchez).
I spent hours burning music onto CD’s only for iPods to come out a month later. Would have loved a heads up on that one Steve Jobs.
DVD’s would absolutely be my dad’s #1 invention of the ’90s. I’m pretty sure the only reason he bought our Honda Pilot was because it had a DVD player in the back and he knew that was the only way to make my siblings and I shut up in the back seat.
#5) Tickle Me Elmo
I’ll be honest I missed out on this one. I never had a Tickle Me Elmo, but the noises this guy made are still somehow burned into my brain. They came out in 1996 and apparently it was the toy of the year as stores were sold out everywhere that Christmas season. I also till see these in stores today and my little cousins have a combined 4 Tickle Me Elmo’s so it’s got some staying power. Iconic to the ’90s but not a huge impact on my life (probably a good thing they are real creepy).
PS: How effective are those Try Me! stickers on the side of the box. I’m 21 and I still smash every Try Me! button I walk by. The toy aisle has got to be singing 24/7.
Overall, I agree with the list. Maybe throw something Nickelodeon in there just to make it a little more ’90s. But for the general public this is a solid top 5 in terms of impact and classic appeal.