The 1990’s was a pretty weird decade for technology with a near obsession with the futuristic. Big bulky computers with screechy dialling tones were being steadily installed in every home and everybody was freaking out about the millennium bug. We all knew that technology was going to change the world, but we really didn’t know how. I was a kid in the nineties; so this decade was more about collecting beanie babies and carefully preserving their tags in plastic, however nineties children had caught the same obsession with gadgets and gizmos as their parents. This obsession is reflected in the toys of the time which were all about getting kids to feel a fondness and affection of technology which was sure to make geniuses out of all. To be a kid in the nineties was pretty fun, but to be a kid with nineties era gadgets was very heaven.
- Tamagotchi. There was nothing, I repeat nothing more devastating than going to play out only to come home and find out that your tamagotchi had passed on to pixelated heaven. For many of us, our tamagotchi was our first taste of responsibility. Indeed, the tamagotchi was originally created in Japan with the intention of preparing teenage girls for motherhood. I feel that my track record of neglecting to feed my tamagotchi snacks and indeed to check up on its happiness scale bodes badly for any future children that I may produce.
- Furby. My furby was perhaps the laziest furby in the world and would sleep almost continuously. In fact, he would only wake, when given a firm shake, just long enough to announce “me sleep again” and drift away into his electronic snooze with a series of loud, adorable snores. Other people’s furbies however were apparently much more alert. Furbies were pretty exciting as they were intelligent and could learn English over time, as well as their native Furbish. These cuddly critters were so intelligent that they had people spooked. Several intelligence agencies actually banned them from their offices due to rumours that they could repeat words and phrases that were spoken around them.
- Sega Megadrive. Game consoles have become ever more advanced in terms of graphics, with richly detailed and complex games. However, nothing will ever be more addictive than the comfortingly two dimensional world of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega’s flagship series.
- Bop It. I still hear the groovy beats of the oh so funky Bop It in my dreams. Games of Bop It could turn fairly ferocious and could lead to some serious arguments if your sibling dropped the ball so to speak. Toy Experts (dream job?) have pointed towards the seamlessly natural interaction betweeb player and toy which combines computers gaming skills and non mediated object play. The social interaction nature of Bop It, and its firm place in the nostalgic place in our hearts, means that it is still a staple of student drinking games nationwide.
- Sony Walkman. I got a Sony walkman as a present when I swam my fifty metres and it felt like a genuine step towards adulthood. Of course I instantly got myself together a box of cassettes which of course include a single of Aqua’s Barbie Girl and a hell of a lot of All Saints. Only nineties era kids will remember having to dutifully fast forward through your Spice Girls album to get to Wannabe.