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This over-eager anthropomorphized paperclip was Microsoft’s default helper in Windows 97. In 2010, Time magazine included Clippit (Clippy’s birth name) on a list of the 50 Worst Inventions.
The Discman was notorious for skipping whenever you moved too abruptly (or at all) despite Sony’s claims of anti-skip technology, but the portable CD player gave ’90s kids the freedom to rock out to their own music in the car.
The noises that came out of these things were the soundtrack to the entire decade. Once you had access to the World Wide Web, you could harness the full power of your Encarta 95 encyclopedia software.
Those hilarious clear landline phones
In the ’90s, gendered toys were rather ubiquitous, and for some reason, telephones and telephone-related toys were all the rage for little girls. Also, Clarissa Darling from Nickelodeon’s “Clarrissa Explains It All” had pretty much this exact phone, so if you also had one, you were instantly awesome.
Macintosh Powerbook 5300
This is the laptop that saved Earth from the aliens in the 1996 blockbuster “Independence Day.”
We still aren’t sure how Jeff Goldblum was able to connect to the alien mothership to transmit the virus in the first place: We’re assuming the ship didn’t have compatible cabling, and the first version of the 802.11 wireless internet protocol wasn’t released until 1997.
Thankfully, transferring and storing data has become a lot easier in the past couple of decades. You can send a little more than 17 floppy disks-worth of data as a Gmail attachment in 2016.
35mm Pokémon Camera
This bright plastic beast would superimpose random Poku00e9mon onto all of your vacation photos, which is a whole lot slower than just loading up one of today’s Poku00e9mon games.
The Windows 95 maze screen saver
Only in the ’90s would people waste time watching their computers waste time.
If you don’t remember, the point of a screen saver was to prevent images from getting burned onto your screen permanently, which, due to improvements in technology, doesn’t really happen anymore.
If you almost forgot that these existed, you’re not alone. By the early ’90s, these one-trick ponies had fallen out of favor with manufacturers thanks to poor sales numbers, but school administrators continued to employ them for sending disciplinary notes home with students for years to come.
Remember when these brightly-colored Apple computers hit the market, and suddenly, your trendy friend’s files were completely incompatible with every other computer in the known universe?
Those were the days.
The OG Gameboy
Introduced in 1989, this 8-bit handheld gaming device ran on AA batteries and required tiny Nintendo cartridges to play games–a concept that seems like ancient history in the age of the App Store.
This toy was essentially a manic, gyroscopic Simon Says, and it was absolutely addicting. You can still score an old one, but these days they will run you at least $100.
Waiting for someone with a pager to call you back from a pay phone was the three-dot typing indicator of 20 years ago.
Palm released a personal digital assistant in the late ’90s. It took the suit-and-tie world by storm with the ability to store contact info, calendar entries, to-do lists, and more without ever picking up a pen or paper.
AOL loading screens
The art of crafting an aggressively passive away message and perfectly-curated AIM profile is something the children of Gen Z will never learn.
The Talkboy from Tiger Electronics was introduced in 1992 in conjunction with the film “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
In the movie, Macaulay Culkin accidentally boards a flight to the Big Apple, where he does what every kid in the ’90s did– freak out about the dead batteries in his variable-speed cassette player and tape recorder.
If being kind was a priority of yours in the ’90s, you probably had a rewinder. Just be glad you don’t have to take the time to rewind everything you’ve ever watched on Netflix.
Napster turned the entertainment industry on its head when the peer-to-peer network was released in 1999. Due to the pesky copyright infringement issue, you won’t see this service in its original state in the 21st century.
If you’re feeling nostalgic after reading about all these hilariously ’90s gadgets and tech, some popular items are still being manufactured today. That’s right: Casio still makes its Baby G line of watches. Cassette tapes have migrated from ubiquitous to defunct to vintage-cool– you can buy both cassette tapes and vinyl at Urban Outfitters.
Other surprising items still available today include:
Alienware Area 51 Desktop
Microsoft natural keyboards
Digital answering machines