Every generation has its own claim to fame. Baby Boomers barely had technology growing up, while Millennials were the guinea pigs who had to grow up with the advent of the internet.
The youngest generation, Gen Z, are starting to become adults and are curious about what kind stuff we Millennials got to use growing up. This article is shocking if you're born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, and probably even more shocking if you're a Millennial.
This Is Heartbreaking
A Millennial kid and a Game Boy went together like peanut butter and jelly. For most of our childhoods, we didn't have internet, or iPads, or laptops. We had Game Boys.
From Spyro to Pokémon (every color of the rainbow) to Donkey Kong, this device was our lifeblood. The fact that the generation after us won't understand the bliss of sliding a brand new game into the back of a GB and hearing it click in is devastating.
The Projector That Ruled The World
When your teacher brought out the projector, it felt like you were living in some virtual reality fantasyland. First stop projector in Spanish class, next stop the moon.
This was as high-tech as we could possibly get in the early 2000s, but it was everything we ever needed. Gen Z students are getting their own iPads with Google Glass X-Ray vision projectors while we had to attempt to read our teacher's awful handwriting in erasable marker.
We Used To Have To Work For Fresh Air
There was a time not long ago that we used to have to put in a full arm workout just to get fresh air. Most cars, even the nice ones, didn't come with automatic windows, which was where this lever came in.
You had to take a deep breath, calm your mind, and prepare for a tough 30-second battle ahead that involved spinning that thing as fast as possible. The end result was worth it, though.
This Was The Spiciest Thing You Could Put In Your Mouth
I'm not sure where these went but they need to make their way back into the mainstream. These strips would be placed on your tongue and then slowly melt while infusing your mouth with minty freshness.
If you are sensitive to Tic Tacs, just wait until you get blasted by one of these things. The entire evaporation process is an adventure that every Gen Z needs to experience at least once.
He Was A Generational Hero
This is the saddest entry on this list hands down. The fact that kids aren't growing up knowing who Steve Irwin is makes me and every other Millennial extremely sad.
He was the wholesome crocodile hunter that we didn't know we needed until he was gone. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news of his passing. We long for the days when we'd get to hear "CROIKEY" on our 20 inch bulky TVs. Miss you, Steve.
Remember Having To Wait Weeks To See Your Vacation Pictures?
Way back before everyone on the planet had a smart phone and the ability to take a selfie, we had disposable cameras that we took on vacation. That means when we posed for a group picture, we had to just accept that the first take was good enough.
Honestly, half the fun of going on vacation was gathering all your friends and family together afterwards to go through all of the photos you took and see what came out great and what was super embarrassing. Now we can take 50 different photos in order to get that one perfect shot.
Half The Battle Was Finding The Game
Long before we had hundreds of games on our phones to play, the only option was to boot up the family desktop computer and play solitaire. Yep. The most entertaining game was solitaire. If you even wanted to play solitaire you had to go on a full detective-level search through your computer files to find it.
Of course, there was also minesweeper, but just admit it, no one actually knew how to properly play it.
Did Schools Suddenly Stop Using Pencils?
I find it hard to believe that a kid actually doesn't know what a pencil sharpener looks like? Maybe kids these days are all lucky enough to have their own personal ones in their pencil cases.
For the rest of us back in the day, the wall pencil sharpener was like a retreat from the classroom grind. You would stand there sharpening and sharpening just to waste time so you didn't have to practice your cursive writing.
The Is A First Generation USB
The image file size used to save this picture is probably bigger than all the available storage on that floppy disk. One single mp3 file likely wouldn't even dit on this disk. A double-sided floppy disk maxed out at 800K. For context, the average USB today is 2GB.
The floppy disk did its best but eventually got replaced by CD-ROMs, so that you only needed one disk instead of eight to access your Encarta Encyclopedia.
I Can Hear This Image Skipping Tracks
Well, it's great to see that my childhood is so highly valued. A lot of teenagers slaved over McDonald's fryers to save up for a Discman. Granted, by the '90s they were a little bit cheaper than when they debuted. In 1984, these bad boys cost $300.
The Discman was an instrumental part of every Millennial's teenage years and now they sell for a mere 79 cents. It feels like our childhood just isn't really appreciated.
Gen Z Never Experienced The 15 Foot Phone Cord
It's mind-blowing to see how our language changes as things go out of style. Gen Z has only ever had to press a button to end a phone call. They've never had to go all the way back into the kitchen to hang up the phone on the wall. They've probably never even had to use a payphone.
That mean Gen Z has also never had to stretch their corded phone to the limit so you could talk on the phone in the bedroom so your entire family wouldn't hear.
Take A Deep Breath
Picture this. It's 1998 and you're playing your Nintendo 64. The game crashes every 10 minutes when you try to save the new character you unlocked. You have to take out the cartridge, blow on it for absolutely no reason, and suddenly it works again. Then one day, no amount of blowing will fix it and it will be broken forever.
Gen Z would lose their minds if they had to go through all that work to save a game on their phone or PS4.
BBM Pins Were Where It Was At
Gen Z will never know the power of having a Blackberry cell phone. BBM pins were like an exclusive Facebook Messenger but for only people with other Blackberrys. You would actually try and collect as many BBM pins as possible to see who had the most friends.
Since everyone had Blackberrys, you could also do crazy stuff like just switch batteries with someone else or changing your BBM setting to have a funky font.
Be Kind, Rewind
There was nothing worse than going to Blockbuster on a Friday night, managing to snag the last copy of Rocky IV, and getting home to find that the last person who had it didn't take the time to rewind it before bringing it back.
It wasn't a big deal if you had seen the movie before, but if it was a new release, you had to cover your eyes the entire time it was rewinding so it didn't give anything away.
The Holder Of This Card Was The Ruler Of The Schoolyard
Way back before PokémonGo and Detective Pikachu, the only Pokémon experience was using the actual cards. Out of all the first generation cards, the Charizard one was the most valuable.
Whatever kid had this at school was practically carrying around liquid gold. The other kids would gather around and ask to hold it. Seriously, this isn't a joke. If you held on to a Charizard card like this, it has a modern-day value of more than $1200.
No, Those Seats Aren't Broken
If you were the youngest child in a middle-class family during the late '80s, there is a 5000% chance you were stuck in the "back-back" of a station wagon. Practically every family drove one of these bad boys as their family vehicle.
Minivans and SUV crossovers didn't exist at the time. If you wanted to bring all 4 of your kids to the beach, you either needed a VW Minibus or a station wagon with fake wood paneling on the side for ~*pizzaz*~.
Myspace, AOL, MSN Messenger, And Finally Facebook
Millennials watched as social media became a thing, from having Tom as your top friend on MySpace to customizing your status on MSN Messenger. Finally, Facebook came around. This layout from 2006 was what every Millennial college kid saw logging on for the first time.
This was when you could only talk to your friends by writing on their walls, and you shared statuses like "Comment on this and I'll tell you how I really feel about you!!! ;-) ;-)."
The Cereal Lobby Is Trying To Ruin Our Childhood
Cereal was the breakfast of champions in the '90s. There were no rules or regulations on how much sugar you could pack into a "healthy" breakfast, and they had toys in them! Decoder rings, special edition actions figures, playing cards, you name it.
If you're wondering where they went, cereal companies decided to swap out toys for box tabs that you collect to get a bigger prize. But in reality, no one actually collects those.
The Struggle Was Real
Is there any reason or evidence behind this? No. But any millennial can agree that they just never owned ankle socks. If you were wearing running shoes in the summer, it was tube socks all day. When you wanted to not look like a fool in P.E., you had to get crafty.
You could either pull the top down and roll the toes back over, or you could fold down the top around the back of your ankle. The struggle was real.
Everyone Had A Friend With A Big Screen TV
Long before there were 4K Ultra HD 60-Inch flatscreen televisions, there were these televisions. They cost an arm and a leg, but they were so worth it. The child of whichever parent decided to buy one of these was basically the most popular kid in school.
If the parent who bought this television was really committed to it, they would cut a hole in the wall and push it back to make it look even more like a flatscreen tv.
We Wasted So Much Ink And Paper
If you had the time and those fancy colored crystal pens, then you probably went so far as to sit down and write them all out in a cute way in a notebook. Putting lyrics up on your MSN profile was also a very cool thing, especially when you put really dramatic ones up and everyone wanted to know what was wrong, and you milked it by saying, "nothing don't worry about it."
Now we post lyrics to our favorite Taylor Swift songs under selfies on Instagram.
They All Had To Be Matching
It's absolutely wild to think that there was a time when phones were just phones and that we needed different devices to do all the things that our phones do now. They're literally tiny supercomputers that store all our music and have a camera in them. I don't even remember what it was like to have an iPod and a digital camera. I'm not sure I would remember how to use one if I'm honest.
We've Really Come So Far
Kids these days would probably look at these memes and think that it was so pathetic and such a terrible attempt at being funny that we should feel ashamed. Little do they know that this is the origin of the memes we know and love now, and we need to remember them and treat them with the respect that they deserve.
These came before we had Instagram to share all our memes on, and they would pop up on Facebook or even on their own websites made just for memes.
MTV Was So Cool
There are people out there who might not know this, but MTV used to be for watching music videos and talking with musicians. It soon turned into a place to watch some of the best reality TV there is, but it's important to remember our roots.
Now when you want to watch a music video, you can just go to YouTube, or you can watch them on your music streaming apps anytime, anywhere if you've got the data plan for it. How times have changed.
What Do You Wrap Your Fingers Around While On The Phone?
Gone are the days when you would sit on the floor of your room or somewhere in the house with a phone cord wrapped around your finger gossiping about everything that happened at school or work that day. Talking on the phone like that used to be the only way we really had to stay in touch. It's crazy because now people will do almost anything to avoid talking on the phone because it seems so scary.
We've Come Full Circle
Oh, MySpace. What a dark and brilliant time in our internet history. Before there was Facebook, there was MySpace, and it was glorious. Every day, you had to wake up and rank all your friends from one to eight, and you had to pick out a song for your page that was going to reflect your mood that day. It was tough work.
Not to mention the hours it would take to make the perfect profile. It's how we all learned to be kind of good at web design.
Here's The Original Netflix
It used to be such a flex to have these cases full of vinyl envelopes that you would store your DVDs in. Then you could have your friends flip through them and see what a cool and vast collection of DVDs you had.
If you were really brave, you'd keep all your bootlegged DVDs in there too, with their white fronts and your chicken scratch titles written out in black sharpie marker. Now, so many people don't even have any physical media.
Fashion Is Always So Fickle
When we look back on our younger days, it's so wild to see the things that we used to wear that we thought were really fashionable and cool. I'm sure that we are going to look back on the clothes we are wearing right now in 10 years and think, "What was I thinking?"
At least the thing about fashion is that it all eventually comes back into style, so you and your emo phase will be cool again someday.
R.I.P. To The Rich Kid Teenage Dramas
OK, to be fair, I haven't watched a lot of newer TV shows, but while kids these days have Riverdale—which is a wild ride—they will never know the joy of watching teen dramas centered around a bunch of rich kids who were played by full-grown adults who want you to feel bad about their rich people problems...and WE DID!
I'm talking about 90210, Gossip Girl, The OC, One Tree Hill! If you know, you know.
We Had To Get Up Anyway
Snow days have the same thrill today that they did back then, but we used to have to get up and get dressed anyway and wait for the news to report on whether or not our school was closed or the buses were canceled.
If you were lucky, you would get to go back to bed. If you weren't, then you had one of those parents who would drive you to class if it was only the buses that were canceled.
They Actually Still Make These
When you didn't know a phone number or address of a place, or you were just looking for somewhere to get your nails done or take your pet to the vet, you had to look it up in a phone book instead of just googling it. Let me tell you, looking at one of these for too long would really hurt your eyes because the print was so small.
But it got the job done. These remind me of payphones, which are another thing you just don't see around anymore.
"What Time Is The Movie?"
When we wanted to go and see a movie, we had to check the newspaper or call the landline designated with the title of the films and the showtimes. Tickets used to be $4, and it was only $2 on Tuesdays!
What's even crazier about going to the movies now is that you can reserve seats and order restaurant-quality food to eat while you watch your film—and you can drink! All of these things used to be prohibited.
The Original Selfie Camera
Kids will never understand what it used to be like to take a selfie by yourself or with your friends and not knowing what it looked like until you turned the camera around or had the pictures developed. It really forced you to learn your angles and the right lighting so that you could take those fire selfies of mostly the top of your head and raccoon eyeliner...as was the fashion at the time when these were popular.
There Was Nothing More Stressful
You have to pee? You left your phone in the other room? You want a snack? Well, that is really too bad because you have to wait until you have a commercial break, and then you have to run around like a crazy person trying to get everything done in the few minutes you have before the show comes back on.
The other thing about this era of TV is that you couldn't rewind it if your parents were asking too many questions while watching.
What Did We Do Before Google Maps?
Before there was Google Maps, there was MapQuest, which worked in a similar way, but instead of sitting in your car giving you the directions as you drove, you had to print out the instructions and put them in the car somewhere and peek over at them every once in a while.
It seems dangerous and puts a lot of pressure on the driver to actually know their surroundings and how far a mile is.
These Things Were Practically Bulletproof
Was it just me, or did these seem to be made of super-tough stuff? They also fit a surprising amount of stuff! The best part of these, though, was decorating them with your white-out and highlighter and then looking at the abomination of the final product and regretting that you did it in the first place.
Now, there seems to be a transition into using computers in school, which is wild. Going to the computer lab used to be such a big deal.
The Greatest Place On Earth
I'm sure we've all seen the tweet where it says, "I've been spending my whole life chasing the high of the Scholastic book fair," and that is not a joke. There was just something about the book fair being all set up in the school library that was just so incredible. It made you feel all excited about being smart and reading.
If you were kind of a nerdy kid in school, this was your time to shine.
How The Times Have Changed
I remember the moment when I started to see plain shirts and sweaters come into fashion after a handful of years that focused on graphic T-shirts, and I was overjoyed. But it is kind of funny how that happens sometimes, because if you used to wear plain clothes like Champion or similar brands, you weren't cool and people thought that your family was poor.
I'm also being reminded in this moment of how mean kids can be.
That's A Long Time To Wait
Saving files used to take a lifetime...or it made you think that it was going to. It wasn't the lightning-fast process that it is now, where you can airdrop it or send it to the cloud. Technology has really come the farthest and it's fascinating to see.
It never actually took 39 years, it just said that it was going to and then it took about 10 minutes, sometimes a little bit more depending on the file size.
Some Late-Night Reading
This book was the book to have back in the day. You would hide it from your parents and then bust it out at sleepovers or somewhere hidden on the playground and read these stories out loud to one another.
Were any of them that scary? No, they weren't—they were actually kind of corny, but it gave us such a rush that it didn't even matter. I wonder how many of us still have a copy.