The most iconic high-tech objects of the 90s


While Captain Marvel at the box office, we continue our generational journey into the heart of the 90s.

“Oh no, it sucks! I confused my banana with my little brother’s. Result of the races: he has my tattoo and I have his tamagotchi! » An almost embarrassing sentence, which we think belongs to the Neolithic. And yet it seemed completely normal less than thirty years ago. As expected, the technology has continued to make giant leaps, favored by the rapid deployment of the internet.

Your smartphone now has the power of a computer, you can access millions of songs via Spotify or see your movies in 4K… Things have changed a lot. So, let yourself be carried away by a wind of nostalgia by (re)discovering some of the most emblematic tech objects of this decade that rhymes with carelessness for many of us.

The Gameboy is probably the only item you could pull out on the bus without being ashamed. That is to say the extraordinary success of Nintendo. This mythical portable console has passed through the ages and is still considered one of the best machines in the history of video games. Faced with a game Gear more powerful, but costing a SMIC in battery, this block of gray plastic was able to offer hours of happiness to nomadic gamers. Super Mario Land 2, Wario Land, Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Metroid II… Don’t throw any more.

Long before the advent of mobile phones, it was the family of pagers who reigned supreme in high school classes. Kobby, Tatoo, Tam-Tam, all names that accompanied teenagers and adults in the mid-90s. These small boxes used a radio message service to recipients. The Tatoo allowed to receive a message (first digital and then alphanumeric!) in order to go to the phone booth to recall the number received.

The following patterns even allowed you to read up to 80 characters of a message from the sender, which he had previously dictated to an operator. Pagers became rarer when the SMS arrived, but the system has been used for a long time by firefighters and hospital staff, as the range of radio transmission is extremely wide.

Appearing in 1996, the Tamagotchi caused a real surge among the youngest. This little gadget that allowed to take care of a virtual pet has been a huge success in the world. Originally intended for Japanese girls who felt lonely, this small computer program asked buyers to feed and play your companion with three buttons under the screen.

A task to be taken seriously since the latter could die in case of oblivion. We are still surprised at the level of attachment of some for a simple LCD screen. Times were different, you’re told.

All gamers who played on PC in the 90s remember the Voodoo. In 1996, graphic card manufacturers were sure of one thing: The future of video games is in 3D. A small company of engineers from Silicon Graphics, named 3Dfx, released a GPU specifically dedicated to this task.

It is a great success especially thanks to titles such as Quake And Tomb Raider, although it needs to be connected to a 2D card for display. The result is impressive. It is possible to play in 640 x 480 pixels (!) in 60 fps in many ways! His successor will even make two of them work in SLI. An extraordinary era of PC gaming. Watch this video from the PhilsComputerLab channel to understand.

The war of music and video formats raged particularly raging in the 1990s. Especially since not all consumer markets were equal in terms of supply. The Mini Disc illustrates this period. While it was a nice success in Japan (especially with the famous Sony MZ1) it remained quite confidential in the West, especially because of a high cost and the arrival of the mp3 (though of lower quality).

This magneto-optical technology, which worked in a similar way to the Compact-Disc, allowed to record up to 80 minutes of music (digitally). A way to combine the advantages of disc and cassette, while being much more compact than the dedicated players. Despite all these advantages, people have been reluctant to change their entire collection to take advantage of it.

Do you feel s plagued because your smartphone has only 64GB of storage? Well, know that a few years ago, we were still storing our documents on floppy disks (in 5.25 or 8 inches please). The latter is still the icon of choice for reporting a record.

Invented in the late 1960s (so it is a bit separate in this ranking), it could initially contain 80,000 characters or a day of typing. It later developed and rocked many geeks during the 90s. It must be said that with 1.44 MB of storage (and sometimes much more provided you put the price), it was already possible to keep many documents. A relic of the past!

There was a time when it was not enough to “googling” to nail the beak of your friends who thought that Istanbul was the capital of Turkey. But you weren’t asked to go and rummage through a book either. Not! The knowledge revolution was called Encarta. Created by Microsoft in 1993, this paid digital encyclopedia on CD-ROM was a real revolution. The information was embellished with videos, audio, but also hyperlinks that sent back… To other Encarta items! But the democratization of the net, and the arrival of Wikipedia, ended his reign.

The VHS cassette (for Video Home System) appeared long before the 1990s, but this format became massive and was still in its heyday at that time. Resolutely aimed at the family market, the cassettes were composed of a coil of magnetic tape wrapped around a drum, able to read, but also (and above all!) to record video or audio signals.

Coupled with a VCR, they kept the programs or films that were on television. An ease of use, combined with a strong commitment from film studios, which has greatly contributed to its success… And our memories.

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Shayaan is writer and founder at Technewspulse Media and editor of five-book series. His interests include Graphics designing and search marketing.