Now that we live in the digital age, we as consumers have our pick of the latest gadgets and gizmos to make our lives easier. For those of us who grew up in the 90’s and 00’s, it can be hard to remember a time when we weren’t so dependent on our devices and the internet. There was however, a time when the gadgets we obsessed over weren’t just the phones in our hands, but were standalone products that we thought we’d never live without. We’ve gone back in time to look at some of the now retro gadgets that were hugely popular at the turn of the millennium.
Before the Walkman came along, portable stereos were a staple in most homes. You could fill them full of batteries and take them on car journeys or even outside (on the rare occasion when the weather was nice). What really made music portable however, was the “Sony Walkman” or “disc man” series of music players. You could now put your tapes (and later CD’s) into these and go anywhere (just not too fast as they were very prone to skipping). For the first time, music lovers were able to listen to what they wanted, when they wanted and while being out and about. This was to pave the way for the later introduction of Mp3 player and eventually smartphones like the iPhone in 2007. The days of carrying our walkman over one arm and CD holder case over the other were sadly over. Our particular favourite model from the “Walkman” era was this little beauty below.
Nintendo Game-boy Colour:
This one was guaranteed to be top of at least one birthday or Christmas present wish list if you grew up in the 90s. Preceded by the original “Game Boy” which was launched in the early 90s, the “Game Boy Colour” came out and boasted a revolutionary colour screen packed with our favourite characters like Pikachu and Lara Croft. Kids would spend hours on end playing the latest games and you could play against each other in some cases using an actual physical “link lead” to connect both devices (Bluetooth and WiFi were still in their infancy). The video below is a terrifying look at what life used to be like for kids before the introduction of colour gaming.
Back in our day, the closest thing we had to virtual reality was our pet Tamagotchi! These pets were everywhere in the late 90s and kids worldwide would become heavily dedicated to the daily rituals of feeding, cleaning and playing with them. How you looked after your Tamagotchi would determine how well it would grow and develop but equally neglecting your Tamagotchi could be fatal(childhoods were ruined)! The game was seen by many parents as a test run for a real pet and so if you never got that dog growing up, it may have been down to how you looked after your virtual one. Check out the weird ad below to bring back some memories of the game play.
FIFA, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, Smackdown, Gran Turismo, Spyro, Medal of honour and many other titles were what made the original Sony PlayStation such a massive hit. The console was one of the biggest things to enter homes since the Nintendo 64 and has continued to rule the gaming market with its later incarnations. Even if the graphics from this commercial look like the game was developed on a potato, it will bring back all kinds of great memories from your childhood.
Forget “The Backstreet Boys”, “The Spice Girls” or even “Boyzone”, the true soundtrack to many childhoods during the late 90s was the distinctive rhythm of the game “Bop it”. A game as exciting as it was frustrating, you would spend hours passing it (and bopping it, twisting it, pulling it etc) around with your friends. Parents could never quite keep up with the frantic pace and the later introduction of “Bop It Extreme” was one for only the hardcore players among us. Chances are if you’re clearing out the attic at home someday you’ll stumble upon one of these. There’s an even greater chances are that you’ll see can you get it going again. The sounds alone in the ad below are enough to make your hands start twitching.
Most people will be split on this one but “Furbies” place in 90s/00s folklore can’t be overlooked. The mini robot pets came along at the turn of the millennium and were hugely popular, particularly among younger girls. Reports state that during this period it sold over 40 million units and this coincided with a Christmas in which “furbie” was the must have gift. If you had one of the first production models, then your parents were some of the very lucky few to snap it up early. Whether you thought Furbie was cute or creepy, it was certainly a retro gadget that we all knew about.
As we moved into the 2000s, mobile phones started to become popular among all age groups. Originally marketed towards the business man, it wasn’t until the release of the Nokia 3210 that we started to see these everywhere. Texting, calls and endless hours of snake suddenly became the order of the day. This was the real arrival of mobile phones in Ireland and it’s clear that we haven’t looked back since. For more on retro gadget handsets, check out our blog on the most memorable phones of the early 2000s.
If you’re just as attached to your modern gadgets as you were to some of these retro ones, then make sure you have them covered with a great value gadget insurance policy today. That way in contrast to your Tamagotchi when you were 6, it won’t be the end of the world if something happens to that phone or laptop. Too soon?