It seems like every day there's some new gadget or invention or something that's designed for our entertainment. It's a great age to be alive and all that, but we didn't always need this type of stuff.
When we were kids, it was a simpler time, and we were entertained by bits of string and pieces of cardboard. Alright, that might be an exaggeration, but some pogs were genuinely bit s of cardboard, and they were still great craic. Call us cynics, but we suspect that some of these things, that were the best of the best at the time, might not entertain the children of this generation, what with the computer games and the online internet media and all of that. Do we sound really old yet?
A pencil and a cassette tape. There is a generation coming up that doesn't get why these two things are connected. Sure, they can hazard a guess. But they'll never experience the teeth-grinding frustration of trying to spool your radio-recorded mix of Batman Forever's soundtrack (it was basically that U2 song and 'Kiss From A Rose') back into the cassette so you could record Offspring's new song as well.
Blowing on a videogame cartridge
There was a time, a glorious time when game cartridges were sturdy, well-built things. They came in steel grey and jet black - or even in fancy gold (Legend of Zelda on the NES) - and had fantastically drawn cover-art that bore little or no resemblance to the 8-bit images inside. Not only that, some of the art was legit raunchy. Golden Axe on the Mega Drive had a muscle-bound female bodybuilder type in a bikini and a totally swole dude in blue speedos.
If you can complete this sentence unprompted, you're old. "Knock, knock - open wide. See what's on the other side." Also - why did it always lead to Dublin Zoo? Don't get us wrong, we loved it when Bosco hung out with the penguins in Dublin Zoo, but if it's supposed to be a Magic Door, surely it's supposed to lead somewhere different? Like, it's a portal. We get it. To Dublin Zoo. Why not just call it the Dublin Zoo Door instead of the Magic Door? Are we overthinking this? It's uafásach. Pure and simple.
The rules are simple. You throw a ball across the street and it has to hit the kerb. If it bounces back and you catch it, you move into the Death Zone. That's essentially the rubber line that went down the road. You stood there and fired the ball into the kerb. First to ten and winner stays on. The trick, we found, was to aim at the person across the way. If you hit them, so much the better. Until thy ran off and got their older brother to kick your head in. Double points for getting it over a car.
For a while back in the ‘90s if you didn’t have pogs you were nothing. NOTHING. You also needed the official pog board and the pogtainer, to keep all your pogs in. Your day in school was spent playing with these little bits of cardboard, until that one guy came in with the metal slammer, hit some kid in the face accidentally, and then they were banned. Thanks, Chris. Anyway, this is what all pog battles looked like.
Magic 8 ball
Can the magic 8 ball tell the future? Sort of, because the answers were vague enough that you never really could pin it down and tell it that it was wrong. Of course, there is the argument, put forward by Hugh Everett III, that there exist many worlds at any given time, and our own choices determine which of the possible timelines we actualise so technically the 8 ball was always right, but that’s not the point, it was about having fun and using our imaginations to dream about the future. There are probably a multitude of apps for all of those activities now.
Fancy paper/Scratch & sniff stickers
Bits of paper in the shape of a dog, or a strawberry sticker that smelled like fake fruit, these were prize possessions for many a child. Working out a scale of equivalence (was a Rainbow Brite worth a coconut scented teddy bear?) and ensuring that they were kept in pristine condition were important factors too.
For a while, standing around learning to do tricks with a yo yo and eating bag after bag of Skittles to try and collect the necessary number of tokens (instead of just buying a yo-yo) was the be all and end all of our lives. We could only ever do the cat’s cradle, then we gave up, but we also ended up needing to do a serious amount of exercise to work off the weight we gained from eating 50 packets of skittles to get one of these bad boys:
Enough of your fancy elderflower-lemongrass-organically-carbonated-cold-pressed-green-earth soda, when we were younger, we drank Cidona. No messing. It was like cider, but it was for kids, and it made us feel all adult and such when we were dragged along to the pub with our parents. Often accompanied by a bag of Tayto.
Pic via Twitter
Choose Your Own Adventure Books
Anyone of a certain age who a) can read and b) has something resembling an imagination has more than likely read a Choose Your Own Adventure book at some stage in their lives. For the uninformed, CYOA books allowed the reader to immerse themselves in the story by giving you options of how to proceed. Do you want to enter the dungeon? Turn to page 78. Perhaps you'd like to hide in that box? Turn to page 63. Or, if you were anything like us, you'd go to both pages and see which situation works out better and completely remove any element of risk from the ensuing pages.
Pic via McNally kids.com
There was a time when a person's social status could be judged solely by how many luminously coloured bracelets adorned their wrists. A couple of bracelets? Not bad, you've obviously got a couple of close friends. Five of them? Whoa, this person is obviously a big deal. Ten or above? Pathological liar.
Pic via FriendshipBracelets.net
The phrase "I'll have my change in penny sweets, please."
Remember the day when currency exchange rate between jellies and money was 1:1? 10p would buy you 10 penny sweets, and so on. It was a simpler, less complicated time where you could actually get some change from your pound coin after buying a can of Coke and a Mars Bar - and the option to have that change converted into sugary, fructose-based sweets seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. It still does, to be honest. Damn recession.
Conkers: Nature's Projectiles
Autumn was an exciting time for '90s kids because when the leaves turned brown and began falling from the trees, it also meant there'd soon be a veritable arsenal of conkers dropping from the heavens ready to be f**ked at your nearest enemy, neighbour or passer-by. Of course, this was all perfectly socially acceptable as conkers had earned a reputation over the years of being harmless fun despite being responsible for a thousand black eyes, schoolyard fights and teary tantrums. These days, we stick to our Conker Simulation apps on our phones. It's a lot less dangerous that way.
Pic via Wikipedia
Main pic via milkcapmania.co.uk