Top 10 Things From the 90s We'll Never Do Again



Top 10 Things From the 90s We'll Never Do Again

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
Can you believe people actually used to have to put up with these things? For this list, we'll be looking at the most common things we had to do in the 1990s that now seem like ancient history. Our countdown includes Cranking the Windows Down, Renting Movies, Record Songs on Cassette, and more!

Top 10 Things From the 90s You'll Likely Never Do Again

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things From the 90s You'll Likely Never Do Again.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most common things we had to do in the 1990s that now seem like ancient history.

Did you live through the ‘90s? What’s something you’re not likely to do again? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Wait to See Your Pictures

If you were born after the ‘90s, there’s a good chance you’ve never been exposed to the world of film cameras. They had been around for more than a hundred years before the era of digital photography took over. Prior to this new media, photos were captured onto a strip of film and then had to be sent away to be developed. Whether you used a “modern” one-hour photo center, or sent them away for a few days, you had to wait at least a little while to see how they came out. Even worse, most rolls of film could only hold around 25 pictures or so, but you tended to end up with less because somebody was always covering the lens with their thumb!

#9: Crank the Windows Down

Although this feature can be found on a handful of modern cars, for the most part, it’s a thing of the past. Today, you push a button and the windows in your car roll up and down effortlessly. Prior to this feature being widely available, riders had to manually crank a small arm on the door to open and close the windows. It was tedious, and made even worse in certain weather conditions. Power windows actually hit the market pretty early on in 1941, but it really was only a luxury at the time. It took many years before they became the standard - and now we can’t imagine going back.

#8: Use a Pay Phone

It was in the 2010s when carrying a phone in your pocket became the mainstream. Not only do most people carry some type of mobile device, but also more often than not, it’s the primary--if not only--way people stay connected. Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that things were quite different. Pay phones were physical booths with corded telephones that a person would put change into to make a single local call. They were found in malls, gas stations, restaurants, and virtually anywhere you might need to make a phone call from. Most pay phones have since been retired, and the ghosts of those left behind are considered relics of an era long gone by. Kind of poetic when you think about it.

#7: Use a Floppy Disk

How we store information for our electronic devices has come a long way. It’s hard to imagine the likes of cassette tapes or punch cards being used to store computer data. Floppy disks were invented as a portable storage medium to hold electronic information. They contained a magnetic circular disc that would spin while a device read from and wrote data onto it. They were the most popular way to transfer data from one computer to another for many years. Eventually replaced by CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, and hard drives, floppy disks have only managed to survive as the “save” icon in your Word document. Guess we’re all a little nostalgic, huh?

#6: Use a Phone Book

Do you know the difference between the yellow and white pages? If you were born in the smartphone age, probably not. Every year, homes would get a copy of these delivered to their doorstep. If you needed someone’s landline number, you’d open the white pages and look it up. When you needed a plumber or wanted to order pizza, you’d dig out the yellow pages. These giant books contained the listings for every business and person with a phone in your local area. Since they’ve since been replaced by a quick google search, the most common thing these books are used for now is… kindling, probably. Or, ripping them in half works too, we guess.

#5: Blow Out Video Game Cartridges

If you owned the original Nintendo Entertainment System, there’s a good chance you did this. Every so often, you’d put in your cartridge, turn on the console, and get a weird, glitchy screen. Turning the console off, you’d retrieve the cartridge, blow into it, then put it back and try again. More often than not, the game would spring to life and on you would go. Since many consoles in the 80s and 90s relied on solid state cartridges for games, this trick became the de facto way to fix your game when it wouldn’t load. Whether or not it actually worked is debatable, but nonetheless, players still did it all the time!

#4: Rent Movies at a Store

All cards on the table, we know that video rental stores are not completely dead. A handful of mom-and-pop shops are still out there and you’ll occasionally see videos for rent at a corner store. Across the board, however, the world has moved on to streaming services for on-demand movies. When Netflix introduced the idea of subscription-based DVD rentals toward the end of the 1990s, it signaled the end of an era. No longer did you have to leave your house to rent a movie. And, about a decade later, they pivoted to streaming and the world never looked back. Sorry, Blockbuster! But, we don’t miss your late fees.

#3: Record Songs on Cassette

Much like our previous entry, the world of music faced a massive change in the 1990s as well. At one time, music fans would listen for their favorite songs on the radio and scramble to record them on a cassette tape when they came on. Then, along came Napster and MP3s, and the world changed forever. With the introduction of digital music, the landscape completely shifted. No one was recording songs off the radio or making mixed tapes anymore. Instead, services like iTunes and Spotify let us hear any song we wanted... for a small fee, of course. At least we don’t have to hear the announcer’s voice at the start or end of our favorite tunes anymore. Seriously, sometimes, they spoke right through it!

#2: Use Dial-Up Internet

In 1997, using a 56K baud modem, it would have taken you roughly 10 minutes to download a single four megabyte MP3 music file. Although that may seem ridiculously slow compared to what we have now, the internet was also a different place. During the days of dial-up internet, the “web” didn’t really exist, and most people used the internet to simply browse message boards and surf through “gopher” sites (which were essentially just text-based web pages). Users of dial-up internet will tell tales of slow load times, and that terrible screeching noise of the phone connecting to a provider. Guys, you couldn’t use the phone and internet at the same time! The 90s really were a wild time...

Before we reveal our top pick, here’s an honorable mention:

Run Back to the TV After Commercials

It Was Kind of Like a Game of Cat & Mouse to See Whether You’d Make it Back in Time

#1: Be Kind, Please Rewind

VHS, and in the early years, Betamax, were magnetic tapes put into VCRs, short for Video Cassette Recorders. Audiences would rent a movie in the form of a VHS tape, play it on their VCR, and when the movie was done, they would rewind it for the next person. Much like cassettes, VHS tapes were a magnetic medium and ran sequentially from start to finish. If you wanted to go back to an earlier point in the film, you had to physically rewind the tape. Movie rental stores would always have signs and stickers reminding people to rewind their tapes before returning them. Not only was it annoying, but so was the constant nagging reminder to do so, too. No one misses that part of the ‘90s!