The Big Picture: The 90's Didn't Suck

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Well, that's the USA view of the '90s era. Chinese remember them as a start of a great reform. Ex USSR remember them as the big search for lost identity (tip, nobody found it), French remeber it as a big loss of identity as imigrants started beeing prominent groups in cities. And Balkans. Well, after 50 years of peace, this region was bomb 10 years past it's annual rage age. Yea, Balkan and wars are kind of thing, beeing on and off through entire histroy. 50 years without war or major rebelion is something like a local record.

So, while USA had it's moment of glory before it's empere was challenged again, rest of the world was working hard on its own problems or was knee deep in dead.

erttheking:
They didn't suck?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NinetiesAntiHero

That depends all on where you look.

I'm looking at games designed for kids because that's what I was.

I see Pokemon, and PS1 era Crash and Spyro. I also see the dawn of the first person shooter. I never played Goldeneye in the 90's and playing it now it seems like a primitive version of Timesplitters, but still.

You have no idea how hard it is to find Bob's "the 90's sucked" pic on the internet besides "prt sc" from his videos.

The '90s is essentially two parts: a comfortable long exhale, followed by a build-up of anxious, giddy ennui.

The '90s where the decade where, for a while, things seemed too good to be true. And, as we found out, they *were* too good to be true.

You almost answered your own question there, Bob. The 90's introspection wasn't just limited to its own era but to the entirety of the 20th century, thanks to the advent of the information era. It was as if people were attempting to do the same navel-gazing as had always been done only to find nothing of significance, so they took a step back in order to see something out of it. The entire (then-passing) century become the focus.

Its a different type of characteristic, yes, but it doesn't mean that its any less valid or significant than any of its preceding decades.

SWAT Cats... OMG... *squeeeeeeeeeee*

Ahem... so, apparently, the 90's sucked because there was no conflict, well... isn't that pretty much what everyone tries to accomplish?, the new millenium was around the corner and people looked back and looked at the future, I mean, yeah, it was equally awesome and equally awful, but so does pretty much any era.

And yes, the 90's had it's own paranoia, remember that silly "2000 virus" that had the potential of turning itself into it's very own Cyberdyne?.

*shrugs*

only part of the 90s I really remember is the games and TV, yeah there was the Clinton thing, and OJ if I remember right, thing is, didn't care then and still don't.

also, in terms of over all progress (and lasting quality of games) the 90s where the best :p

Interesting take Bob. I was born in 1980. The 90's were my formative years. I feel like, (looking back), the 90's were a buffer decade. Our cultural identity in America morphed from disparate but individually defined movements and atmospheres to a more "bleh" generation of people living without life-threatening challenges. I think that's why X-TREME sports took off in the 90s too. Neon colors, guitar riffs or hip hop on every kind of ad, it was like "Madison Avenue" was beating us about the neck and shoulders to get us to give any kind of shit about anything. Especially the products they were trying to sell. (I'm speaking to a large percentage of the population, but not necessarily all of us, of course.)And oh god how we took to the MMOs when they came out. Huge portions of our population desperate for a danger fix and intellectually stimulating leadership challenges diving into virtual worlds and creating worlds unto themselves within. We're the "make your own reality" generation, I think. We're more self-aware than most generations before us. That's not necessarily a good thing. I think many of us are paralyzed by how self-aware we are. Also, we were one of the first generations to have college set as a certainty, rather than as an option too. We got done with high school and they began slashing the living shit out of auto shop and trade schools. They were doing it before the 90s, but it really took off then. It was like "take huge debt, because you have to go to college." Now there's oceans of college graduates and few jobs to go around and shit tons of personal debt. The 90's were fun, because I was a kid. SWAT Kats. Holy crap. I loved that show. Good piece here Bob.

I kinda liked growing up in a decade where things were calm and relatively stable. As a little kid I missed out on all the "crap" and only saw the good. So to me the 90's were this lovely thing that got stepped on by the 00's.

You are more prone to dislike the decade you were a teenager/young adult in.

The 90's were a time where everyone looked back and forward and not so much in the now, like you said. But that isn't bad. When there isn't a crisis or imminent threat that's just a thing that happens. We just haven't seen a period like that in so long we forgot what it looked like. Like a teen or young adult, we had the time and freedom to look around and figure out who we were in relative safety. ( Though like a teen/YA we were somewhat insufferable because of it.)

So the 90's are really this special, maybe once in a lifetime thing, that you were fortunate enough to live in.

I went through primary school in the 90s. I experienced being a kid. Getting into Pokemon. And getting my heart broken.

So...the 90's sucked because there was little to no war-like things going on? Oh yeah, a decade must be on war and stuff like that in order to be awesome. Peace is for pussies!

As I grow up in the 90s (born 92), I find that time of my life to be very peaceful. There were no big war that loomed all over ya ( Never heard of the Balkans war when I grew up) untill 9/11 came and throw a monkeywrench into that.

Casual Shinji:
The 90's is when anime peaked - It slowly tilted downhill come the new millenium.

The 90's were when anime was last pandering to American audiences, with lots of gun violence and macho action heroes, while after the American anime fad died, they returned to their own Japanese aesthatics.

Come to think of it, the '90s never quite ended.

Man, that's actually depressing.

Wut? The '90s suck? Who said that? Are you guys outta your mind?

This era sucks. Look at the impossibly crappy, soulless movies.
The '90s were awesome.

Entitled:

Casual Shinji:
The 90's is when anime peaked - It slowly tilted downhill come the new millenium.

The 90's were when anime was last pandering to American audiences, with lots of gun violence and macho action heroes, while after the American anime fad died, they returned to their own Japanese aesthatics.

What macho action heroes were those? I think you're confusing the 90's with the 80's.

And quite honestly, I'd rather have that kind of pandering than the teenage, fanservice, quirky-for-the-sake-of-quirky pandering anime consists of today.

The 90s were awesome because it had the explosion of personal tech and the information age. Anyone involved in that (You mentioned you were a forum runner when batman and robin launched...) knows that *that* was where the biggest changes were.

The real thing is that there isn't a bad guy, so to speak, so it's somewhat forgettable to people who look for that, but the reality is that by and large people were working to fix general problems, because, really, we'd conquered all the big stuff. At the moment, I feel the big theme is conquering religion on a global scale, but once that's over (and who knows how long that'll take, but the fight goes well, I suppose), that general progress is what we'll get back to. I was born in '89, and I work in cybernetics, so I feel I still embody that (I've had my own computer since I was four, and a netizen since I was six, the internet shaped me into who I am today). Things like automation, wearables, and the amount of control that a person has over their own space thanks to technology... the only problem in that, I suppose, is that people were afraid of it instead of embracing it.

Just because the 1990's was not a presentism decade it does not mean that the 1990's was not aware of itself. In fact the 1990's was not the end of a century, but of a milenia. 1990's reverence of it's past is a rare thing. Look at this way: the positivism that dominated the late nineteenth century and yearly twentieth century died and historical theories of postmodernism gained more and more adepts, the 1990's could not be so self indulgent as the previous decades.

Another way to look at what makes the 1990's special to this communit to is that the home console became a big thing during the 1990's and pc gaming walked big steps during this period. The special effect industry grew also thanks to CGI. Now one thing really sucked in the 1990's: hero comics in general.

I am probably older than a lot of people on this site (being in my middle 40's), but for me, the 90's were about smugness and apathy at the start. "We Won the Cold War! We're #1!: And then towards the middle of the Decade, we started to become the target of Domestic and Foreign terrorism, what with the Bombing of the Alfred P. Murraugh Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the first bombing of the World Trade Center by a Fuel Oil Bomb and the resulting suspicion of and backlash against militias, and later, foreigners because of the World Trade Center Bombing. It sort of defined for me that the next threat to the US would not come from any nation, but by small groups or individuals.

But even though these things happened, the idea that no one could really affect the US in the same way that other countries were also experiencing terrorism made us complacent and probably led to even greater shock in 9/11.

I wasn't big into music in the 90's, at least, not like I was in the 80's, And yeah, I did watch "after school" and "Saturday Morning" cartoons still, when I could (I was working at the time, so the whole "not having much time" was a thing for me, then. I did get my first computer in 1991, and played a metric ton of really good games: Civilization, Civ 2, Command and Conquer, Taskmaker (the first game I ever owned for the computer), The Exile Series (the originals, that is), Baldur's Gate and Tales of the Sword Coast, the SSI Gold Box Games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds and Secret of the Silver Blades, and then, Pools of Radiance). Dark Queen of Krynn, Crystal Quest, Burning Monkey Solitaire, Sim City 2... well, you get the idea.

Did Bob just... actually make an episode about the big picture? What happened to nostalgic retrospectives about obscure eighties children's cartoons? Things are starting to get a bit relevant around here...

hmm...I agree with bob. Looking back the 90s did seem vacuous to me.

So, the 90's didn't suck, so much as they were "meh", unless you were Black and can fondly remember 90's R&B before it was appropriated by man-children like Chris Brown and a certain Canadian that shall go unnamed.

LadyRhian:
I am probably older than a lot of people on this site (being in my middle 40's), but for me, the 90's were about smugness and apathy at the start. "We Won the Cold War! We're #1!: And then towards the middle of the Decade, we started to become the target of Domestic and Foreign terrorism, what with the Bombing of the Alfred P. Murraugh Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the first bombing of the World Trade Center by a Fuel Oil Bomb and the resulting suspicion of and backlash against militias, and later, foreigners because of the World Trade Center Bombing. It sort of defined for me that the next threat to the US would not come from any nation, but by small groups or individuals.

But even though these things happened, the idea that no one could really affect the US in the same way that other countries were also experiencing terrorism made us complacent and probably led to even greater shock in 9/11.

I wasn't big into music in the 90's, at least, not like I was in the 80's, And yeah, I did watch "after school" and "Saturday Morning" cartoons still, when I could (I was working at the time, so the whole "not having much time" was a thing for me, then. I did get my first computer in 1991, and played a metric ton of really good games: Civilization, Civ 2, Command and Conquer, Taskmaker (the first game I ever owned for the computer), The Exile Series (the originals, that is), Baldur's Gate and Tales of the Sword Coast, the SSI Gold Box Games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds and Secret of the Silver Blades, and then, Pools of Radiance). Dark Queen of Krynn, Crystal Quest, Burning Monkey Solitaire, Sim City 2... well, you get the idea.

39 here so i know what you mean. people born later will never really grasp what it was like half expecting at any time for soviet nukes to land or to turn on one of your 3 tv channels and discover the russians had crossed the border into west germany and then in an instant it was over, the berlin wall come down and the whole world changed. for a brief moment there was nothing but joy around the world and hope for the future.

the rest of the decade lost that hope extremely fast as a "now what do we do?" hang over hit the world. weirdly people are more scared now of the world from disease to terrorists than they were during the 80's with the cold war threat

ha someone else who loved the ssi gold box games i like you :D

"We are the middle children of history. We have no place or purpose. We have no great war, no great depression. Our war is a spiritual war. Our depression is our lives."
- Tyler Durden, Fight Club, 1999

Casual Shinji:

Anoni Mus:

Casual Shinji:
The 90's is when anime peaked - It slowly tilted downhill come the new millenium.

I remember quite loving the 90's. Looking back at it most of it was superficial as hell, but then I was a teenager so I didn't notice most of it. Except for Power Rangers. I never got the popularity of that show and I was it's target audience.

Bullshit, give me a list of 90's great animes and I'll double that list of animes from the 00's.

Did I say all anime from the 00's sucked? No. But on a whole the medium slumped into complacency with the turn of the century.

You said the 90's where better than 00's (speaking only about anime), and I said it isn't true. Just that.

I experienced most of the nineties as a sort of never-ending Saturday morning cartoon run. School was fun, people were interesting, leisure was easily renewable, my sense of purpose was clear...

The same applies for the 2010s, insofar, but I'd say the feeling's been dulled considerably. I'm less living than I'm going through the motions. I can't find things that amuse or tantalize me as much as I remember being able to. Everywhere I look, there's reminders of corruption and creeping social decay. It's easy to sort of steel yourself against it all, but there's still times when I look through Retrojunk or Dinosaur Dracula and really, honestly wish I could turn the clock back.

I loved the nineties. I might have been born in 1983, I wasn't really a conscious individual until 1990.

Above all, I miss my old metabolism. What I wouldn't give to be able to go on a Domino's Pizza dough binge again...

I guess I can't comment on this decade as I was still young and was a teenager in the "noughties" as I result I don't rember much of the pop culture. Also I was a bit behind, I didn't have game console for years and when I first did it was by Texas Instruments and the only playable game was a port of Space Invaders. Then it was a Sega Master System someone threw out and then a Sega Mega-drive/Genesis before finally getting a PlayStation and Crash Bandicoot.

Even then I was quite preoccupied with the previous decades particularly the 70s and 80s in terms of film and music. So maybe the 90s sucked or perhaps I just wasn't really part of it...

Sorry, Bob. 90's Transformers (read: Beast Wars) > 80's Transformers. Simple fact.

"Unwatchable" is a term thrown around too much, these days; Reality Bites is awesome when you're on an insomnia trip.

Being born in the early nineties, the decade to me will always be about a gradual shift to calm. the gulf war was ending, Clinton was picking the pieces of a president who had no business calling what he did anywhere even near the word decent (let alone good), tech was raising in particular home internet access, and there was a gradual shift from the hip hop wars and left over moodiness of grunge (which even had Staley and Cobain not OD'd/painted a wall with their brains would have died anyway because of the shift to calm) to relaxing calm and eventual excitement of a new millennium that was 90spop and easy going soft rock. Cartoons went from dark to light (whether for the better or not I dont know) and the whole thing was just a cruise into the 2000s and beyond.

and I dont see the problem with that. War was (and is) a bad theme since WW2 ended and Korea was fought to a standstill, with every war after that the US at last fought in not being clear cut and a feel good after, the partying of the 20s led to the depression of the 30s, and do we really need to go back to the 50s ideal of what a perfect family is with how much bob and everyone else complains about twilight and the ideas it promotes of women being subservant and reliant on a man. the 60s was nice to blow off steam but over all everyone needed to get back to work so tehy could keep the ideals the preached going and not just die as the suits took power and phased them out. the 70s were the 70s I guess (my weakest area of us history culturally), and the 80s where just a weird time where men could cross dress and prance about and not be called gay, the mess that would become reaganomics taking hold, the final throw of the gloves to communism and finally ending with a malaise that would affect the early 90s through grunge and emerging hiphop.

and honestly since the 90s it hasnt been great. the 2000s brought back the idea that evil is still out there, only know they just dont care as much and will fly a plane into a building, a third (fifth if you wnat to be technical I guess) global war though no one wants to acknowledge it as that, disaster after disaster after disaster from nature telling humans you done goofed and i've had enough, and a global economic meltdown because the guy who took over after clinton was a fucking idiot and just let it happen. so far all the 2010s has had to offer was a clawing out of recession with constant fear of a double dip, a union that was to be praised as the strongest economic power since the raise of the US in tatters and ready to completely implode on itself, and a desire to go back to the simpler times of the 90s in most all aspects with an insuffereable youth population who would rather bitch than actually make the change.

so was it the best generation, no, but its definitely not the worst, and over all it was a decent time to grow up in, since you got the reflection of the time before you and excitement and open minded to possibilities (that would be cut short by 9/11 and the market collapse).

What I remember most about the 90's was disaffected-ness. That was what grunge was about, that was what Reality Bites was about, that was what DARIA was about. Dissatisfaction with the establishment (cultural, political, whatever) and having no real recourse other than to say "screw that". It was just as important that hating the boy bands existed as did the boy bands themselves. It was a decade without the overwhelming external conflicts where we had a moment to reflect on ourselves and didn't like what we saw. But we didn't have a better alternative in mind. It was a decade about being pissed off and not having an idea of what to do with that anger. A lot of the result was introversion, apathy, and detachment from a world that we felt like we had no ability to change. Despite "winning" the cold war, the world didn't get better. Despite the excesses of the 80's, we weren't all wealthy and happy. The party had to end sometime. The 90's were a decade of "screw that".

Comparatively, I would describe the 00's as being centered around fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of economic collapse, fear of not economic recovery, fear of socialism, racial fear, sexual fear, sexuality fear. It was a decade of people ruled by their fears.

I sum up what I remember (culturally) about the 90s in a few words:
-Commodified, Corporate, Cynical

I was in grade school for most of the 90s (nearly all of it), but I remember being exposed to a lot of marketing schemes, office humor, and cynical backlash that predates the current "hipster cynic movement"*.

(*probably because the hipsters who had a voice also had a medium, like Kevin Smith and Scott Adams, while the rest of us...well, the Internet didn't really take off until the late 90s and early 2000s)

Where the 80s was corny, weird and genuinely avante-garde in its approach (look at all the geek and nerd culture on display!), the 90s was more irritating and often trying to imitate it.

So a lot of what I recall from culture in general was media-centric, disingenuous, and the responses cynical (at least that explains how Seinfeld remained on air as long as it did).

And there was a good deal of that in gaming too (who remembers all the ridiculous marketing campaigns and gimmicks? Be honest here. Bubsy? Sega-CD? Virtual Boy?), but we are awfully selective in remembering the great stuff because...well, it was a time of exploration and development within the field. Spurred on by exponentially growing processing power at that.

But for every truly awesome game, there was a wave of shovelware or some other crap born in a marketing meeting, and it didn't really die out either.

90's had some good music. There was Nirvana and R.E.M.

80's music was good too I guess. There was MJ and this wonderful masterpiece
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

And you cannot bring up nostalgic 90's kids shows without adding in Nickelodeon. It's illegal or something.

Transitional is a good term for the 90s. It was very much a decade focused on brining closer to the past and getting ready to break into the next 1000 years. I remember it strongly for it's love of multimedia as well as the mainstream, not rebellious, acceptance of ethical differences.

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