The 1980s was radical. That said I know it from movies, TV, and my mother’s VHS addiction. You can tell a lot about a time period from watching recorded television blocks with commercials left in. The 90s though, I lived through that one. So I never really appreciated what exactly the 90s was. Instead of memes we had commercials. Seriously parodying company slogans was everywhere. I must have said “You could’ve had a V8” a million times when you this day I have never cracked a can of that stuff. The shared mockery of our consumer culture was what unified us. The only thing cooler than having a pair of Moon Shoes was dropping a sick Moon Shoes joke when playing some janky PlayStation 1 game.
The 90s was the beginning of the American zeitgeist becoming openly aggressive to the consumerism we started off in the 60s. So obviously when the corporations tried to capitalize on that rebellious edge we just took the piss out of them. I never knew anyone in the 90s who bought into that stuff. Atleast that’s what I thought. Looking back we all loved it. Neon colors windbreakers, backpack with the window, and some type of Koosh, Hacky Shack, or Silly Slammer was your daily go to. Just unlike the 80s, the school yard was split. Nintendo vs Sega, DC vs Marvel, fruit candy vs chocolate little arguments everywhere. Our distrust and frustration for being sold too seemingly only applied to complies we didn’t like and the people who liked them.
I think that’s why 90s nostalgia never really catches on. Instead you see products and brands pushing their 90s image again. It’s a decade that will exist segmented. Honestly I often see the different parts like cartoons or toys tossed in with 80s compilations. As much as I want to say the 90s were special they really were just the second half of the 80s. Not surprising when you consider the following.
Everything in first half tended to be from the 80s. Ghostbusters, Nintendo, He-man,Gi Joe, Transformers, and you get it. The biggest sellers were previously established. Then you have the second half of the 90s. 3D video games, internet surfing, DVDs, and everything that waited for the 2000s to really take off. The 90s was the Empire Strikes Back. Made better because of the 80s, ultimately just around to prepare us for the 2000s, but damn good on it’s own. I just tend to let them mix in with either decade. Like how I say Star Wars to mean all of it. I’m more fond of just saying retro to mean 80s/90s largely because I was to young to know the difference. Ultimately it comes down to are you nostalgic for your childhood or a by gone time. I rarely miss my childhood. I’m still in it. Mario, Sonic comics, candy for dinner, and well you’ve seen the site. It’s not disingenuous to feel fondly for a time long past. I mean what the hell else do you call a Renaissance Faire?
So maybe if ACL ever takes off we can do our own PAX, but do it in an abandoned mall. Set it up like a Retrossance Faire. Give the 90s the credit it deserves and stop excluding from the 80s nostalgia. If not then you risk losing it forever. So consider Mario without Mario World. That’s a world without the 90s. Not terrible, but incomplete.