Growing Up in the Nineties – Part 1

Since Throwback Thursday has become such a passé thing on social media, I’ve decided to take it one step further and look back at an entire era. Yes, I’m talking about the greatest era of humanity. The time when the SEGA Genesis, X-Men: The Animated Series and techno ruled our geeky lives: the nineties. So take a walk down memory lane with me as I recall some of my fondest memories from the most bodacious, totally radical decade ever.

Power TV

Today, television is experiencing its golden age. We’re blessed with fantastic programming that puts Hollywood films to shame. Back in the nineties, though, animated series were da bomb diggity, taking all the accolades and awards as they reached new pinnacles of greatness. From Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: The Animated Series to comedies like Freakazoid! and Animaniacs, kids (and older kids) had so many quality shows to choose from and list as their favourite favourite. Lest we forget, every show also had accompanying toy lines that bankrupted our parents.

Saturday mornings were a religious experience, sitting in front of the tube and waiting for the plethora of cartoons to start. We didn’t care about game shows or talk shows, which seem to be the order of the day in 2016; we wanted Marsupilami and Transformers! Weekday afternoons were equally a treat—for those of us who escaped the clutches of after-school activities—with a variety of shows to entertain us until our parents got home and even afterwards (Power Rangers aired in the 17:00 slot if I’m not mistaken). Although, I still chuckle when I think back at the blatant rip-offs of other popular shows (cough, Street Sharks, cough) and how we fell for them just as bad.

Mandatory viewing:

BOOM, shake, shake, shake the room!

You were one of three kids in the nineties: the grunge rocker, the techno jumper, or the hip hopper. Me? I drifted between all three at some point or the other, choosing whichever jam twitched my sandal-hating feet.

MC Hammer was too cool for school—so cool that my gran never made me the Hammer pants I dreamed of wearing to the annual school disco—and techno was mandatory listening if you were a gamer playing StarCraft or Diablo. However, it was Cobain who introduced me to a whole new world of music I never knew existed. In fact, it laid a foundation for a future career in rock music journalism.

Mandatory song:

Ready, Player 1!

Finding a SEGA Genesis wrapped under the Christmas tree was every child’s dream. Your Golden China would be quickly forgotten as Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat and Streets of Rage took over your life. Heck, I remember not wanting to go on beach holidays because I’d have to leave my console behind—that’s how strong the sickness was.

If you were lucky enough to have an arcade (I’ll never forget you, Magic Company. R.I.P.) in a mall nearby, you undoubtedly spent a good chunk of your pocket money on Street Fighter 2, Double Dragon and Metal Slug. In the late nineties, I became quite the pro at Virtua Striker and won several competitions, acquiring token vouchers and cheap plush toys as prizes. Ah, the good ol’ days of in-the-flesh multiplayer gaming.

Mandatory gaming:

In part two, we’ll look at comic books, films and collecting cards in the nineties. Prepare for more nostalgia!

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