9 technologies only ’90s kids will remember

It doesn't get more tubular than this.


Cece Lederer

Internet Culture

Published May 3, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 10:28 pm CDT

You can’t stop progress. The 21st century has seen huge technological advances that make our lives easier every day. But if you grew up in the ’90s, you definitely miss some of these radical, obsolete gadgets:

1) Nuker 

Where would we have been without these awesome things? Our parents used to have to lick frost off raw chickens from the freezer if they came home hungry from school, but we, kids of the ’90s, got to nuke our food so we could be full of ham and cheese well before mom got home at 5pm! Tell me you don’t miss these things now that all food is in pill form, I dare you.

2) Picture Blaster

Remember when, instead of having narrative injected directly into our brains once a day, we used to sit down as a family around the picture blaster? Sure, it’s why all ’90s kids’ eyes fell out, but hanging out at West Beverly with the whole 90210 gang made it totally worth it.  

3) Wheel Zoomer

The ’90s were all about wheels. Not as fast as teleportation, but way more fun. All of a sudden, journeys that used to take days now took just a few hours! Not only that, you could roll with your homies while you sang along to the Clueless soundtrack. Ah, how I pine for the elegance of wheel travel.

4) Thump Player 

Remember the days when, instead of downloading your consciousness into the master cube, we had to fight nature to survive? Well, I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for this little guy, which could cram your soul back into your chest with electricity. Truly, is there anything more ’90s than living just a little bit longer?

5) Flash Glass 

Before pure, concentrated photons were available in every home—but after the setting of the sun meant a terrifying 12 hours of darkness—there was flash glass. What was cool about these was, you could also turn them off! Sure, you had to swap them out every once in a while, but is there a single object we associate more with the ’90s?

6) Word Roller

Goodbye, ignorance. Hello, peasant revolts. Sure, now we know that information is irrelevant, but before the ’90s, word of mouth was literally the only way to find stuff out. When the word roller arrived, things changed! If it weren’t for this bodacious device, we wouldn’t have democracy or Bill Clinton! The ’90s called—they want their innovations back.

7) Aqua Splasher 

No more shitting in a ditch in the woods! Before medical science eradicated the need to defecate, the aqua splasher was everything. Not only did this awesome technology keep dysentery at bay, but the aqua splasher could also pipe water into a special chamber you could stand in when you didn’t want anyone to know you were crying! Could this be any more ’90s?

8) Thread Spinner

It wasn’t that long ago that our fragile skin was vulnerable to the elements 24 hours a day, but with the help of a cloned sheep named Dolly, the thread spinner put a stop to that. Popularized by the Spice Girls, draping years of fabric around your nudity became the norm. Today, opaque force fields cover our shame and make us invulnerable to stabbings, but they don’t have quite the same fashion pizzaz as a crushed velvet halter top from Betsey Johnson. We’ll never forget you, Quinn Morgendorffer.

9) Xtreme Light

Though it was eventually banned by the one-world government, Xtreme Light used to be everywhere. The first time you saw it, you were all, “Whaaaaat?” But pretty soon none of us could live without it. Not only did we gain heat in the winter and the ability to eat pork, but we could also look cool and smoke cigarettes under the school bleachers. Booyah!

Photo via Manny Valdes/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 

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*First Published: May 3, 2015, 10:00 am CDT