The decade of the 90s is the time between the beginning of 1990 to the end of 1999. If you spent your childhood in this era, you have the bragging rights to call yourself as a 90’s kid. And if you are one of them, chances are that you are a bit old now too but I’d like to believe that our inner child never really went away.
As of now, a 90's kid lives in a world where most kids have no clue what a floppy disk is. If having realised that won’t make you feel old, I’m not sure what will.
From responsibilities and a lot of serious stuff we face day-to-day, it’s always good to just reminisce about the much simpler times. Let's take a stroll down the memory lane and indulge in a dose of sweet nostalgia.
Brick Games, remember that? Where you frantically push the buttons, trying to move something on a tiny black and white screen? How you press the screen to see the LCD and how the liquid beneath it reacts to the pressure – giving rainbow patterns and wondering why it's just in black and white when turned on? We used to take it everywhere, just pressing away and enjoying the same set of games repeated to make the trademark “9999 games in 1”.
TV Games, where you plug it into the CRT TV and make the Mario brothers run as fast as you can to save the princess. The gun controller that came with the game that made you feel like a hunter while being amazed at how the game knew where we were aiming.
A few luckiest kids in the block had the GameBoy in all its black & white 8-bit glory. No matter what the console was, we couldn't wait to get our hands on them, get as much as playtime, while our parents chasing us saying how it would weaken our eyes.
Weirdly Beautiful Pens and Pencils
We didn’t get to use pens until the middle of the primary school – somewhere in grade 3 or 5.
The teacher would give you the “permission” to use pens only if your handwriting is acceptable. We were super happy to graduate to pens from pencils, and it was a big deal. We adored getting weird pens, pencils and showing them off to our friends. But the pencils which you change the tip took our hearts away, even though it made our heart sink if we lose one bead.
Were you a Rotomac or Reynolds person? Those were the most popular brands for pens back then. However, later on, we got hold of ink pens and Hero ink, which made us feel like we were doing calligraphy.
How about the pens that had multiple leads in them? Not the most practical pen but with different colours, these pens had 3 – 5 of them jammed in together. I remember trying to push all of them together and write in all colours. Did you?
Sinhala Motion Picture
Good dubbing was a thing back then. Asterix (Soora Pappa), Adventures of TinTin, Dr Doo Little (Dosthara Honda Hitha), Top Cat (Pissu Poosa), The Beary Family (Walas Maama), Lucky Luke (Kawda Boy), The Adventures of Gulliver (Galiwarge Suwasariya), Kissufur (Pancha), Casper The Friendly Ghost and this list goes on.
Every day, how eager we were to get ourselves in front of the TV to make sure that we don't miss an episode of them and how distraught we were, if we miss one by any chance. The adventures, the stories, the sounds are forever engraved in our brains. Heck, I’m sure there are more than a few who can still sing the theme songs from these. "Maama Walas Maama" is playing in my head as we speak.
On the other hand, in comparison to the utterly abysmally dubbed, mega shows of today, we had a bunch of quality TV shows, like දඬුබස්නාමානය, අකාල සන්ධ්යා, ඉටි පහන්, අඹු දරුවෝ, දූ දරුවෝ, බැද්දේගෙදර. They are just a handful of that 90s teledrama we got to enjoy and stuff like Nonawaruni Mahathwaruni gave a good laugh to the whole family.
English TV Shows
In the English drama segment, we had Crash Zone, Ocean Girl, Spellbinder to name a few, enthralling us with stories of adventure. Seeing how a bunch of high-tech whiz kids got together to save Catalyst software company, exploring under the sea or even being teleported to entirely different worlds and making way back, were simply amazing.
We watched in awe as Michael Knight took down bad guys with the help of his buddy KITT in Kight Rider. It's not just entertainment, we learnt a good thing or two while watching these.
Stickers And Collectibles
We stuck small stickers shaped like squares, stars, and crescent moons everywhere to make things look beautiful. Friends would collect these for just for the sake of it and became class heroes. Our books and pencil were starry, colourful and decorated with them and we also had those temporary tattoos that come inside chewing gum wrappers.
The chocolate bars came with stickers of cricketers or pieces of pictures which you can collect and score a bouncy ball – but you have to collect all the right ones.
Mr Pop packets had these puzzle-like pieces which allow you to put together a small plane or a robot. Bragging to our friends about how many of those you have with you was the best part of the day. It was like the currency that shows off our wealth. How happy you were when you get a rare one of them or a new one that you didn't already have?
Uswatta Peppermint and Glucorasa Jujubs were fun snacks that we gobbled down any time of the day, and luckily they are still around. So is TipiTip, but it's nearly impossible to find the “hoonu beti”. There were some of us who actually believed that they are gecko-poop and thus refused to eat them.
But these sugar-coated fennel seeds and also chocolate balls – Pebbles truly made our day.
Cassettes and Floppys are now relics of bygone technology. Shoving a pen that fits the hole of the cassette and rotating until it's properly rolled to a side and repeating the process was quite fun. Or dragging the actual tape out and getting blamed was the usual conduct.
We enjoyed playing with 3V DC motors and using batteries to light up a pen torch was a highlight too. All the tech kids on the block had a whole collection of them.
Birthday cards that played birthday song as we open them were the stuff of legends. The small circuit that they had was simply a treasure to most of us.
The 90s was a happening decade for music as well. We heard music from Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Spice Girls, Savage Garden, and NSYNC, and even now, we can recite them by heart after all these years.
We didn’t have the luxury to readjust the missed focus or take a better-composed picture right away as we do now. Nowadays everyone basically has a better camera on their phones.
The cameras with photo reels was a treasure for us back then and everyone was super careful with them. And we were eagerly looking forward to getting the photos printed from a studio – it took at least a week.
More Kid Stuff
We played outside. Granted there are plenty of kids who do that even now, we distinctly remember how playing outside slowly got reduced over time. We didn’t have much in the way of other entertainment so we more or less created them on our own. We played cricked using a coconut branch as the wicket. Coconut leaf fans and coconut leaf snakes were a thing back then and kurumbatti machima will stay in our heart as a forever fond memory.
90s girls could relate to the glittery hairpins that were shaped like butterflies. Flowery frocks and topping it off with a colourful hairpin was the practice back then.
This is now more than 20 years ago, but for some of us, we will never forget these memories as they defined who we are. These are just a handful of things that we enjoyed as 90s kids. We’re sure there are loads more. So let us know your interesting memory as 90s kid down in the comments.