Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at a decade defined by its extremes. Rap versus grunge; mullets versus pixies; Saved by the Bell versus NYPD Blue – the 1990s had it all, and then some. Every other week I’ll be reminiscing about some facet of the 1990s, potentially drowning in some ill-forgotten nostalgia despite my best efforts otherwise. Serving as inspiration is an utterly ridiculous but nonetheless intriguing list created by Huffington Post — 1990 Things from the 90s to End the Nostalgia Once and for All – and I’ll be using a random number generator to pick each week’s “topic.” So don’t have a cow, man, if I ask you to talk to the hand while take this sweet ride through the 90s. Word to your mother.
Week 20: HuffPost list #1931 – Password Journal
To the Internet!
Nope, never heard of it.
Lest you think I’d end things here (hahahahahahaha), this does conjure up memories of how technology began to seep into toys during the 1990s. Tamagotchi immediately jumps to mind. Do you have what it takes to keep you little electronic pet alive? I didn’t, but I tried. Even thought I was out of your typical “toy” age by the time they hit it big, I still had to give it go. Much like with so many other things in life, I simply forgot about my Tamagotchi most of the time. Ah, well.
With kids then growing out of more traditional toys and growing up with home computers, it seemed only natural that interactivity in toy manufacturing would become a thing. Adding cheap electronic to your whatsahoozit sometimes led to big bucks. Apparently, or so the Internet tells me, these voice-recognition password journals were pretty popular once upon a time, and you can still buy them today. As pre-teen who had one of those old school diaries with a lock and key, I probably would have been pretty jazzed to have had such a cool record-keeper myself.
I used to store pictures of Harrison Ford cut from the newspaper in that old diary. Shhhh. Don’t tell.
What really strikes me after watching that password journal ad is how remarkably far our tech toys have come in just 20 years. Sitting next to my keyboard is my own password journal. It’s sleek, made of glass and metal, I can store and record stuff on it in numerous ways, and it answers only to me. It is my diary, my record keeper, my own little archive. My phone can do dozens upon dozen of things that the makers of the password journal could only dream about…and that was just 20 years ago. As far as history goes, the original password journal might as well have been released yesterday.
While my cynical side definitely rolled its eyes at the original password journal – bulky, plastic, purple, voice-activated monstrosity of yesteryear presented by the cheesily-named “Girltech” – my more accepting side thinks that had it not been for the push during the 1990s to drive tech out to the masses, particularly through toys, I might not have the likes of my phone today. Perish the thought!