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Nerdstalgia: The ’90s, Revisited in a Microsoft Ad

Microsoft is trying to get the message out that Internet Explorer’s changed and isn’t the same browser it used to be, and let me just say here that I use a Mac so I don’t have any stake in using IE because I can’t, not in OS X, anyway. But the campaign to sell you on maybe ditching Firefox or Chrome to come back to IE includes this video:


And that’s a cavalcade of memories for those of you who grew up in the ’90s: the snap bracelets, the modems, the floppy disks, fanny packs, Oregon Trail, Tamagotchis, cassettes, Reebox pumps, chain wallets, pogs… seems like yesterday and a century ago at the same time.

But you can say that about any era. I didn’t grow up in the ’90s — obviously, I remember them, just not from a kid’s perspective — but I could rattle off the same kind of things from the era in which I came of age. (No, I won’t say when that was. But “a century ago” seems more accurate every day) So I’ll leave it to those of you who remember the decade not, as I do, as a blur of jobs and bills and hospitals and moves around the country but as the good old days to decide whether Microsoft nailed it or not. What defines the ’90s for you? Tell us in the comments.

HT: Elie Ayrouth of FoodBeast

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  1. N Carnino says:

    IE is the Shannon Doherty of the 90’s. Moderately attractive and interesting in the early 90’s. Annoying bitch in the late 90’s, and completely irrelevant today. Congratulations on all your success Microsoft!

  2. Hermitboy says:

    IE crashes all the time for me. I only use it when I’m going on sites I don’t want in my history for my SO to see. I’ll be in the middle of an e-mail correspondence on a hookup site and it’ll crash out of nowhere.

    • Joshi38 says:

      Forgetting for a moment your purpose for using IE, you do know that pretty much all browsers have some form of incognito mode right? No History, no cache, no saved data, no reason to use IE.

  3. I was 10 when the 90s started and 20 when they ended, so I’ve always considered myself a “child of the 90s” but almost none of that applied to me. I was too old for most of that stuff by the time it became popular and the things I did participate in (slap bracelets, Oregon Trail, Hungry Hungry Hippos) I always associated with elementary school and the 80s (let’s face it, 1991 was still very much the 80s!) Now I don’t know where I belong. Thanks a lot Microsoft!

  4. Jamie says:

    Trade out hungry hungry hippos for elefun and a skip-it. Then that commercial would have wrapped up my childhood perfectly.

  5. Jonathan Choate says:

    Even knowing it was nostalgia marketing going in, I smiled at the nostalgia it evoked in me, since I was a teen in the nineties. For a brief moment at the end I felt a little bad for not using IE, but then I thought about it, and even in the nineties I would only use IE for stuff Netscape Navigator had problems with, because a page was made for an IE browser. I’m going to say this is built to inspire a little false nostalgia in people who used IE at all. For now I’m going to keep using Chrome.

  6. Cate Amos says:

    Loved the trip down memory lane, but there’s no way I’d go back to Exploder.

  7. bastien says:


    But yeah no, I grew up, too, that’s why I use Firefox.

  8. monica says:

    Now all the 22 year olds can stop telling me they’re old.

  9. Jake says:

    I’m generation Y?

  10. That vid makes me want to find my old pogs, not really try a new IE.

  11. Joshi38 says:

    Ah the nostalgia. Almost makes me want to use IE… almost.

  12. I don’t think the year that something was released is as important as how popular it was when you were a kid. Hungry Hungry Hippos were around when I was a kid, too, but it was more of a standard part of childhood later than that. Pogs date back to the 60s in Hawaii, I believe. To me, it’s what was relevant to you at a given time, not as much when it first came out. But your mileage may vary….

  13. Tom Steele says:

    Hungry Hungry Hippos was invented in 1967 according to wikipedia.

  14. Vincent says:

    Maybe I’m mixing up my decades or maybe I just think too highly of my own decade (the 80s) but aren’t some of the items pictured from the 80s? Hungry Hippos and Chain Wallets?

  15. Tom Steele says:

    This commercial makes me want to use Netscape.

  16. Richard says:

    I just nostalgied all over myself.

  17. Molly says:

    I cannot say that nostalgic images from my childhood make me want to go back to using IE. Sure, I remember partaking in most of those activities, but I still fail to see how that is supposed to make me convinced that IE is no longer going to crash all the time like it did when I last used it. There really was not much of a point to that commercial, in my opinion, at least.