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Tell me about your pre-2005 experiences

Tintin

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I was born in 2001, so I have no real idea how cool the world was back then, I'd like y'all to share your experiences with me so I can know more
 
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AMC_Squared

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I was also born in 2001 but I still remember stuff we used to do in my old preschool. I vaguely remember them teaching us how to use Microsoft 3D Movie Maker on the boxy desktop computers and I remember that I had an autistic friend named Oscar that I used to hang out with in that class.
 
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Plants

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Born in 93.

In 98 I got my first motorcycle a little Honda XR50. Later that day I was full Superman over the handlebars and equally head over heels in love with riding. You'd catch me hooning around the ditches behind my parents property. I was the reason the "No Motor Vehicles" signs were put up. I guess that was just one of many sins of the slow descent into the sterilization and coddling of youth.

I remember The Dirt Mound that was me and my friends favorite spot to play at. We'd play ball tag around there (you get hit with the ball, you're it) and we'd also play Dirt Clod Wars. Where two people were on The Dirt Mound throwing dirt clods at people riding their motorcycles and go karts around The Mound. Great fun.

I somehow avoided turning into one of the first Incels even though my parents did their best to turn me into one by putting a iMac G3 (orange) in my bedroom at age 10. Giving me unsupervised internet access at that age was one of the dumbest things they could have possibly done and somehow I ended up okay. I reckon it was being given complete freedom of movement that kept me on the middle path. Sure it's fun to watch gore and porn at 12 alone in your room (is it really though, i should not be as well adjusted as I am today) but it's even more fun to be a little hooligan throwing snowballs and firecrackers at cars from the ditches.

School was weird and lame but that's because I was stuck in a stupid private Christian school. At least the academic education was okay and luckily I didn't become fully religious (i practice spirituality in my own deeply personal way) but man that was a bit odd.

Growing up without the internet in my pocket was wonderful. Kids these days just have so many people yelling at them all the time. And by people I mean advertisers. It's sickening.

Bit of a ramble now so I'll just end my post here. But ask away if you want.
 
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Cecil

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In those days, internet was a thing that wasn't "always on", but instead a very dedicated focus that didn't passively stay on. It required forsaking your phone line and a very dedicated purpose. You couldn't just drift about because things weren't so interwoven as they are now. You had to have a purpose or you wouldn't get anywhere.

That said, the other component, and this is huge, is something most Americans cannot imagine- accepting credit cards was not universal at businesses. It was not required and very normal to see companies, especially small business, dealing in cash only. Business in general was conducted face to face, and eBay was a rather rare exception to the rule. Things were done in person. Malls were vibrantly packed with patrons and mallrats hung about to socialize. People also relied on phone books to reach their neighbors. In general, everyone was more connected to their local community because long-distance calls were expensive and the internet was essentially good for emailing and small diversions, not much else unless it was your business to be online.

I recall a few notable things being very strong in the 90s-
  • Pokemon
  • Karate
  • Beanie Babies
  • Burger King
  • Beepers
Of course, these are just my anecdotal memories. Selective, sparse, and shared as they came to me. Forgive my less than eloquent prose, this was something I wrote as it came, not with much premeditation.
 
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wakarimasenlol

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Some pre-2005 experiences of mine:
- Attempting to play the card games that came with Windows and failing because I didn't care to understand the rules even after reading the help documentation. This was for Hearts and Freecell.
- Playing Spider Solitaire because the rules were simple enough that I could understand them.
- Using Paint to make up my own difficulty selector dialog box based on the Windows XP Spider Solitaire dialog box. I intentionally misspelled text describing the difficulties, placed custom buttons, and changed the colour of the radio button selector. I put a lot of effort to make it look as much like the real thing as possible with Paint's primitive ways of manipulating images. Lots of select -> ctrl click and drag to duplicate existing parts of the image and painstakingly getting the font and size right for the text.
- Using PowerPoint to make presentations about inane crap. One was a catalogue of different kinds of shit including "brown trout", which are turds so big that you can't flush them, or flaming shit in a bag that is left on someone's doorstep. Another presentation was made after I had gone on the internet and discovered the concept of cats shooting laser beams out of their eyes. In that presentation, I took a picture of a really fat cat and made it orbit the Earth in a 3D way by using animations to move it from one side of the screen to the other (going behind the Earth and shrinking as it did) then back to the first side (going in front of the Earth and growing as it did).

I wish I still had all of these files that I made.
 
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Linkat

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I feel making comments from the perspective of a very young child is always going to be somewhat dubious. It is from the perspective of a person with a fairly limited view of the world. The earliest memories I do have date back to age 2 in 2001. Of course I wouldn't say I really remember 2001 as the memories I do have are mere blips. Tiny snapshots of that time. Outside of what I believe is a small glimpse of September 11th I wasn't really culturally engaged. I have a few, more, shall I say real memories of 2002 which at least had emotion attached to them but outside of watching the powerpuff girls movie with my sister in the cinema there was still not that much cultural engagement. Just typical kid stuff and walking to the store in the rain. 2003 for me is where things start to get clearer in so far as I started having more cultural engagement. It was also when I first entered primary school as that is the usual starting age here in Britain. That being said even in these almost dream like snapshots I can already notice some immediate differences. Most obviously the technology I was using. I had a windows 98 PC and was primarily reliant on the VHS for entertainment. Most of my entertainment came from the television. I can recall the release of various films like finding Nemo and Shrek 2 but stuff like that is only useful if you are involved in a really cringey clout game. But one of the most immediate things I can tell you was different back then was the lack of on tap entertainment. I was in the supermarket the other day and recalled seeing a child around the age of 2 or 3 in a pram and using a smartphone to watch some preschooler cartoon. That was the one major difference back then. On tap entertainment was not a thing. If you went to the supermarket there would be no entertainment for kids or really anyone. You had to be patient or risk causing a scene. This as far as I'm concerned was a good thing because it allowed you to be able to tolerate sitting in silence. The other major difference was the relationship with the internet. Back then it was this borderline magical thing with limitless potential. I remember there being talks of everything being online in the future but it always seemed a long way away. Now that future is here and well... I hate it. Either way people did have higher attention spans back then. That is one thing I am almost certain of. Even the kids had higher attention spans. I would choose to live back then any day over today's modern hellscape.
 
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Kolph

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Nothing happened before 2005. You know nothing.
 
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Rikstah

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Welcome abord!

Pre 2001 had an optimism about it. Computer tech and the net were new and the anticipaton of the future was exciting. The Y2K aesthetic that you see referenced today was very much our idea of the future. Our version of the future was nothing like what we got clearly. The country wasn't so polarized as it is today and the world seemed a lot bigger then. For the first time in chat rooms on places like eWorld and AOL we were talking to people on the other side of the globe. Free to be yourself because you were able to be truly anonymous. School life didn't follow you home unless you wanted it to. Being connected was something you chose to do. We talked more on the phone with friends. I can remember having hours long converstations with people about nothing. There were payphones everywhere so you didn't need a cell phone. If you had a cellphone you would turn it off most of the time unless you were expecting a call. It was a good time to experience. Everything seemed brighter compared to now. We thought y2k meant the future would arrive fast. I think being in high school in the late 90s to 2000 was the perfect time. If only things stayed on course.

9/11 wasn't even the turning point really. People came together at that time. People were nicer and everyone was patriotic. There were flags EVERYWHERE. Based on how the world felt in 2002....I really don't know how we ended up in this dystopian nightmare. We had problems back then, but they seemed resolvable.

I think smart phones really started the downward spiral. The death of pay phones meant that you were forced to carry your always on device. Then the second was the loss of being just a screen name on the net. Now people were using real names and social media. The internet went from exploring the world to chatting with people sitting next to you, then to showing everyone how great you are.

Shame.
You captured how I feel about the early to mid 2000s brilliantly. Thank you!
 
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Cinderpeach

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People were nicer and everyone was patriotic. There were flags EVERYWHERE.
That's the thing, when I go on the wayback machine or any Geocities archive, I find a lot of sites with blinkies, stamps and bumper stickers that are very patriotic RIGHT ON THE FRONT PAGE, some even have whole shrine pages dedicated to just the USA, and how great it is to be an American. Today, JUST having a large America flag in the background of a video or pic is enough for people to label you as a clown.
Strange how times have changed, I miss that innocent of the old web
IIRC, I watched a video on earlier Tumblr culture, there was a time there where people were also patriotic and getting hyped for holidays like 4th July, and reblogging the song "America, Fuck YEAH", which is just baffling to think about now...
 
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zalaz alaza

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pre 9/11/2001 was a different world, but not more patriotic. fewer flags as far as i can remember. all the flags started after that.

lots of shit was really the same. watch PCU for accurate depiction of political/social dialogue. its honestly amazing how much the same it is. lived through that in college.

the big difference that i can remember is that there was positive energy. SOME stuff that happened was agreed upon as good and wasnt immediately torn down. The first cool thing i remember being talked down was actually the internet itself, lots of "scientists" claiming "it provides a solution that has no problem".

memes were not as much of an issue then thats for sure. donno if i prefer such rapid social induction or the slower pace of my youth though. both have benefits.

lots more dirtbikes back then, that was cool.
 
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Radical

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That said, the other component, and this is huge, is something most Americans cannot imagine- accepting credit cards was not universal at businesses. It was not required and very normal to see companies, especially small business, dealing in cash only. Business in general was conducted face to face, and eBay was a rather rare exception to the rule.
I recall mailing out money orders to buy Magic: The Gathering cards over ebay as a teenager in the late 90s. You had to go out and buy this physical piece of paper, mail it to the seller, and then wait for them to mail you your purchase.
 
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estella

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I was born in 2001, so I have no real idea how cool the world was back then, I'd like y'all to share your experiences with me so I can know more
There's a Disney Channel movie called Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century that came out in 1999. Everything before 2005 was like that, basically.
 
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Cecil

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There's a Disney Channel movie called Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century that came out in 1999. Everything before 2005 was like that, basically.
Won't you be my supernova girl?
 
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Talon

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I was 17 when 9/11 happened so I have a pretty good grasp on what the world was like before then. Columbine was really what set off the push for mass surveillance under the premise of safety and the development of different technologies in order to facilitate that, 9/11 was what officially sealed the deal everywhere. We spent a lot more time outdoors riding our bikes and exploring our neighborhoods, going to see local bands play at seedy little venues without parents and not being IDed to buy alcohol if the right bartenders were working, we smoked cigarettes underage and indoors, we also liked going to the mall to hang out and shop(lift). Most of us didn't have a phone strapped to us 24/7 so stopping by a friend or family member's house unexpectedly was much more common. Really the biggest difference between then and now was the freedom of knowing you could do something completely stupid, maybe even incredibly dangerous, and it likely wouldn't end up on the internet somewhere.
 
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blondlot

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I was born December 1980, so the parts of the 80s I *think* I remember are pretty late in the decade and sorta blend in with the early 90s. We were in the Midwest and didn't have a ton of money either, so I think we were kind of priced out of actually living in the 80s; it was more like living in a more run-down version of the 70s with different music on the radio (also the same music from before. And, thanks to syndication, the same tv too. I think the rapidly expanding landfill media space + being lower class in the era make up the genetics of of h-pop). IMO people in my age cohort who have these vital, unique 80s memories- the kind the Ready Player One guy can't stop stroking it over- were middle class or higher.

By the mid 90s my mom had started making real money and I was entering adolescence so that's where my nostalgia really starts. It felt like the world was opening up and that End of History neolib human project was actually working. The future felt really limitless, and the present seemed like a safe mystery- like we were all in this big, fun line for a Disney ride called The Future and were having a good time distracting ourselves checking out cable tv, weird crap on this new internet thing, music, and spectacle-based Hollywood events. At the same time everyone was really horny for conspiracy theory media and millennialism, so obviously we were also subconsciously worried about what we were going to experience when were got to the head of the line.

Then Bush won and everything felt kind of shitty all at once. Bill Clinton definitely represented the previous era and its optimism, earned or not, and removing him without selecting Gore to replace just made everyone feel like something was over. Then 9/11 finished what Bush's appointment started, shattering the West's sense of security and thereby faith in the world-colonizing human project, and sowed the seeds for where we're at today, since they're still trying to do it, but no one trusts it anymore and have broken off into increasingly closed-off tribes. Media really started shitting the bed too and felt tacky and lame. 1999's The Matrix vs 2003 Matrix Revolutions is a great contrast; the first movie was a big, bombastic experience that oozed style and craft and had this tight, effective story that propelled the viewer through a terrific experience and the sequel felt like a couple hours of really jittery, expensive video game cutscenes. The real world and the virtual media world felt like a complete mess, and the fungal growth we call the present has grown out of the center of it.
 
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shroomish

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I remember not having access to a computer until 2002, but I remember the years 1998-2001. I hung out a lot with my sister and some neighborhood kids. I used my imagination a lot as a kid and did a lot of fun things with my sister. We liked to do random projects just for the fun of it. We would collect things, anything from Pokemon cards to rocks. We would do random dumb things, like create a "pillow factory" out of different fabrics we found for sale at the craft store. I was really obsessed with the Lion King and I remember being fascinated by the idea of the Internet, sites like Fox Kids and Neopets. I don't think it's any better than today except for I think adults did talk to each other more without a huge suspicion. I was a very shy kid so I don't know if I would have liked being much older. I think that people are a lot less judgmental in a few different ways now, grass is always greener, and in general I think that you can have deeper relationships with people now if you work on it.
 

Jessica3cho

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The year is 1999. My dad brings home a big ass, clunky yellowish box with a screen in it. He plugs a different shaped yellowish box with no screen into it. He hits a button. A black screen with 'Windows 95' was displayed for a bit before a blue background with grey boxes all over it popped into place. Another button and and there's a large whirring and the grinding of gears as a slot on the screenless box opens. My dad drops a CD into it. Button. Whirring and gears. He clicks some stuff with a wired contraption. Then he plugs in what looks to be an arcade joystick with buttons on it. Next thing I know, I'm using that stick to fly an F-16 fighter jet and blow other fighter jets out of the sky. I blow up. I'm dead. The dude from Alien goes "GAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER" in terrible audio quality.

1 year later...
I get on the computer. My dad walks over to a device and plugs it into the computer. He clicks some stuff. LOUD BEEPING. BEEPING OF ALL KINDS. IT FEELS LIKE IT GOES ON FOREVER. MY 6 YEAR OLD EARS HURT. Then my dad tells me, "This is the internet." He then proceeds to show me how to use email through a service called 'Yahoo!'.
 
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Kameraad

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Dude, i can't, i was 3 years old in 2005, can you be more flexible and give me the opportunity to talk about the pre 2010's at least :AquaCry:
 
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punishedgnome

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I was born in 1984. I turned 21 in 2005. I think this story about when I was in high school best relates the difference between pre-2005 and now. I remember going to my friend's house and his mom answered the door. She said he had gone to walk to the store, a good 20-30 minute walk from where I was living. So I went to catch up to him, I saw him maybe half a kilometre ahead of me. I sang out, but he couldn't hear me. We were almost to the store by the time I caught up with him. That whole type of situation was typical and is practically impossible nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I miss situations like I'm describing here where you just have to find people and catch up to them or whatever. Just imagine life today if you weren't in constant contact with all your friends and family. No sending a quick text. You could only talk to someone if your were with them or if you were both at home and could answer the phone or talk on something like MSN or email.

Another good one: I remember leaving school to get lunch at a gas station, and we had no idea the September 11th attacks happened until we got back to school nearly an hour later. Our lunch time started at I think 11:15 or 11:30, and the first attack did not happen until after 10:00 local time, so we had no idea what was going on until almost two hours after the first tower was hit. Just the speed of information in general was a lot slower, so it took maybe a half hour or more for word of what happened to get to our local news stations, and then when it did reach the local media and the little local TV station started playing the now infamous footage on an endless loop, we were out on a walking trail eating gas station hotdogs with no way to communicate with anyone who wasn't in the immediate vicinity. If that were today, I bet we would have know a plane flew into the World Trade Centre within 10 minutes.
 
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?!MemoryHead!?

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It's not something that can be put into words, really. People were pretty normal. Lived normal lives, ate normal food. Media was passive

the air was different even. The sun felt different, shit was more innocent. Morals existed

idk, if you weren't there, you won't get it
 
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