If you grew up in the 80s, chances are you’re well acquainted with the Walkman. For those who didn’t, it was a portable music player that played cassettes. It was one of the first devices to allow people to listen to music on the go, so the term “Walkman” soon became synonymous with being able to listen to music anywhere.


Pagers, a much simpler technology than today’s cell phones, allowed people to communicate with one another in a more direct way. They were also quite popular up until the mid-2000s. Though pagers have decreased in popularity with the advent of smartphones and instant messaging, they taught an entire generation how to interact in a digital world.

Transistor radio

The transistor radio was invented in 1947, which means that the average kid today would have no idea what this device is or what its used for. In fact, many adults today couldn’t tell you much about it either. But if you were alive back when the transistor radio first came out, you’ll remember how revolutionary it was, enabling people to carry a radio around with them.

Fax machine

A fax machine is a machine that sends and receives documents. These machines are now mostly obsolete because of the invention of email and are really just a fancy printer that sends paper documents from one place to another; they make no use of the internet or any other form of electronic communication.

Floppy disk

It’s understandable why floppy disks are so quickly forgotten: they were replaced by flash drives, hard drives, USBs and thumb drives. Floppy disks were introduced in 1967 and were used for storing data well into the 1990s. Due to technological advances in the past 25 years, floppy disks are now obsolete and totally incompatible with contemporary computers.

Telephone operator

Who remembers operators? Kids these days probably don’t even know such a job ever existed, but when the telephone was still in its early stages of development, there were humans standing by to help you with your call and patch you through to the person you wanted to speak to. However, in recent years, technology has evolved to make the operator obsolete.

Yellow Pages

Before the internet, if you wanted to find an address or phone number for someone, you would have to look it up in a directory. You wouldn’t even be able to just go on Google and look it up like you can today. The Yellow Pages was the most popular and widely known directory, but kids today probably wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was released by Nintendo in 1991, and ceased production in 1999. At the time it came out, this 16-bit system was a huge upgrade, with better graphics and sound. Children today have no idea what to do with a console that doesn’t connect to the internet or play games off of a CD.


It’s been a long time since the early 2000s when Nokia 3310s were everywhere. In the days of flip phones, Snake was the only game worth playing on your phone. And it was actually pretty fun. But today kids are spoilt for choice. Children today have never gone through the struggle of having Snake as the only game to play on your phone.


You probably haven’t even thought about these cardboard discs in years, let alone played with them. They’re relics of a time many of us have left behind – little-kid currency and bartering chips that kids today wouldn’t even recognize as being “cool.” Pogs are so 90s. And yet… they used to be so cool.


Back when physical media was all-powerful, Blockbuster cornered the market on video/DVD rentals, but since streaming took off, their business model slowly but surely became obsolete. Today’s kids are growing up with streaming and many are never setting foot into a video rental store; as far as they’re concerned, Blockbuster is ancient history.


At its peak, Borders was the biggest book retailer in the U.S., with 511 stores across North America and more worldwide, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011.These days, you can still find some Borders stores scattered across North America that have kept going under different names, but they’re a shadow of what they once were.


Kids today might not know what video cassette recorders are, but for those of us who have vivid memories of the 80s and 90s, that bulky, clunky machine is an icon of our childhood. To see a VCR in action now is sort of like seeing a horse-drawn cart go down the street. But back then, it was cutting-edge technological innovation!

Car window crank

Back in the day, if you wanted to roll the car window down you pulled the lever towards you and if you wanted to raise it, you pushed it away from you. It was a pretty good system – they rarely got stuck halfway up or down! Some cars still have these, but electric windows are considerably more commonplace.

Bop It

Bop It was a toy from the 90s that was basically an electronic game of Simon Says. You had to keep your hand and wrist moving in a certain pattern, but if you made a mistake, Bop It would make a noise or vibrate at you before telling you to try again. We can’t imagine kids today knowing what to do with this.


A Tamagotchi is a pixelated pet that you have to raise, by making sure it gets fed and has enough energy. They’re something kids today wouldn’t understand, but older generations were once obssessed. Tamagotchis have experienced a resurgence among Gen Z looking to recreate their Y2K dreams, but most modern youngsters raised on smartphones would laugh at this outdated technology.

Toys R Us

Toys R Us were a staple in American culture for the longest time. The feeling you got when you walked into a Toys R Us was indescribable – it’s just something about being in that atmosphere that made you feel like a kid again. It’s sad to think that kids today will never experience this, as all the retailer’s North American stores closed by 2021.

Roller Coaster Tycoon

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Although this game series is still around today, it’s not nearly as popular among kids as it once was. The original game in the series, RollerCoaster Tycoon, was released in 1999 and became a source of nostalgia for many kids. In the game, you were able to build your own amusement park and design roller coasters.


In the ’90s and early 2000s, AOL (America Online) was the main service provider for those venturing into the strange new world of the internet. It was a clunky process, and the slow speed of dial-up internet would be totally alien to kids today who are used to superfast, fiber-optic broadband and wi-fi connectivity.


While today’s teenagers have it made with their music streaming services, kids who were growing up a decade ago had to resort to less-than-legal methods of getting their music fix. It was possible to download songs for free from Limewire, but it came at a price – the constant threat of computer viruses.


Teenagers these days will never know the excitement of a sweet MSN message from a crush, followed by the adrenaline rush of waiting for that crush to accept your friend request. They’ll never know how it feels to wait for your bestie to sign on after school, in anticipation of instant messaging about the weird dream you had last night.


Facebook may have taken over the social networking world, but there was a time when MySpace reigned supreme. It was the place to be for music fans, artists, and anyone with an extra five minutes on their hands. However, by 2009 the once-dominant social media network was slipping, and today in the wake of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, MySpace is a fading memory.


Our lives were so different in the days when we had rolodexes. These were an indispensable tool, especially for people in business. All of your contacts were in one spot and all you had to do was spin the knob to find the number you were looking for. Show one to kids today, and you might as well be asking them to read Aramaic.

Overhead projectors

For many of our older friends and family, the overhead projector is a fondly remembered relic of their childhood. For the younger crowd, it’s a bizarre concept that looks and sounds like it came from another planet. Still, in spite of its lack of popularity today, perhaps one day we’ll look back on this new technology as an old-fashioned way to do things.

Film canister

Today, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when photos weren’t captured digitally, but it wasn’t that long ago that film ruled the photography world. The film canister is a relic of an age when the only way to preserve a special moment was to load your film into a canister, take it to be developed, and then wait for it to be printed.


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When you first started school, were you ever asked to create your own word art? I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who remember spending the better part of a day figuring out how to make your name look different and exciting. But kids these days never have to go through the hassle of finding that perfect font or making their name stand out.


Kids today won’t remember much about a time before cellphones, iPads, and the games you can play on them. To them, a Nintendo GameBoy is just an old relic from a bygone era – they have no concept of what it was like before video games took over the world and became such an integral part of everyone’s lives.


Back before the internet became a thing, there were encyclopedias. Kids would use them for research on everything from math to history to science. When it came time to look up facts, kids didn’t just Google it – they would go to the library or flip through their set of encyclopedias at home. Nowadays, encyclopedias are largely obsolete, and many kids have probably never even seen one.

Paper maps

When you’re on the road, you can rely on your smartphone for directions. But old-school paper maps are actually still around, and they’re pretty useful when you don’t have a data connection. Of course, even with those, you need a little help to make sense of them. Most people today, young and old alike, probably don’t know how to read them.


Before everyone used computer keyboards, we had typewriters, which allow users to type text directly onto paper. They required a greater degree of manual dexterity because of the clunky keys, and you can’t go back and delete any mistakes as you go. There are still plenty of people who use them, but kids today are probably not among them.

Etch a Sketch

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While the iPad and other tablets have transformed the way we think of kids’ entertainment, there was a time when the simple Etch a Sketch could hold its own. While its features don’t seem all that impressive now that they’re available on every tablet computer out there, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for a time when this drawing device seemed cutting edge.


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Dunkaroos, a cookie snack pack with dip on the side, were an iconic snack in the 1990s, but by 2012 they were gone for good and today’s kids probably have no idea they even existed. However, the sweet treat has enjoyed a minor resurgence in recent years, having been relaunched by General Mills in 2020.

Ask Jeeves

For kids born after 2005, Ask Jeeves is a completely foreign concept – but from 1997 to 2005, Ask Jeeves was the go-to website to ask questions online. Kids these days may have never even heard of it. It’s pretty interesting because as far as search engines go, it was almost the original AI.

Motorola Razr

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In the mid-2000s, cell phones were about as far away from the sleek, slim smartphones of today as they could possibly get. The Motorola Razr was cutting-edge technology when it came out, so much so that everyone had to have one. Kids today jump straight to smartphones as their first phone, and will probably laugh at this outdated technology.

Sky Dancers

If you’ve never heard of the Sky Dancers before, you’re not alone. These colorful dolls were released in 1994 and then pulled from the shelves three years later when parents voiced complaints about their tendency to cause eye injuries. It’s no wonder kids today will never experience these once beloved toys.

Slap bracelets

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Slap bracelets were a popular trend in the mid-1990s. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically wristbands you could slap against your other hand to make them pop up into a circle. Slap bracelets were really big for a while, then died down quickly. They’re pretty much all but forgotten today, and kids probably wouldn’t know what to do with them.

Burning CDs

Burning your CDs was time-consuming and expensive. You’d spend hours painstakingly copying over your songs onto a blank disc and then spend even more money to make sure that the songs would never get lost. How times have changed! Now kids today just sign onto Spotify or Apple Music and they can listen to their favorite songs in one convenient place.


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Who else remembers the fun they had playing M.A.S.H with friends over recess? MASH stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack and House — a choose-your-own future game to try to guess which category you’ll fall into in 10 years. Nowadays, kids are probably passing the time watching TikTok videos.


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Furby was an amazing innovation in toys when it debuted in 1998 and was immediately successful. However, they quickly lost their appeal. They were rereleased in 2005 with some new features and a fresh paint job. However, it seems like even with the improvements, Furby hasn’t quite stayed relevant enough to avoid being labeled as a 90s toy in the minds of today’s children.


Clippy, the odd paper clip-shaped helper introduced in Microsoft Word 97, was supposed to function as a helpful assistant. It never really worked – in fact, it was so annoying that even Microsoft decided to eliminate Clippy in 2007, after almost a decade of trying to make the feature useful. Clippy’s failure is a cautionary tale of what happens when you design for first use instead of long-term usefulness.