The Big Picture: The 90's Didn't Suck

ninjaRiv

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The 90s ruled because I WAS BORN!!!

Seriously, though, I like plenty of the stuff the 90s gave us; my favourite band released the album that made them (RHCP's Blood Sugar Sex Magik) and there was the whole cartoon revolution or animation renaissance (not me naming that, by the way). So for me, the 90s was pretty great. Heck, the 90s had some great comics, despite being called the worst decade for it. Sandman ran till 96! Plus, the indie scene really started going.

I've never been a fan of the 80s (I just don't like the style) but I feel that decades always have high and low points.
 

kburns10

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I loved the 90's! But watching this made me realize that 90's for me was defined by media. I had video games and cartoons to occupy me. It seems like for young adults, the 90's kinda sucked. I guess I'm glad to have GROWN UP in the 90's rather than already be an adult at the time.
 

Kevin Bartelen

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Seems to me the nineties was mostly about nostalgia. So many things wanted to be about times past and fondly remembered and at the same time so much of the nineties are fondly remembered today most of your examples of what happened in the nineties included.
 

userwhoquitthesite

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WoahDan said:
I think its a product of the decadal system breaking down, for a while culture tended to change over a decade, leading to each decade having a distinctive 'mood' and narrative. Culture nowadays moves way to quickly for that to work.
I think this is true.

the way culture moves lately, you can't apply things to the whole decade. I've used 19-2000 to refer to that late-90s/early-00s period where the internet really took off, for instance

but if I had to sum up the 90s in one word, it'd be optimism. Everything, even the depressing stuff, had this weird hopeful shine to it. if that makes any sense
 

acosn

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The 90's was about disenfranchisement and decentralization. There essentially ceased to be a "go to" for anything. If you want a real general look at it, Rolling Stone has a thick book written near the end of the 90's or 00's about every decade of rock (worth a read if you're remotely interested in the genre) and basically what they said about the 90's was that it was the most un-unified era of rock, ever. There was simply an absurd number of artists and songs that made it onto the radio because suddenly everyone was willing to take risks and it translated to the most diverse era of rock because of it.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Anyone who says "decade x sucked" is usually wrong. Even a misanthrope can find stuff to his or her taste in the 90s. I don't like any of that cartoon stuff Bob mentioned as the pinnacle of the 90s, but there are a ton of films I do like and would include in a list of the best ever: Shawshank Redemption, The Thin Red Line, Truman Show, Satantango, Jurassic Park, Conspirators of Pleasure, Mulholland Drive, Breaking the Waves, Dead Man, Before Sunrise, Existenz.... I could probably go on for quite a bit.

8-Bit_Jack said:
but if I had to sum up the 90s in one word, it'd be optimism. Everything, even the depressing stuff, had this weird hopeful shine to it. if that makes any sense
Optimism? The 80s were optimistic, but when we later found out that its materialism and decadence didn't lead to any lasting satisfaction we struggled to find an alternative source of happiness. Anything other than kids stuff was severely pessimistic in the 90s.
 

Xanadu84

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90's, in my mind, was the clunky, experimental beginning of, "The Future". It was the start of the kind of thinking that led us into the 21st century. The start of mass media and communication advancements probably unparalelled by anything this side of Gutenberg. The start of computers as more then a scientific curiosity, but as an essential part of everyday life. It featired an explosion of cultural self-awareness and cynicism that was awkward and often heavy handed and ineffectual (Captain Planet anyone?), and showed the first hints of a backlash against that self-awareness. A fragmentation of sub-cultures that would end up defining media today, it started the push of deciding what nostalgia would be enshrined into our pop culture psyches, and not to mention the biggest leap forward for video games. Before the 90's, no one could have begun to imagined the way things are today. After, we may not know the details, but we have an idea about what the course of the future looks like, and recognize it when we see it. The 90's was the transition period from the past to the future. And with the groundwork for the most exciting parts of the future being laid, on top of it being a decade pretty absent of obvious, intrusive conflicts or economic strife, I'd say that I hear more people say that the 90's was the best decade then I hear people saying that the 90's sucked. Personally, I say that pretty much all the decades are better then the one preceding it, but calling the 90's bad seems weird.
 

Terramax

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DVS BSTrD said:
Well I don't think it sucked, but it was definitely a vacuum.

I think Bob is really only focusing on America, which might be part of the problem.

I think it depends on what country you lived in. In the UK, the 90's were pretty definitive. We had the britpop movement, which was part of a larger, more optimistic era in England, where Labour was voted in, and everyone had this ideology that the country's luck was going to turn for the better because of it.

It was a time where we didn't have any significant, massive war raging with another country (at least, not that I can recall, or that was as controversial as the Falklands in the 80's). In the movies side of things, as well as being, again, more positive with films like Wayne's World, Ace Ventura, etc, they also appeared to be more refined and mature than the 80's i.e. The English Patient, L.A. Confidential, etc.
 

Olas

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Dec 24, 2011
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It's strange that on a website revolving around video games we're almost completely ignoring how much the 90s revolutionized them. We went into the decade with the NES and by the end of it we were playing decent first person shooters.

Perhaps the reason the 90s has an identity crisis isn't because nothing happened but because all the various things that did happen can't be easily summed up into a single unified cultural image. Grunge, rap/hip hop, the internet, anime, Sonic the Hedgehog, PC shooters, it's like after the 80s everyone just went off and did their own thing.
 

jamesbrown

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PsychedelicDiamond said:
I was born in the early 90s (93, to be precise) and if i was asked what that decade was all about, experiencing it as a child growing up i'd say... well, i suppose i will be considerered the rise of the information age. And the birth of a generation that grew up with the internet, viewing it as less of a tool and more of a second reality that allows us to communicate with people we'd have otherwise never known. I like to believe that some day people will remember this generation... well, my generation for being among the first people who reached a level of global understanding that none of our ancestors were able to. And maybe that's what the 90s werde. The beginning of an era of communication and understanding that started with the end of the Cold War.

Now, for a better question: What were the 00s all about?
I was born in '95 and I think your right, also I wonder about that too
 

nondescript

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It sounds like the 90s was a time of reflection, or maybe nostalgia. You definitely see people marketing nostalgia more and more. Maybe that's an optimistic way of saying it, but society as a whole may have started trying to find its roots. Not a bad thing, but from a media point of view, not groundbreaking or visionary. But since we all went through the 90s, how many visionary artists or talent might have been molded from that?

Just food for thought.
 

karamazovnew

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Ok, I get that Bob's take on the 90's is a personal one. But being about the same age as him and living in a different country (ex-comunist) I'm quite amused by just how different our opinions are. Here's why:

- PC gaming: the 90's was the fastest decade in terms of technology speed of change. We went through computers at the rate of about one every 2 years. Games were pushing the limits with almost every title. Literally nothing new came out since then. And being a flight sim fan, you can bet your ass I really miss Microprose and Looking Glass. I'm not saying that that anyone should have the stomach to play the old ones, or that we don't get good games now... but none are as revolutionary as the old ones were.
- Music: yes the 90's lost to the 60's and 70's, but they downright won against the 80's and 2000'. Sure, music is a personal thing, but my bet is that anyone who hates today's music is a big fan of some band that either formed in the 90's, or had their best albums then. My pick would be Radiohead, but you're free to choose Queen's Innuendo album too :)
- Movies: although none of the good ones were about the 90's, who the heck cares? The later years of the decade were a bloody joy. Anyone here remembers Fight Club? How about Goodfellas? Thin Red Line? Schindler's List? Silence of the Lambs? Larry Flint? The list goes on and on and on... Face it guys, this was the time before the "CG in every shot" of today. They were just BETTER!
- Anime: Yeah, you've heard me. Check what titles Disney came up with in the 90's. An eye opener, isn't it? Remember Cartoon Network? The good old years when they mixed the new gems like Dexter and Johnny Bravo with the old classics? Back in Japan tho... count for yourself the awesome series back then. Let me help: Evangelion, Trigun, Beebop, Kenshin (the OVA we all love was in 1999). How about the anime movies? GITS? Mononoke? And although not anime... think about Kitano's movies of the era.
- Sports: not saying that the old athletes were in any way better. But I'll give the 90's my vote because Ayrton Senna was still alive in that decade. Any Arsenal fan here? Remember the team before Henry Thierry came? How about tennis? Pete Mothafocking Sampras (was not actually a fan)? Sure this is pure melancholy, but you can't say sports were bad in any way.
- NASA: in that decade we didn't loose any shuttle. Nuf' said. And take a guess when the Large Hadron Collider was funded and started. Hint: 1998.
- Most importantly, Star Trek was still on TV.

The 90's fuckin' RULED! Let's hope this decade brings us at least to half as happy and care-free as we were back then.
 

DarkSpectre

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MacNille said:
So nothing eventful happened in the 90s? No large wars? For the whole decade of the 90s, one of the most brutal and costly conflict happend in Europa. You know, this wars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars and who could forget the Rwanda Genocide that happened in 94, where up to 1 million (!) got murdered in the span of 100 days or so. True that not much happened in the 90s in the US, but it was also a dark periode in the rest of the world, as the shock wave of the Cold war strike.
Thank you sir. Thank you for remembering those less fortunate then us living in the first world. It may have been a decade without a major conflict affecting the affluent first world it was a decade filled with tragedy and genocide for the rest of the world. While we sat and got fat off our peace headless bodies filled the streets of Rwanda. Human trafficing started spreading. Terrorists started spreading and engaging in acts of murder. Northern Sudan began brutalizing their black southern countrymen. Never forget life was not so sweet for so very many.
 

Wolf Hagen

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For once I gotto say as well, that Bob missed the point the hardest as possible (or the 90's really where his misangonistic Era. :p).

For someone Born in the 80's and grew into the 90's, I sometimes have that feeling of "false Advertisement" in mind.
At least in Social terms.
The 90's where the cool and freaky guy you kinda love and maybe wan't to be like, since it was a time of "not much to worry about" (at least for everything western, heck, even us Germans got together again. :D). You wanna quit your job? Go Ahead! The next ones around the corner! :D
Care for a Change? Then do so! What do you gotto worry?

I saw people beeing relaxed, careless but still successfull in what they did (whatever job or Point of intrest they had), and let's be honest: We loved it and we sucked it in like Milkshakes and became so fond of the feeling.

Even the music was kinda liberating, with Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Punk and Rap getting more into the Mainstream along with such things as Animes, Music Videos (Remember the times Kids when MTV Played actual Music Videos? Feels good to be old. XD), along with PC Games not anymore beeing restricted to less pixels then Super Mario and so on (maybe not to forget the Gay Liberation).

And some guys like me, still had the mindset and the Teaching of the 90's still in them, when the 2000's started.
And Boy was I kicked in the balls, when trying to live in a time of total change in my way. o_O

In that part I feel more lucky for the ones born in the 90's, since that was their childhood, and where teens in the times of kinda "permanent, but not really that hard" Economy crisis.
 

likalaruku

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Life: 80s-mid 90s rocked, late nineties-2010 sucked. Current: Sucks for different reasons & to a lesser degree.

Entertainment: 80s movies & music rocked, the cartoons were utterly forgettable. 90s: First half had good music, decent games, & okay movies. Latter half had mediocre music, great but horrible looking games, & & mediocre music. 2000s-current: Games are still good, music & movies & 90% of everything on TV sucks balls.
 

Magic Pancake

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DarkSpectre said:
MacNille said:
So nothing eventful happened in the 90s? No large wars? For the whole decade of the 90s, one of the most brutal and costly conflict happend in Europa. You know, this wars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars and who could forget the Rwanda Genocide that happened in 94, where up to 1 million (!) got murdered in the span of 100 days or so. True that not much happened in the 90s in the US, but it was also a dark periode in the rest of the world, as the shock wave of the Cold war strike.
Thank you sir. Thank you for remembering those less fortunate then us living in the first world. It may have been a decade without a major conflict affecting the affluent first world it was a decade filled with tragedy and genocide for the rest of the world. While we sat and got fat off our peace headless bodies filled the streets of Rwanda. Human trafficing started spreading. Terrorists started spreading and engaging in acts of murder. Northern Sudan began brutalizing their black southern countrymen. Never forget life was not so sweet for so very many.
To be fair, that's every decade. Also, if you look at the numbers it was proportionately much less than previously with the end of the cold war and its resulting proxy wars.
 

Barciad

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From a TV perspective, British TV sucked, American TV was so-so. X-Files and Twin-Peaks excluded. It would take HBO to show us how TV should really be made
From a films perspective. British films sank into self-parody, though seemed to have a good time doing so. A lot of the American films on the other hand were great. Especially the crime ones, and there was Disney's brief Renaissance.
From a music perspective. Music in the 90's was awesome. I don't care what anyone else says, it was awesome. You had the great American alternative boom followed by the great British indie boom. Plus there was American Hip-hop and various forms of left field British electronica as well. The list of first rate bands and classic albums coming from that period is endless.
As for the wonderful brief period of calm. Nothing more sums it up than the summer of '96. Independence Day at the Cinema, Oasis at Knebworth. I.e. America, running out of enemies to fight back home, now has to press gang aliens into taking part in that summer's big patriotic hoe down. And yes, British music had a rather '60's tinge to it, but I who cares?