The 1990s were a decade of transition. Technology was making big strides and impacting our daily lives. The internet was just beginning to gain popularity, as were personal computers. Teens suddenly started carrying cell phones and beepers and the Discman helped usher in the CD boom. Game Boys and Tamagotchi’s were the must-have toys, Beanie babies were taking over bedrooms and millions of kids and adults around the world gave themselves headaches by staring at Magic Eye books. For those of us who came of age in the ‘90s, we remember the decade with equal parts embarrassment (so much glitter makeup) and reverence (all hail Grunge music). If you’re in the market for a gift for yourself or another child of the 1990s, we’ve put together the ultimate gift guide to the decade that was filled with boy bands, angry rock and a battle between East and West coast rappers.
The 1990s are just far back enough in our rearview that we can now celebrate them for the weird and wonderful time they were. Many artists and celebrities of the 1990s continue to be popular today and retro items celebrating the decade are gaining in popularity. Netflix has just released a trailer for their new documentary that will spotlight the last remaining Blockbuster, which yes, seems somewhat ironic.
Whether you want a shirt that shows your love for Saturday morning cartoons or a puzzle that celebrates the history of video games, we’ve got the ’90s nostalgia gift for you. Check out our full gift guide below and party on, Wayne.
1. The Blockbuster Party Game
It’s difficult to describe the magic of a Friday night at Blockbuster to someone who was born after the beloved video rental chain closed, but with this ’90s inspired board game, movie fans can reminisce about the days when late fees loomed heavy by Sunday morning. We received a sample of the Blockbuster Party Game and love all the nostalgia touches, from the VHS tape packaging to the mini-Blockbuster sign and parking lot that signals it’s both movie and game night.
2. Blockbuster Fleece Throw Blanket
You can’t have a movie or game night without a cozy blanket to curl up underneath. Keep the Blockbuster memories going with this super comfortable fleece blanket designed to look just like our favorite VHS rental tapes of days past.
3. Video Games Collection Puzzle
Take a break from screen time with a puzzle that honors a period when we didn’t know how bad it was to spend 20 straight hours playing a video game. Photographer Jim Golden pays homage to some of the most popular video games of the ’80s and ’90s with a 1000 piece puzzle that doesn’t come with any cheat codes.
4. Floppy Disk Notebooks
Jot down some notes with these upcycled floppy disk notebooks that are made from actual floppy disks that probably contained a lot of Word documents and not much else.
5. Are You Afraid Of the Patriarchy? Sweater
From Goosebumps to Silence of the Lambs to that really, really disturbing Nightmare board game, there was a lot to be afraid of in the 1990s. Update your fears with a sweater from designer Hayley Elsaesser that combines feminist rights and Ryan Goslings’ big break.
6. Animaniacs See Hear Speak Tee
If your Saturday mornings were shaped by Pinky and the Brain plotting to take over the world and Yakko, Wakko and Dot being zany to the max, you’re going to want this Animaniacs tee. When it comes to ’90s nostalgia gifts, those are the facts!
7. Nirvana Pigment Dye Smile Tee
Honor the godfathers of Grunge with a tee that pays tribute to the Seattle band that changed music forever. Pair it with your favorite flannel or dust off your Docs. Or don’t. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.
8. Kodak Powerflash Disposable Camera
Remember the days when we couldn’t take a picture with the click of our phone? Remember when we didn’t have our own phone? We were like frontiers people, making plans in advance and only taking pictures when we had a disposable camera on hand. Relive the excitement of not knowing whether you got the shot with a set of two disposable cameras from Kodak.
9. Go Retro! Portable Game Player
For licensing reasons, this handheld device with over 260 games and 10 hours of continuous battery life is called a Portable Game Player and not something else. But if you loved playing with your ‘Bame Goy’ in the 1990s, you’re going to love the Portable Game Player. Not a catchy name, but Tetris is as fun as we remembered.
10. MTV The Music Throwback Party Quiz Board Game
If you still want your MTV, check out the ultimate throwback party game that will test your pop culture and music knowledge through charades, one-word descriptions, and head-to-head battles of ‘name that song.’ Consider this our total request (live) for this ultimate music trivia game.
11. I Love The 90’s T-Shirt
The ’90s were revolutionary for the TV series, from comedies to dramas to the invention of the 24-hour news cycle. TGIF became the weekly family-friendly lineup of must-see TV, while shows like In Living Color, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Living Single broke new ground in sketch and sitcoms.
12. Create Your Own Reel Viewer
This updated toy makes a great ’90s nostalgia gift for anyone who spent minutes upon minutes traveling to exotic locales through their Reel Viewer while growing up. This retro gift from Uncommon Goods lets customers upload their own images to create a custom reel for a gift that is reel-y cool. Feel free to use that joke (or not).
13. Fila Henry Logo Belt Bag
Fanny packs are back in style and we could not be more psyched about the news. Don’t want to carry a full-sized backpack but have too much stuff for your pockets? Fanny packs to the rescue. The ’90s really were a simpler, smarter time (in very limited ways). Truly, if there were one ’90s nostalgia gift to get, it would be the ever-faithful fanny pack.