When I was a kid, my elementary school had a state-of-the-art computer lab, equipped with the latest Macintosh computers. Nobody called them Apple back then, and I honestly can’t remember when they made the switch. All I know is that computer class (yes, kids, we had a class in how to use computers) was pretty much the highlight of the week. At least when we didn’t have to use All The Right Type to learn how to type properly (which I’m glad we did now, because 90wpm!!!)
The Macs had a couple of rudimentary text-based adventure games, the coolest and funnest of which was Cross-Country Canada, a game where you were an honest-to-god trucker on a mission to pick up various commodities and resources in different Canadian cities. You had all kinds of risky options. like speeding (you might get a ticket), picking up hitchhikers (the game warned you about danger but nothing bad ever seemed to happen), and skipping sleep or food (which made you more likely to crash). If you managed to find and collect all your items and deliver them to your final destination, you could win a trip to Hawaii!!!! Although most of the time I just drove around confused about what the hell molybdenum was and where in this godforesaken frozen country I might find it. (It turns out Kamloops was where.)
So I was pretty excited earlier this week when I discovered I could play Cross-Country Canada online for free.
And truly, this is one of the weirdest things about my generation. We literally do not know how to be nostalgic anymore. Experiences that were once lost can npw never be lost to us. Everything that we ever did or saw or heard or experienced is available somewhere on the internet.
Seriously. Wanna know what was #1 on the MuchMusic Countdown on February 27, 1998? It was Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden.(My Heart Will Go On was #3, amazingly.) And imagine what life would have been like for you back then if you could watch that video on repeat, infinitely, like today’s crazy fangirls can do for the latest 5SOS video.
Remember that short-lived kinda-racist Tex-Mex insect-themed cartoon series, Santo Bugito? No? I didn’t either, until it turned up on Youtube:
It’s weird mostly because we’re a unique generation in this respect. We had nostalgia for a little while. And then we lost it, when our childhoods suddenly became completely revisitable. Every pop-culture milestone, every obscure song or TV show, every fashion, every stick-in-your-head TV commercial, is right there at your fingertips, ready to be re-experienced.
To today’s youth, that’s unremarkable. Many of them have Facebook profiles before they can walk. The idea of having their entire lives online to be revisited whenever they feel like it is unremarkable.
But every once in a while, I still get a little bit of future-shock when I realize just how present the 90’s still are.
And just to be crystal-clear, the 90’s was a pretty freaky time to grow up:
I could say more about all this, some pithy observations to make perhaps, but Teddy Ruxpin is online too – the whole friggin’ series – and I’ll freely admit it’s a bit of a time-suck.
So I’ll leave you with this one last bit of YTV nostalgia, which even by today’s standards is pretty remarkably cool.