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The 1990s: A Decade That Transformed Entertainment Technology

The 1990s were pivotal. Tim Berners-Lee had a lot to do with that, but there were a lot of other developments that were happening at the time, especially in the world of technology.

When we look back at the gadgets of this era, we might not instantly think high tech. But at the time, a 90s brick phone and a chunky laptop were reserved for tech-savvy folk in society. Maybe you remember the 90s as a golden era of growth, and maybe you’d be right…

Gaming Evolved and ‘Levelled Up’

Look at the games we had going into the 1990s and then those we had coming out of the 1990s. The difference is stratospheric. Consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 changed everything for gamers – these systems featured 3D graphics and more complex gameplay and levels, pushing the boundaries of entertainment.

This was also the decade that casino games went online, computers in the 1990s began to include sound cards and even internet connections (high tech, right?) This enabled them to play multimedia content such as games, music, and videos. Casinos took note and there were some new ways to play casino games before the turn of the decade. Simple games such as blackjack translated best. They didn’t need a huge level of graphics or computing power, so it was possible to take blackjack online in the early days – now, we see that the graphics and gameplay have improved, but the 90s were when things really started to shift for casino gaming online.

A New Age of Cinema

People were flocking to the movies again. Films in the 1990s began to incorporate CGI in ways that had never been seen before, mainly because they suddenly had the technology to do so – things have changed an awful lot, but editing on computers was finally taking off in this era. Take a peek at the IMDb top 250 films of all time, and you’ll see that absolutely loads of these movies were made in the 1990s. Hard to believe now, with all the tech that we have available to filmmakers, but the 1990s were cutting edge in pretty much every way. Indie filmmakers suddenly had a platform with the fledgling internet.

Filmmakers outside the gated Hollywood system began to gain popularity and many of them brought fresh perspectives and unique voices to the forefront. Film Festivals like Sundance became popular and their awards started to mean a lot, especially for diverse or independent movies.

Indie cinema also exposed people to a load of directors who had complete creative control over their projects. Dazed and Confused was a cult hit of the time, made and released on a pretty small budget. Filmmakers often tackled complex themes and experimented with narrative structures, resulting in films that were both artistically ambitious and critically acclaimed. Indie movies are huge now, with more studios working than ever before and distribution becoming more straightforward.

Animation grew, too, and even though they may seem clunky compared to modern animation methods and super-intelligent, AI-driven animation, techniques were huge for the time.

Pulp Fiction was one of the biggest hits of the era, seen by many as an Indie film, though it did get a massive distribution deal based on popularity. Amazing directors like Tarantino were working flat out through the decade, making movie after movie that compelled backsides onto seats at cinemas.

Online Communication

Really, we’ve been communicating online with one another for a relatively short period of time. This was the decade when it started for a lot of people, and when many households got their very first computer. Email accounts became the standard for a lot of people, and we started to message in different ways. Instant messaging platforms launched in the 1990s and gave people a way to communicate…well, instantly!

The days of Skype were still some way away, well, a few years at least – the messaging service launched in 2003. Chat rooms were also a way to talk about shared interests, and though a lot of people had super slow internet connections, it was the dawning of a new way of doing things.

Forums and other communication methods became huge, and we even saw a massive rise in people launching their own personal websites to stay in touch.

Conclusion

1990s technology looks a bit silly now in comparison to the unbelievable consoles and computing power we have available, so it is crazy to think that the 1990s were only a quarter of a decade ago. Loads of technologies used and relied on today owe their roots to this decade when innovation was the name of the game. Entertainment has evolved since, of course, but this was a pivotal moment as we went from videotape to DVD, and started an internet journey that would send technology to the next level.