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8 Gadgets High School Kids Probably Never Knew

As the saying goes, “Time waits for no one.” Flying cars and self-lacing shoes may still not be the norm today, but we did make quantum leaps in technological progress throughout the years. If you are in high school now, you may have missed out growing with these pre-2000 gadgets which might just rack your brains out.

1. Brick Game

Before the Nintendo Switch or the PlayStation Portable, the handheld electronic device commonly known as Brick Game was the dream of every player. An affordable clone of the Soviet Tetris, it became a global phenomenon during the 1990s. As it developed, the battery-powered device began to integrate other built-in game modes to give hours of endless fun. If you cannot find a physical Brick Game now, you can still download a mobile version by Perseus Games.

2. Compact Disc

“Burning” compact discs, or CDs for short, could give younger ones an impression of actual flames. Yet for the previous generation, it was a novel way to store and modify data at the palm of their hands. Imagining the task of physically skimming through hundreds of discs just to find the right song or video might be unthinkable today, but such was its popularity that some 200 billion CDs have been sold from 1982 to 2007. CDs, however, could not hope to match the storage capacity and writing speed of flash drives and hard drives nowadays.

3. Payphone

“I’m at a payphone trying to call home,” crooned Maroon 5. But has anyone seen an actual payphone in operation? Probably not, since the advent of mobile phones made the ubiquitous coin-operated machines lose their relevance. It was in 2000 when mobile phone users exceeded fixed line users in the Philippines, and the former had remained in the lead since.

4. Pager/Beeper

“When you wanna page me it’s okay,” goes the Kim Possible song. Page how? Like with a book? Not really. Pagers were what we have in the 1980s and 1990s to send and receive messages. It was alternatively called beepers due to the beeping tone it makes. Think of an alarm-like device which vibrates strong enough to imitate a massager.

5. Fax

A telephone with a printer? Facsimile, or fax for short, was the way to send documents or images through transmitted audio frequencies. One might even say it was a prototypical e-mail, except that you will have to wait for each page to be printed. For the same time period, usually spanning 2 to 15 seconds, you could have downloaded an entire e-book from the internet.

6. Overhead Projector

Who knew “share screen” used to be this tedious? Before PowerPoint and similarly animated presentations, each page had to be placed and changed by hand over a glass projector that mirrors it overhead. Any presentation would be printed in plastic film, or acetate. It would be unfortunate if you brought the wrong set with you.

7. Arcade Games

Remember Evo Moment #34? If you have no idea, you probably do not know what an arcade game even is. Once upon a time, finger skill was limited to smashing a couple of buttons and navigating a joystick. It was one whole speed run where you got to make the most out of your single play. Then again, not only did handheld games cause public memory of them to lapse, amusement arcades also had to suffer being closed down due to the recent pandemic.

8. Analog Television


Either you get a picture or none at all. That is the principle behind digital TV. With its predecessor, however, you may settle for a sort of in-between grainy reception called noise or static. Shifting your antenna in a certain direction could make or break your viewing experience with analog television. Then again, time is running out for this TV technology in the Philippines as the nation is set to phase out analog by 2023.

Relics they may look for the youth of today, but they used to be the daily drivers of society only a few decades back. Is there a gadget you want a revival of? Share your favorites with us.

Further readings: Let’s Confuse the Kids: Coolest Game Devices of the 90s

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Avatar for Arius Lauren Raposas

A public servant with a heart for actively supporting technology and futures thinking, responding accordingly to humanity's needs and goals, increasing participation of people in issues concerning them, upholding rights and freedoms, and striving further to achieve more despite our limited capacities. In everything, to God be all the glory.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for mozart mozart says:

    Batang 90s generation.

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