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Comparing Hobbies in the 90s to Today


When people think about their lives in the 1990s compared to today, they may not imagine things as being that different.


Only when you sit down and think about the activities you used to enjoy every day do you remember how much has changed in the past three decades.

One of the ways that we can compare eras throughout history is by examining the hobbies that people enjoyed in those years. The hype about hobbies is very real, as assessing hobbies is a great way of understanding the culture of a particular time period.

Below is a rundown of hobbies in the 90s, along with a comparison to some pastimes that people enjoy in 2021. 

90s Hobby: Playing Single-Player Video Games

People in the 1990s did not have access to the same level of technology that kids can enjoy these days. That is why the extent of their experience with video games was often single-player games, where they could play against the computer or gaming console.

Having a Nintendo was a privilege for most kids in those days, as it meant they could play as many rounds of Mario Kart against the computer as they wanted.

Present Day Hobby: Online Gaming

When you compare gaming in the 1990s to games today, there is a world of difference between the respective experiences. The concept of playing video games may not have changed too much, but the way people play games is drastically different.

Online gaming has created an entirely new experience when you load up a game. In the 1990s, most games had single-player modes or storylines that you could play against the computer or specific modes where you could play local multiplayer against your siblings or friends.

Now virtually every game has an online mode where you can compete with or against people from around the world. Then you have to consider the change in graphics, as games are far more realistic and can come to resemble movies or television shows in some ways.

90s Hobby: Listening to Music at Record Shops

The feeling of going to a record store to check out new music is an extremely 90s experience. Sometimes you would hear a great song on the radio and want to listen to it again or check out the entire album from the same artist or band.

Streaming or downloading music online was not popularized until the 2000s, which meant that buying music from shops was still the norm for kids in the 90s. Depending on what their parents had at home, kids may have gone to record stores in search of music records, cassettes, or CDs.

The communal experience of visiting a music shop with a few friends, listening to new music, and choosing one or two albums to buy is almost incomparable to how people experience music these days.

Present Day Hobby: Listening to Music on YouTube

No one has to go to a music shop if they want to buy the latest album from their favorite band or listen to a hit single they heard on the radio. They can go online and find all the music in the world on major streaming sites.

Even those who do not subscribe to streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music can easily find the latest hits, classic songs, and other content on platforms such as YouTube.

The internet has made music and other media a lot more accessible, but that does come with its downsides. There is nothing rare about music anymore, and the experience of going to a store, choosing an album to purchase, bringing it home, and then listening to it for hours is all but gone.

90s Hobby: Spending Hours at the Mall With Friends

Whether you were a child in the 1990s, a young adult, or even old enough to have a family, there were likely countless weekends you spent at a shopping mall near your home.

Malls were the go-to place for people to gather in the 90s, especially if they wanted to get together with friends, check out the latest stores that had opened up in their city, or rummage through clothes that were on sale.

This was a time when malls were opening up in cities around the United States at a rapid pace, and it appeared as though mall culture was here to stay for a very long time.

Present Day Hobby: Spending Hours on Social Media and Online Shopping

Malls are still around, and a lot of people still visit them regularly. There is no denying that, however, that mall culture as it existed in the 90s and early 00s is very much dead.

Most people have found ways to occupy their time without needing to visit a mall. If they want to check out clothes on sale, they can visit the websites of their favorite retailers. Those who hope to catch up with friends can do so on social media.

Being online is in many ways a replacement for spending weekend afternoons and evenings at the mall. People can spend hours watching videos on YouTube, scrolling through Instagram photos and videos, reading the latest tweets from those they follow, or browsing online retailers. That may be why the urge to spend time inside a shopping mall is not as strong as it was in the 90s.

How We Interact With the World Is So Different

When you step back and compare the way people enjoyed themselves in the 1990s and 2021, there is a stark difference in hobbies between those eras.

Not only did people have far less access to technology in the 90s, but they were also more reliant on the close circle of family and friends they created for themselves.

Communication is so easy in 2021, and there is no wonder that people can talk to others with similar interests, even if they live in other countries or on different continents.

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