1. There are 151 Pokemon. There are 151 Pokemon. Once more, with feeling, there are 151 Pokemon. I know the people behind Pokemon struck gold and were like, “More is always better! Regardless of quality!” and proceeded to make some b.s. sparkly purple balls with branches coming out of it and name it “Prettysticks” or whatever (I wouldn’t know, as I refuse to acknowledge new Pokemon’s existence), but these new characters are an insult to true fans everywhere. You can’t just get an entire generation to love Charmander with the kind of devotion usually reserved for immediate family members and then dilute him in a sea of half-hearted, quick-fix “Pokemon.” You just can’t.
2. The dream of any 90s kid, the faraway concept that kept all of our spirits alive even in the darkest of hours, can be summed up in two words: Space Camp. Merely uttering those two words would send any 90s kid into a hallucinatory tizzy. We would go into a veritable coma, images of giant spinning cages and silvery jumpsuits dancing in our heads. There was a period in which every prize for every discernible contest was a trip to Space Camp, and that was fine by us. If there had been a competition, and the grand prize winner had a choice between 10 million dollars and four days at Space Camp… well, let’s just say they wouldn’t be in the 1 percent right now.
3. Just as you need cumin, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon, you need Ginger, Scary, Posh, Sporty, and Baby to complete any true spice rack. Essentially, for a few years, the entire world was just plastered with Union Jack flags, throwing up peace signs, and indiscriminately yelling “GIRL POWER!” Everything they touched was suddenly the greatest thing that ever was, and they never met a candy, clothing item, or sanitary napkin they couldn’t merchandise. Even Spice World, from every objective angle a terrible movie, was the Citizen Kane of our generation and damn if we will not stop whatever we are doing at any time to watch that thing again today.
4. It must be made known to future generations that there was about a 10-year period in which few things would get a child more pumped about his day, his future, and life in general than being covered with viscous, fluorescent green slime. It was, truly, like having a large bucket of pure happiness poured over your head while Marc Summers screamed “Go! Go!” in your face.
5. Do you know how 90s kids learned about tectonic plates, volcanoes, the periodic table, and every other vaguely scientific thing that ever existed? Not from some lame old classroom, that’s for sure. No, if we were going to learn (and properly retain) the reproductive cycle of single-celled organisms, we were going to need it rapped to us in between awesome experiments. Only Bill Nye could truly convey the wonders of the universe, and only his charming band of ragtag singing students could reinforce his lessons. You find me one 90s kid that doesn’t know that “Inertia is a property of matter,” and I will send you on a week-long trip to Space Camp.
6. There was a distinct moment in time in which no girl cared if her writing was legible, if her ink remained on her page and not all over her one-strap-buckled overalls, or even if it was dark enough to see against the paper. Normal ballpoint pens were for losers, and we had moved onto what was clearly the writing implement of the future: Milky Pens. Regardless of what stodgy old teacher was making crazy demands like “I need to be able to see your writing,” we knew the statement we wanted to make. Our writing was going to be adorable, it was going to be pastel, and, most of all, it was going to be covered in doodles of flowers in eight different irritating colors.
7. If you don’t know how to make the “S” shape, you shouldn’t be having children to begin with. And frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were a member of the Pen 15 club.
8. Perhaps the game will forever look strange to those who did not understand its banned-at-school importance, but shooting rubber circles at stacks of cardboard circles was possibly the greatest thing that any of us will have been a part of. So much about you was defined by your collection of Pogs, and your entire schoolyard reputation was likely dependent on your status as a player. 90s kids played hard, and we played for keeps.
9. Not that we’re saying we’re more cultured than you, or that we appreciate the finer things more, or that we are into things that may not exactly be for everyone–but we don’t need a host for our television shows. You just give us a popsicle stick with some googly eyes and we are good to go. We don’t need to be tricked with pomp and circumstance, a little piece of wood will do just fine. Provided, of course, that he is a talented, diverse television presenter (which Stick Stickly absolutely was). And we will remember how to write a letter to him until the day we die.
10. Before we knew it lowered our sperm count (if we were in possession of sperm, of course), before we knew how incredibly bad for us in every discernible way it was, there was no finer champagne for the under-13 set than a frosty can of Surge. Though it was essentially just bright green carbonated cocaine, we always managed to get our grubby hands on it to stay awake for just a few more episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Without Surge, we may have been the first to fall asleep at the sleepover, and we wouldn’t wish that fate on our worst enemies.