10 things from the 80s and 90s that are now dead and buried

Back in the 80s and 90s, we could hardly believe that things like the Postbank, the Strippenkaart and the cassette would be gone and forgotten as early as in 2015. But ask yourself, do you still use (or are you even able to use) any of these things?

1. The Compact Cassette
While Philips introduced their Compact Cassette already in 1963, it's popularity peaked in the 1980s, when quality improved and home stereo sets became more affordable for a large audience. In the second half of the 90s, the popularity of the compact cassette decreased significantly in favour of the MiniDisc, the recordable CD and MP3, but it still played a significant role up and into the early 2000s. Today however, they are gone and forgotten for all but vintage fans and those who refuse to upload their music to the internet.

2. The MiniDisc
The Compact Cassette lived long however, considering the fact that in the early 90s, Sony already tried to kick it off its throne by introducing the MiniDisc. At first glance, it's nothing but a small CD inside a cardridge, but don't forget that when the MD was introduced, recordable CDs were still unknown. Hence, quality of recordings improved significantly and recordings on a MiniDisc could be stored in 'tracks' just like the CD, making it much easier to skip to certain songs. Nevertheless, the MiniDisk only became popular in Sony's home country Japan, but was hardly used elsewhere. Philips quickly came with recordable and rewritable CDs and the MP3 quickly made storage disks completely unnecessary. Sony pulled the plug on the MD in 2008.

3. The Giro
Maybe it's because the Postbank was always closeby, with bank services at every post office. Maybe it's the leftover from the Postgiro Service. Or maybe it's those hilarious commercials John Cleese made for the Postbank. Whatever the reason, Postbank was by far the largest bank among private consumers in the Netherlands, throughout the eighties. It was a totally natural assumption that one had a giro account. The giro system was however incompatible in many ways, with other bank accounts. Whereas all other banks were connected to each other with bank account numbers that used a certain, interbancair system, the giro system was completely different, using shorter account numbers and allowing special numbers for special occasions (such as "giro 555" for emergency fundings). NMB Bank and Postbank merged in 1989 to form ING Bank, but due to Postbank's popularity, the name and the giro system stayed intact untill 2009, when ING completed the merger, the name Postbank disappeared and the giro accounts were converted to regular bank accounts.

4. The Strippenkaart
Introduced in 1980, the Strippenkaart was the first public transport ticket that could be used across the Netherlands, in all buses, trams and metros and in some trains. Before that, all transit companies had their own ticketing system. Only NS, by the time the only train operator in the Netherlands, kept its own tickets and only accepted the Strippenkaart on some small, regional stretches. The introduction of the Strippenkaart was criticized, mainly due to the complex system of zones. Nevertheless, people managed quite easily to learn to use the system, and to abuse it, such as by sticking some invisible tape on the bottom strip, hence making it possible to wipe out the stamp print and thus endlessly re-using the card. In the early 2000s, the OV-Chipcard was introduced as the successor of both the Strippenkaart and regular train tickets, and as of 2008, no Strippenkaarts are produced anymore.

5. Music television
Sure, MTV still exists. But it's not quite music television, is it? They should in fact change their name. Sure, you can still watch music videos on YouTube, but actual TV stations with music are rare, and even if they exist (such as Vevo or Slam-TV), it rather looks like a boring, static thing with pictures of artist promoting stuff. Music television such as it was made back in the time Björk and the Foo Fighters delivered their pieces of art was killed long ago, except for some nostalgics craving to go back in time.

6. Trains of which the doors could open during the ride
What do you mean, "that couldn't have been very safe"? Very convenient, it was! Was your train delayed? Not that much time left for your transfer? As soon as the train reached the platform, just open the doors and jump out, to run on to your connecting train. Although delays weren't very common back then, surely this must've helpt some people catching their connection. But indeed, it wasn't quite the safest idea, and hence new trains introduced in 1964 had automatic doors installed which couldn't be opened during the ride, making the Mat '54, or "Puppy head" trains, the last ones with hand-operated doors. These trains however were still fully in use in the 1980s, with only an automatic closure system installed in the late 1960s, but no system that prevented people from opening those doors during the ride. Hence, the possibility to jump out of the train before it fully halted remained untill 1996, when these trains were taken out of service.

7. Pinball
After a decline in popularity in the early 80s due to the rise of arcade games such as Pacman, Space Invader and Galaga, Pinball's popularity increased again in the late 80s and early 90s, and many snack bars welcomed back the Pinball machine as had it never been gone. New features were introduced, such as ramps, multiball and multi-level. By the end of the 90s however, the renewed popularity of Pinball appeared short-lived, as the machines disappeared as quickly as they came. They are still produced, but apparently, nobody still wants to put money in a machine to play a game, while their game console at home lets them play for free.

8. ICQ
The first popular instant messaging software was introduced in 1996 by Israelian company Mirabilis. The iconic 'uh-oh'-sound was well-known to teenagers from that era. Often, it was believed to be taken from the Teletubbies, but it never became clear where it was actually taken from, or if they simply made it up themselves. Anyway, in the early 2000s, ICQ was pushed away by first MSN and Google Talk and later Facebook. Nowadays, it's only still popular in Eastern Europe, and owned by the Russian company Mail.Ru.

9. Mister Lee's Mysterious Washing Machine
Punk rockers in the 90s probably had their tape (or MiniDisc) decs ready every Sunday evening. That was the time that some hyperactive, bad English speaking Chinese guy took over Dutch radio station Radio 3FM for one hour of very loud and fast guitar music. Although his Facebook page today wouldn't suggest it, more than a hundred people listened to his show every week! Okay, so that's actually not much at all. In fact, that's only very little. But then again, the programme was made back in the days that public broadcasters didn't really care about how many people listened to their radio shows or watched their TV programmes. They made shows that couldn't be found on any commercial station or channel. Sadly, that changed in 1999, when amounts of listeners or viewers started to matter. And so we can never listen to this hyperactive punk rocker again.
Or can't we...?

10. Call TV
To close this list, something that didn't quite died a silent death. In fact, there seemed to be a national relief when all the commercial broadcasters in the Netherlands in 2007 announced to cancel all the call-in gameshows, after the public prosecutor started an investigation on whether or not these shows were in fact illegal gambling. The first of these game shows were introduced by broadcaster Veronica, allowing viewers at home to call the studio and participate in a quizz. The set-up was to have a much too easy puzzle or question to which any idiot would know the answer, causing thousands of people to call a very expensive phone number, which would select one out of two thousand callers and put them through to the studio, leaving the other 1999 callers with nothing but a recorded message that they haven't been selected. The chances of winning where therefore, despite the easy question, very slim. Viewers were even more encouraged to call by a number of fake calls in the show from people giving a wrong answer. The shows were often criticized for being only watched by gambling addicts.

What do you miss from the 80s or 90s? Or is there anything you're glad to be rid of? Let us know in the comment box below!

   
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