The internet was introduced to my house in 1990 through Prodigy, an early online service that touted all of the features of online living we take for granted today in a crude, difficult-to-use format that was still the best experience of the era.
Prodigy came to us bundled with a 2600k modem and a pre-set user ID that was a nonsensical combination of letters and numbers that could not be changed. You had to memorize this user ID or keep it written down next to the computer or you were hosed. Once you logged in you could do some rudimentary shopping, play some basic games, pay more money to play some good games (looking at you, MadMaze), or read the news. Each of these experiences involved a roughly 3-5 minute load time between each screen. Then there were the message boards, which were the real meat of the experience for 11-year-old me. I became the secretary of the Sierra Hint Club, an organization of nerds who provided hints for the Sierra adventure computer games for anyone who wanted them. Yeah. Pretty great way to be eleven.
Anyway, I loved Prodigy and it obviously has a special place in my heart. I soon learned that the modem could be used for other things like BBS’g and got into all that later, but Prodigy remained the family internet portal until AOL sucked everything up later in the ’90s. I came across these early 1990 ads for Prodigy and really love the way they sum up the promise of the internet. Nobody would really deliver on this promise in a game-changing way for quite some time, but they did the best they could and going from zero to this was really something.
In the mid-90s when competition was a bit stiffer, they had to up their “cool” game a bit. Barry White helped. Still centered around the message boards and communities, though.
Did I mention you had to pay for X number of hours per month? Could you imagine having to measure out your internet like that now?
This ’90s Fox Kids PSA about the effects of eating too much sugar is very ’90s and very horrifying. The kid goes to Sugar Hell!
1975 Sesame Street Greatest Hits
Selling soundtracks on TV in 1975 was a pretty crude effort, apparently. Here’s a Sesame Street ad that features some terribly off-model plushes and some really awesome animations from the show mixed all together into a really weird combination.
Q*Bert Board Game
There is everything to love about this commercial for the Q*Bert board game.
The font on the “Dungeon!” part kills me. I love it.