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Fist of The Phantom Star

So what were the early to mid 2000's like?

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Hey, so I just turned 17 over a month ago and throughout my entire teenage years up to this point I've always been interested in learning more about the decades I wasn't able to experience due to my age like the 70's-00's. I've always been more interested in the 90's and early to mid 2000's though, I've found that a lot of different things were a lot more interesting and fun back then (like the NBA, video games, etc.). So, what were the 2000s like? What was life like before social media was everywhere and unavoidable? What was life like when the internet was so slow that a single image would take 5 minutes to load?¬†Since a lot of people on here are way older than me, I figured the forums would be the best place to ask. ūüôā

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It was easier to fuck with people, back then. I had to regularly buy batteries for the GBA until they came out with the rechargeable battery that the DS had. Without internet access or subscription to an handful of magazines; you're taking an huge risk buying video games. It was also the waning years of strategy guides (although, the only ones that managed to stand out was Nintendo Power) because of the internet. Some people were going insane over 2012 because an Mayan calender just ended on an specific date in that year (they actually found another one that went past 2012, lmao).

 

Other than the fact that everything wasn't as politicized as it is, nowadays; you aren't really missing out on much...Outside of an few websites that have fallen off the face of the web.

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They were the best of times.

I mean, that's not true. The world was still steadily and apparently on its way into precipitous decay but it was a lot easier to ignore back then, so you had the best balance of spiritual and material well-being.

Edited by AnonymousSpeed

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Libraries. They were still a big thing in society and there was a rich culture of children's books that you could borrow from libraries, including many contemporary classics from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that've largely been forgotten today. Presidents and First Ladies would hold events where they visited libraries and read to children.

There was more of a sense that positive values existed and ought to be promoted. This was politically moderate but perhaps with a slight liberal bent. On the other hand, this period was a golden age for the Evangelical Right; there a flourishing of Christian literature of all kinds and more people genuinely believed in the religious values that informed their politics.

Today, of course, libraries still exist but they're increasingly obsolescent and people rarely visit them.

 

The smart phone did not exist. People listened to music either on CDs (on a CD player or at a computer) or on an MP3 player or an iPod, which was small and portable but looked different from what you're familiar with today. Headphones existed but they didn't look exactly the same as they did today.

MP3 players did not have touch screens. You pushed little plastic buttons. As was the case for all cell phones. Cell phones didn't have enough buttons to include a keyboard, so you punched in numbers to produce letters. Of course, a lot of homes still had landline phones that were plugged in.

 

Most computers were desktops. They sat at a desk and were on all of the time. Colorful designs called "screensavers" kept the same image from being burnt into the screen when the computer was on and otherwise would've displayed an image but was not in use. Laptops existed but I never saw one until I was older.

 

The primary mode of entertainment was the TV. Homes still had antennas (though richer homes had "cable") that captured a signal and coverage was often spotty. The image on screen could look truly awful if there was interference. Children watched a lot of programming from the channel "PBS" in its morning slot; after a certain time it would switch over to adult content.

 

A lot of households still used VCRs surprisingly late. A VCR plays VHS Tapes, which are large plastic blocks that have magnetic tape inside. At most, a VHS tape might've held a 2 hour movie. You bought or rented VHS tapes at a store. If you watched the early Pokemon, for example, you might rented a VHS tape from Blockbuster that had 2 or 3 episodes. This technology was from the '90s but again, its use continued for a while and you could buy VHS Tapes for movies like Monsters, Inc.

Of course, by the 2000s the dominant medium was the CD/DVD. You would recognize them, but nonetheless they're not used very much today. In fact, most computers today cannot play CDs or DVDs. Your best bet is to find an old XBox 360.

 

All handheld gaming before the Nintendo DS (which came out in 2004) was almost exclusively single player. At best, if you bought a link cable then you could connect two GBAs and play a multiplayer match, but it had to be with somebody you knew personally. The DS, in contrast, allowed for the use of true Wi-Fi in some games (e.g. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Megaman Star Force, etc) and you could also do wireless local multiplayer with a feature called "DS Download Play", which only required one person to own the game in question. It was pretty neat.

Before the Nintendo Switch, there was a clear distinction between handheld and console gaming. You might be old enough to have owned a 3DS, so I guess this isn't anything new to you.

 

The internet was a thing, but it was still dependent on landlines that made telephones possible. The quality was spotting and it could take a long time to load a simple webpage. Overall, the internet was a pitiful fraction of what it's capable of today, and the dominant mode of entertainment was still television. TVs were still big boxes. The bigger your box TV, the more luxurious it was perceived as being.

Internet forums like this one were more popular back in the day. So were fanfiction websites like FFN. Gaming fandom websites were popular and fans logged on to learn all the latest tips and rumors about games.

 

TV was a lot more local back in the day. Anime existed in the West and a few franchises had become smash hits (e.g. Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Pokemon, Fruit Basket, possibly Ranma, etc.) but you didn't have as many options. 99.99% of anime up to that point had simply never aired or been translated here, and there wasn't a website where you could watch subbed episodes of anything you wanted (and again, download speeds would've been too crappy even if such an option was available).

 

In public settings, you did not hear people say words like "fvck". People were still very reluctant to curse publicly. Anyone who was gay or lesbian kept quiet about it, as it was still something you were extremely reluctant to disclose at the time. Prepubescent girls had a fashion sense that was somewhat boyish or gender neutral. You didn't see children wearing short shorts except of a particular baggy kind that was a bit longer and also gender-neutral.

 

People still listened to the radio when driving in cars. The two main options were "FM" and "AM" radio. Stuff that broadcast from far away had poorer audio quality than stuff that came from radio towers in your local area.

 

On the musical scene "emo", "punk", "rock", "goth" were all the rage. You had young men who looked like heartthrobs and dressed flamboyantly. My sister was very much into a band called "My Chemical Romance", which IIRC actually still exists today.

For adults, the "ideal man" was a mild-mannered white collar worker. The culture of idealized masculinity that I see in the South today didn't exist among white collar types. This is something that I can't really describe.

Edited by Hrothgar777

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For me, not drastically different. Mostly paid attention to technology and stuff like that. Magazines were the main source of keeping up with gaming news for me. It still boggles my mind that people can be born after the year 2000, get outta here with that. >U

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3 hours ago, Kiryu said:

So, what were the 2000s like? What was life like before social media was everywhere and unavoidable?

Social Media was really in its infancy back then, with the rise of Myspace right around the middle of the 2000s. I remember my friends in high school trying to pressure me to join as it was the hot new things that only the kids were really into.

 

3 hours ago, Kiryu said:

What was life like when the internet was so slow that a single image would take 5 minutes to load?

I more remember setting up things to download over night, and having the lottery in the morning of if the internet messed up in the meantime, and you had to try again, or worse yet discovering some jackass uploaded an album length version of the rickroll labeled as what you wanted to actually download.

 

3 hours ago, Armchair General said:

I had to regularly buy batteries for the GBA until they came out with the rechargeable battery that the DS had.

I remember saving up for this rechargeable battery third party periphery for it to help with that problem. Which reminds me, I also got one of those lights you can plug into the link cable port so you could play it in the dark (or simply less ideal lighting...)

 

4 hours ago, Armchair General said:

It was also the waning years of strategy guides (although, the only ones that managed to stand out was Nintendo Power) because of the internet.

I remember Game FAQs was a big resource back then. I even remember printing out some massive walkthrough of the original Metroid Prime so I could more easily reference it without the hassle of dealing with the internet (and having to talk the folks into using the phone lines for the internet).

 

3 hours ago, Armchair General said:

 

Other than the fact that everything wasn't as politicized as it is, nowadays; you aren't really missing out on much...Outside of an few websites that have fallen off the face of the web.

Don't kid yourself, there was plenty of the same political bullcrap back then too. Heck the decade started with George dumber-than-ya (slurred a little to sound like Dubya, the way they always said his middle initial W) Bush's election, which had far more plausible accusations of election fraud thrown around (at least plausible enough that some lawsuits actually went through for things like recounts), and in a little microcosm of what was to come Republican protestors even violently stormed a Florida election office to prevent a legally mandated recount. The same messed up groomer rhetoric you are hearing about trans people now were being thrown at gay people back then, as the fight for Gay Marriage rights was staring up in the mid to late 2000s, winning over a few states even. Anti-abortionists bombings clinics and assassinating doctors were news worthy events.The war people all wanted to end was the US in the middle east back then (a few years into the damn thing at least). People still got canceled, we just called it black listing, or shunning back then. Lets not even get into the extreme levels of anti-Muslim, and Middle East rhetoric that came about after the 9/11 attacks (which feel like such a sad drop in the bucket compared to the disastrous levels of Covid deaths). Plus all the weird racist takes which started going around during Obama's election/presidency in the late 2008. Sure it all has a different coat of paint, but a lot of it is the same shit, just a different day, and different people.

 

2 hours ago, Hrothgar777 said:

 

The smart phone did not exist

Also Cell phones were rising in popularity throughout the decade from a rarity in early 2000s, into fairly common by the late 2000s. Pay phones, and those emergency phones on the highway were still things people used, and having Land-lines as the main form of phones was universal, which also made the phone something shared among the whole family.

 

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I will expand on what Hrothgar mentioned about computers, mainly the Windows side of things; while I know Mac and Linux are also still used today, I grew up with Windows and it's all I've ever used. *Here I'm just gonna call computers "PC's" even though it's not all-encompassing.

Before Windows, Microsoft actually started with a simpler system in 1981 called MS-DOS (Disk-Operating System) or just DOS. It's pronounced with a soft "o", by the way, not the Spanish number for "two". If you've ever seen the "command prompt" or "command line" on a PC--you know, the black screen with gray text showing "C:\_" at the bottom-most line--that's entirely what DOS was. But there were still games for it, and by the 90's some impressive 16-bit games were made for DOS, for instance the FPS genre made its big start here with Id Software's Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.

Programs came on 5¬ľ" (and later 3¬Ĺ") Floppy Disks, the drive for which was a slot you'd insert them into, very much like SD cards but with less storage despite the bigger physical size. By the early 90s PC's had begun using CD-ROM drives, and as has been stated, most PC's today don't have one (though this Windows 10 laptop from 2016 I'm typing on right now does actually have a CD drive. I don't use it though, and besides any old PC game CD's I still have are buried in the workshop somewhere...)

In 1985, Microsoft introduced Windows 1.0. But the system didn't really take off until the release of Windows 3.1 in 1992. I could mention the rest, but if you were to see a video showing the evolution of Windows, I think you can see how it slowly melded into what we have today. To even play old PC games from the 90's other than having an old PC that can run them, you'd have to use an emulator such as DOSBox or PCem. But depending on who you are, that could be its own can o' worms.

4 hours ago, Hrothgar777 said:

All handheld gaming before the Nintendo DS (which came out in 2004) was almost exclusively single player. At best, if you bought a link cable then you could connect two GBAs and play a multiplayer match, but it had to be with somebody you knew personally.

This was also true for the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color; they also had link cables. If you had the 4-player GBA link cable adapter, you could use it on GB and GBC; a single GBA link cable wouldn't work since the thin "Player 1" cable does not work with them.

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Posted (edited)

9/11, 9/11, 9/11. Every night we'd tune in to news on the War on Terror. Ask any question about what we were doing over there and you'd get boo-ed down for being unpatriotic. The most subversive, popular thing I can remember is "Where is the Love?" by the Black Eyed Peas. Everybody planted American flags on their front lawn. I think there was even a time we considered changing the name of French Fries to Freedom Fries. The general optimism and liberalism of the 90s were very much eroded. 

I'd offer that the music was better, since that was the last era where a career in music was still seen as viable for an average person. God I miss Garage Bands. Musicians weren't also expected to be Personalities, but you could see that shift starting around then. But movies, tv, video games, I think all of that is leagues better now. The Niche stuff is niche-er while the broadly appealing genres are at least worth your money/time to sit through.

People say "we used to be less political", but think about how old you were in this era in question. How much adult talk did you overhear as a kid, let alone understand? Not much. People still walked away from Thanksgiving Dinner in a huff over some stupid shit their uncle said. They didn't say "woke" back then, they said Politically Correct (this version of PC was a better understood acronym than the PC meaning 'Personal Computer' or 'Windows'). If Crash released today, the terminally outraged dude bros of Youtube would make entire careers out of it. 

Was life better before Social media? I don't think I'm qualified to weigh in. My first smartphone that I've had for seven years and counting, is not logged into any website or platform except for Discord for the few friends that insist we communicate over that. I never dug too deep. On the flipside however, growing up the only people in your life were the physical people that you've met. So if nobody accepted you, then you were a lonely person even into adulthood. It's why we made such a big deal about moving to big cities. On the internet, you get that same experience of being surrounded by all kinds of people. Simply hearing somebody ask the same questions you do, that's life changing. You don't even need to say a word to those people, because finding out you're not alone is enough. It's the perspective you needed. I'd also argue that social media elevates stuff that would normally get passed by? As I said above, the niche films, tv, and video games, have gotten niche-er while also getting financially more viable to produce. I don't believe for a second that Dark Souls would be surpassing Zelda sales numbers in a pre-Twitch era, and we have Kings Field and Demon Souls to prove it.

Edited by Zapp Branniglenn

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6 hours ago, Hrothgar777 said:

In fact, most computers today cannot play CDs or DVDs.

And this, dear users, is the greatest travesty of the modern day, and I can't play Toy Story 3 or Need for Speed: Carbon on my computer anymore.

Actually, I lost those games years ago, but my point still stands in more ways than one.

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People don't really change. We were less connected, but people acted the same back then as they do now. They whined about everything and talked about how things were better in the good ole days. The only thing that was better back then was my stamina.

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Posted (edited)
On 9/30/2022 at 3:25 PM, Eltosian Kadath said:

The same messed up groomer rhetoric you are hearing about trans people now were being thrown at gay people back then

That stuff has been going on before that decade; and even then, I thought this was kind of dumb. Nowadays, I'm kind of on the fence about it.

 

On 9/30/2022 at 3:25 PM, Eltosian Kadath said:

Lets not even get into the extreme levels of anti-Muslim, and Middle East rhetoric that came about after the 9/11 attacks

Given the way how asymmetrical warfare works, this is kind of justifiable in the sense that you don't really know exactly who is the enemy is. Of course,  not all Muslims terrorists and their religion is extremely divisive on how it's observed. Come to think of it, there was hardly an wave of Islamic terrorism within the US.

23 hours ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:

People say "we used to be less political", but think about how old you were in this era in question. How much adult talk did you overhear as a kid, let alone understand? Not much. People still walked away from Thanksgiving Dinner in a huff over some stupid shit their uncle said

The only thing that my family ever brought up was Obama being an health nut. Nowadays,  it's the question of "Who is the bigger fool? Trump or the people who followed him?", Biden becoming senile, covid, migrants drowning in the Rio Grande, that ongoing supply chain issue.

 

My dad is obsessed with these kind of things and I just settled for lying through my teeth about it.  I really can't see how people can keep track of all the shit that's going on, nowadays

Edited by Armchair General

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Readin this thread was a bit refreshing. Hmmm... maybe I aint the oldest feller here after all... lol

Tell ya what tho, the ones I truly feel for now are the younger generation tryin to get through school and dealing with the bullying crap. Years ago that shit at least stopped when the bell rang. Now, with social media... its never ending

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I guess for me it was better in the sense I was a kid and still had hope in the world, at least I could avoid stuff better then now seems like where ever I turn I see bad stories now and people wonder why I only check the news every couple of days since I feel like the media gave up reporting nice stories by 2000 and yeah as a kid the local news did report nice things.  People seem now to always bet on the worst side of things now and there are no nice local news stories anymore.  At least back then there were Saturday morning cartoons and I could spend a day out in the yard with my dog and be left alone since no cell phone and having to stay in touch with people because they will get mad if I don't respond.  Music in my view was better I still love punk rock and goth music.  I miss as a woman being able to find nice pants every where I look now it is only leggings which aren't pants and I won't be caught dead wearing without a skirt over them since I know I won't look good.  

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Just moved to the states. Rode my bike a lot running errands like grocery shopping. Elementary -> High School. Went through an amazing year of very little school due to hurricanes. I guess it was a pretty basic time for me.

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I regret to say that people born after the year 1999 will always be seen as children in my eyes and intolerably young. I will continue to have this stance and view of reality even 80 years from now when such people are over 100 years old (and I'm 110). My apologize, but it is unavoidable.

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Can't say much of the early part of the 00's since I was super young 

But it was weird, some of my earlier memories of being a kid were about 9/11 and hearing about the Iraq war

It was kind of cool to watch how technology rapidly changed going from flip phones to smart phones, land lines disappearing, this new thing called Netflix, and how much the internet changed. I remember a viral video on YouTube was 100,000 views and a million if it was big.

Phones books and phone booths being phased out

We knew what memes were without knowing what a meme was (I remember in school if someone yelled "HILLSHIRE FARMS" a bunch of us would yell back "Go Meat!")

The best way I'd sum it up was a rapid change in technology and how the internet changed socialization 

And the great recession of 08

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I'd say the biggest difference was access to media. Internet download speed was not such a big issue as it might seem, mainly because the content was just not there. 

Instead of the now established social media platforms a lot of fragmented forums were used and P2P sharing was the go-to option to download new shit, if you could afford running your PC for the whole night.   

But going back to the access issue, just to give you a glimpse on how bothersome it was to get games/music/whatever  - my family moved 2002 to Poland, where things like copyright laws were just passed a few years back, so piracy was still RAMPANT, which I guess was deterring publishers from making an effort to even enter the market. Nintendo in PL was non-existent at that time. Getting a game at launch? Yeah, good luck with that. A bit later some small companies tried tho. GCN/Wii games came with a 4x3cm photocopied booklet translated to Polish, which was glued to the box. For PC, Playstation consoles and Famiclones you could literally go to any flea market and buy games on burnt CDR's but those often did not work or were something entirely different than what was advertised, lol. 

Thus, rental shops were a thing. Moreso in the '90s, as they started to disappear in the 00's. Presumably because the rise of CDs and DVDs made it so easy to just rip and burn the media. 

Reviews in printed magazines had much more weight than online reviews nowadays, as they were often the only source available to get an idea of how a game plays like, what to expect from a new music album etc. Same with demos. I have a full stack of official PlayStation Magazine demo discs, a real blessing in a time where you would sometimes pick a piece of media only based on the cover art (yeah, covers were WAY more important than now imo). 

Communicating with your peers was slower. Texting, as in sending SMS did cost money, therefore calling your friends (for trivial things) was much more common than it is now, since at least where I lived most contracts came with a plenty free minutes to use. Oh, and for calls outside your country landline was preferred, as mobile roaming costs were not regulated back then in the EU. 

It was amazing to see the tech evolve in real time. I mean, I went from playing 8-bit Pokemon to Uncharted 2 in HD in a mere 10 years. 

 

Edited by know_naim

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