HomeFashion10 Pre-2000s Inventions That Made Redditors Believe The Future Arrived

10 Pre-2000s Inventions That Made Redditors Believe The Future Arrived

Technology seems to make bigger and bigger leaps each year, and it is easy to forget how particular inventions were groundbreaking when they debuted. Certain pieces of tech that are now part of everyone’s day-to-day lives were completely earth-shattering before the year 2000 and many had users feeling like they had stepped into science fiction.

From music formats like CDs to Nintendo’s popular light gun the Zapper, vintage inventions may be somewhat useless today, but they changed a lot of lives for the better. Though every new invention pushes humanity forward, only a select few devices had users on Reddit believing that they were living in the future.


Barcode Scanners

A person uses a barcode scanner to scan a box

Though most people look back fondly on inventions that involved entertainment or communication, some can remember a logistical gadget that caused a massive leap forward in the 1970s. Looking back on that big day, user weaver_of_cloth wrote “I remember the first time I saw a barcode scanner at a grocery store…Bar-codes also ushered in the age of automatic inventory management, which changed the world significantly.”

RELATED: 10 Forgotten Gadgets Of The 1980s That Kids Won’t Recognize Today

Speeding up the way that companies can track their inventory, the barcode scanner made them more efficient and improved the customer experience. Unfortunately, the tech also gave an advantage to big-box stores which have since pushed out smaller businesses that can’t compete.

Nintendo Zapper

The orange and grey Nintendo Zapper on a white background

Resurrecting the failing video game market, the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the best-selling video game consoles because it pushed the boundaries of what was possible in gaming. Mentioning a proprietary piece of Nintendo tech, user Jackalodeath wrote “You could point a plastic gun at a TV and somehow ‘shoot’ things. I can’t be the only one who’s mind was blown over this.”

The Zapper was only compatible with a few games, but titles like Duck Hunt became instant classics because of their arcade-like gameplay. The simplicity of the light gun was its best strength, and it paved the way for other pieces of extraneous video game gadgetry to bring put more power into the player’s hands.

Home Computers

An early home computer featuring a detachable keyboard and small monitor

Before the 1980s, computers were large and cumbersome and had very little value for anyone that didn’t work in math or science. To remind other users of that fact, Redditor stratamaniac said “Come on! Home computers! Before the 80s computers were for scientists only.”

The home computer revolution of the ’80s was spurred on by companies like Commodore, and its greatest strength was that it offered so much more than just computing. Some of the best PC games of all time began to be made in the decade, and the rise in home computer usage forced the industry to continue to revolutionize to stay competitive.

Video Calling

A young woman talks on a video telephone

Many of science fiction’s more outlandish predictions have yet to come true, but the world of communication has certainly caught up to what writers thought the future would hold. Mentioning an example, user Jain-Farstrider wrote “little kid me would have gotten his hair blown back by talking to someone on the phone while seeing video of them at the same time.”

RELATED: 10 Overrated Smart Home Gadgets, According To Reddit

Through apps like Skype and Zoom, modern meetings can be held exclusively online, but the video call was actually invented much earlier and was commercially available in the 1990s. The original phones were cumbersome and had little value, but it was yet another sci-fi prediction that came true long before many thought it would.

Caller ID

A close up shot of an early caller I.D box from Radio Shack

One thing about technology is that it is often taken for granted, and a subtle but important communication development is practically old-hat in today’s society. Reminding younger readers, user MizzEmCee said “Caller I.D….it would show the number and sometimes name of the person calling…It seemed so high tech to me at the time.”

Saving users from potentially awkward situations, caller I.D. was not a fad and has been integrated into every generation of phones since, even cell phones. As a testament to the earth-shattering importance of caller I.D., a modern phone without it would not do well on the market.

Online Gaming

A created character in Everquest looks on

Though there are many things about online gaming that players feel ruin the video game experience, there is no denying the grip that it has on the modern gaming landscape. Citing an early online game as a life-changing invention, user Ghengiscone said “Everquest was really something else when it came out. Playing online with my group of friends…was really mind blowing.”

Launching in 1999 Everquest wasn’t the first online game, but its accessibility and user-friendliness helped it spearhead the upcoming online gaming boom. Before games like Everquest, multiplayer gaming was an in-person experience, but advancements in internet capability perfectly blended the two high-tech worlds together.

Word Processors

A word processor featuring a keyboard and small monitor

Home computing was a revolution all by itself, but many of the peripheral gadgets that came along with computers also changed lives for the better. Citing personal experience, user O_for_a_muse_of_fire said “Word-processors…In the 1980s, I did a lot of typing in my work…Being able to correct mistakes BEFORE they were printed? That was FANTASTIC!”

RELATED: 10 Tech Inventions That Were Ahead Of Their Time, According To Reddit

Switching from analog to digital meant that no mistake was permanent, and so much more time was saved overall. While it may seem silly today, the word processor also made certain skills like typing and formatting accessible and allowed more and more users to become familiar with computers in the process.

Digital Cameras

A closeup of the Apple Quicktake 200 on a white background

Technological advancements don’t necessarily spell the end to what has come before, and things like digital cameras can never erase the usefulness of analog film. However, user swolebrarian still expressed their wonder at the tech when saying “Digital cameras…It hit me when I realized toddlers who had their pic taken would run to the photographer to see what the picture looked like…as if that was the way all cameras always worked.”

With even affordable cell phones featuring amazing cameras, the digital revolution has completely changed the way that photos are taken today. People of a certain age can remember how amazing the one-hour photo experience was, and the immediacy of digital cameras in the 1990s even made that advancement seem like the Stone Age by comparison.

Cordless Phones

A hand dials an early cordless phone

One of the most cumbersome aspects of the tech boom of the 20th century was the reliance on chords, but even that burden was relieved long before the year 2000. Expressing their amazement, user SweetPrism said “Born in 1981, here. Cordless phones were a biggie.”

Often baffling early users with exactly how it worked, the cordless phone was just the first of many things that untethered users and allowed more free usage. It is difficult for many younger people to fathom having to be saddled with a lengthy phone line while making calls, but the cordless phone was a minor gadget that brought every household into the future.

Compact Discs

Many Compact Discs are arranged in a row

Though CDs failed to fully kill off their predecessors the vinyl record and audio tape, they were nevertheless a high-tech development that even looked a little futuristic. Mentioning what made CDs so spectacular, user Civil-librarian-7385 said “I know this sounds ridiculous to say as we don’t even use Cd’s anymore but skipping forward a song…was revolutionary to me.”

Audiophiles may debate the merits of the CD when it comes to sound quality, but there was no denying the abundance of convenience they offered. Not only was the CD more portable than tapes or records, but the instantaneous access to songs meant no more fast-forwarding or flipping the disc. Records and audio tapes were somewhat tangible, but the digital nature of CDs was like something straight from an episode of Star Trek when they first hit the market.

NEXT: 10 ’80s Gadgets That Should Have Been More Popular Than They Were

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Denis Ava
Denis Avahttps://bizgrows.com/
Denis Ava is mainly a business blogger who writes for Biz Grows. Rather than business blogs he loves to write and explore his talents in other niches such as fashion, technology, travelling,finance,etc.

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