Microsoft Just Made the Definitive 1990s Nostalgia Video

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Jan. 25 2013 9:50 AM

Microsoft Just Made the Definitive 1990s Nostalgia Video

Oregon Trail Microsoft ad
"Jessica has died of dysentery."

Screenshot / YouTube

Slap bracelets. 56k modems. Tamagotchis. LA Gear Lights. And… Microsoft Internet Explorer?

In a new ad, Microsoft aims for the hearts of “Generation Y” with a slice of 1990s nostalgia so thick you could cut it with a diskette. From the track-suit color palette to the Oregon Trail in-jokes, the ad is a pitch-perfect tribute to the most recent decade anyone could possibly get nostalgic about.


“You grew up,” it concludes. “So did we.” The pitch is that it’s high time to “reconnect with the new Internet Explorer.”

The ad will surely tug at the sentiments of anyone between the ages of about 21 and 35. And give Microsoft credit for recognizing and acknowledging its once-dominant Web browser’s antiquated image. (The ad is part of a broader campaign whose homepage is But as clever as the spot is, it’s hard to imagine it convincing anyone to drop Firefox or Chrome and return to the browser dark ages, any more than it will convince them to go out and get a bowl cut. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn at the end that the ad was in fact a parody clip put together by Google or Mozilla partisans. 

Still: pogs. For keeps.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.



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