Back to the future

Something I read on social media today. If Marty McFly and Doc were to organise a trip on the DeLorean today, and travelled the same amount of years back, they would land in…


Imagine the shock for any kid that age. No mobile phones, no internet, or selfies, hardly any card payments, having to memorize telephone numbers, or work round dialling phones and Walkman… And that without including the music. Madonna’s Vogue, Grunge…


1991 wasn’t all bad, though. Any time-travelling kids of today sent 30 years back in time would get the chance to enjoy the original releases of such legendary gaming titles as Street Fighter II and Sonic the Hedgehog.

And 1991 also happened to be the year that gave us the Darkwing Duck animated series, the original Swedish release of the Kult RPG, the original Sailor Moon manga, the first Ghost in the Shell tankobon release… and, ironically, it was also the year when Back to the Future: The Animated Series first aired.

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Fastest PC is a 486. In the UK charts: Vanilla Ice, Kylie Minogue, The Waterboys, Madonna, Right Said Fred, and that desperately overplayed Bryan Adams song. Desert Storm. Eastern Europe is changing but the USSR is still a thing until the end of the year. Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated. Helen Sharman flies on Soyuz TM-12. Robert Maxwell mysteriously dies; nobody ever finds the money. David Icke claims to be the son of God, and later claims that he was misinterpreted.


When back in time Marty used Darth Vader as an alias which was a character introduced 8 years before Back to the Future.

The highest grossing new property 8 years back from now to use in 1991 would be Disney’s Frozen.

I suppose they could use a 2 year old Tesla instead of a 2 year old DeLorean.

Marty performed Johnnie B Goode which was #26 Billboard year end R&B single of 1958. Going from 2021 back similarly the protagonist would perform 1994’s Gangsta Lean by DRS.


Don’t get me wrong, I loved the 90s. I just wonder how a teenager from these days would fare… No internet, social media… Even though the 90s are not so different from 2021 in aesthetics (compared to the 80s to 50s jump) I think there is plenty there for a big shock.

For the Johnny Be Good replacement, I vote for something like, say, Soundgarden or similar. Tricky to do the guitar stunts with hip hop.

I don’t remember much about 1991, but I manage an entire team of people who both have PhDs and were not born in 1991. I believe this makes me solidly middle aged…


“Marty, Marty, it’s your cousin Marvin.”

“Marvin, Pellow”

“You know that sound you wanted for a romantic comedy that will launch the career of High Grant?”

“Well listen to this!”


I remember the shock a couple of years ago talking to my niece, and somehow the Barcelona Olympic games from '92 came up and… of course she did not remember them because she was born in 96…

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My dad was late to a family holiday because he was working at the Barcelona Olympics :grin:

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I teach college and we are now at the point where I should assume a “traditional” college student was not born in the 1900s at all. This still weirds me out. I usually have at least one “non-traditional” student in each class who was alive and has memories of events such as the Oil Crisis or the Iran Hostage situation and can contribute personal reflections when we get to those dates (I teach US History), but the large majority of students remember nothing about 9/11 or even really have “memories” of political and economic events from the years of the Obama Presidency. Pop culture, sure, but the adult news world largely passes by children and they were children then.


That was a thing that always struck me as odd about the Beloit College mindset list - obviously very US biased, which is fair enough, but it was much more about US pop culture than about big historical events.

Yep. I’ve looked at that list before It can be somewhat useful as a professor because I think some people do have a tendency to try to toss in pop culture references or analogies into lectures to connect with students and not realize that the reference used in a lecture for the first time 15 years ago means nothing to the students in a class today, but grounding in things like the minimum wage has been X their entire life or people have always had to take their shoes off at airport security would be more meaningful for showing worldview I think.