Inside a video rental and candy store
Wikimedia Commons | Ezzex

People Are Sharing The Little Things They Miss About Life Before The Internet

Life before the internet is still remembered by plenty of people, but it's a period of history that's receding further and further into the rearview mirror. While the internet is undoubtedly an incredibly useful tool, it can also be one that complicates and divides.

Do you yearn for a simpler time, one with dumbphones, pagers, VCRs, and the TV Guide? Read on, because we're about to delve into some serious pre-internet nostalgia.

Photography existed, but not in the same way.

Multiple rolls of camera film
Unsplash | Pawel Czerwinski

"Anyone else ever find old un-labeled rolls of film that had never been developed? And when you finally develop them, you find a day and a half of vacation pics from a year and a half ago or something random like that? I miss that experience."


Encyclopedias were incredible.

Shelves full of Collier's Encyclopedias
Wikimedia Commons | Ziko

"I graduated in 1993 and we had a set of World Book Encyclopedias. However, they were from 1965. LOL They were my dad's old encyclopedias. I'm sure I wrote up some seriously outdated reports with those. I guess the cool thing was that no one could easily fact check me."


More phone numbers than I can remember.

A vintage landline phone
Unsplash | Brendan Stephens

"This one pertains to cell phones. Before cell phones when we just had land lines only, I can remember everyone's phone numbers by heart. Now with my smartphone I can only remember 3 phone numbers."


In a time before everyone had an online presence...

Group of punks sitting outside
Unsplash | Viktor Forgacs

"The ability to start over. I moved a lot, every move I could reinvent myself, bookworm, punk, preppie, I got to try out lots of aspects of my personality and my past wasn't a factor."


Instant gratification isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Vintage TV listings
Wikimedia Commons | noid2001

"Patience. Waiting for the next episode of your favorite show or newest video of your favorite band. Looking forward to seeing people. The act of looking information up and being curious. Waiting for that phone call when you would take the long phone cord and stretch it around the corner, into the bathroom so you could talk in private. It seemed like there was so much more to look forward to."


This is why flat earthers are a thing.

A vintage '80s desktop computer
Unsplash | bert b

"Before the internet, people with crazy ideas lost confidence when they could not find others who agreed. On the internet, you can easily find at least 100 people who will agree to something, even a totally crazy idea. As a hold-over from the olden days, the 100 people who agree with you seems like a lot."


Trivia night will never hit the same.

Man dressed in black removing his baseball hat and scratching head
Unsplash | Valentin Salja

"You could be the cool guy that remembered [stuff]. Like who was in what movie or the themes to TV shows. Now IMDb makes everyone that guy and it’s not special. There’s a lot of little things like that."


I don't miss (most) '90s TV.

A vintage tube TV set
Unsplash | Bruna Araujo

"Sitting down in the evening to read a book because there was nothing on tv. With today’s streaming services, there is so much more media being produced - and it’s all available at the click of a button whenever you well please. It can easily become an endless loop of what to watch next. I remember when there used to be 8 channels. You either had to watch 'General Hospital' or find something better to do."


It's so hard not to pull out your phone sometimes.

Woman with a book, looking out a cafe window
Unsplash | Alexander Solodukhin

"I miss spacing out. Like, you could legit just sit on a bench or ride a bus and space out completely, letting your mind wander into those creative zones. Now phones/tech makes it much harder to get there."


Being off the grid was standard.

A Polaroid camera
Unsplash | Yoann Siloine

"Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with."


Stop the 24-hour news cycle, I want to get off.

Silhouette of a head watching news on TV
Unsplash | Amanna Avena

"News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with 'news.' And when you saw 'Breaking News' on the screen you knew something serious went down."


"Hello, could I speak to Cody, please?"

Domestic cat sleeping beside landline phone
Wikimedia Commons | Hindustanilanguage

"You had to call someone's home phone number and talk to their parents first before you could talk to your friend.

Video game cheat codes either spread by gaming magazines or by word of mouth. Sometimes that word of mouth was [expletive]. I'm looking at you Tomb Raider nude cheat code."


It was a harder time for introverts.

Page of a desk calendar
Unsplash | Behnam Norouzi

"It used to be a lot harder to bail on things. You'd have to call the person at home and tell them yourself, or at least leave a message if you wanted to be risky. Typically if you were gonna bail you'd give at least 24 hours notice. Nowadays people can let you know they're bailing last second since you're always reachable."


Reading the news felt like an event.

Person reading newspaper in a room with walls and fllor covered with newspapers
Unsplash | Egor Vikhrev

"Reading the newspaper and magazines used to be just about one of my favorite things.

Now it seems pointless to clutter the house with so much paper when I can access all of it online - but of course I don't. I pick and choose just a few articles, I don't really browse the way I would before and I encounter a lot fewer new or enlightening things.

Getting the Sunday New York Times and then going out for brunch and reading it with your friends/dates was such a treat."


Blockbuster was great, but the smaller stores could be gems as well.

Inside a video rental and candy store
Wikimedia Commons | Ezzex

"Video rental stores. I have such good memories of going to our local Mr. Movie with my dad, renting a sci-fi flick and getting candy at the checkout. streaming is cool and all, but I do miss video rental stores, mainly for nostalgic reasons."


There was no high quite like going on a winning streak.

Winning cap from a vintage soda bottle
reddit | [deleted]

"The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, I don't even bother anymore."


Sometimes you'd get something awesome, sometimes you'd get a dud.

Box full of music CDs
Unsplash | Brett Jordan

"There was so much excitement to going to a cd store to buy an album that you only knew one song of or the band/artist name and just listening to that entire cd over and over again picking out which tracks were your favorite while still learning every lyric to all the songs on the album."


You couldn't just pull up Google Maps.

Person reading a paper map
Unsplash | Feri & Tasos

"Making plans was an adventure, especially if you and your friends all relied on public transportation. Look up the movie times in the newspaper (or later call moviefone), decide on a time to meet (and tell that one friend who's always late an earlier time), walk out your house and check the bus timetable (that's hardly accurate anyway), and then hoping nothing happens en route since you had no way of telling your friends if you're late."


Nintendo Power for the win.

Cover of old Nintendo Power strategy guide
reddit | philswiftrflextape

"I miss my video game magazines. The thrill of getting one in the mail (often multiple because I had several different subscriptions) to read up on the next thing coming out, strategies for games that recently came out, and just the fun articles about related material were some of my favorite memories."


The holiday season was catalog season.

A Radio Shack catalog from 1990
reddit | Sea_lion_3

"Catalogs in general, for me. Before the internet made mindless browsing of stuff you didn't need ~really~ easy to do, we still liked doing this without having to drive to the mall. The solution? Sign your mom up for those cool seed catalogs, those not safe to browse at the office gag gift catalogs and then everything in between. That stuff was really nice to have when you grew up somewhere that was not even cable ready."