This year’s incoming class of Freshmen is the class of 2021. Using a bit of simple math (and, mostly, common knowledge), we can assume this class consists of 17 to 19 year olds. For argument’s sake, let’s average that number at 18 and say they were born in 1999.
1999. Here’s your blast to the past! From pop-culture to technology, we have come up with a list of 21 things that are as old as the freshmen class!
1. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
In the US, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire first aired on ABC with Regis Philbin as the host. This was the time when the phrase, “Is that your final answer?”, became an iconic quote.
2. Bluetooth 1.0
Believe it or not, the first Bluetooth device made its debut in July of 1999. It wasn’t extremely popular because many customers struggled to get it to connect properly to their electronic devices.
3. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Since there hadn’t been a Star Wars film since 1983, this first installment of the three-part prequel was the highest grossing film of the year. Action figures and games from the Star Wars universe increased in popularity.
4. Britney Spear’s album, …Baby One More Time
This album still stands as one of the bestselling albums of all time, with 30 million copies sold worldwide. And it probably stands as the most iconic, as anyone from any generation knows the words to the songs …Baby One More Time and (You Drive Me) Crazy.
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Within three months of each other, these books were published in 1999, continuing the story of the “Boy Who Lived.” J. K. Rowling’s book series became a worldwide phenomena after these two books.
6. The Matrix
We have gone 18 years making references and jokes to The Matrix. It’s popularity is well-deserved, considering the fact that it grossed $460 million dollars and won 4 Academy Awards.
7. Super Smash Bros.
In both North America and Japan, this Nintendo fighting game was released for the Nintendo 64. It featured some of our favorite and most beloved characters from the Nintendo franchise like Mario, Bowser, Samus, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pikachu, and Link.
8. Apple iBook
The early years of laptops were all about the “Clamshell” aesthetic. Yahoo!, AOL, Ask Jeeves, and even MySpace were popular forms of communicating and getting information.
Napster was introduced to the public in the summer of that year. Those were the good ol’ days of “peer to peer” file sharing. These MP3 files were the tracks on a hand-held MP3 player, which rivaled with the portable CD player at the time.
10. SpongeBob SquarePants
This beloved show that has taken pop-culture by storm was televised in July of 1999 on Nickelodeon. It quickly became a worldwide favorite and soon had movies, merchandise, and, eventually, memes. These anthropomorphic animal characters don’t seem to be going out of style any time soon.
11. Family Guy
The show premiered on the Fox network on January 31, 1999, just after Super Bowl XXXIII and was canceled on February 14, 2002. This wasn’t the last we’d see of the Griffin family though. Strong DVD sales and reruns prompted Fox to revive the show and new episodes of Family Guy have been consistently airing since May 1, 2005.
12. WWE Smackdown
The program launched as WWF Smackdown on the then UPN Network (now the CW Network) and the bottom line is that shared with the world, the one and only Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The show about the pizza-delivery boy that is accidentally frozen and wakes up 1,000 years in the future began in 1999 before canceled in 2002, revived in 2008 for movies, revived again as a tv series that ran from 2010 before ending in 2013.
14. Sega Dreamcast
This gaming console came to the United States in September of that year. It was the last home console from Sega, marking the end of the company’s home console market. The bestselling game for the Dreamcast was Sonic Adventureswith 2.5 million copies sold worldwide by this time.
15. Grand Theft Auto 2
The popular game franchise released its second game. Counting spin-off games, there are 15 games at the time of this article in the Grand Theft Auto series. You could say that stealing cars and engaging in criminal in video games activity has been a timeless hobby.
16. Sugar Ray’s album 14:59
Who can forget the iconic frosted tips and goatee of Sugar Ray? Even though this album wasn’t as popular as Floored, released in 1997, their song “Every Morning” was widely compared to “Fly,” and saw similar success, reaching number 3 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
17. BlackBerry 850
The BlackBerry 850 was the first of its kind that appeared on the market in this year. It was introduced as a two-way pager with email and limited HTML browsing. This was the beginning of BlackBerry’s long journey to the 2017 BlackBerry Aurora, released in March.
18. The Backstreet Boy’s album Millennium
Everyone was anticipating the turn of the millennium this year, wondering if all technology was going to shut down at the end of 1999. This third album from the Back Street Boys was the bestselling album of this year with more than 30 million sold worldwide. From that album came our favorite hits, such as “I Want It That Way,” “Larger Than Life,” and “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.” Since the millennium didn’t cause calamity and destruction, we are able to continue treasuring this album to this day.
19. The Blair Witch Project
Set in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland, this independent movie became the most successful of its kind. It grossed nearly $250 million worldwide on a budget of $60,000. It popularized the trend of found footage film, soon leading to horror films such as Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield.
20. Jennifer Lopez’s album On the 6
Jennifer Lopez is regarded as one of the few successful pop-stars who started their career as an actress. Two years before, she lead the role as Selena in a bio-pic of the same name. After that role, she pursued music on her own, debuting her single “If You Had My Love.” She topped the Billboard Hot 100 with that debut single while producing the album.
21. Fight Club
The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. However, it was based on a novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk and grossed $100.9 million.
Here’s to UNT21, the class who grew up with Grand Theft Auto Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Spongebob Square Pants, and Harry Potter. Imagine not knowing what the world was like without internet, video games, phones, and a mass of entertainment. You can’t blame them for it. However, it’s crazy thinking that there are people are old as some of the most iconic songs, movies, and games. What a time to be alive.