Rewind to 1996

Travel back in tech time to reminisce on the gadgets, games, albums and films of yesteryear

Deep Blue beat Kasparov at chess while Alanis Morissette saw no irony in picking up a Grammy gong for Album of the Year. Here’s what we had in our manbags

Gadget – Motorola StarTAC

The world’s first clamshell phone was the precursor to Moto’s RAZR V3. A massive 60 million were sold, thanks to its optional lithium-ion battery and lightweight innovative clamshell design.

Console – Nintendo 64

The N64 was overlooked by many gamers when it launched, mainly because Sony’s PlayStation was busy fighting its way to dominance. The clunky cartridges seemed old-fashioned in a CD-shaped world, but titles like Super Mario 64 pioneered 3D sandbox environments and changed gaming forever.

Album – Beck, Odelay

From Beck’s tangle of orchestrated oddness came some of the most enduring hooks of the ‘90s. Odelay emerged from the ennui of Britpop’s dirgy guitar mush with wit, Americana, psyche and staggering attention to detail. For once, a genuine instant classic was born.

Film – Trainspotting

Decisions, decisions. This was a year that had geek (Independence Day, Mars Attacks!), Arnie (Eraser and, er, Jingle All the Way) and Shakespeare (Branagh’s Hamlet vs Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet). But Danny Boyle rewrote the book on addiction, violence and good swearing in his heroin-fuelled Scots masterpiece.

Game – Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider would never have been as big a success had it simply been about archeology, mystery and guns. But with the introduction of Lara Croft – a character whose assets had been carefully coded to hack directly into the male gaming demographic’s pleasure centre – Eidos had a hit on its hands.

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