1980s — Video games

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BACK THEN — The only way to play the coolest new video game was to go to your local video game arcade! You’ve maybe been to one where you load up a card and try to fight off zombies. But back then these places only had huge coin-operated machines. Some of the hottest games then were Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and they look nothing like the games of today. And you better hope that nobody beat your high score!

TODAY — Video arcades may still exist, but the gamers of today have so many other ways to play! We have apps, we have consoles at home, we can even play with our friends online. It’s easier to play video games today than ever before! And the games we’re playing now look pretty different from back then, some even look like movies!

THE FUTURE — Maybe virtual reality will be the only way to play video games! What kinds of video games can you see the future having?


1950s — Watching TV

Cihan Demirok/123RF

BACK THEN — Have you ever heard of TV Guide? It’s a magazine that’s still around today, but back then it was the only way to find out when your favourite TV shows were on! You could buy it at the store, or have it delivered to your door. Your grandparents probably still have a few copies lying around!

TODAY — Today we have tons of ways to watch TV shows. Most of the time you can do it on your own schedule and don’t even need a TV to do it! With online streaming and subscription services like Netflix, your favourite shows are just a click away on our computers, phones and tablets. Sure, there’s still cable, but that’s where the commercials are!

THE FUTURE — Maybe we’ll be able to insert ourselves into our favourite TV shows! Maybe we’ll be able to download an entire season of our favourite shows into our brain to watch all at once! What do you think TV will look like in the future?


1860s — Shopping

Wikimedia/Columbia University Libraries/Public Domain

BACK THEN — Shopping from home isn’t new, but it was a little different back then. Mail order catalogues began as a way for people to shop at stores that they couldn’t get to because they couldn’t just jump on the bus or subway (or call an Uber). Tons of kids used to love going through catalogues and circling the toys they wanted, especially around birthdays and holidays!

TODAY — If you can’t get to the store (or if you just feel like shopping from your couch!), buying new clothes, toys and more is just a click away! Online shopping has become the quickest way to get whatever you want or need delivered straight to your door.

THE FUTURE — Maybe our home will be so smart, it’ll know when we’re out of something and need more! Maybe we’ll be able to get our house robots to do all our shopping for us! How do you think shopping will change in the future?


1760s — Learning new things

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BACK THEN — Have you seen those big, heavy-looking (and probably dusty) books on your grandparents’ bookshelf? Well if you picked one up — that is if you CAN pick one up — you’ll see that it’s something called an encyclopedia. Encyclopedias are a series of books that contain a little bit of information about everything! These were used for research and homework help (and probably for every so often proving you’re right about something) and those who could afford a set would pass them down through the generations.

TODAY — The information of the world is right at your fingertips (or voice command — right, Cortana?). Thanks to search engines, we can find pretty much anything we want and now those dusty encyclopedias have gone online!

THE FUTURE — Maybe all basic information will be programmed into our brains at birth! Will apps be able to answer questions we haven’t even thought of yet? How do you think we will find all the answers to our questions in the future?


7 BCE — Finding information

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BACK THEN — If you didn’t have a collection of tablets at home (and we don’t mean the touch-pad ones!), the library was your next option for learning new information. But to find what you were looking for, you had to rely on a card catalogue system. But the first catalogue systems weren’t written on the kind of cards you’d picture today. They used clay tablets, which were organized by subject. Paper card catalogs didn't come along until much later.

TODAY — It may surprise you, but online catalogues were already being used by libraries in By the 1980s and ‘90s! But you know the deal now: just ask Google!

THE FUTURE — Will books fly to us off the shelves when you call out for their title? Wait — will books or libraries even exist at all in the future? How will we find out new information in the future?