TV-PROGRAMME: Friends (1994-2004)

Friends is one those TV-series that everyone has seen at least one episode of. It was a huge success when it first aired, and TV-networks haven’t let us forget with countless reruns. Friends was a real phenomenon of the nineties, but when watching the old episodes, the era is not that clear. The jokes still seem quite fresh, mostly because the humor is pretty timeless, and jokes about current events are rare. Some might call it brainless fun, because the viewer doesn’t have to know anything about what is going on in the world right now, but in reality that’s the secret of its success. People like “brainless” sitcoms, because while watching, they don’t have to think much and they can just sit and relax (and laugh a bit every now and then).

The plot was very simple: six friends in New York. That’s pretty much it. The show followed their lives, romances, heartbreaks, jobs and all other normal aspects of life. The show didn’t try to preach or spread awareness; it was purely just for laughs. The comedy was entertaining with strong characters; each had their pros and cons, and they also stayed almost the same throughout the whole series.

Monica Geller (Courtney Cox) is almost a manic woman, obsessed with cleaning and cooking. She constantly wants to be the best at everything, and her competitiveness often annoys everyone else. Still, deep down, she’s sensitive and gets hurt after a heartbreak or because of nasty co-workers. At the end of season four she starts a relationship with Chandler, season seven they marry each other and at the show’s finale at season ten adopt twins.

Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) is Monica’s nerdy brother. He works as a paleontologist, and often bores people with his talk about dinosaurs. At the beginning of the series he has just divorced from his lesbian ex-wife, who is pregnant with their son Ben. He has had a crush at Rachel since high school, and their on and off relationship becomes one of the most memorable things in the series. He also gets married to an English woman Emily, accidentally say Rachel’s name at the altar, and is soon divorced again. He divorces three times during the series, and the others constantly make fun of him because of that.

Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) is from a wealthy family, and used to go to high school with the Geller siblings. She is vain and superficial, but becomes a fairly strict businesswoman during the show. At the end of season eight she has a daughter Emma with Ross. At the final episode they are reunited when Rachel decides not to move to Paris to work, but instead to stay at New York with Ross. Aniston’s haircut “The Rachel” was also world famous. The haircut was the same the whole ten years the show aired; rumors were that Aniston wanted to change her style, but the producers of the show denied that because it had become such a trademark.

Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) is a struggling actor, and a bit simple. He often understands things wrong (or not at all) and thus is probably the funniest character in the series. He has lot of one-night stands, but is also very lovable and a trusted friend. He has the catch phrase “How YOU doin’?”, which has become world known and is still being used as a pick-up line.

Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) is a masseuse and a musician with a rough childhood. She is still naive and lovable, and much like Joey, doesn’t always understand things quite right. At season five she becomes a surrogate mother for her brother and his wife, because they can’t have children on their own. At season ten she marries Mike, a man introduced in season nine.

Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) is executive and in later seasons a copywriter. He had a traumatic childhood because his father turned into a transvestite. He was Joey’s roommate for most of the series, and in season seven he married Monica.

After Friends, Matt LeBlanc started a spinoff series, simply called Joey. It wasn’t really that successful (or maybe it just seemed like it wasn’t, the success of Friends is pretty hard to beat). Aniston continued her acting career in movies. Her most successful films include Along Came Polly, The Break-up and Bruce Almighty.

Courtney Cox continued her successful TV-acting career, and is currently starring Cougar Town. She also had a role in the Scream-films. Schwimmer, on the other hand, made it to Broadway and directed a movie called Run Fatboy Run.

Kudrow and Perry also continued their acting careers with little lesser known movies.

Since the show ended, the cast of Friends have been in the news more because of their personal lives than for their careers. But if you want to take a trip down memory lane, go and get yourself the DVD set of the episodes. Or just open you TV, and watch the reruns for the millionth time.


Colonization is a computer game made by Brian Reynolds and Sid Meier, and released through MicroProse. The idea is to choose the European country you want to represent and then head to the New World, to conquer and to explore.

At the beginning of the game the player chooses whether they want to start the game in America (the New World is then the shape of America) or in a New World (a random map). If choosing New World, the player also gets to choose some characteristics for the new world. For example, if there is lot of land, many rivers, if it arid, if it mostly forest, etc. Then the player chooses their mother country, which can be France, England, The Netherlands or Portugal. Each nation has its pros and cons, some like to conquer and some like to trade. Then the player chooses the difficulty level, and gives their explorer a name. The default name is each nation’s most famous conquistador, but can be changed to anything the player wants.

The gameplay starts with a little animation telling the story of the ships sailing from their home port to explore the new world. After that the actual game screen opens, and a little icon of your ship is blinking on the right side. As the ship moves, more of the map is revealed. Soon land appears, and you can send units to the land. Units can explore on their own, and make friends with the natives and other Europeans, or build colonies. Europeans can form alliances with each other, but beware: if you are under alliance with some nation, it automatically means that you are also at war with their enemies.

Trading, conquering and building a strong nation are the most important things in this game. When you build a colony, the colonists in there will settle in the nearby areas to do whatever is to be done there: if there is forest, they will provide you with lumber, if there is ore, they will miners, if there are wild animals, they will hunt, or then they can settle at the colony and do things there. All the buildings can have experts working on them, and the experts will turn the raw material gathered from the surrounding fields into tradable goods. For example, if you have a colonist farming tobacco, you will need a tobacconist shop and a tobacconist there to make cigars out of the tobacco. Same thing, if you have a farm of sugar, you will need a building and an expert to make rum. Actually, the person working on the field or in the building doesn’t have to be an expert, but it speeds up the process. Also, the raw materials can be traded as they are, but they are not worth so much. The colony itself also needs some things, most importantly lumber and ore in order to build and food for the colonists, and if those can’t be provided in the colony itself, they have to be traded from somewhere else. You can buy all the things from Europe, but they cost valuable gold. So, if you have a colony with large amounts of something, it’s a great idea to trade it to another colony. Best thing to do is to form trade routes (either on sea or at land) where the goods are traded from colony to another automatically

Trading can be also done with Indian villages. You can also send a free colonist to the villages to learn new skills. Also, if you have missionaries, they can go to live with the Indians and convert them into your own religion. Being friends with the natives is profitable, especially with the all the other tribes, besides the Aztecs and Incas. Not that they couldn’t trade or educate, but simply because when burning their village, you will finds lots of gold. That’s the other thing you can do with Indian villages: burn them to get gold. But like said, all the other tribes are pretty “poor” in terms of gold, but the Incas and Aztecs have lot of gold in their cities. Personally, I start attacking them as soon as I get the first artillery shipped from Europe. Because even though it may not be fair, gold is very much needed in order to survive in the new world, and the best and easiest way of getting it is by burning villages. Keep in mind though, that after burning a village, the gold appears on the map as a big carriage, which you have to transport to a galleon or to a coastal colony. That’s because you can’t immediately use the gold, you have to ship it to Europe to your king, and he will let you use a certain percentage of it. If you don’t have galleons, take it to the colony, and the king will offer to transport it for you, but with a very high price. After Hernán Cortés joins your continental congress, the treasures will be shipped for free. (More about continental congress later on).

Also, while in the topic of Indians, let me tell you about Rumors of the Lost Cities. They appear on the map as you explore, and they look like a wood carving of a face. You can enter them by sending a unit there. What happens then is a surprise. Sometimes your unit just disappears; sometimes you come back with other units. If you are very, very lucky, you might find one of the two ‘big’ treasures: the seven golden cities of Cibola, or the fountain of youth. The seven golden cities give you lots of gold on the spot, which you need to transfer back to Europe to actually use it. Fountain of youth gives the player several new units, which appear on the docks in Europe, waiting to get transported to the new world. There are several of these Rumors on the map, and even if you or some other nation have already found the fountain of youth, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be another.

One important goal in the game is to build a strong nation with a dream of freedom. The colonies will gradually grow into bigger ones, with different buildings, where colonists can manufacture goods from resources, but there are also buildings with benefit the common good, like churches, schools, warehouses and most importantly News press and Liberty house. Those buildings raise the awareness of independence in the colony, and when enough of the colonists are behind the idea, you can sign the declaration of independence. But that means you really need to be independent, you can’t count on your motherland for anything, all trading and recruiting has stopped. Instead, your former king will send troops after you, and will try to conquer your colonies back to the motherland.

The colonial pride of the colonists generates Liberty bells, and when enough is generated, a founding father will join the continental congress, which I mentioned earlier. Social and industrial advances are achieved by these people, who are named after real historical figures. Your congress will be joined by such names as Benjamin Franklin, Pocahontas, Ferdinand Magellan, Adam Smith and Henry Hudson, among others. The game has an in-built Colonizopedia, where there is an article of each of the fathers. It explains their impact on the game, but also what’s the story behind the real historical figure.

The game has some charming little details to it. For example, every time something special happens for the first time (first encounter with the natives, finding the pacific ocean, first trade back home to Europe) a detailed wood carving is displayed to the player. Also, when the game is over, and the final score is being calculated, there is also a story about how big of an impact the player had to the people under his rule, and shows a picture of a thing that has been named after the player. If you haven’t done very well, the people will name a venomous plant, snake or a plague after you, but if the game goes well, you might get, for example, a school named after you. The game music also deserves a special note: some of the tunes are patriotic, some sound very Indian and some just sigh the missing back to the motherland.

The player can also customize the game themselves by editing a .txt –file, but if you feel like doing that, I suggest you first take backups of your files and then find the instructions on how to do that from somewhere else online. I’m not going to take responsibility for that :D Also, if you feel adventurous, there is an open source remake of this game. You can find it here: I still haven’t tried it myself, but it’s definitely on my “to-do” list.

Judging from this amount of text it’s safe to say I love this game. I have played it so much, and never got tired of it. I wanted to review this game mainly because the Civilization-series has gained so much attention throughout the years, and they also made remake of this game Civilization IV: Colonization. I just wanted to remind you that the orginal version was released already in the nineties, and was awesome already back then. I probably won’t get the new version of this game, simply because I don’t want to ruin this awesome, nineties looking, nostalgic gem.

BAND: 2 unlimited

2 unlimited is undoubtedly one of the best known euro-dance bands from the nineties. All nineties fanatics, including myself, are thrilled about the fact that this pairing is making a comeback right at this moment!

2 unlimited was formed back in 1990 by Belgian producers Jean-Paul de Coster and Phil Wilde. After experimenting with dance/electro/techno projects by themselves, they decided to add vocals to their songs, and become producers. They got the rapped Kid Ray (real name Ray Slijngaard) to rap for them. Ray knew a singer from Amsterdam’s club scene called Anita Dells (real name Anita Doth) and suggested on bringing her along. So started the history of a successful formation, which sold over 18 million records.

VIDEO: 2 unlimited: Magic Friend (1992)

2 unlimited was active from year 1991 to 1996. During that time they made worldwide smash hits, the biggest one being a catchy little tune called No Limit. Also, the other catchy tune you can hear on NBA-games, numerous movies and tv-series called Get Ready For This is also made by these guys. They toured all over the world, got known from the steel-abs, rastahead rapper Ray, and the hot-looking, smiling and awesome sounding Anita. They made people all around accept techno and dance as a modern-day (nineties) pop music, and cleared all misconceptions about techno only being the music of drugheads.

During their active years they sold millions of records, made history in many different levels, got their shelves full of awards, and made so many people dance and enjoy themselves. Then came year 1996. The official explanation is that their contract ended, and because the producers wanted to do one thing, Ray wanted to do a second and Anita third, they decided to go their separate ways. Coincidentally, at the end of the previous year they released a greatest hits album Hits Unlimited, and stated in its booklet that “It’s not the end of an era, but the dawn of a new beginning”.

The producers then decided that the world is just not the same without 2 unlimited. To solve this problem they recruited two new faces to continue with the same name. Romy and Marion were nice looking and sounded decent, but because they stole the name from the one and only real 2 unlimited, I hated them straight from the beginning. Apparently, so did most of Europe, and they ended up making only one album, which didn’t sell, and then they split up too. Apparently, even after this the producers tried to make up a third version of 2 unlimited, this time again with a man and a woman, but this time they didn’t even get to make an album.

VIDEO: 2 unlimited : Jump for Joy (1996)

After 2 unlimited Anita worked as a presenter in the Dutch Tv, performed with Divas of Dance, and released her own solo album Reality in 2000. Ray worked as a producer, had projects and solo stuff.

Fast Forward to 2009: After 13 years of their split, ray and Anita got back together on the same stage at ‘I Love the 90’s’ –party in Belgium. The crowd was ecstatic, and it could be clearly seen from Anita and Ray that they had missed that and were still on top of their game, after so many years. They made other performances together, and later that year announced that they are making an official comeback under the name Ray&Anita (The producers still own the name 2 unlimited). Their first single “In Da Name of Love” was released in January 2010. Currently they are working on a new album, and a world tour. I’ll keep you posted!

VIDEO: Ray & Anita: In da Name of Love (2009)

GAME: Covert Action, 1990

Covert Action is one of the brilliant games from a game genius Sid Meier, published by MicroProse. In the game the player takes the role of either Maximillian Remington or Maxine Remington, a CIA agent investigating crimes and terrorist activities.  In the beginning of the game, after the player chooses whether they want to be a male or female agent and the difficulty level of the game, they are taken to the boss’s office. The Boss explains the current mission, where it’s taking place and also gives some hints. After that, the player is on his own.

During gameplay, the player will break into offices, safehouses and hotels, wiretap phones, solve coded messages, follow cars and get follow by other cars and of course, fly all over the world while chasing criminals. The play is very independent, so the player can choose where to go, and what to do. Only thing that has to be accomplished is that the criminals and terrorists are captured before they find out that the player is after them and go into hiding. When there are no more criminals free, the turn ends. At the end of the turn the players triumphs are calculated, and based on the final score, the boss will promote you to a higher rank agent. When the game proceeds, the promotions are smaller and are harder to get. The game is very entertaining, and challenging.  Some jobs are harder to master than others, but not really impossible. Things definitely get easier after practicing. 

The gameplay is pretty complex compared to other games of the era. The player’s independence enables the game to develop in different ways, so it doesn’t get boring so easily. The complexity allows the player to try different approaches and tactics, and see the different outcomes. The game throws in random surprises, like messages about agents gone into hiding and clues about special terrorist items that can be found with the agents. If the difficulty level is set to be harder, sudden car chases will happen after trying to leave a building quietly.

The graphics of the game are typical for the time; pixelgraphics with some animations. When breaking into a building, the agent is viewed from above, and is moved around on a big floorplan. All items and furniture are also viewed from the above: it takes some time to understand what piece of furniture is usable, and what is there for just decoration. Also, tapping the room can be performed by placing a bug under a painting on the wall: takes a little while to understand what is a painting and how to get underneath it.

Notable part of the graphics are the views from different locations. The main menu looks always the same, but at the bottom left corner is a distinctive picture of the place. For example, in Paris there is a pixel-drawn picture of the Eiffel-tower, London has Big Ben and Rome has Colosseum. Attention of details is well worth a notice. Same with the buildings: the more activity the place has, the more little animated action there is. 

This was one of my favorite games when growing up, and that’s why I chose it as the first review. I played for hours and hours, and learned English along the way. I got pretty good at it, and I think that I got into being a top5 level agent. The game intrigued me in so many levels, and I never lost interest. Even now, after so many years, I still play this game every now and then.  

Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the So90’s blog! Since this is the first post ever made here, let me tell you something about myself and the reasons for starting this blog. I think that is the best way to start this thing here
I’m 25-year old woman from Finland, and in some way still stuck in the nineties. I think the best music was made in the nineties, best games and movies were made then, and the whole decade was a decade of great inventions. I even drive a car made in the nineties. I’m not all stuck though, I am curious to see the latest trends in fashion, technology and popular culture, and enjoy consuming all that. Still somehow things from the nineties bring up some sort of nostalgic feelings :)
I have also noticed that the nineties are coming back to more and more people. Bands from the nineties are making comebacks, themed parties are becoming more and more popular, and when talking with people, they seem to reminiscent those times with warmth and smile. Apparently enough time has passed, and time has indeed made all the memories golden.
The mission of this blog is to bring some memories back: I will be reviewing music, movies and games, writing short biographies about nineties bands and updating on what’s up with them, following possible comebacks and overall just writing about phenomenon back then. I might be joined by a guest author sometime, but I will inform you about it later if and when it happens.
Once more, Welcome, enjoy your stay and come back soon! Also, comments are always welcomed, and if you have a topic you would like to see covered in here, do not hesitate to tell me! :)