Uh oh, My Magic Diary had a rival. Her name was Dear Diary, she was pink, and if only it had come out in 1994.
Actually, it was her “sisters” who, for me, make a bigger splash!
Previously, On Retroist…
The year: 1994. Casio releases My Magic Diary, as well as its counterpart, the Secret Sender 6000. The sixth graders in my elementary school wanted My Magic Diary. Parents (including my mom) bought us My Magic Diary. We all loved it…for some reason. A few other kids got Casio’s other cool release that year, the Secret Sender 6000. It was the precursor to text messaging, and had this really cool remote control to change TV channels. Supposedly, someone in the grade actually pulled off a channel change with it.
You can read more about these early PDA-type devices in last week’s article.
Now, let’s move forward to a few years later, and Tiger Electronics (makers of those terrible handheld video games) enters the pre-text messaging and PDA device market. Their target? Girls. Yes, girls. And diaries. Yes, diaries.
1995…1996…and 1997 – But First, 1995!
Let’s start with 1995, and work our way up to 1997.
I started seventh grade in the fall of 1995, which meant moving on to middle school. A year earlier, the sixth grade girls wanted Casio’s pre-PDA, My Magic Diary. It sounded baby-esque by nature with that name, but it was meant for us bigger girls. We thought we were so cool with our little pocket organizer diary-type things. As I said last week, I took mine to my grandma’s on Christmas Day and made everyone give me their birthdays for the crush compatibility feature. I’m sure my family loved the twelve-year-old girl shoving this little grey and blue checkbook-sized toy in their faces and saying “when is your birthday?”
I’m sure it also wasn’t that annoying, but thanks to my family for putting up with me and my excitement over a “big kid toy.”
Anyway, seventh grade started, and we probably all put away our Magic Diaries. After all, we were in middle school. But the electronic diary fad of that time kept right on going. Tiger shoved in on Casio and created Dear Diary, which functioned very much like My Magic Diary. At least, the 1995 version did.
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“Look! Tammy left her diary just sitting around and stuff!”
Seriously, Tammy. Are you looking for trouble?! And how do these boys know it is your diary?!
Nah, this one looks like My Magic Diary, and I just gave that one up. But oooooh, pink!!!!
And, for some reason, boys really wanted to hack this device.
Then 1996 happened.
Second year of middle school starts. Eighth grade, and I’m about as far removed from my excitement over My Magic Diary as it gets. The year before, Tiger’s equivalent to My Magic Diary, called Dear Diary, is released.
And aside from the awesome pink colors all over, I would never have been impressed.
Fear not, because in 1996, Dear Diary got an upgrade!
Dear Diary became…Talkback Dear Diary.
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“No guys, no way!”
“Hands off, creep!”
The 90s. No wonder kids now think our generation was weird – people too old to grasp how we really talked wrote our dialogue for us!
Or why everything girlie in the 90s featured pink hearts.
But hey, our Dear Diary recorded our voices, including all the times we said “ewww!”
It was a good time to be a teenager.
But hey, another year, another advancement for the Dear Diary.
In 1995, you were impressed with Dear Diary. By 1996, you were impressed you could record your voice without a cassette tape. And in 1997, Talkback Dear Diary changed that “talkback feature” to make it…Deluxe!
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“So many boys, so little time.”
Ohmigod, it has a robot voice…and you can send your messages to someone else with the Deluxe Dear Diary!
Cartridges to hold all your secrets, storage for your bank account information, contacts, and a calendar?! Oh, and it still had that really cool horoscope/fortune teller feature I had on My Magic Diary. If the Deluxe Dear Diary came out in 1994, this would have been on my Christmas list.
And those colors are amazing! Take that, awesomely pink Dear Diary! We’ve got 90s purple, turquoise, and black!
We’ve also got this…
“What a hunk!”
Yep, we all said this in the mid-1990s.
And Now That Your Mind is Officially Blown…
1994-1997 was a great time. Twelve-year-old girls owned devices that lead the way to us carrying cell phones and PDAs as adults. They were all the colors we loved, did all things our cell phones do now, and were great for those transitional years when we stopped playing with toys. It was a great time to grow up and come of age, if not just for the music and clothes, but also for toys (yes, they were toys – admit it!) that paved the way for our very 2000s technology.
We can even still make our devices say “what a hunk!” (and other hokey dialogue written in the 90s) if we want to, without robot voice!
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)
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