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The Modern Google Stadia Looks Much Better Next To This '90s Version

Sure, Google Stadia has some problems right now, but there's no denying the service is on the bleeding edge when it comes to streaming tech. You can start a game like Borderlands 3 and play through it instantly — no downloads required. And Google is able to deliver titles at up to 4K resolution and 60 frames-per-second. That is impressive.

What would Stadia have looked like in the 1990s, though; back when broadband wasn't as broad and streaming wasn't huge? A new video tries to imagine this very thing.

The Squirrel Monkey YouTube channel uploaded a new episode of "Wonders of the World Wide Web" today, and in it, we get a first-hand look at how Stadia might have been advertised back in the days of Hootie & the Blowfish and Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The PC requirements for '90s Stadia are either hilarious or sad, depending on how old you are and how old they make you feel. And the overview of networking is on-point for the era. Two computers talk to one another! Incredible!

There's plenty to laugh at here, and plenty to show us just how far we've come. But the 1990s take on Stadia reminded us: something like this did exist at one point.

Sega actually got close to games-on-demand back in the '90s

Hooking your game console up to your cable connection sounds like something you'd do in the modern day, but good old Sega — known for being ahead of the curve on these things — actually managed to get this working ages ago.

The company offered a Sega Genesis service called The Sega Channel back in the '90s, and it worked kind of like Stadia does now. The games were't streamed — they were downloaded — but users paid a monthly fee to access a library of Genesis titles, and could essentially play to their heart's content without having to schlep to a retail store.

You can likely draw a more distinct line between something like Xbox Game Pass and The Sega Channel than you can Stadia and Sega's defunct service. But had streaming been a more evolved technology way back when, it's possible Sega's bold new idea would've looked a lot more like the one Google is pushing today.

In any event, The Sega Channel didn't last very long. It was too pricey, and people just weren't ready for that kind of change. Will Google Stadia fare better in 2020? Only time will tell.