How VHS Beat Betamax and Changed Media Forever

Anthony via Pexels
Anthony via Pexels

Did you have a VHS tape rewinder shaped like a race car? Did Blockbuster Video send threatening letters because you never returned Forrest Gump? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then you’re a prime candidate for our latest episode of "Throwback," which digs into the history of the VCR.

Take a look back at the problems with early Betamax tapes, discover why it took E.T. six years to hit home video, and learn how Tom Cruise helped change the format forever.

Be sure to head here and subscribe so you don't miss an episode of "Throwback," where we explore the fascinating stories behind some of the greatest toys and trends from your childhood.

Thursday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Guitar Kits, Memory-Foam Pillows, and Smartwatches

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 3. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

How The Oregon Trail Took Over Computer Labs in the '80s and '90s

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1980s and 1990s, computer classrooms across the country taught kids about the perils of dysentery and crossing rivers in wagons with The Oregon Trail, an instructive—and morbid—text-based adventure game.

In this episode of Throwback, join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as we set off to discover the true story behind this pioneering simulation. BYOO. (Bring Your Own Oxen.)

Be sure to head here and subscribe so you don't miss an episode of "Throwback," where we explore the fascinating stories behind some of the greatest toys and trends from your childhood.