Windows 95 had a lot going for it: its iconic startup sound; its soothing teal background; Internet Explorer in its earliest, purest form; and my personal favorite, the Paint program. Today, if you’re ever feeling particularly nostalgic, you can run Windows 95 in your browser. (True to history, attempting to use Internet Explorer will cause the emulator to crash.)
But the emulator reveals a conspicuous absence: no Instagram. Yes, Instagram only launched in 2010, and as a free mobile app rather than a Windows 95-friendly .exe program. But what if it had come into existence two decades earlier? Russian graphic designer Misha Petrick answers this burning question for all of us with Instagram for Win95.
Petrick’s project explores what the app would have looked like with the 90s aesthetic that its present-day users strive for on a daily basis. His series of animations showcases what the interface would have looked like way back when, in all of its retro, pixelated glory. Painstakingly choosing a filter for your ’gram is complicated enough today, but Petrick adds another layer with 90s-themed filters such as “Apple II,” “Mac ’86,” and “1-bit.”
Petrick also animated how it might have looked to scroll through a user’s feed and to receive notifications on new likes, comments, and followers. Limited by its ancient operating system, Instagram for Win95 is chunkier and clunkier than the real thing, but there is a beauty in that. Looking at the two side by side, it is hard not to appreciate how far we have come in the past 20 years.
Go back in time and check out ye olde Instagram here.