Video Time Machine

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Video Time Machine App Poster Image
Trove of historic and nostalgic clips; some iffy content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The app easily breaks down its wide selection of videos by year and category -- but most users will likely enjoy the "random" button, which picks an arbitrary video from the collection and runs it. Users can browse. There is no way to search for a specific term.


Several of the movie trailers and video game clips feature highlights of violent content, most of it no different from what kids are exposed to in theaters and during commercials. One clip, however, shows an 1895 recreation of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and shows what appears to be a woman beheaded.


Some of the videos -- especially modern movie trailers -- feature kissing and suggestive themes. Some lyrics also sometimes include sexual content.


Some of the music videos include iffy language, including "f--k," "s--t," "bitches," "hell," "damn," and more.


Ads make up a number of the featured videos for both existing and past products. App users are prompted to rate the app in the App Store, and also to share info about the app via Twitter and Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some videos feature smoking and/or alcohol, sometimes using children's figures as spokespersons -- such as the 1960 ad for Winston Cigarettes featuring the Flintstones and showing Fred and Barney each lighting up (and extolling the virtues of) a cigarette. Song lyrics sometimes glorify drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Video Time Machine is a categorized, enormous assortment of videos from 1860 to 2011. Some videos feature depictions of violence (including some horror and fear themes -- and occasionally graphic violence), sexually suggestive content, profanity, and alcohol/tobacco/drug use. Clips range from informative (news and sports) to entertaining (movies, music, TV, and games) to nostalgic (ads), and much of the content has run on television previously.

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Is it any good?

There may be no bigger time sink in the app store than Video Time Machine. The 10,000 videos in a variety of categories (from ads and news clips to music videos and movie trailers) kick-start a nostalgic feeling that prompts you to watch "just one more." At its heart, it's entirely dependent on YouTube uploaders, but developer Original Victories has handpicked some of the most representative of the eras. Just as fascinating are the historical videos, which show actual footage of the Titanic or the first sound ever recorded. It's an app that's easy to get lost in -- and one where you absolutely won't mind it when that happens.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love videos and history

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