It’s funny. Technology has moved along at an exponential pace. And the stuff we have today is literally billions of times more powerful than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. And yet, we yearn for those times gone by. We know that it’s just nostalgia, but we can’t help it.
It’s thanks to all this nostalgia that retro gadgets are back. Let’s have a look at some that have suddenly become fashionable again.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Many millennials were born and raised on the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. It was a games console in which you stuck big plastic game cartridges. (They were like big USB sticks for those of you who are too young). But thanks to the nostalgia we all feel for the NES, Nintendo are bringing it back. Well, sort of. Later this year, the games company will be releasing a mini version of the original NES, complete with original controller. It’s so small; it’ll now fit in the palm of your hand. You’ll be able to play all your favourite games too. Apparently, the games will look a lot better than the original. In fact, according to the company, this £50 console will outperform the Wii U in the graphics department. Let’s hope so!
Polaroid cameras were in many ways ahead of their time. The makers knew that people didn’t want to wait around for a couple of days to get their photos developed. They wanted a memory created there and then. Ever since Polaroid cameras have held a special place in our collective consciousness. And they’ve come to represent the ultimate in retro gadgetry.
With today’s 12 megapixel cameras and digital photos, you’d think there wouldn’t be space for the Polaroid camera. But you’d be wrong. Both Fujifilm and Polaroid are both still active in the market. And they’re making some pretty darn good cameras. The best polaroid cameras today come with all the modern conveniences we’ve come to expect. But with one important addition: you actually get your photo printed out in real time. Neat.
There’s retro, and then there’s ultra-retro. And typewriters, like slide rules, fit into the latter category. As with the other retro products, we do not see a faithful recreation of the original here. Rather, we see the essence of the original, but with all the support and features of modern tech. Now you can get a typewriter for you iPad that looks just like any other typewriter. Except, it has a USB port and your tablet sits where the paper would have been. The mixture of old and new has a strange look. It’s as if the Nazi Enigma machine suddenly got a rebrand by Apple.
Atari Arcade Duo
Atari got into the news recently when Google’s Deep Mind trained a computer to play their 1980s classics. Now you too can play Space Invaders and Arkanoid on the Arcade Duo, although not as well as the Google computer. The Atari console is handheld. But true to form, it comes with an old-style Atari joystick, just for old-time’s sake.