With increasing numbers of celebrities and key trend-setters reaching into the past for their gadget fix, it seems that old is the new new, says Matt Blackwell
Before the internet enabled gamers to link up with and play against other enthusiasts half way around the world, there were handhelds. It’s a market that is still alive and well today with the likes of the Nintendo 3DS XL and the Sony PlayStation Vita, but the daddy of all these is arguably the Nintendo Game Boy. Released in 1989, the 8-bit device had four operation buttons as well as a directional pad, a 6.6cm screen (diagonal) and a colour palette of four shades. The champion of hand-held gaming was discontinued in 2003, by which time it had amassed 733 games and spawned a number of successors. The original Game Boy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2009, 20 years after it was first released. A slice of gaming history will set you back anywhere from RO7.31 to RO95.86 on sites such as amazon.com or ebay.com, depending on its condition.
Demand for the old-school mobiles of the early 2000s has soared after a number of high- profile celebrities were papped using them. The likes of Rihanna and Kate Beckinsale have rejected the world of 4G and 12-Megapixel cameras in favour of old-fashioned durability, week-long battery life and an interface that even your great-grandmother could master. Some models of Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are fetching prices as high as RO488.86 online. An undisputed classic of the genre is the Nokia 3310; with over 125 million sold, it is one of the most successful mobile phones ever. Hours could be spent playing Snake II or Space Impact and there was scope for personalisation through interchangeable fascias and custom ringtones using the phone’s tone composer.
Initially released in 2001, the iPod Classic went through six generations before Apple quietly discontinued the product in September of this year. The first incarnation had a 5GB hard drive and was marketed with the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket”. By the time the sixth generation was released in 2007, the iPod featured a colour screen, 40 hours of audio playback, the ability to play films and TV shows and 160GB of storage (double the capacity of any model still in production), which could accommodate 40,000 songs. The relatively recent announcement of its demise has sparked widespread panic buying among fans, with many clamouring to get their hands on the final few units in shops. Some have since surfaced online on secondhand sites for anywhere as between RO211.23 and RO404.49.
In the age before smartphones came along with an infinite number of apps to keep young minds occupied – 1996 to be precise – children had Tamagotchis. Sporting just three small buttons, these egg-shaped contraptions played host to your very own digital pet. The pixelated blob on screen depended on its owner for feeding, playing and clearing up waste, and woe betide any who neglected those needs. The little critter could become unhappy with you and if sickness was left unchecked they could (heaven forbid) pass away. The good news for children and nostalgic adults everywhere is that they’re back for 2014; introducing, Tamagotchi Friends. As one gadget blogger deftly phrased it: “The all new, revamped version of the very first thing you ever killed.” Now with the ability to grow into one of 24 adult creatures and send short wave communications to other Tamagotchis, you can pick up your own digital pet for around RO5.5 from Toys “R” Us.
Editor’s Pick: Polaroid camera
Don’t want your private photos hacked or leaked online? The answer is simple – buy a Polaroid camera. Immensely popular in the 1980s, sales of the cameras, which instantly produce a developed image, have risen by three quarters in less than a year, as celebrities and the public alike embrace the growing desire to own physical copies of photographs. Polaroids don’t have the mind-boggling array of settings you’ll find on modern cameras, making them exceptionally easy to use; all you have to do is point and shoot. Great for scrapbooking and perfect for those who wish to stand out from the digital crowd. The brand has moved with the times and offers a number of products to suit the modern world, which can be browsed at www.polaroid.com, alternatively, you can scour secondhand websites, shops and car boot sales for an original.
New: Lasonic i-931BT (i931BTQ) Wireless Bluetooth Ghetto Blaster Boombox
There was a time in the not-too-distant-past when bigger was better when it came to gadgets and this is certainly true of boomboxes. An intrinsic part of popular culture and closely linked to the rise of hip-hop, they quickly became associated with urban society, particularly in America during their heyday. The Lasonic i-931BT (i931BTQ) Wireless Bluetooth Ghetto Blaster Boombox may be a bit of a mouthful, but it does act as your personal way to bring the 80s back. Designed for old school appeal, you can actually blast music via Bluetooth, USB, SD card, AUX in or through the good old radio over two 15w speakers, making this a pretty advanced piece of kit. Available for RO50 at amazon.com
For the Kids
Having grown up at a time when smartphones and social media are the norm, the 80s will seem like ancient history to many of today’s children. The Classic Upright 60 gives parents the chance to introduce their kids to the magic of the simple, yet highly addictive games that dominated their childhood. With 60 different games on offer, including the likes of the legendary Pacman, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong, you’re looking at hours of entertainment for big and little kids alike. Prices start around the RO600 mark at ultimatearcadecabinets.co.uk
App of the week: 8mm Vintage Camera
Do you have a penchant for the past and a love of film? Now you can combine the two thanks to 8mm Vintage Camera. This clever app enables you to record videos with sophisticated live effects such as dust, scratches, flickering, light leaks and frame shakes, all to give your filming an instant retro feel. You can also apply effects to existing videos. Available for RO0.77 at the App Store.