Throwback Tech

23 Feb 2017
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Retro lovers can relive the 80s and 90s without compromising on speed or efficiency, says Alvin Thomas.




Oh boy!


There’s nothing quite like sitting down on your sofa and relaxing with your hand-held gaming device. Wait! Your heavy and cumbersome PlayStation doesn’t let you do that? Ouch! Of course, the GameBoy Colour is by no means a technological marvel but in its day (1998) was the best hand-held gaming device. We wouldn’t be wrong in calling it the ultimate gaming device of its time. It is equipped with an 8-bit CPU and a small LCD screen that can display up to 56 colours simultaneously. There are hundreds of games to choose from. Our choice, however, would be Pokémon and Sonic the Hedgehog. For a hefty RO173 from amazon.com.


The brickphone


Do you remember the days when you could drop your phone and only worry about not dropping it on your feet and not if you’d break the phone? If you do, and want to relive those days, then you probably would be interested to know that telephone company Binatone has introduced the Brick. Essentially, the Brick is a brick – it has minimal features and no fancy touchscreen. What it does have is immense drop resistance and a large antenna. As an added treat, the folks will also throw in Bluetooth, a built-in speaker and a torch. Oh, and before we forget: the Brick has a three-month battery life. Get it from meetthebrick.com for RO38.5.


Type it


Ever wondered how awesome it would be to type out your text on a typewriter rather than a laptop? Well, we have to say: not so much. It would be fun but because there’s no spell check, sentences are more likely to be riddled with errors (unless you’re a professional writer). But if you crave the pumping out of articles using a classic typewriter and rough tactile keys, then chances are that you will fancy this gadget: the USB Typewriter by Underwood. As its name suggests, it plugs into your tablet, smartphone or even laptop and does its job of typing out sentences. You can even avail yourself of the spell check services on your system thanks to this. Think of this as a gadget that can capture the best of both worlds. Yours for RO500 from etsy.com.

Editor’s Pick


NES


Back in the day, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a lifeline for many youngsters across the globe. Released back in 1983, this quickly became the hot-selling gadget of all time. As a matter of fact, in 2009, it was named the “single greatest video game console in history” by IGN. And backed by popular demand, Nintendo has started co-producing this gadget (alongside other licensed developers) again. In terms of specifications, however, there’s not much to know: there’s no fancy graphic card, no online capabilities (duh!) or even wireless controllers. But what it does have is the capability to emulate games like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, PAC-MAN, Dr. Mario, Mega Man and Final Fantasy! This is every gamers’ dream come true. Get this at amazon.com for RO60.4.

App of the Week


Retro Camera


Miss the old days when your camera added the filters on your pictures as opposed to Instagram? If you said yes, then you have to give Retro Camera a shot. Literally! The app lets you take photos using your smartphone camera, but adds five sets of vintage filters (vignette, film scratch, black and white, cross processing) to your photograph. You can also share your pictures on social media directly from the app as a postcard. How cool is that? Download from Google Play for free.


Game Review: Super Mario Bros.


It’s been little more than three decades since the first Super Mario Bros game hit the shops, and it’s even harder to believe that the game still creates waves today. When launched in 1985, the game, with its crummy graphics and ridiculously easy controls, stole the hearts of millions of young (and old!) gamers across the globe. In 2005, IGN also named the “pioneering” and “highly influential” title as the “greatest game of all time”.

But what set Super Mario Bros apart from other games of its time? Well, the answer is simple: it was its sheer complexity. Mind you, the game came at a time when designers were still perfecting two-dimensional gaming. Your obvious alternatives during those days would have been Pac-Man and Excitebike.

What truly set the game apart, however, was the 64-level extravaganza of hardcore gaming.  And it wasn’t just a game where the character went rogue and took out villains either; it had a cute little storyline for itself too. The game pitted Mario up against Bowser, the king of the Koopas – a group of dreadful turtles who were out to invade the mushroom kingdom.

Of course, the rest was fairly simple: you ran about the “world”, stomping down on turtle-like creatures, crazy mushroom-like goombas, scary-looking bullet bills and buzzing bees, with your feet. This was particularly difficult when you had to use your skills handling the rather crude and stiff buttons on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.

Today, you can play the game on your smartphone, PC, GameBoy or even online using an emulator. However, if you’re looking for the real 1980s experience you can simply purchase an NES from Amazon, and click away. What’s embarrassing, though, is that after all these years, I still haven’t completed the game.


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