Retro tech provides a brief escape from the depressing nightmare of the present

Just admit it.
Image: Vicky Leta/mashable

Is sticking your head in the sand still frowned upon if you discover a buried mini Nintendo NES while you’re down there?

How about a rad keyboard styled like it was yanked straight off a vintage typewriter?

Dig around a bit more in the growing world of retro tech and you’ll uncover a modern brick cellphone, a toy Macintosh computer, and a host of apps designed to make your cellphone pics look totally ’90s.

Did you remember to put on sunscreen? If the recent wave of throwback gear is any indication, our heads are going to be in the nostalgia sand for some time.

And, well, maybe that’s OK.

Because let’s face it: The present is garbage. The ecosystem is collapsing, a self-proclaimed sexual assaulter is in the White House, science denial is all the rage, and the launch of the new iPhone 8 might be delayed by a few months.

Despite the promises of Oculus Rift and Magic Leap, we are nowhere near being able to escape into a Matrix-like bubble of virtual reality.

As peering forward confronts us with an endless abyss, and the present is decidedly bleak, the near-past is proving a rich vein for companies looking to tap into our collective nostalgia gland.

“Look, no touchscreen!”


Even the world’s biggest brands are getting in on the fun: Rumor has it that the forthcoming iPhone 8 will featured a curved back in homage to the original 10-year-old iPhone. Like we said, fun.

While fantasizing about a semi-imaginary past just barely out of reach may, in the eyes of some, stifle innovation, it also clearly brings a little joy to the otherwise dreary present.

With that in mind, allow us to predict the next wave of retro tech surely hitting Amazon warehouse shelves any time now.


Yeah, smartwatches are pretty cool, but it won’t be long before that Apple Watch has a snap-bracelet band. And Spectacles? You know a flip-up pair is likely in the works.


This year has already brought us flip flops embedded with low-range chips that talk to smartphones, and jackets that double as touchpads. Give it a bit more time, and we’re sure the trend will extend to neon spandex and headbands.


Tamagotchi. They’re deffo coming back.


Self-driving cars, Hyperloops, and hoverboards getting around has never been so futuristic. That’s why we’re imaging a resurgence of Power Wheels. But, you know, for adults.

These ideas are, of course, just the earliest manifestation of the wave of retro tech surging up to hit you over the next few years. Because if we’re hell-bent on driving this planet over a cliff, we might as well do it in Barbie-themed ride.

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