Tag Archives: retro

Future Retro

My pre-teen niece recently celebrated another birthday. Prior to the festivities, I asked her what she was hoping to get.

“A typewriter!” came the enthusiastic response.

Taken aback, I paused. “Like… a computer?”

“No…a typewriter,” she repeated as if I had become deaf, and dumb.

“Oh. A typewriter. But why?” I queried.

She didn’t skip a beat. “Because they are cool.”

Well, duh.

Still, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the image of an young, modern girl sitting down to formulate a document via and old-fashioned typewriter, but what did I know. The fact that she even knew what a typewriter was floored me. But it became a strangely proud moment as I considered “hey, my niece knows what a typewriter is! Take that iPad society!”

It also got me thinking about the notion of “future retro,” which I might have just made up or might actually be a thing. Either way, when I say “future retro” I mean: what items of the recent past may someday become the “cool” things of the future? Like, will vintage-minded folks someday seek out “rare” 2014 skinny jeans? It’s a funny thought when applied to culture generally and in the present, but being “vintage” nowadays is serious business. Blame the cosplay geeks, hipsters, steampunk aficionadas if you like (I know I do), but lots of paraphernalia from whatever “good ol’ days” of your choosing has come back in style – from Victorian household goods such as typewriters to 1950s cookware. It begs the question, “What ‘future retro’ goods might my niece’s descendants someday seek out and call ‘cool’?” Here are a few ideas.

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Watches/clocks

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Watches are staples in any jewelry display, but are they truly a necessity anymore? Same goes for clocks – wall clocks, alarm clocks, grandfather clocks! When was the last time you bought one? For many people now, cell phones are their watches and clocks. Why spend the extra money onannoying artifacts that need batteries and are set wrong more often than not when you have a cell phone that can give you the most accurate time possible? Watches have become status symbols more than anything. And clocks, analog clocks…we’ll, they are cool to look at, but everyone knows that kids can’t tell time these days. It’s not hard to imagine a future vintage shop filled to the brim with these old-fashioned time-telling devices.

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Landline phones

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In a junk drawer somewhere, I have an old, beige, and very plastic landline phone. I’m pretty sure it came from the likes of Radio Shack and cost no more than fifteen dollars. It’s hard for me to consider that something like that ugly phone might be considered “cool” again, but it could happen! Of course, there are plenty of better-looking landline phones out there now and from the past, so the notion of being “cool” is relative. Regardless, there’s no doubt that landline phones will become a thing of the past. Which means they’ll become the kitsch of the future. Shoot, I bet those classic see-through phones from the 1980s will fetch millions! Or…maybe there will just be millions of them available. Either way, they’re bound to come back in fashion, even if there are used only as decoration.

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Point-and-shoot cameras

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Despite repeated attempts to attain one as a birthday or Christmas gift in high school, I never received my own camera. Well, I know I’ll be able to rectify that in forty years because the vintage shops will be full of those little point-and-shoot babies! In the not so distant past, point-and-shoot cameras were dime-a-dozen, and they came in as many styles as there are stars in the sky! Right now, many photo enthusiasts are favoring older style cameras, early 20th century models completed with glass slides, black sheets, and flash bulbs the size of small animals. So it’s only a matter of time before the point-and-shoot  film guzzlers enters the realm of vintage rediscovery. And never mind the film, because our future selves will no doubt be well-versed in the ways of retrofitting and repurposing.

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What instances of recent past or current tech do you think will become the retro goodies of the future?


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play, United We Game, and 8bit Kitchen.

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Retro World is a game about… video games

RetroWorld

Obviously inspired by Earthbound, Retro World invites you into a parallel universe where video games come to life. Developed by Scary Pixel, the game has officially launched on Kickstarter to help fund their goal. Players can relive retro gaming experiences from their childhood as they progress through 30 years of gaming evolution. They can attend midnight game launches and even participate in competitive in-game tournaments.

When the story begins, the player has just moved to a new town where the popularity of video gaming is rocketing. “Unfortunately this newly flavored past time comes with more than the people of Frankton had bargained for. Extended periods of play have resulted in strange phenomenon from disappearing children to sightings of spooky creatures. It’s up to you and your newly found friends to get to the bottom of this bizarre mystery.”

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The game segments are broken down into four phases:

  1. The Hype – In anticipation of a release the town folks will talk about the upcoming titles expressing their likes or dislikes. You’ll see prominent billboards advertising each game using various colorful marketing strategies as well as special features in magazines. After properly researching your game you’ll make your choice determining how much cash you’ll need to earn.
  2. Earning some cash – Games don’t come cheap. It’s up to you to gather enough money before the game’s release. For this you’ll do all sorts of chores for your parents, neighbors and even strangers you meet. Cutting the lawn and making deliveries are just typical things you’ll do to earn your money. There’s still always a chance a distant relative will send you a gift through the mail.
  3. Getting the game – Getting the hottest new game can sometimes be difficult. Stores having limited stock was a common occurrence back in the day and in Retro World things are no different. You’ll have to track down your games by calling specialty shops, department stores and then get there before it sells out. In some cases finding a game can be a quest in itself taking you to some of the more seedy parts of Frankton.
  4. Playing the game – Now that you’ve got your game it’s time to play it. Finishing games to 100% completion advances the story to the next Hype phase.

On Retro World’s Kickstarter page, Scary Pixel addressed the idea of creating a game about games, stating, “I’ve always enjoyed the tongue and cheekiness of discovering games within games. But what if the idea could be pushed to the point where the player begins to question what is real and what is game? So I decided to take the concept to the next level, while telling a relatable story to gamers like myself and yet interesting enough to new gamers that weren’t around in the 80’s. I’ve never seen anything of this scale before, so this presented a great opportunity to create something different.”

Retro World will be available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.