Our gadgets are so heavily relied upon in 2013, it is easy to forget that a lot of our favorites, the Xbox360 and Smart phones, actually had their humble beginnings in the 1980′s. We now have mobile casino games, Facebook and our digital photos at our fingertips, but there was a time when we had to manually rewind our VHS videos and untangle our favorite tapes. A time when our gadgets may not have been so readily available, but they were just as fun!
So here are my favourite gadgets from our childhood!
5. Sony Walkman (1980)
With the introduction of the Sony Walkman into the limelight, we all began donning our roller skates and creating mix tapes for the boy at school. This was the first mainstream portable music gadget, much like our ipods today and its popularity has certainly matched that of our MP3 players. In total, throughout the life span of the walkman, Sony sold over 200 million units and everyone from Michael Jackson to Prince had theirs on display, you didn’t want to be seen without one!
4. Commodore 64 (1982)
We may all want the latest tablet or net book, for how portable they are, but the 1980′s were all about the performance and less about the look – enter the Commodore 64 – the 80′s answer to the iMac. Initially the Commodore 64 was sold with 64KB of Memory, with sound and graphics quality that was greater than the other big players, IBM for one.
One of the reasons the Commodore 64 became such a loved personal computer was its affordability. It was originally sold at $565, which was cheap compared to other computers of the 80′s, mainly because computers were seen a just gadgets for the office and not the home. This was also the first computer to be sold in other shops from just electronics stores.
3. Video Home System (VHS) Player (1985)
It would be difficult to think of a time when we couldn’t watch our favourite films wherever we are, on whatever platform we choose, but there was a time when there was only one option for watching film on our own, at home and that was the VHS Player. Some of the most loved films of all time were made in the 80′s, like Jaws, Back to the Future and Rambo, to name just a couple! So when they were released on VHS, you would spend hours watching the film, rewinding back to the beginning – oh yes, this was the era of waiting for things to rewind, and then watching the film again!
The licenses for VHS films was also slightly less stringent than they are today, so they could create the video tapes at a reduced cost, making them a lot more widespread. The quality of a VHS tape would be about 333×480 in today’s standard.
2. Nintendo NES (1986)
Mario, Zelda and Sonic the Hedgehog are all names we recognise today, that had their birth with the launch of the 80′s most loved gaming console. The Nintendo NES was the precursor to all of our consoles we use today and definitely laid the way for the Wii and the Xbox. The NES revolutionized the home gaming industry and created a similar style that we know and love today.
The Nintendo NES was released in the US with a price tag of $250 and in the 80′s you didn’t just pay for the console, oh no, you got a total of 18 games for free with your purchase. During the course of its lifetime it would sell more than 60 million units, bring to life some games still played today and start a retro gaming revolution seen in many countries around the globe.
1. Mr Frosty Slush Maker (Throughout the 1980′s)
I wanted to end with a classic 80′s toy/gadget, as this era holds some of the best. If you haven’t heard of Mr Frosty before, then he was a snowman who made deliciously, brightly coloured slushys for us by crushing ice in his hat! He was mostly popular throughout Europe. I still remember the advertisement today and this is one gadget you can still buy in 2013. Much like the popular the popular Soda Stream of the 1990′s, kids and adults alike went crazy for this little snowman, making him one of the best selling toys of the 1980′s.
For a slice of nostalgia, then head over to Amazon where they are still available to buy!