Tech We Miss

Despite being focused on the latest and greatest in home technologies, it's hard not to wax nostalgic over the electronics of our youth. We gathered up the team to take a look back at the tech we miss — reminiscing about the technologies and devices that started our love affair with gadgets, games, photography, and the like.

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Dance Dance Revolution as missed by Chris Perez
Despite what it may say about me. I can't lie. I miss DDR. Yeah, the dance game that started a revolution that lasted a whole two years (max). I still remember playing it all night with some friends while house sitting at my sister's 2nd story apartment. We figured out we could score higher if we just gave up the tap dance routine altogether and went for it with our hands — slapping buttons as fast and as loud as we could in complete disregard of any lower floor neighbors. Nobody knocked on our door threatening us to turn down the noise that night. Instead a bright yellow eviction notice greeted us the next morning, letting us know the dire consequences we faced if the shenanigans continued.

That didn't scare DDR out of my system though (I just didn't play at my sister's house anymore) and I eventually became so enamored with the game that I did one of my first DIY's — adhering the flimsy DDR pads to wooden boards for the arcade feel. I was so proud of them I even packed them in my car and brought them over to people's houses — so shameful. Other interactive fads have long come and gone — Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Wii Sports — but DDR started it all for me, and I'll never forget it. DDR, Rest in peace.

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Commodore 64 as missed by Sean Rioux
The Commodore 64, first manufactured in 1982, was in many ways the original affordable personal computer. At $595 USD, the Commodore was less than half the price of the Apple II, meaning almost anyone could get their hands on this amazing piece of technology. In many ways it even outpaced the Apple II, with better sound and color graphics. It was also the bestselling PC of its time, with between 12.5 and 17 million units sold and a market share of between 30 and 40 percent in the years between 1983–1986.

The Commodore was my first computer. I was born in 1984 and so the C64 was the device that I grew up with. Long after its day in the sun I still kept my Commodore running, playing game classics like Pac-man, Pole Position, Skate or Die, and Frogger, booting up from that classic blue basic prompt and waiting for that humble 64k of RAM to load my programs from those classic 5.25" floppy discs.

Sure, you couldn't do much with one of these guys today — in fact just finding a TV to hook it up to is getting harder and harder. Nonetheless, in many ways the C64 was my first love, and you never really get over that.

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Polaroid i-Zone as missed by Elizabeth Giorgi
We're all used to instant gratification in our high-tech world and in the 90s, my Polariod i-Zone was the embodiment of instant tech satisfaction. This Polaroid camera aimed at kids and teens turned your pics into instant stickers. Notebooks and lockers were never the same. You can still find the i-Zone camera from resellers on Amazon and eBay, so if you need more sticky photos in your life — this is it!

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Mickey-matic as missed by Taryn Fiol
You'll always remember your first. Mine was a guy named Mickey.

My earliest tech memory is of capturing memories on an old film camera called the Mickey-Matic. It was a boxy little thing, and bright pink, with a cartoon mouse's grinning face all over it. But at the time, it seemed like the most grown-up thing I could ever own. For the first time, I could capture friends and school and family vacations from my own 3-foot-tall point of view. Looking back on it, I was right. Owning the Mickey-Matic was the coolest thing kid-me could ever do. I mean, look around… there are people using apps and layering filters to replicate the weathered look of vintage Instamatic film photographs (the Mickey-Matic was an off-shoot of the popular Kodak Instamatic camera). I even found a photoset on Flickr of someone shooting with a late-80's Mickey-Matic, and each shot is every bit as cool as I remember. I don't know whatever happened to the old Mickey-Matic, but I do know this: Even though Instagram has replaced you, Mickey, it can never replace you in my heart.

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Sony Ericsson w810i as missed by Jason Rodway
I'll never forget my first phone — it was like a Transformer in the palm of your hand. One second it's an mp3 player, flip it around and it becomes a digital camera (that took some amazing images for its time.) The w810i is a shining example of Sony's sleek and incredibly durable design — after several years my old phone still stands strong, suffering only some minor worn paint. Looking back, I wonder how I survived with just the 1GB Memory Stick that came with it.

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Sony Walkman as missed by Amber Bouman
Sony's ubiquitous Walkman was first marketed in Japan in 1979, the same year I was born, which I take particular pride in since I spent a decent portion of my adolescence with a Walkman clipped to my hip. I was far from alone — Sony has sold over 220 million Walkmans in various incarnations, and in fact still offers a Walkman, although they play MP3s now and not cassette tapes. That bulky, battery-draining box was responsible for providing the soundtrack to my life, and I was rarely without it. Family vacations involved me toting around a Walkman and as many cassette tapes as I could cram into a backpack. Although at one point my cassette collection boasted well over 250 titles, these days it's been culled down to less than fifty, tucked neatly in a box in the closet, waiting for me to find a Walkman that will still play them.

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Super Nintendo as missed by Jason Yang
I really miss the simplicity of game play from the Super Nintendo era. There was a purity to video games without distraction from fantastical graphics, video cut scenes, and fancy interfaces. The rules and controls were straightforward and you played because the game was flat out fun.

(Images: 1. Chris Perez, 2. Flickr member K Mick licensed for use under Creative Commons, 3. Sean Rioux, 4. Polaroid, 5. Cameras Down Under, 6. Jason Rodway, 7. Wikipedia licensed for use under Wikimedia Commons, 8. Flickr member tetradtx licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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