March 3, 2022

The Rise of Retro Computing

People are buying retro computers not for everyday usage, but for the satisfaction of reassembling them. It’s a habit that some could attribute to quarantine boredom, but it’s been gaining traction for years. Most people search for discounts when they decide to buy computers. Availing offers will be helpful for your money savings.

In this fast-moving technology-dependent world, it is very easy for you to switch from one gadget to another. While we might be completely obsessed with one tech gadget for a while, as soon as we see its new and upgraded version, we switch up to that. If we look back in time to think about some nostalgic tech gadgets that might come to our mind, they might be the instant cameras and Polaroids or vinyl records. Most of these have an experience associated with it and its users have an experience and memory they can associate with it.

What old consoles and PCs had was an experience at that point in time, which is also the case with retro computing. While a lot of these systems are not in production anymore, the vintage collectors still seem to find old computers and hardware systems to play around with within today’s day and time. A lot of these collectors do point out that it has become difficult to even find a vintage device and furthermore find difficult ways to imitate even old chips. While for many retro computers are like a blast from the past, for many others, it’s a thing they hear the boomers and millennials talk about only and have no prior knowledge about them. So that question here arises as to what exactly is retro in computers?

Retro Computer: Junk or Treasure?

There is a fine line that can be quite easily drawn between a junk item and an item that can be treated like a treasure from old times. The answer to this varies from person to person, depending on their own standard and definition. For many people, a product is considered to be retro, and in this case retro computer, if it is not being made and has become obsolete. For many others, this may not be the case, which means that being a retro pc can be different for different individuals. There are so many criteria to consider while categorizing an obsolete and retro pc. For example, a computer previously having Windows XP or even Vista will be considered obsolete, but the hardware for many would-be worth paying for to collect and treasure. Similarly, a non-Intel CPU Mac is also by definition, a retro apple computer.

Demand Influx: Retro-Gaming

With the rise in pandemics, a lot of individuals shifted to a new hobby of retro computing and retro-gaming to kill boredom and connect with each other. There have been many conventions in the past dedicated to the collectors of these retro computers instead of modern computers, making them question their popularity. People can easily rebuild using old computing devices and boosting the software and have a brand new, but a retro-gaming machine.

Why Retro-Computers?

While some may argue that the interest in retro computers is a matter of nostalgia, it is something more important for many. It is like an escape for many individuals from the never ending change and upgrades in tech and also from that overwhelming feeling of learning a new tech product quickly. With retro PCs you can spend your time not just fixing them, but also learning them. You know that while learning about it you won’t have to switch anytime soon as the product is already obsolete and you are not bound to switch from it unless you want to.

People buy this retro hardware with the idea of not using them, but instead breaking them down and building them up on their own. These PCs are not in production anymore and are mostly available on websites where resellers get a demand from the collectors and can sell them up; like eBay. The idea is to go back in a time period and understand the process flow that went behind building such a machine.

Indisputably Retro?

Motorola 68000-based, Amigas, Stari STs, or even MAC, all of these are older than Windows95 and hence categorized as indisputably retro. There is a massive audience that is interested in these systems and wants to acquire the computers they couldn’t get their hands on at that time. It is important to understand that while a lot of these retro collectible computers are valuable, there is a fine line between junk and treasure.

Past and Future of Retro Computing

While the saying “out with the old, in with the new” fits here perfectly, as for a lot of individuals with emotional attachment with golden age games and consoles, even from this generation, the fascination with old hardware remains. There are forums present, connecting the retro computing community online, where these computer collectors and geeks share their common interests.

While the modern consoles have a different fascination attached to them, for the old computers and consoles, the level of difficulty in setting it up and playing on it is what drives these hardcore retro computer collectors. There is the biggest Computer History Museum in California, which has the largest collection of computing artifacts from around the world.

There are proper trends that revolve around collecting these vintage items and reinventing something out of them. It is difficult to find retro gaming consoles and computers with time as they are getting harder to find and otherwise expensive as well.

Rise in Retro Computing Collectibles during Covid

There has been a massive shift of individuals during quarantine time of following different trends and becoming part of different communities to stay connected. Amongst this is the retro computing community which saw a massive user base with people staying at home. People channeled their frustration and anxiety to exploring creative outlets. There was a rise in the exchange of different vintage computers and a massive conversion was seen in terms of monetary value.

The most interesting thing to see here is that while most of these computers are of not much use in modern times, the idea of having an old vintage device connecting you to the past and having a chance to explore around it.