The internet may only be a few decades old, but the amount of nostalgia we have for it rivals any other conventional media format—books, movies, photography all included. Perhaps it’s because human beings have a tendency to yearn for and idolise simpler times. Indeed, we seem to look back on the good ol’ days of the early internet with great fondness.
Today, it increasingly seems like our ‘net nostalgia’ is transcending the theoretical and becoming actual hardware—that is, updates on old classics we love in a modern-tech format. We’ve seen these kinds of tech reboots across gaming, phones and photography, and there seems to be something about them that creates a considerable amount of buzz. As one tech writer pointed out in the Guardian, “It could just be a marketing ploy, or a Hollywood-esque remake because the industry has run out of ideas. Or maybe it’s trying to tap into the feeling that modern life is too connected, harking back to a simpler time.”
So, if you’re pining for a time when phones were simply phones, photographs were not pixels and games were not based in VR, here are some of the hottest tech reboots out on the market right now.
Nokia 3310: The original model of this phone—released in 2000 and one of the best-selling phones of all time—was said to be indestructible. Indeed, some of the original owners of the phone still have an operational model today, while a revised version has just been released. The announcement of the new model was met with great fanfare, and tech reviewers have been a big fan of the reasonable price point and the fact that the classic “Snake” game is included. However, some of been less than happy with the weight and size of the model, which is far less brick-like than the original version. And yet others have pointed out that it will have a hard time competing with the smartphone capabilities of today if users are planning to have it as a primary phone.
Nintendo Switch: Kids of the eighties and nineties will remember the game cartridges of the Nintendo 64 days, where blowing into a cartridge to rid it of dust was necessary before inserting it into the game console. Well, with Nintendo’s newly-released Switch, those days are back, as the company decided to replace the customary disk for cartridges—albeit smaller ones than the retro kind. The switch has modernised in that it is basically a hand-held game and a console all in one. As The Guardian put it, “It’s a console for everyone, with an interesting, accessible and flexible interface. The console itself is basically a tablet, and completely portable, but plug it into the stand and the action immediately appears on your TV. It is a weird hybrid, a new mid-point between home and handheld.” In this case, Nintendo seems to have hit the right mixture of new enough to create hype and old enough to induce nostalgia.
Fujifilm Instax: Photography is now far more instant than it used to be. But, thanks to the likes of Instagram, it’s hardly ever tangible. Our most precious moments are posted online in pictures, but rarely are they displayed on our walls or tucked into our notebooks or albums. However, with the Fujifilm Instax, which is a modernised take on the Polaroid camera, the joy of instant yet tangible photos is back. While it is not feasible to take as many photos on an Instax camera as on your phone—the cost of film being quite prohibitive—it is still a fun novelty to have an immediate print out of your most special and spontaneous moments.