Nostalgia in the Digital Age
Retro meets modern as digital technology fuels our remembrance of things past.
Music buffs are buying vinyl records, macramé and knitting are back in vogue, and Cobra Kai is on Netflix. If you’re a K-drama fan, you can choose from Reply 1988, Reply 1994, and Reply 1997. If you miss old-school mobile phones from when you started texting your first crush, there’s the retro Motorola Razr. If you want to channel Neo from The Matrix, there’s the Nokia 8110.
Many of us are longing for the good old days. It's a feeling that is both fond and bittersweet--and rightfully so. The word “nostalgia” comes from the Greek words for “return home” and “pain”. There are people and places that we can never go back to but will always be a part of us.
But, thanks to digital advancements, there are ways to revisit the sights and sounds of our youth. Let’s see how technology is fueling our nostalgia for days long gone.
Ah, the joys of making--and receiving--a mixtape. Getting a mixtape meant someone spent time planning the perfect playlist. They thought about the lyrics they wanted you to hear, the melodies to tug at your heartstrings or make your head bop. They wrote song titles by hand and included little notes and drawings, an inside joke or two. A mixtape you enjoyed meant you were known and loved, that you had a shared history set to music.
After your last class, you and your buddies headed to the arcade with pockets full of coins and player rankings to defend. With the Internet Arcade, coins are unnecessary. Just log on and choose from more than 1,700 arcade games from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Check out this video to see what games are in store for you.
There’s nothing quite like a song to send you down memory lane. Rediscover the songs from your childhood years with the Nostalgia Machine website. Pick a year and get your jam on.
From the clickety-clack of manual typewriter keys to the whir of a rotary-dial phone, Conserve the Sound is “an online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds.” Sit down with your children and give them an audio tour of your youth.
Give your photos a vintage feel with the Retrospecs app, a photo filter app that converts images and video clips to look as they would on home computers and consoles from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.
Using artificial intelligence, people in photographs blink, look around, dance, and even blow a kiss. Since its release, over 10 million faces have been animated so far, from famous portraits and personalities to loved ones who are no longer with us.
Here’s a tweet from English actor Sir Ian McKellen, who animated Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde.
Virtual reality in this game-within-a-game transports users back to their ‘90s childhood bedrooms, playing games in secret and hoping your mom doesn’t catch you.
“This was a student project back in 2013 when I was studying in England, and the big inspiration came from playing games as a child,” ARVORE Creative Director Ana Ribeiro told SPIN Magazine. “I wanted to build a time machine that would allow people to relive those moments again and see the evolution of video games, so that was kind of the kickoff of this project.”
Check out a video of this VR game.
As part of its “Newstalgia” campaign, Pizza Hut has launched limited-edition, augmented reality (AR) pizza boxes that you can play Pac-Man on. The boxes have QR codes that customers can scan on their smartphones to play an augmented reality version of the Japanese video game. Players will also have a chance to win an Arcade1Up Pac-Man game cabinet.
Check out this video of Pac-Man and Pizza Hut in action.
“We are drawn like lovers to the unreachable past, to imagined memories, to nostalgia,” says novelist Mohsin Hamid. The modern and the retro are coming together to take us back in time. And even if it’s just for the length of a song, two levels of a favorite video game, or the face of a grandmother who now only lives in your heart, it’s worth the short but sweet trip down memory lane.
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