In Praise of Old Technology
Talk about partying like it’s 1999!
“I didn’t know you play video games,” my mother-in-law commented.
I don’t. But back in the day I used to play Aladdin. It was the only video game I ever beat. Neil had the game too, and we reminisced about it after showing our kids the movie Aladdin for the first time. On VHS.
Yes, we own a VHS player. And our TVs are CRTs.
There’s also the tape player in my car. My mom’s given me a host of children’s stories on tape. And mix tapes featuring Simon and Garfunkle, Neil Diamond, and the like. Which is awesome since the oldies station is now playing 80s music.
My laptop is coming up on its 9th birthday. It doesn’t shut, which mostly defeats the purpose, but it works.
My phone also testifies to the past. It’s decidedly dumb. Yet its charge lasts a whole day (my old one lasted nearly a week!). And it doesn’t tempt me to stare at Twitter all day.
You guys, I write down directions when I drive to a new place. It’s crazy.
I do own a broken iPod nano! It works as long as it’s plugged in to a power source.
I don’t collect vinyl. I don’t think it’s virtuous to stay behind the times. I’m sure I’ll have to forsake my nearly obsolete technology soon. I just don’t like buying new stuff when my old stuff still works. And in some ways, the old technology works better. My childhood audio tapes are still intact, but my iPod’s power button is stuck and doesn’t work. Audio tapes = 25 years old. iPod = six years old.
If you don’t have children you might not know that Disney obnoxiously “locks” their movies in a “vault” to artificially create scarcity. Then they release one every so often and sell it for whatever they want because demand is high.
VHS tapes go for 60 cents at the thrift store near us. That’s less than one day of library fines on an overdue DVD! There are plenty of familiar titles to choose from. They also don’t get scratched, and they’re cartoons, so who cares whether they’re in HD?
Neil kept the Nintendo he bought in high school, and his Sega Genesis. When my dad moved out of state, he gave us his Bally Arcade system, Atari, and games. We don’t play a lot of video games and we definitely won’t let our kids waste too much of their lives in front of a screen. But playing them together makes a good family night activity every now and then. And they are much simpler and less over-simulating than newer games. Pacman is perfect for a five-year-old.
When my last phone broke, I got a new one on Craigslist the same day. For $10. And it won’t start malfunctioning when Apple stops supporting older versions of the iPhone.
And I already told you about That Time I Invented the Kindle…and Why I Still Don’t Have One.
It’s important to stay technologically literate and we consider having a TV and some video games part of being hospitable. Neil is an electrical engineer–he loves electronic technology sooo much and waited sooo patiently for his work to pay for a smart phone.
Yes, we love technology. We’re just not ready to pitch perfectly fun and functional media, even if it is outdated and takes up a bit more space than the digital counterparts.
Does anyone else own outdated technology or media? What benefits do you see?