A place for anything retro: gaming, hardware, software, gadgets, toys, entertainment - anything!
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AMIGA600

What is retro to you?

by AMIGA600 Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:02 pm

Retro can mean a lot to many people, and as such there is no right and wrong about what constitutes as retro.

But What is retro to you?

(remember to be open to others viewpoints, as opinions are just opinions and they form the said individuals experience, so it is usually not an attack on your viewpoint/opinion)

I am excited to know what is retro in your mind! And how some tech is not retro to you, because you can remember the tech just as if the first time you opened the box feels like yesterday!!
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: What is retro to you?

by Shot97 Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:50 pm

For me it's either old or outdated "things". Does not need to be technology orientated in my eyes. I feel consistently disappointed that so many "retro gamers" have beyond zero love for something like Super8 film or 35mm photography. I mean this is where nerds got their nerd on way before computers were a thing. Or they play on nothing but widescreen HD tvs that distort images into widescreen when they were meant to be played on 4:3 CRT televisions... But do many ever show appreciation for the tubes inside of an old black and white television? Take one of those things apart and fix them, that's what nerds used to do.

It does not have to be old, I have an odd device called a Chumby which basically a computer in an alarm clock with apps... But it was made well before smart phones became super popular. It died a quick death and was not known by many, but I believe it had a nice use. Given it's odd nature and how quickly it was replaced it sort of feels retro to me. On the other hand I have zero retro leanings toward any game console made in this century. They just don't "feel" retro to me, feels like technology in those things has not progressed enough to make what was available in 2000 seem dated.

Could be more music orientated... Old synthesizers maybe, vinyl records, cassette tapes... You name the field and there's retro elements to love, automobiles... If I go outside and I want to wear a hat I wear a Detroit Red Wings hat from the 1980's, not something newer. So just old or outdated things, even artistic things, just plane nerdy things.

Nice topic but there's one critical thing missing from your post; What is it that YOU consider retro?
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AMIGA600

Re: What is retro to you?

by AMIGA600 Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:21 pm

What would I consider retro?

I do not really consider items as retro , until I hear something really outdated, such as the old computers which used thin rolls of cardboardpaper punched dots as data or the vacuum tube room sized computers. I still have consoles like master system in my gaming setup, I don't really think of something as retro if I have the item and am in touch with the item daily. Which is why I ask, I am genuinely interested in what you think is retro. I don't have a clear definition in my mind as such about retroness, I either use the item or the item is unusable.

I would classify maybe the LCD game and watch as retro? I really could not play those games today, because I don't think I can play those all day. A gameboy would be retro to me, the dot matrix screen. CRT tvs are retro to me due to the size and flickering, I can't play those without straining my eye muscles due to the flickering.

Super8 seems really interesting, are the film themselves hazardous in the sense of the chemicals used on them? I am not sure, but I remember vaguely about ionizing chemicals.

thank you so much for your post and sharing! :D
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: What is retro to you?

by Shot97 Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:16 pm

I can see your point with your everyday world. If, for example, you still used a CRT or a record player you would not consider that item as retro because it's in daily use. For me I things don't have to be useless to be considered retro. I can own an item, understand its uses, still want to use them, but also understand the majority of people no longer find use in them. I still use CRTs for things that were developed on them because for me they have a use, the picture looks better on the thing it was designed to be used on. I still listen to vinyl records because there actually is plenty of evidence that analog music recording has better frequency response, but beyond that, it's the artistic merit of the device. Nice and big cover art and lyric pages, the "warmth" of the sound, and indeed, even things that many would find fault with like an odd crack becomes a part of the experience, an experience that is unique to that medium.

With photography there's also plenty of evidence digital is nowhere near the quality of the stuff I play with like 35mm slide film, and of course there are much better quality film than even 35mm. It's amazing that you can take something 35mm's in size and blow that up to fit an enormous screen in a movie theater and it looks brilliant. That's analog, that's the chemicals. But again, does not need to be technically superior to digital, it has every artistic right to exist for the rest of time because it's unique. You give the same photographer a digital camera and a film camera and that same person will get images that are simply different even if it's the same shot of the same thing.

I love old LED and LCD games. Those Tiger Electronic games are pretty awesome in my mind as well. Pinball games have always felt retro to me, even if it's a brand new machine just going up to one and playing it is retro. Much like buying a brand new vinyl record (More of them sold now that since the 80's) feels retro even if I do see its benefits. I'm still aware of the culture, it's good to be aware that way you can know if something you find use in will soon be unavailable because of others who refuse to see its uses. I understand the flickering eye strain thing, for some reason that's never been a huge problem with me with the CRTs, although it has always been a huge problem with florescent lighting, which I can't stand. I'll proudly be burning tungsten bulbs for as long as I can get a hold of them, and I've got a stockpile for when I can't. My eyes have more problems with modern LCD displays lit by florescent tubes. They operate at 60hz or lower, where as many CRT monitors can go much higher than that which reduces eye strain. LEDs do not cause the eyestrain but they also do not accurately reproduce the full light spectrum like the sun or a tungsten or halogen light bulb would. The problem with new things is it's all about money. Very rarely does something come along that completly one ups what it's replacing in every single possible way. In fact it can often times be much worse but they'll do their best to convince you otherwise, like CDs.

The audio reproduction of a compact disc has always been terrible, but the worst CD player and the best CD player always sounded the same, which was better than the worst record player. But the best record player always destroyed the CD. But the record companies wanted everyone to switch, a CD cost them less than 5 cents to make and it's new so some CDs could cost you 40 bucks. Money is king. They wanted records to die. Feels good though because digital is what ended up killing record companies not so long after! Personally I've always loved environmentalists who went on about tungsten bulbs being bad but were perfectly fine with banning certain types of them in favor of mercury florescent bulbs that require proper disposal, which nobody does... Mercury bulbs, in the trash, breaking, releasing one of the worst things possible into the atmosphere... Good job there!

With film, I mean I wouldn't want to take a bath in the chemicals but there's nothing bad for the environment as long as it's used properly. The current film chemical processes anybody could do in their own house in a closet with running water. There used to be other processes like with Kodachrome film. Only Kodak themselves could develop that stuff because it was a complicated mess of chemicals...However, even they pretty much just had it running through machines in an automated process by the end of it. Easy for them and they only stopped using it because the chemicals were more expensive and they can't figure out how to sell stuff and make money off of it.

I'd recommend reading up on Kodachrome though if you're into fascinating uses of technology. The thing about Kodachrome which made it so unbelievable with quality (nothing can touch it) is that for every picture you took the film essentially took 3 shots of the same thing. There were 3 "layers" to the film and each recorded a black and white image. It was during processing that those 3 images were taken separately and red was added to one layer, blue to another, and green to the last. When combined it would give you the true color image. There is simply nothing film or digital that can come close to recording color in that way. I miss that stuff. To this day most Hollywood companies record the "master" copy of whatever film or TV show or anything on film, even if it was recorded digitally or from VHS or whatever... Film is the only proven archival method, and digital, despite being advertised as lasting forever, in reality most pictures taken in the last 15 years are going to be lost to hard drive crashes or upgrades or whatever. It's a sad thing in terms of preserving history.

I see benefits in digital, I use it as well. My only issues have ever been with people who stop seeing benefits in film... With HD televisions, if you don't have digital cable then you actually are better off using a CRT in terms of quality. That's something nobody selling a TV is ever going to want to tell you, but it's the damn cold hard truth. Over 65% of American's are still using basic cable which means resolutions less than 480p, which means everything they watch would look better on a CRT television not an HD one. HD is great if you have HD resolution but it's beyond terrible when you do not, yet many convince themselves it is, probably to justify the purchase. And of course CRTs are and were capable of displaying HD resolutions themselves, meaning an LCD HD television is more for those with eye strain issues or wanting to save space, but those cathode ray tubes, much like Kodachrome, did the red/green/blue separately, it's something nice indeed to me, especially when playing old systems.

I have a few videos on my YouTube channel where I mess around with old Mattel Electronics LED games from the 70's, those things are pretty cool to spend a few minutes of your time with in my eyes.
User avatar
AMIGA600

Re: What is retro to you?

by AMIGA600 Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:41 pm

Do you have pictures of your gaming setup?

could you post them here?
https://www.reddit.com/r/GamingHQ/
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: What is retro to you?

by intric8 Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:44 pm

With HD televisions, if you don't have digital cable then you actually are better off using a CRT in terms of quality.


Here's what I do. I have an HD TV (for Seahawks games, and the rare TV show I actually want to watch, and PBS) in one room. But no cable. It has a Roku and Apple TV, but that's besides the point. The US Government required all local stations to output HD signals a few years ago. So, if you go buy a cheap antennae, you can pick up HD local TV - entirely for free. I pay for internet, but not for TV. I get that over the air. And the picture, Shot, is amazing. It's nearly 3-dimensional looking. If you have an antennae on top of your house that you can jack into, you're freaking super lucky.

That being said, I wind up buying per-episode shows on Amazon, and use a relative's Netflix account, too, neither of which output awesome resolutions, so I can still get my Game of Throne fix, etc. So I do buy TV, so to speak, but I buy it a-la-carte for what I want to see, and no it's not very HD most of the time. But I also avoid 10 home shopping networks and 20 religious channels.

Anyhoo, I've taken this way off topic, but if you ever want to see your HD TV literally sparkle check out the HD over-the-air signal being pumped right over your roof.

+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

As for the retro definition, this is how I think of it: if it's something I enjoyed in my formative years (I'm almost 45), and it faded from contemporary pop culture, that qualifies.

The definition, by definition, is very subjective.

And, it usually is some sort of entertainment or fashion. Can that form of entertainment or fashion make a come-back? Absolutely, but usually with a side-comment from someone that it's leveraging retro nostalgia.

Examples in recent memory:
-) Reboots of the NES and Sega Genesis (with baked-in games)
-) 80s synth-wave music and video game sound effects permeating pop music for the past 10 years.
-) The rediscovery of vinyl LPs, which Shot mentioned (I could talk at length there - it's a very expensive topic)
-) Games and systems which - for me - were all the rage in the 80s and early 90s. I was around in the 70s but most of what I hold dear is past that time. Some people today believe the Playstation 2 is retro. That baffles me, but for some folks they grew up with that thing. It is 16 years old already, so it is closer to two decades at this stage. (Time!)
-) Design styles can be retro (including fonts and colors) - again I always think to the 80s and early 90s, but it probably helps to put a decade next to the word to give people context. E.g., "That song is so 80s-retro." Labelling it with the decade helps put an image or sound in one's mind, even if more information is needed to fully "get" the meaning. It helps to pinpoint things a bit, in my opinion.

I feel like at some point, retro changes and simply becomes old. In my mind, that's what happened to the 50s and earlier even when I was a kid. Some kids in their 20s walking around today probably think the same about my perception of retro ("1980s? That's so OLD."). It's sort of a sliding scale, and is very subjective based on the person's own life, age, and experience.
User avatar
AMIGA600

Re: What is retro to you?

by AMIGA600 Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:42 pm

Shot97 wrote:I can see your point with your everyday world. If, for example, you still used a CRT or a record player you would not consider that item as retro because it's in daily use. For me I things don't have to be useless to be considered retro. I can own an item, understand its uses, still want to use them, but also understand the majority of people no longer find use in them. I still use CRTs for things that were developed on them because for me they have a use, the picture looks better on the thing it was designed to be used on. I still listen to vinyl records because there actually is plenty of evidence that analog music recording has better frequency response, but beyond that, it's the artistic merit of the device. Nice and big cover art and lyric pages, the "warmth" of the sound, and indeed, even things that many would find fault with like an odd crack becomes a part of the experience, an experience that is unique to that medium.

With photography there's also plenty of evidence digital is nowhere near the quality of the stuff I play with like 35mm slide film, and of course there are much better quality film than even 35mm. It's amazing that you can take something 35mm's in size and blow that up to fit an enormous screen in a movie theater and it looks brilliant. That's analog, that's the chemicals. But again, does not need to be technically superior to digital, it has every artistic right to exist for the rest of time because it's unique. You give the same photographer a digital camera and a film camera and that same person will get images that are simply different even if it's the same shot of the same thing.

I love old LED and LCD games. Those Tiger Electronic games are pretty awesome in my mind as well. Pinball games have always felt retro to me, even if it's a brand new machine just going up to one and playing it is retro. Much like buying a brand new vinyl record (More of them sold now that since the 80's) feels retro even if I do see its benefits. I'm still aware of the culture, it's good to be aware that way you can know if something you find use in will soon be unavailable because of others who refuse to see its uses. I understand the flickering eye strain thing, for some reason that's never been a huge problem with me with the CRTs, although it has always been a huge problem with florescent lighting, which I can't stand. I'll proudly be burning tungsten bulbs for as long as I can get a hold of them, and I've got a stockpile for when I can't. My eyes have more problems with modern LCD displays lit by florescent tubes. They operate at 60hz or lower, where as many CRT monitors can go much higher than that which reduces eye strain. LEDs do not cause the eyestrain but they also do not accurately reproduce the full light spectrum like the sun or a tungsten or halogen light bulb would. The problem with new things is it's all about money. Very rarely does something come along that completly one ups what it's replacing in every single possible way. In fact it can often times be much worse but they'll do their best to convince you otherwise, like CDs.

The audio reproduction of a compact disc has always been terrible, but the worst CD player and the best CD player always sounded the same, which was better than the worst record player. But the best record player always destroyed the CD. But the record companies wanted everyone to switch, a CD cost them less than 5 cents to make and it's new so some CDs could cost you 40 bucks. Money is king. They wanted records to die. Feels good though because digital is what ended up killing record companies not so long after! Personally I've always loved environmentalists who went on about tungsten bulbs being bad but were perfectly fine with banning certain types of them in favor of mercury florescent bulbs that require proper disposal, which nobody does... Mercury bulbs, in the trash, breaking, releasing one of the worst things possible into the atmosphere... Good job there!

With film, I mean I wouldn't want to take a bath in the chemicals but there's nothing bad for the environment as long as it's used properly. The current film chemical processes anybody could do in their own house in a closet with running water. There used to be other processes like with Kodachrome film. Only Kodak themselves could develop that stuff because it was a complicated mess of chemicals...However, even they pretty much just had it running through machines in an automated process by the end of it. Easy for them and they only stopped using it because the chemicals were more expensive and they can't figure out how to sell stuff and make money off of it.

I'd recommend reading up on Kodachrome though if you're into fascinating uses of technology. The thing about Kodachrome which made it so unbelievable with quality (nothing can touch it) is that for every picture you took the film essentially took 3 shots of the same thing. There were 3 "layers" to the film and each recorded a black and white image. It was during processing that those 3 images were taken separately and red was added to one layer, blue to another, and green to the last. When combined it would give you the true color image. There is simply nothing film or digital that can come close to recording color in that way. I miss that stuff. To this day most Hollywood companies record the "master" copy of whatever film or TV show or anything on film, even if it was recorded digitally or from VHS or whatever... Film is the only proven archival method, and digital, despite being advertised as lasting forever, in reality most pictures taken in the last 15 years are going to be lost to hard drive crashes or upgrades or whatever. It's a sad thing in terms of preserving history.

I see benefits in digital, I use it as well. My only issues have ever been with people who stop seeing benefits in film... With HD televisions, if you don't have digital cable then you actually are better off using a CRT in terms of quality. That's something nobody selling a TV is ever going to want to tell you, but it's the damn cold hard truth. Over 65% of American's are still using basic cable which means resolutions less than 480p, which means everything they watch would look better on a CRT television not an HD one. HD is great if you have HD resolution but it's beyond terrible when you do not, yet many convince themselves it is, probably to justify the purchase. And of course CRTs are and were capable of displaying HD resolutions themselves, meaning an LCD HD television is more for those with eye strain issues or wanting to save space, but those cathode ray tubes, much like Kodachrome, did the red/green/blue separately, it's something nice indeed to me, especially when playing old systems.

I have a few videos on my YouTube channel where I mess around with old Mattel Electronics LED games from the 70's, those things are pretty cool to spend a few minutes of your time with in my eyes.


Hi sorry for the late reply,
I understand the video signal quality, but the amazing thing is I don't watch tv anymore. I really dislike the drivel shoved down a viewers throat, then to be honest I was never really a TV person except when I was really young. And analog signals are pretty endearing, when the cable fidelity is low or the cables are long, the image on the screen reminds me of arcade cabinets. I play some games via emulators this way and they have a great feel. (GBA games only of course) lol. I have sega consoles for the rest. With the right controller some GBA games are really fun with the long analog vga cable trick.

Yeah I am very much against hazardous substances in daily home use. I used to be a researcher in my early career (even though I am still young now) and I have known the many evils of capitalism. Not going political here, I understand capitalism is the current system, but when corporations have the bottom figure as the only incentive, well money is not a good driving force for great ethics.

I am really interested in the points you made about audio and video technology, about the superior quality, could you make a separate post highlighting this? I wanted to reply earlier, but to be honest I did not know where to start. I did read your whole post but I am just thinking a lot about what you wrote, interesting. Could you elaborate with graphical comparisons?
User avatar
Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: What is retro to you?

by Shot97 Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:30 am

I was wanting to take the time and post some pics for you, but I've been pretty busy of late. I'm not a member of Reddit so I can't post anything there, and I don't become a member of a site unless I want to keep coming back. I do have a video I made about a year ago on my YouTube that shows off most of the classic collection. The only thing really missing is my newer stuff, as in the modern PCs.

Video of my collection.

I also have a few pictures I've taken in the past I can post here.

Image
^ My Amiga500 with extra floppy, 1mb internal RAM, 8MB external RAM with hard drive of I forgot how much space. Using a Gateway2000 CRT monitor and a Gateway2000 speaker system with subwoofer.

Image
^ My Commodore 64 with 1541 diskdrive, a fast cart loader, tape drive, it also has a toggle switch for a faster Basic but I don't use that too often. I interchange my C64 with my VIC-20 when I feel like using that. Just unplug the cables and plug in the other one.

Image
^ Custom built DOS/Win3/Win98 machine with 3 1/2 floppy, 5 1/4 1541 drive for transferring files to the C64/Vic, fast CD-ROM, and a ZIP Drive.

Image
^ My MT-32 for my DOS machine.

Image
^ My Genesis and NES, missing from the current setup are my SegaCD and SNES.
User avatar
A1-X1000
Toronto, Canada

Re: What is retro to you?

by A1-X1000 Sat May 19, 2018 1:56 pm

nowadays it's anything that's more than 6 months old :!: Supposedly I was told by some 20 something year old that my HP48g calculator is retro :?: but I've been using it almost every day since I bought it new in 1992 so to me it's not that old and still does everything I need from a scientific calculator...retro to me is my parents black and white TV :lol:
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Bulletdust

Re: What is retro to you?

by Bulletdust Tue May 22, 2018 1:26 am

Retro to me is everything I enjoyed pre 25 years of age, so basically everything between 1973 and ~1995.

However I do have a soft spot for the Pentium 3, specifically the Tualatin. I think that's because I went off computing between 1995 and 1999 and the Pentium 3 was what was around when I got back into it, kind of like a second childhood.

I miss the old days.

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