We rely on food delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash way too much these days. Can you imagine what it would have been like if tech companies tried to launch such a service back in the 1980s? Squirrel Monkey envisions a rudimentary version of GrubHub that shipped on floppy disks and ran on MS-DOS.
Are you an ’80s or ’90s kid? Then you’ll want to hit play on Estuera’s two-part video series about the synthesizers and presets that defined the sounds of two decades. Along the way, he performs excerpts from more than 40 tracks and makes them sound just like the originals, thanks in part to Arturia’s synth emulation tech.
Let us kick it like it’s 1986 now with this fun and delightful cover version of the Portugal. The Man tune Feel It Still. Musician Mick Mazz gives the already sweet track an added candy coating with a heaping helping of ’80s synthesizers that make it sound like something by A-Ha.
Musicians John Oates and Saxsquatch teamed up to perform this totally different arrangement of the Hall & Oates classic Maneater. Our favorite sax-playing sasquatch brings a fresh new sound to the 1982 track, along with way more body hair than Daryl Hall ever had.
With locations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines is filled with vintage arcade machines that date back to the Soviet era. Incredibly, the machines have all been restored and are playable. Baklykov. Live takes us on a tour of the museum, its machines, and other artifacts.
Ready for a trip back to the 1980s? The guys at We Are the Mutants spotted this gem of a commercial that perfectly captures the sci-fi aesthetics of the era. This big budget ad spot that implies General Electric’s cassette tape players will free the oppressed was obviously influenced by Apple’s famous 1984 Super Bowl spot.
Imagine for a moment that the Oasis hit Wonderwall was recorded in the 1980s, and the lead vocals were performed by Jimmy Somerville instead of Liam Gallagher. Deco did a great job mashing up the track with 1984’s Smalltown Boy. Their Spice Girls / Marvin Gaye combo is a good listen too.
Musician Astrophysics takes songs from various genres, and slathers them with a thick layer of 1980s electronic sounds, then complements them with appropriately retro graphics. There’s lots of great stuff to enjoy on their YouTube channel, but this synthwave remix of Outkast’s 2003 hit Hey Ya! is our favorite (so far.)
The Timex T80 was a staple of 1980s design. Now it’s back and updated for the 21st century. The new version is just a bit crisper looking all around, with an old-school black on grey LCD, Indiglo backlighting, alarm, date, and stopwatch functions. It’s available in a variety of metal finishes, and a Pac-Man edition.
Do you have a place in your heart for the sounds of the 1980s? Sonicware’s portable synthesizer makes FM sounds like many electronic instruments of the era, but can merge multiple sounds into one. It has a built-in 4-track sequencer, effects, filters, and more than 300 preset sounds. Their 8bit Warps synth looks nifty too.
These days, we all carry a very capable computer in our pockets. But back in the 1980s, pocket computers looked more like glorified calculators. The 8-Bit Guy takes a look at some of these early examples of miniaturization for a look at just how far computing technology has come in the last few decades.
Joy Division and New Order’s Peter Hook and his current band, The Light performed highly satisfying covers of his former band’s tracks Love Will Tear Us Apart, Age of Consent, and Digital, during a socially-distanced concert for Yamaha Guitars. In a separate session, they kicked out The Perfect Kiss.
Toymaker Super7 celebrates the 1988 John Carpenter classic They Live, putting on their special sunglasses to reveal the creepy ghouls living among us. The retro-style 3-3/4″ collection includes a man and a woman, along with limited edition OBEY and SUBMIT variants in black-and-white.
These days, most content is streamed or played on Blu-ray discs. But there was a time when videotapes were the media of choice. Mental Floss takes a trip in the wayback machine to tell the story of VCRs, the epic war between Betamax and VHS, and how the technologies changed everything for visual entertainment.
UK shop ReadyPlayerTwo creates these nifty 3-dimensional logo signs inspired by classic video game and computer systems. Each one is 3D printed from PLA plastic to accurately replicate the original color scheme, and has neodymium magnets securely mounted inside.
Inspired by 1980s boomboxes, but updated with modern audio tech, the Flare6 cranks out 150-watts of power via its three speakers. It offers 12 hours of wireless playtime, and has a 1/4″ microphone input, SD and USB ports for playing MP3 files, and five EQ settings. For even more power, check out the 200-watt Flare 8.
For some reason, music from 8-bit and 16-bit games seems more memorable than most modern games. It probably has something to do with retro synthesizers drilling the sounds deeper into our brains. If you love retro game music too, hit play and listen up as BearKeys performs on a Roland Jupiter-6 synth. Part two here.
Back in 2013, Puddles Pity Party burst onto the scene with toned-down cover version of Lorde’s hit Royals he did with Postmodern Jukebox. Now, our favorite singing clown has returned to the well with a playful new wave arrangement of the track. Seriously, it sounds like it was produced by Ric Ocasek for a Cars album.
Retro software experts Squirrel Monkey look back a series of fictitious programs from the late 1980s that were designed to help people talk to the dead and predict the future. Early PC software was apparently way creepier than we remember it. And yes, we know the World Wide Web didn’t actually start until 1989.
We already know what Siri might have been like back in the 1980s, now Squirrel Monkey imagines another virtual assistant existed during a time when voice synthesis and voice recognition were in their infancy. We love how it uses a cassette recorder to download songs from Amazon Music.