From the late 1970s to the 1990s, George Lucas was featured in a number of ad spots for Japanese electronic brands Panasonic and Technics. On their own, the commercials are a little strange and awkward, but in the hands of editor Neil Cicierega, the weird factor just hit Level 9000.
Most USB-C docks are pretty nondescript. But RayCue’s retro docks borrow their looks from the OG Apple Macintosh. The 128K Dock looks like a 1980s Mac, and packs USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet, and headphone jacks. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker, a memory card reader, and a digital photo frame. The simpler Pocket dock looks like a tiny Mac keyboard.
Love the music of the 1980s? Then, put on your headphones, crank up the volume, and hit play on this double feature. Musician Martin Miller and his bandmates performed this stellar two-part medley featuring tracks from Van Halen, A-Ha, Tears for Fears, Europe, Depeche Mode, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, U2, and more.
Technology advances quickly, so the difference between today’s gadgets and those you could buy in the 1980s is dramatic. That said, the decade did give us early cell phones, portable tape players, VCRs, and personal computers. Twenty-something YouTuber Liam Thompson wanted to see what it would be like to live using only tech from the ’80s for a week.
The 1980s and the 1380s were pretty different times. The era of big hair and Rubik’s produced some great synthpop and arena rock, and those tunes sound surprisingly good when played on medieval instruments. This 90-minute medley features bardcore versions of 22 classic ’80s tracks, including Don’t Stop Believin’, Smooth Criminal, Eye of the Tiger, and more.
Tattoo artist Allan Graves created this awesome series of zines celebrating horror illustrations and advertising from the 1970s and 1980s. Each issue has 100 pages packed with gruesome and graphic imagery that is definitely not for kids. Monsterama #4 hits 8.30.2023, and you can grab the first three issues here.
Lebanese singer Tony Abou Jaoudeh, aka looneytony4 is a master of vocal impressions. In this video, he performs The Weeknd’s 1980s-style track Save Your Tears in the voices of artists who were popular in the 1980s like A-Ha, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, and George Michael. His Jimmy Somerville is spot on.
Watchmaker AVI-8 teamed up with Capcom to create a limited-edition wristwatch based on the top-down shooter, 1942. The aviation-themed watch features pixelated planes from the game, skeletonized hands, a bitmapped date indicator, and a “12” marker in the game’s logo font. Each watch includes custom prints by artist Nache Ramos. Drops 7.28.2023.
The Radiohead track Creep has been covered countless times. But we bet you’ve never heard it quite like this. Scary Pockets shared this awesomely ’80s version of the alternative classic performed by Promises and vocalist Therese Curatolo. The cyberpunk music video aesthetic is the icing on the cake.
The Mandalorian has some great action. So did The A-Team. So Nebulous Bee thought it would be fun to combine the two. This edit reimagines the credits for the Star Wars series in the style of the 1980s hit series, with Bo-Katan, Paz Vizsla, The Armorer, and Din Djarin standing in for Templeton Peck B.A. Baracus, Hannibal Smith, and Howling Mad Murdock.
ChatGPT is one of the most talked-about subjects of the decade. Despite its questionable accuracy, it does an amazing job of creating human-sounding text. Squirrel Monkey set their time machine to 1988 to see what the AI might have been like had OpenAI released the tech 4o years prematurely. Offline mode would have been particularly awful.
In 2016, Paweł Zadrożniak turned his Floppotron electromechanical orchestra loose on Europe’s 1986 hit The Final Countdown. He’s revisited the tune with his much more powerful Floppotron 3.0, a system that’s powerful enough to load all the diskettes from Microsoft Office 97 Standard simultaneously with plenty of room to spare.
While you could buy a playable Pac-Man game for less money, the official LEGO version gives you the joy of assembling one yourself. The 2651-piece kit features a mechanical playfield and scoreboard, spinning Pac-Man and ghost characters on its top, and a light-up coin slot.
Created by Jason Scott and a team of dedicated tech archivists, Discmaster provides online access to more than 91 million files from CD-ROMs and floppy disks collected by the Internet Archive. The retro-style search interface lets you directly view images and play video and audio files from the disks.
Tactile Turn’s limited-run Spring 2023 pen features a design inspired by classic 8-bit game consoles, specifically the NES. The titanium pen has a two-tone Cerakote finish in grey and black with a textured orange pocket clip and a red “Reset” button to retract its ink cartridge. Available in Standard (5.8″), Short (5.3″), and Mini (4.6″).
The app Duolingo is an easy way to learn new languages. It didn’t come out until 2011, but Squirrel Monkey lives in the past and imagines what it might have been like if it ran on 1980s IBM PC hardware and shipped on floppy disks. And yes, that Covox Speech Thing really was a thing.
These days, many visual effects are produced using computer animation. Artist and filmmaker Markus Rothkranz looks back at some low-budget practical effects he created in the 1980s and 1990s. The tricks include miniatures, multiplane backgrounds, mirrors, and set pieces made from everyday objects.
Ready to chew bubble gum and kick ass, but you’re all out of bubble gum? We’ve got a game for you. Based on John Carpenter’s classic, They Live, this card game from Iconiq Studios has players teaming up to uncover the aliens hidden at the table. The upgrade pack includes Hoffman Lenses that reveal hidden words on some cards.
The Commodore Amiga was one of the most graphically-capable PCs of the 1980s. Stuart Brown of Ahoy dives deep into one of the greatest pieces of digital art from the era – a gloriously colorful cheeseburger designed by Commodore’s Art Director Jack Haeger. Sadly, the original file wasn’t saved, so Ahoy reproduced it from scratch.
The One Hacker Band is a robotic musical group that plays electromechanically-controlled instruments. They recently added a new member – a head that can sing. Here’s the latest line-up of the band performing the Tears for Fears hit Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Need more? Enjoy a little Radiohead.
Back in the 1980s, there were few bands to achieve the popularity of Depeche Mode. Despite their success, their melancholy alt-rock was at times quite formulaic. Musician Desmond Doom breaks down the basics so you can create your own Personal Jesus in under a minute.
Serious video game nerds might have heard of the never-released Atari arcade game Akka Arrh. Created by Tempest and Gridrunner dev Jeff Minter, a modernized version has been released for consoles and gaming PCs. Like other Llamasoft games, expect a trippy array of colors and insane swarms of attackers.
Before you start scratching your head, Tetris doesn’t feature a bunch of animated anthropomorphic puzzle blocks. Instead, it’s based on the true story of the man who invented it, the publisher who discovered it, and the hurdles he faced in licensing it from the USSR for Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld. Coming to Apple TV+ 3.31.23.