When Retro Stuff Goes Modern (and Mini)

Well folks, the new year is almost upon us. And with it will come many new exciting and terribly high-tech things that will wow us into various sorts of digital submission.

Well, let’s forget about all that for a second (or maybe for awhile) and let’s celebrate the new year with some old school cool! Because even with all the advanced tech all around, people still love to re-create classic toys and old school gadgets (thank the universe!) and it’s just awesome.

Check out some of this cool “modern retro” stuff below.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 11.46.57 AM
Courtesy of the Tiny Arcade Kickstarter

Miniature game cabinets you can play

Look at this uber tiny arcade! Created by Akron-based company TinyCircuits, Tiny Arcade is an old school game cabinet that fits nicely in the palm of your hand. It’s sooo ‘effin cute and it’s completely functional, too, so you can play games on it all day.

The mini game cabinet is built with a tiny Arduino-compatible platform called TinyDuino, which is TinyCircuits’ pride and joy, and comes with an analog joystick, two buttons for game play, a speaker, a Lithium battery, a USB and a micro-SD slot.

It features games like tiny Invaders, Asteroid, 3D Racing and more. Games are free and open source, and can be loaded one at a time via USB or stored via the micro-SD for endless arcade fun!

Tiny Arcade just blasted through its Kickstarter campaign so if you wanna get your grabby hands on one, head on over to the TinyCircuits website for deets.

A book that pops up into a pinhole camera

Photo credit: Kelli Anderson

Regular books are already cool by themselves, but they become even cooler when they morph into something awesome.

Take this educational book slash pinhole camera by designer and artist Kelli Anderson, for example. Kelli’s figured out a sequence of cuts and folds to turn paper into a fully functional pinhole camera. Pinhole photography goes way back in the 1800’s so it’s great to see one integrated into any other object, especially a book!

(This Book is a Camera from kellianderson)

The pop-up book comes with detailed instructions on how to take and develop photos as well as a starter pack of photo paper. It’s available for purchase on Kelli’s website, but if you’re feeling creative, you can also make one yourself using the template, which is free for download! Hooray!

Photo Credit: Andrei Lacatusu
Photo Credit: Andrei Lacatusu

USB sticks masquerading as vintage objects

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.36.39 AMThis project by artist Andrei Lacatusu basically features his favorite childhood devices as USB memory sticks. You can’t help but feel nostalgic when you see these!

Andrei created USB sticks in the form of a retro game cartridge, brick game, video game controller, cassette tape, and a vintage tube.

Check out the series on his Behance page.

A vinyl player you can take anywhere

Photo credit: Rocket & Wink

The Rawman 3000 by Rocket & Wink is a stereo record player system that’s been scaled down to a nifty size so you can bring it with you anywhere you go.

This portable vinyl player comes with stereo headphones, a USB port, a Smarcard, a Bluetooth antenna, and a carrying strap for convenience. The player comes in three sizes: seven inch, ten inch and twelve inch versions.

Unfortunately for vinyl lovers who want this for their collection, the Rawman 3000 seems to be just a concept. The website says it’s “available in 7“,10“ and 12“ from June 1983 (in another dimension)”. Oh well.

A mixtape for the modern audiophile

Photo credit: Sharetapes

The times, they are a-changin’. Since nowadays there are so many ways to compile your favorite music and put them on playlists that you can stream anytime and anywhere, physical mixtapes are (sadly) a thing of the past. No denying it.

But if you want that “old school” touch, there’s Sharetapes for yah!

Sharetapes are physical cards that look like cassette tapes and link to digital content. You can load up your Sharetape with music from Spotify, YouTube, and 8tracks, and then share your music with any smartphone using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology or QR (Quick Response) scanning codes.

It’s an upgraded version of the mixtape!

Know about any new takes on vintage or retro things that should be on this list? Share with us in the comments!

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Leah Gonzalez Angue

Freelance writer and casual blogger. Likes to hoard books, but only occasionally reads them.