Fresh Retro Juice brings you nothing but amazing old skool finds from the 80s and 90s. Whether it’s retro gaming, childhood memories, toys, 80s adverts or Goonies inspired t-shirts, there’s a heavy dose of nostalgia ready to get all in your face! This blog provides information on Retro rambles from the 80s and 90s on everything from TV, movies, childhood memories and retro gaming.
Roughly a year ago I decided to follow through on something that I have wanted to do since drunken midnight conversations at university! My friends and I went through a phase of wearing retro t-shirts and ironic nostalgic clothing because we a) thought it was hilarious and b) we simply loved it. We would source many items of clothing from the holy grail of retro tees Truffle Shuffle rocking Marvel themed superhero hoodies, Fresh Prince of Bel Air shirts to 80s cult classics like The Goonies and The Karate Kid tops. There were always conversations about what kind of ideas and designs we would create if we "could be arsed" to make t-shirts, but of course these chats went nowhere. And as we 'grew up', my friends seemed to move past this phase like every functioning adult in society, yet I continued well into my thirties to dress (and act!) like an eighteen year old student. I was determined to run away from adulting and make a fort in my childhood. I just needed to figure out how to integrate my love for all things old skool with my everyday life, and then Fresh Retro Juice happened.
After the initial designs for my tees were made, and I Forest Gumped my way through creating a brand, social media marketing, Facebook Ads and not losing the will to live... I found my stride-ish. BUT not without sweat, tears and the huge realisation that I was making it all up as I went along.However, like a cheesy but beautiful Rocky boxing montage, I made a lot of mistakes, struggled and I still find myself learning (and nervously laughing!) everyday. Here are my top 6 things you should know when trying to sell clothing as an independent online retailer.
1. Putting Yourself Out There Is Brutal & Scary
Self promotion is something that makes me cringe on a daily basis. I would prefer to just be silent, get more sleep and still have people shop on my store. But alas we all know that in order to get customers... you better work bitch!
If you want to succeed and actually come across like you know what you're doing, then you have to fake it til you make it! Spamming your friends and family and anyone who has eyes with your brand might feel like desperation, but it does pay off and is necessary. You have to get over your fear of being judged within an inch of your life because you're being judged anyways so you might as well try and make a few quid doing it!
2. The Interweb Has ALL The Opinions
Another reality with starting your own business online, is the fact that you are now opened to being crucified by complete strangers. It's so much fun... said absolutely nobody... ever.
I've had comments from complete randoms telling me how my tees are ugly, the design sucks, how I should've done it differently, why it's factually incorrect and my favourite, "I could've done that!" Well honey you didn't... so go suck a dick!! IS what I would like to say... but of course professionalism and passive aggressive retorts are my friends. Having an online business means developing a thick skin otherwise it'll be tears before bedtime.
3. Customer Service Can Be Full On
Especially if you don't know what you're doing. I am so grateful for my many years in the past working in customer services for various stores and online retailers, as I feel equipped with answering queries without wanting to punch my computer screen! I know what good customer service looks like so I can pride myself on not ruining my business before it's even started with disgruntled shoppers. The customer is not always right. There I said it! They will work your last nerve and smash out a few choice words in CAPS LOCK... BUT compromise, compassion and not being a prick helps when trying to provide a good customer service experience. It also helps if you are passionate about your brand, then you will 100% care that much more about your customers.
4. Copyright Infringement & Intellectual Property Are Not Made Up Words
You might have an awesome idea for a tee design based on your favourite film, brand or celebrity but chances are you won’t be able to use it. You might also think that you’re such a small indie retailer that nobody will notice… but trust me… someone will always find you! Now, you can read all the legal articles on what is and is not ok when it comes to producing your own print on demand clothing, but you probably still won’t be any clearer on what the hell will keep you on the right side of the law. Unless you have a commercial license agreement for the image, or have permission from the original source of the image, then the general rule is thus: DON’T BOTHER! That’s unless you fancy paying out a fair few quid when you’re caught… and you will be caught eventually. The other flip side to copyright infringement is when it comes to your own work. Some unimaginative schmuck at some point will copy your design or just straight up lift the exact image and sell it on merchandise themselves. These people are scumbags but you can’t police the entire internet. Just keep an eye out and if you see your work being displayed elsewhere without your authorisation… swear a lot and curse Zeus! AND THEN contact the website immediately asking them firmly but politely to take it down. It might take a while and require you to jump through various hoops or threaten legal action, but do not let some random profit from your work. Fight the power!
5. You Will Spend A Lot Of Money
Whether that's on Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Instagram influencers or just a PR attempt to harness some new eyes on your store... you will definitely start having panic sweats about your outgoings.
The old saying of you need to spend money to make money is annoying as hell... but so damn true. You do need to inject some cash into a business to give it a chance. Unless you become an accidental viral star overnight, then you will be throwing a fair few fun tokens to get your new venture off the ground. I can promise you that there will be times when you think "screw this... it's not worth it" and question your life choices. Now I wouldn't exactly scream Carpe Diem and continue spending like Monopoly money because it's your dream and Beyonce said so! Because life isn't a Hollywood movie and re-mortgaging your parents home to get out of debt is never ideal! I would however suggest to have a plan, stick to the plan and if you find yourself financially struggling then pause. It doesn't mean you are a failure. It just means you need to switch it up and try something else. Practice makes perfect and failing is really just life-ing!
6. YouTube Videos Of Successful Entrepreneurs Is Bad For The Soul
Now I love me some YouTube. Especially those times when I'm sucked into a black hole of Flash Mob videos or watching intros to 80s cartoons... but I digress. It's also a really handy learning tool. I have been heavily invested in Facebook Ads over the last few months and I educated myself through trial and error plus many hours watching YouTube videos of people doing the same as myself. I would say about 2% of the videos I watched were straight forward, honest and focused on actually helping you. The other 98% featured entrepreneurs who looked about twelve, wearing back to front baseball caps whilst driving Lamborghinis and telling you that you too can be a millionaire if you do this one thing. AND that one thing was always a buying a course from them that would set you back around £3k! It's a no from me. Take what these 'influencers' say with a heavy pinch of salt because not one size fits all. Make notes and adapt strategies to your business model and don't be distracted by chasing the money or the lifestyle perpetuated in the videos... because you will feel like absolute shit. Just do you babe!
The sun sets and the light dips, bends and smashes against the side of a block of flats.
“Let there be light!” As I sit staring through my office window at a tiny bug strangulated by a spider web.
The golden spotlight hovers over the council estate across the road, and my mind takes a quick two step back to when we were children of misfits. Creating a world of adventure amongst the empty carrier bags, graffiti brickwork and uneven pavements.
It was time when community meant that you actually knew your neighbours. Yes, even the shouty old dude 3 doors down who always refused to throw our ball back. And the Asian family opposite who celebrated a wedding for about a month, with saffron coloured garlands draped from the garden fence.
It was time when the street lights dictated your curfew.
It was time when your lungs would collapse with exhaustion from archaic primitive forms of play. Curbsy, Bust 21, fashioning a broken twig to the spokes of my BMX to make it sound like a motorbike.
It was a time when an adult regardless of whether you knew them or not, had the authority to scold you with words like, “get down off that wall you little shit!”
It was a time when hanging out at the end of your road in the summer holidays meant innocent magical times, devoid of intimidation and adolescent tomfoolery.
It was a time when you knocked the front door of your friend’s house, waited patiently, and then addressed the grown up with the correct Mr or Mrs prefix, asking if your friend could come out to play.
It was a time when everyone gathered en masse if a fight kicked off with a warring enemy estate. Huddled together, not entirely sure what you could offer except a splash of bravado and shouts of “wanker” from afar.
It was a time when skipping over broken glass, used condoms and pages ripped from a pornographic magazine, paved the way to the local derelict park. Broken swings wrapped around the metal frames and a slide everyone was too scared to go on because someone’s dog had shat all over it last week.
It was a time when we were told to avoid the scary piss stained alleyways at night, and to never engage in conversation with the man who had the odd but purposeful walk.
It was a time when normality meant watching your father coax a young suicidal lad from the rooftop of the flats. Or watching your best friend’s sister being punched across the garage forecourt by her abusive husband.
It was time when the shrill car sirens of Babylon muddled with raised voices, offered the backing track to many theatrical evenings.
It was a time when your childhood innocence was inhaled greedily like a class A substance by the lewd, smiling face of the man your parents warned you about. The man with the odd purposeful walk. The man who openly stroked his penis in front of you that one time you stood outside the corner shop waiting for your mum.
It was a time when you were too busy playing to notice it was in fact the last time you would be out playing. It was a time when you grew up.
Friends moved away and your once loved village of urbanite warriors, fractured into pockets of race wars, drug dealers and the classless act of unwanted furniture being brazenly dumped in the middle of your road.
It was time to leave.
The sun sets and the light dips, bends and smashes against the side of a block of flats. I retreat into the comfort of my overpriced office chair and remove my rose-tinted specs. But just for a moment.
The phenomenon of subscription boxes is not new. Whether you’re into beauty products, a foodie, t-shirt fanatic, obscure anime enthusiast or love your role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, then you will be able to throw your fun tokens at regular subscription boxes delivered to your front door!
The basic concept is thus: pay a monthly subscription fee and receive a reoccurring made-to-measure box or parcel in whatever niche you love! Simples.
Being a huge retro fan (obviously!) I have dabbled in the likes of big names like Loot Crate to level up on my geekiness and “Shut up and take my money!” type purchases. However, I have recently come across UK based subscription boxers (I just made that up!) called The Retro. It does exactly what it says on the..box!
You can get up to 5 retro related treats covering vinyl, cassettes, comics and gaming ranging from 1960s – 1990s. All you have to do is a join a club!
What you need to know!
Every month you will get 3 – 5 treats tailored to your interests
Earn Retro Reward points with each purchase
Refer a mate and get £10 credit
Retro members can win big prizes each month
If you receive duplicates then you can get involved with their Facebook Swap Shops
Students get 20% off
Supersize your box with add-ons if you need a more intense retro hit!
Nowadays it’s all about convenience because our level of lazy is spiralling out of control! Yes, you can still find the magic in trawling through charity shops, retro gaming conventions or raiding your parent’s attic! But you also can have a team of nostalgic nerds send you a monthly, authentic present customised especially to your vintage taste! So, if you have that warm wistful glow in your belly, and you’re not quite sure where to start your trip down memory lane, check out The Retro!
After one too many coffees and re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air my mind went wandering to a simpler time where adulting didn’t exist! After one magnificent brain burp I came up with this silly ditty in homage to my much loved 90s childhood. I’d love to go back to 1993 just for a day… and dream about what I want to be when I grow up! Sometimes a little bit of nostalgia is necessary to just tickle you in the feels for no real reason at all!
1993 - A Nostalgic Ditty For You 90s Kids! - YouTube
There were many superb TV comedies from the 80s, however if you were an 80s child like me, you were probably too young to watch them. Especially in front of your parents and the one giant television you had stationed in the sitting room!
It wasn’t until you hit your teens and somehow wangled a TV in your bedroom, that you were able to watch the classic sitcoms from the 90s. And probably Eurotrash! The show that boosted your teenage sexual awakening!
One thing I loved as a kid were the nights sat at home avoiding my homework and watching comedy shows. So here are 10 of the best TV sitcoms from the 90s if you fancy taking a stroll down memory lane!
Desmonds 1989 - 1994
Synopsis: Desmond and his wife Shirley own a barber shop in Peckham South East London. The Channel 4 comedy revolved around family life with his three children and his mates Porkpie and Matthew.
This program was huge in my household as there were not many mainstream black British shows on back in the early 1990s. My parents are also from the Caribbean, so my older brother and I basically felt like we were the Ambrose family, minus the barber shop!
Absolutely Fabulous 1992 - 2012
Synopsis: The fun, frolics and outlandish behaviour of best friends Edina and Patsy who were played amazingly by Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. Watching middle aged women with full on alcohol addictions navigate the world of PR and their own personal lives, was always funny as hell!
Father Ted 1995 - 1998
Synopsis: The misadventures of three Irish catholic priests. Father Ted, Father Dougal and Father Jack and their housekeeper Mrs Doyle on the fictional Craggy Island.
I have a confession… I never watched this as a youth! I know I know!! Burn the witch! The first time I saw an episode was when I moved to Ireland as I felt like I was blaspheming if I didn’t!
2Point4 Children 1991 - 1999
Synopsis: Following the life of the Porter family who prove that there is nothing really ‘normal’ to their seemingly average family. Hilarity obviously ensues!
The Vicar of Dibley 1994 - 2007
Synopsis: The life of a female vicar Geraldine (played by the hilarious Dawn French) and the strange but loveable characters in her fictional Oxfordshire village Dibley.
Fun fact: Dawn French received hate mail from male religious folk/idiots who had issues with her character being… a her! **insert eye roll here**
Men Behaving Badly 1992 - 1998
Synopsis: Follows the juvenile exploits of flatmates Gary and Tony and their girlfriends Dorothy and Deborah. One of the innovators for typical 'lad behaviour’ in the 90s!
Keeping Up Appearances 1990 - 1995
Synopsis: Based around the eccentric character Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet!) portrayed by the brilliant Patricia Routledge, who is always desperately trying to prove her social class superiority even though her family are far from upper class.
One Foot in the Grave 1990 - 2000
Synopsis: Centred around the grumpy Victor Meldrew with his classic catchphrase, “I don’t believe it!”
(The older I get the more I can relate to this guy!)
Drop the Dead Donkey 1990 - 1998
Synopsis: Filmed close to transmission (to add a level of realism), this comedy show was about the fictional TV news company GlobeLink News where they would use real life contemporary events in the news as part of the funny storylines.
Bottom 1991 - 1995
Synopsis: Starring the late great Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, as flatmates Eddie and Richie living in Hammersmith West London. The basic premise was watching the leads who are fairly gross with little morals, concoct crazy schemes to get women to have sex with them! The show was known for being all about slapstick (sometimes brutal!) comedy mixed with dodgy humour you probably shouldn’t have laughed at… or ever watched in front of your parents!
In a world where we consume everything at speed with the patience of a 5-year-old who needs a nap, instant cameras don’t seem like such a crazy idea. The likes of Polaroid cameras were hugely popular in the 1970s and 1980s. But after the dawn of the 21st century with the explosion of digital and of course smartphones, grainy blurred prints from retro cameras were out and shiny new tech took over. Owning a retro camera with physical film that god forbid you had to install yourself was seen as a niche, hipster hobby for ‘those creative folk’ with an ironic dress sense who live in a house share of twelve people in Brighton! Probably. Yet today, instant cameras are becoming more popular as an alternative to unimaginative smartphones, so finding which one would best suit your budget, capabilities and personality is important.
Why buy an instant camera?
So you can “shake it like a Polaroid picture” of course!
BUT alas no! Because if you do this you will actually mess up the print. I have a Polaroid Sun 600 and upon discovering the art of instant cameras I shook my expensive developed film with much enthusiasm… and realised I absolutely fecked it! There are however other fine reasons why buying an instant camera is actually worth it.
One of those is the theatrical display of seeing an image you have taken materialise in real time. No matter how old you are, watching a blank piece of photographic paper being spat out of camera and then slowly explode with colour, is a magic trick that never gets old. An instant camera takes out the OCD habits of expecting a picture to be 110% of pixelated perfection. There is no quick delete button as you retake your girlfriend’s pain in the arse photo shoot, she has forced you into! You hit the shutter-release button and whatever is produced is minus the safety blanket of “hold on… wait… I wasn’t ready… delete that… do it again!”
Owning an instant camera is all about keeping things simple. Another pull for these types of cameras is being able to hold a photograph in your hand and display it somewhere that isn’t online. So many of us now have albums of thousands of photographs on our phones that simply never go anywhere except for social media. Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to adopt the ‘old skool’ methods of developing a photo and putting it on your fridge door! For me, life exists past the filters of an Instagram photo. So, having images of my loved ones scattered around me is crucial.
Which is the best instant camera to buy?
You’re in luck! Here are my top 5 best instant cameras for beginners!
If you’re looking for a fun entry level instant camera, then you need to check out the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9. This camera is powered by two AA batteries and it’s a cheap option for those looking for a simple intro to instant print cameras. It’s super easy to use and comes in a range of attention seeking colours! It produces credit card sized prints (6.2x4.6cm) and you can get 20 prints in a pack that will set you back around £15.
Film type: Fujifilm instax mini
Image size: 6.2x4.6cm
Lens: 60mm f/12.7
Min shooting distance: 35cm
Flash: Built in
Exposures: Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor and Hi-Key
Pros: Fun colour range, Easy to use, Selfie mode.
Cons: Bulky and plastic looking, Flash can’t be deactivated, Easy to obstruct the viewfinder
If it’s larger prints you want, then the Fujifilm instax WIDE 300 is the chunky monkey that you need! This camera requires four AA batteries which is necessary to power the older larger sibling in the instax range from Fujifilm. Looks can be deceiving as it is fairly light despite the bulk, but I wouldn’t suggest taking a selfie with it! The photo dimensions are similar to that of standard prints at 99x62mm so you are able to produce photographs that look like the generic size we are used to. A set of 20 films will cost around £17.
Film type: Fujifilm instax WIDE
Image size: 99x62mm
Lens: 95mm f/14
Min shooting distance: 40cm
Flash: Built in
Exposures: Dark, Normal, Light
Pros: Simple to use, Large prints
Cons: Chunky plastic design, Small viewfinder
If you want to marry the old with the new when it comes to instant print technology, then a Kodak Printomatic might be your pick. The iconic yellow-white design of Kodak looks very cool and feels a lot more solid and put together than other pocket or mini instant cameras on the market. This camera uses ZINK technology (zero ink) and essentially acts as a mini printer producing prints slightly smaller than the size of a credit card. (2x3 inches) It also houses a microSD slot and a USB connection so you can charge your Kodak. The prints are water-resistant and will cost around £25 for 50. The only thing with this instant camera, is that the photographs do not emerge as if by magic like the other cameras, they are churned out more like a photocopy which for me somewhat loses the fun.
Film type: ZINK
Image size: 2x3 inches
Lens: 8mm f/2
Min shooting distance: Unknown
Flash: Built in
Shooting modes: Colour and Black & White
Pros: Portable, MicroSD card slot
Cons: Prints resemble photocopies rather than actual photographs
If you’re a hopeless romantic when it comes to owning retro-styled items, then Lomography has always been a winner when it comes to their vintage inspired cameras. The Lomo’Instant Automat is slightly more advanced than the other contenders, but it’s still an entry level point and shoot instant camera. This instant print camera is run on CR2 batteries instead of the easier accessible AAs and it is started by turning the lens barrel. There are various editions to this Lomography model, all of which sets the bar high for looking like a more expensive instant camera. The Lomo’Instant Automat takes the same film as the Fujifilm instanx mini (6.2x4.6cm). Whether you are wanting to take a selfie or snap your cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, this camera isn’t worlds away from its Fujifilm instax mates mentioned above. It’s all about the look! I think the Lomo’Instant Automatic would be chosen purely on style.
Film type: Fujifilm instax mini
Image size: 6.2x4.6cm
Lens: 60mm f/8
Min shooting distance: 35cm
Exposures: Auto, Bulb
Flash: Built in
Pros: Uses the same film as the Fujifilm instax mini, Looks retro AF!
Cons: Small viewfinder, Uses CR2 batteries.
Last but not least we have the instant camera that comes from a long line of innovators in the family of instant print. Polaroid is like Sellotape. It may just be the name of the brand, but when people talk about instant cameras, they will reference it as a Polaroid camera even if you’re holding a Kodak or Lomo. If you’re wanting a piece of the Polaroid pie, then look no further than the attractively retro Polaroid Originals One Step 2. The original Polaroid brand may have folded with no longer producing the films, but this instant camera should satisfy the nostalgic nerds amongst you! This design is inspired from the 1977 OneStep but boasts a couple of modern upgrades like a USB port for charging. This renewed Polaroid OneStep produces square format prints measuring 108x88mm and uses Polaroid I-Type and 600 film. This unfortunately means that you will be paying a lot more for film than you would with the other instant cameras out there at around £15 for just 8 films. But if you are wanting to dip into the charm of a retro inspired instant camera from a household brand, then this Polaroid is a no brainer!
Home Alone is easily one of the best Christmas movies ever. Yes I’ve said. It’s out there! A family comedy classic that still makes me laugh out loud every time Marv gets smashed in the face with an iron! It was this 1990 film which made Macaulay Culkin super famous at such a young age which subsequently led to this…
BFF with MJ?! Really? So much awkward here!
That swiftly followed with this…
Remember that one time when he divorced his parents!
And then after years of not hearing his name and truly believing that you made up the entire existent of this once child film star… you get images like this!
Not his best look :/ Just say no!
BUT it would appear that Culkin is back looking healthier and fresher than ever with this new Google Assistant ad. Cue the childhood feels… NOW!!
Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant - YouTube
You can now play your old SEGA Mega Drive games on your HD TV lag-free! Imagine!
Analogue first came to my attention with the super sleek aluminium Nt Mini which is a luxury version of the NES Mini. Unlike the various clones of the NES Mini on the market it wasn’t an emulation. It played all your old Nintendo and original Famicom games plus various add-ons and extras where you could essentially customise the console in look and sound. With the success of the Nt Mini and Super Nt, Analogue have now set their sights on SEGA with the Mega Sg, and I for one am way too over excited!
Due to be released in March 2019 and costing around £150, you can get your preorders in now. There is no need to drag out a heavy CRT TV to experience retro gaming, as you can now play in HD without losing out on video and audio quality. The Mega Sg which can play over 2180 classic cartridges, will make the knock off retro gaming toys out there look very silly!
I am a big SEGA Mega Drive fan. I transitioned straight from the daddy of retro game consoles, Atari, to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to a 16-bit revolution with a Mega Drive. Yes, I had my dalliances with a Nintendo Game Boy and enduring chronic thumb fatigue playing Track & Field, but receiving a Mega Drive for Christmas with a 6 in 1 game cartridge with the likes of The Revenge of Shinobi, Columns and Golden Axe was and still is my happy place.
Here’s the science!
This bad boy is NOT an emulation machine like the other plug n play systems. This means no lag with video output and 1080p Hi Definition graphics all engineered with FPGA technology. The FPGA is a chip that simulates the original Mega Drive hardware instead of an emulation with software. The audio packs a 48KHz 16 bit stereo which essentially means the sound is upscaled to the highest digital quality. So no more complaints of distorted, variations of sounds when you’re trying to beat those “I only have one move” flying kick bitches in Streets of Rage!
The use of such high-end tech and precision engineering allows the Mega Sg to be free from compromises allowing you to play all the games as they were intended to be played all those years ago.
“We design systems to celebrate and explore the history of video games with the respect it deserves,” – Analogue.
As well as SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges and of course the Sega Master System, you are also able to use an original Mega-CD with the Sega Sg. There is a connector concealed in the expansion door that allows you to plug in and get going!
Analogue are all about preserving the rich gaming history of old skool video games and the consoles of our childhood, so of course they have thought about everything! And by everything, I mean, game cartridge adapters for Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000. So, you can play even more retro games and avail of the sophistication and accuracy of FPGA.
With the Mega Sg you can use your old SEGA controllers but if you don’t have them then you will unfortunately have to purchase the control pads separately for roughly £20. But that’s not so bad as Analogue have super fancy wireless 8bitDo M30 controllers that come in black in white… and they look the business!
I know I know, historically speaking wireless controllers used with retro gaming consoles have always been a taboo matter, mainly down to the fact of the annoying lag you can experience with gameplay, but these wireless 2.4GHz control pads (not Bluetooth) are lag-free. Of course! Even though I have original Mega Drive gamepads, I still think I will purchase these… because reasons!
If you’re a SEGA fan and you want to invest in a bit of tech that we make you cry nostalgic tears of joy… then you need to hit up Analogue post haste!
General Spec of Mega Sg
*USA, Europe, Japan and White.
What You Get in the Box
*Analogue Mega Sg
*Analogue SEGA Master System Cartridge Adapter
*USB Power Cable
*Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Master System Cartridges
* Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000
*Region Free (PSU: 100-240v, 50-60hz)
*Digital audio via HDMI
*3.5mmm Headphone Jack
*NTSC and PAL Support
*Zero Signal Degradation, Lag Free
*Original styled controller ports for Mega Drive/Master System
*Original connector for Mega-CD
*SD Card Slot for Firmware Updates
8BitDo M30 Game Controller – 2.4g Wireless Receiver
Game shows in the 80s and 90s played huge roles in weekend telly watching. It was a time when you only had four channels and you were probably the remote control as a parent made you get up and manually change the channels. Imagine! The classic Bullseye was a Sunday afternoon treat! A darts inspired game show with an animated mascot called Bully, that ran from 1981 to 1995. It was hosted by comedian Jim Bowen with an intro that went a little like this…
Bullseye Intro - YouTube
The basic object of the game was to throw a few darts to see what you could win! Ok, so there were more rules and penalties and pounds for points, BUT all in all it was about the excitement and thrill of… darts!
See! Absolutely delighted with life!
But most importantly, it was about the prizes! Here are my top 10 picks of amazingly retro Bullseye game prizes!
INNNNNNN One – A music system with a couple of ‘gold’ pens.
Because I’ve always thought, “do you know what would be really lovely when I’m trying to record the top ten off the radio… some pens.”
Two – A neon flashing phone.
In fairness, we all wanted a novelty telephone at some point in our lives! If it wasn’t the ‘cool’ plastic see through phone, it most definitely was the burger phone from Home and Away!
Three – An elegant carriage clock.
If your mum didn’t have one of these kicking around the sitting room, was she really your mum?!
Four – It’s a cuddly toy!
I mean sure. Soft toys are nice, but I’d probably swap it for the phone.
Five – An electronic knitting machine.
I would be 100% furious if I won this. Jim mate, you’re taking the piss.
Six – A set of encyclopaedias.
Unless that vintage bookshelf comes with it, then I’m just not interested Jim!
Seven – A 14” TV
Now we’re talking Bully! A telly suitable for your bedroom so you could watch Eurotrash in peace!
Eight – Wedgewood Dinner Service.
Oh good. Another set of crockery that your mum will never let you use because they’re super fancy.
Nine – Luggage.
Winning ugly luggage sounds as much fun as winning an STI.
Ten – A speedboat! Of course.
I always loved the nonsensical giant leaps from winning an electronic knitting machine to a luxury, and entirely unnecessary speedboat! Like how the feck was Barry from Ipswich going to get that home on the bus Jim?!
The average age of someone who identifies as a retro gamer is apparently 34 years old. And by ‘retro gamer’ I mean someone who likes to get overly animated when it comes to the old skool classic consoles of Atari, Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga and of course the more well-known Nintendo, SEGA and Sony PlayStation. Playing video games that date back to the 1980s and 1990s is not just an aimless meander down memory lane for those who are hiding from the 21st Century. (well… ok… sometimes this is true!) It’s more about the nostalgic feels that makes us warm and fuzzy as we indulge in our whimsical childhood memories. Memories of button bashing the hell out of Street Fighter or advancing through levels of Sonic resonates with the adult version of you.
The earliest game console came on the scene in the 1970s. It was called a Magnavox Odyssey and was the first commercial home gaming console. The monochrome screen brought the delights of the classic game Pong. In the late 70s/early 80s you had the explosion of Atari with such titles as Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, Pitfall and the first game I ever played, Frogger. You may have also embraced the 8-bit likes of a Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum or Amiga. And then moving into the 1990s there was the great console wars between SEGA and Nintendo.
As we entered the 21st century, ‘old’ gaming consoles were considered obsolete and terribly uncool with many folk opting for technological advancements with enhanced graphics, better audio, faster processors and the need for an immersive, layered story when it came to their gameplay experience.
We’ve come a long way from the simplicity of Pong to the latest stunning visuals of Zelda!
Collaborative games became ‘a thing’. Online gaming was where the party was at… And if you could play games on the move from your mobile phone, then you were winning at life. Convenience and speed were considered paramount in a world where we desperately needed to experience every-damn-thing in real time. Nobody had time for loading a game anymore or troubleshooting a heavily pixelated frozen screen by blowing into the cartridge!
The big game developers were consistently creating award winning games and even indie game studios were regularly releasing huge hits. The gaming industry was doing just fine… but as if from nowhere, people began dusting off their old childhood consoles and scouring the internet for second hand classics.
There was a resurgence in vintage items and memorabilia, and with that forgotten names like Atari, SNES, SEGA Mega Drive and Gameboy were once again thrust into the public over 30 years later. What the hell was happening and what brought this huge wave of popularity with retro gaming??
Some say that the expense of modern game consoles like Xbox, Switch and PlayStation are making the 30-something year olds revolt back to simple, cheaper forms of gaming. To be a modern gamer you have to be willing to spend your fun tokens on add-ons, expansion packs, upgrades and in-game purchases just to complete a game. Whereas old skool gamers can play a retro video game from start to finish with only being out of pocket for the price of the game itself.
Durability is also a huge pull for vintage video game systems. You should be able to dig out a SEGA Mega Drive from hibernation in the attic with a little wipe, and then kick off a game immediately. Whereas the newer gaming consoles would probably have a system meltdown if you tried rebooting it after it was dormant for 20 years. There is a warm reassurance you get with older game consoles that is completely absent from the fancy pants machines we have now.
Superiority and Simplicity
Another argument is that the old games and consoles from the 80s and 90s are just better and gamers are simply favouring these over the modern titles. It’s not just about the technology and build of the games and the consoles, but also about the characters like Pac-Man, Link from Zelda, Sonic and Mario who all captured the imagination of an entire generation which can be lacking in contemporary games. Yeah sure the graphics are immense… but if the narrative sucks then what’s the point? Many retro gamers also champion the simplicity of gameplay from back in the day. There were no online video tutorials or walk through cheats to download. You had three lives and you kept on going no matter how hard and fast the game evolved.
All of the above are of course factors in the ever-rising reputation of retro gaming, but I think it’s the power punch of nostalgia that has made us want to rekindle the magic!
Nostalgia is understood to be a mix of bittersweet emotions both negative and positive. They are anchored to memories of meaningful events and intrinsically linked to relationships. There are also two main triggers. External triggers can be a song on the radio throwing you right back to a school disco or a smell which reminds you of Sunday lunch at your nans. Internal triggers are the emotions that are brought on by feelings of boredom and loneliness. The number one thing that nostalgia has been proven to do, is to promote well-being and mental health especially for those living with dementia.
The force of nostalgic marketing is fierce! Gaming companies jumped on the idea of bottling nostalgia and they did it well by reproducing old consoles with new tech like the SNES Mini and SEGA plug and play consoles. You could now play 16-bit classics on a modern HD television with wireless controllers if you wanted to. It was seen as the picture-perfect marriage between old and new. When Nintendo released the NES Classic in 2016, they sold out of all 2.3 million of them. This Christmas the classic Sony PlayStation mini version will be available and is already tipped to be just as popular.
We get excited about classic video games just like we do old films and music. Kids of the 80s and 90s are now reliving their youth through fairly inexpensive retro game consoles, and we are now old enough to be able to afford the art of playing! The pleasure of indulging our nostalgia has paved way for the huge hype in all things retro with no clear signs of it being ‘Game Over’ anytime soon!