Five Ways Geeks Remember the '80s

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We always enjoy taking a nostalgic look back at the wonders of yesteryear, but if you're in the mood for something a little more shiny than what we've uncovered from the 1980s,  eBay has plenty of 21st century deals on electronics and technology right here
Ah, the '80s. We had a movie star president. Both the softness of pastel and the brashness of neon were featured in fashion. Mullets were considered acceptable hairdos (for both women and men). Pac-Man fever reached global pandemic status. J.R. was shot. Detective Clara Peller was put in charge of solving The Great Missing Beef Caper. The US got its first female Supreme Court Justice. Camcorders and CDs became available to the public. Michael Jackson's career got even more thrilling. Cabbage Patch Kids begat the Garbage Pail Kids. Duran Duran was so popular that nobody gave its members any guff for naming the band twice. 
We were warned against the folly of turning around, as Der Kommissar was in town -- though I don't believe anyone ever revealed who or what such a thing was and why we should be afraid of it. 
Everyone was positive that the Cold War was going to heat up at any minute until the fall of the Berlin Wall in '89; though the Soviets arguably decimated the morale of more Americans with the Eastern bloc-invented Rubik's Cube than it ever could have with nuclear annihilation, I like to think that they more than made up for it with the joy that Tetris brought us. 
It's hard to believe that the '80s ended more than a quarter of a century ago, but we remember them well. Whether you're having a little trouble remembering -- or you just weren't old enough (or born), here's our list of five ways geeks remember the '80s that might help!
Image caption: Atari 2600
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Image caption: Atari 2600

Atari 2600

It's true that the original  Atari 2600 hit the shelves in 1977, but it went through a few overhauls and didn't really hit its stride as a commonplace household appliance until the '80s. 
Hundreds of games released over its tenure kept it ever looking toward the future while its faux wood panelling allowed users to hark back nostalgically to a simpler era. 
Its controls? One button. One joystick (or paddle). Now we think of the '80s as a simpler era.
Image caption: Speak & Spell
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Image caption: Speak & Spell

Speak & Spell

Like the Atari 2600, the first versions of Texas Instruments'  Speak & Spell came out in the late '70s, but they were made into the '80s and seemed a staple of every house that had kids. 
It was educational and had a robot voice like a merciless Cylon from Battlestar Galactica turned schoolteacher! 
It would speak and you would spell  - or else!
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Image caption: Etch A Sketch Animator
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Image caption: Etch A Sketch Animator

Etch A Sketch Animator

The Ohio Art Company got a lot of mileage with the classic version of the Etch A Sketch it launched in 1960 and it still does thanks to appearances in the Toy Story films. 
It's a simple concept really: two knobs on a frame allow the user to control a stylus that scrapes away a curious aluminum powder from the inside of a window to create pictures. In the '80s, the company decided to ride the tech wave to release an electronic translation of the popular toy called the  Etch A Sketch Animator, replacing the aluminum powder and window with a dot matrix screen. 12 frames of pictures could be saved to memory and animated in any combination up to 96 times.  Etch A Sketch Animator 2000Etch A Sketch Colour and  Etch A Sketch ETO followed, but the original, low-tech version perseveres into the 21st century.
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Coleco Pac-Man Mini Arcade

Sure, we had our own gaming consoles at home (or had friends who did), but there was something about going down to the loud, glowing, probably carcinogen-filled video arcade that was incomparable to any other experience of the era. Feeding coins or tokens into the belly of a full-sized arcade machine while your friends gathered around to cheer you on (or distract you with jeers so they could take their turn) could make you feel so alive. 
There's just something so adorable about shrinking down such a beast until it can fit in the palm of your hand as we see here with the  Coleco Pac-Man Mini Arcade. As the mean arcade boss would tell you with a wagging finger: You don't have to take it home, but you can't play it here.
Image caption: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
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Image caption: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

1983-1985 were dark years for the video game industry. Market saturation and subpar titles (perhaps most famously the Atari 2600 version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) collaborated to cause the video game industry crash of 1983, resulting in massive losses for the industry's biggest players and general consumer disinterest in console gaming. 
As E.T. himself might have said: "Ouuuuch." 
The situation might have remained dire had Nintendo not stepped in with its 8-bit entry, the  Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was a big hit in Japan and made its way to North America in 1985, soon reinvigorating the failing industry with fresh titles like The Legend of ZeldaMetroid and of course,  Super Mario Bros.

Written by: geekfamilyfun
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