This is an article dedicated to the cuarentones. Those who had the great fortune to enjoy that magical time in which the arcade machines, five hard currencies and 8-bit computers they were the center of our universe of entertainment.
The golden age ended, but nostalgia is a powerful ally. Especially when one has tools and resources that allow that you part of the feelings come back. If you like retro and you want to make a physical journey to the past and enjoy the magic, you’re in luck. You can do it. And without any DeLorean.
Recreational bars are popular in United States
It can be that the recreational have died and companies that were legendary in the area changed in third. SNK, one of them, announced these days how it would abandon its current slot machine business to focus on video games for consoles and mobile.
Others fell or were also transformed, but its recreational did not disappear at all. Collecting and their fondness for electronics they have done that many of those machines have been restored and still being enjoyed by their owners, but some of them have gone further and have created a new concept: one that mixes the traditional bars with recreational halls.
The idea has curdled in the United States, where the combination of recreational and beer works. The generation X, those born between the early 60s and the early ‘ 80s, is the clear candidate to become clients of bars that allow a curious thing. As they explained in an extensive interview on Bloomberg published in April,
The ubiquity of these places goes beyond simple nostalgia. People spend a secluded life and staring at a screen. The natural solution is to look for sites that may also be looking at a screen, but do it with friends who compete in four players meles.
The idea seems to be working, and more and more bars of this type are opening in various North American cities where, as one of the owners of this type of establishment, people “grateful to have another incentive to go to the bar in addition to the drink as much as possible”.
The management of these premises is not simple, above all by the fact that these machines they often require a particularly demanding and delicate maintenance. Many components are no longer manufactured, and some owners flock to improvements ‘modern’ as joysticks and flat screens that are common today but that were unimaginable at that time. That, for some, is a heresy. As you make use of the “multicades”, the arcade machines that make use of emulators to integrate dozens – even hundreds – of video games on a single machine.
Revisiting the past: many alternatives
To better understand the phenomenon of retro speak with Juan Carlos Caballero (@Adonías8bits) and Jaime González (known as alt or deepfb in some forums), both with many tables in everything to do with the Vintage computing.
Juan Carlos, for example, was editor-in-Chief at Retro Gamer and has directed the festival II, Emere in Guadalajara also address now the tent in which the commitment to retro is remarkable. For its part, Jaime González was editor of Retro Gamer and as well as collaborate with “retro” GAME blog is part of the Amstrad user group.
It was however Jaime with whom we had the opportunity to discuss more in detail everything about a segment that seems to have matured with good health. Both alternatives are numerous, and range from simple emulators – indicated by Jaime, “some [as the of the C64] are not able to replicate the experience of the game smoothly – to the use of those original computers, passing by the ‘”hardware emulators'”.
This type of solution, told us, are equally varied: ZX-one and the ZX Spectrum Vega for the Spectrum, the C64DTV for the Commodore 64 and the remarkable MIST for the Amiga, but also other many platforms such as Atari ST, C64, Spectrum, Atari 8-bit, emulates Sega Master System or NES, among others.
These hardware emulators they are based on an FPGA, a circuit integrated programmable “which used a description of each of the components of integrated circuits that exist on the plate of the systems that emulates and reproduces them and connects them together as they were originally prepared”.
But of course, for purists the ideal is to have the original machines, it is possible to find in various ways but have some drawbacks, such as its high price “which is also growing”, us indicated Jaime, and ” they require maintenance, “because some of its components have expiration date – such as electrolytic capacitors – and it is necessary to replace them if we want to have the functional device”.
Where to turn if we want to enjoy the retro?
Not everyone has the time or resources to access those possibilities, but if like us relive those moments by visiting fairs, exhibitions or establishments where it is possible to enjoy those old models. Here Jaime recommended we take our trips outside of Spain to take a look at some museums especially flashy.
“Overseas, I love the Computerspiele Museum in Berlin: it isn’t very big and it runs on a morning quietly, but it has some thematic exhibitions and a good selection of computers, consoles and arcade machines”, said, and added that technical level There are several universities and science museums sure they have some machines more related with the beginning of the computer that the video games segment itself.
It is the case of the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin or the Science Museum in London, “which has a small selection of microcomputers, in addition to jewelry as machine differential Babbage, the Pegasus, or a fabulous Cray-1”, but here is Special mention to the jewel in the Crown: “the must-see for the friquis of the Retrocomputing which go to the United Kingdom is the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park”.
In our country there are minimuseos in many faculties of computer science, pointing also noted for example that most knew, the Complutense University, “which has some early mainframes who came to Spain”. Here I do mention personal to my alma mater, the Faculty of computer science from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where is also possible to find the historical Museum of the computer, that Yes, would need someone pamper yourself your official web site.
Another option are as we commented Jaime the fairs of classic games or retroinformática “that you are rampant throughout Europe.” In our country such events “have party especially the initiative of associations of fans as the Summit of the winds, or a random group of friends who will have bundled the blanket at the head, have a local and have invited more friends, feedback, AUIC, AUMAP, Vintagenarios”.
This is for example the case of José liarte, months ago began to “repescar old machines from here and there” and soon met with more than 50 machines that ended up causing the creation of the Vintage Arcade Cultural Association. Liar you recently had your experience in the confidential, and explained how the idea was not the turn that hobby into a business-“it should be a full time dedication and I have a job,” stated. Now he and this Association organizes events that give the chance to the users of revisit that magical past of the recreational in his Petrer, Alicante, but does not at the moment have thought beyond in the future.
Besides this type of encounters, we remained commenting on Jaime, “there are shops that are genuine museums, like Tecvia or bargain Games, in Madrid, or PLAY Games and Cards in Barcelona, with its sample-books of curious gossip tucked in windows”. Some are too expensive to buy them, but you always have the possibility of going to take the time to shop and enjoy seeing them”.
And if I want to go further, where do I start?
The Retrocomputing enthusiasts tend to take those first steps with the use of emulators conventional software, but it is normal that this hobby Intermix with collecting. If you want to find old machines and equipment, there are again various alternatives to go.
One of the clearest is ato auction services or classifieds like eBay, Price Minister or Yahoo Auctions, but as we pointed out this expert also are “which operate only within a country, such as Allegro/Aukro, Vatera, user login or second hand”.
The alternative to these generalist services are the “portals specialized, such as Retroclasificados, Hard2mano or SellMyRetro, amen of the sections for the sale of forums such as Aminet, testing zone, goes Retro, Vintagenarios or KLOV,” for examples. Jaime also spoke to us about how It is usually possible to buy at some fairs in the stalls, and it is possible to “see before you buy” if one was coming to “physical stores as Tecvia, PLAY, bargain Games, Omega Center or Emere”.
This hobby at collectors might think that perhaps there are public collections, but it is not so, we confirmed Jaime. “There are a few private, but none can be visited unless you know its owner”. Yet this expert in retrocomputing let something clear:
[The Retrocomputing] can be an expensive hobby if you don’t have patience. The best attributes that must be a fan of the Retrocomputing are patience and space where to place their gossip, more than money.
In fact, asked you Jaime by the associations of retrocomputing and if there was any that is considered as a benchmark in our country. He did not recommend any particular because, we said, “there are a lot and are all easily possible by internet: is issue to one that you feel comfortable and whose members take well and share points of view”.
Leaving the nostalgia on your website
For this retrocomputing, however expert, I had to put barriers to nostalgia. We concluíamos our interview with an almost obligatory question, “any past was better?”, to which gave us a strong response:
At all, all the opposite: the future will always be better, at least until a comet stamp against the Earth, or Sun engulf us. The past should stay where is, nostalgia is a drag, games and older systems should claim for what are, for their intrinsic value, because they are fun and you can enjoy using them, not by the memory that we have of them associated with the Nutella sandwiches or the cartoon after school.
Nostalgia bored, only begets hobbies fleeting and ephemeral dreams, what it took us to taste a memory, and that does not lead to create a solid group of users or fans who really investigate, repair, or develop new things.
Chapeau, Jaime. Chapeau.