What is the joy of old computers? Why do we buy/repair/renovate retro machines?

in #stemgeeks5 months ago


What is it about old computers that people enjoy so much?

It's not just nostalgia because that can be derived from emulation and the "mini" recreations.


Part of it is collecting. I know my pandemic purchases have been driven in large part by completing my "bucket list" - acquiring computers I couldn't have as a kid.

I think a large part of it is Simplicity + Utility, and it is something missing from modern machines and educational tools such as the Micro:Bit and Raspberry Pi.

It's possible to understand the entire machine when you are looking at an 8 bit computer. Not possible on a modern PC, or even with a Raspberry Pi (there is a blob of closed-source stuff even Pi insiders aren't allowed to look at).

We could boot right into a programming language, know every chip, memory location, op code, register. People who lived through the 1980s microcomputer revolution knew their machines, and people who lived through the 1970s likely built their computer.

Today people think "built a computer" means went to Best Buy and bought off the shelf PC components such as motherboard, ram, graphics card etc.

What do you think?


I actually take them apart keep the power source and some magnets for diy. The rest junk oops

I agree with the simplicity and being able to understand or at least appreciate the building of the circuit or computer

I was looking at some old C64 books the other day and it was understandable! Lift its lid and you knew what every chip did like an old friend. Read the instruction set and it was logical. You didn't need a team of programmers to make it actually do something and the old computers with 'proper keyboards' were sublime to use. The keys pressed and there was a tactility that's missing from every keyboard since.

As for the old disk drives, they made a noise! I could play tunes on my 1541 and when I saved up for another, I did the bravest thing I have probably ever done in my life and cut the jumper on a £200 disk drive (A fortune in the early 80's) to make the new drive device 9!