A Look Back



First unveiled at the 1994 Consumer Electronics Show, SEGA’s 32X was presented as a low-cost add-on for the Genesis video game console, and designed to expand its power, thus serving as a transitional console into the 32-bit era until the release of the Saturn. It was mainly developed in response to the Atari Jaguar and concerns that the Saturn would not make it to market by the end of 1994, making the accessory a transitional device of sorts. The production model boasts two 32-bit central processing units and a 3D graphics processor. Read more for five more cool facts about this accessory.

NES Pro Wrestling Game

YouTube user Stephen Reese, better known as Archon1981, managed to uncover UWC, an unreleased pro wrestling game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by developer SETA way back in 1988. There was at least on cartridge shipped to NES’ American headquarters from Japan for review, but that was the last anyone heard of it. Thanks to a former Nintendo employee Reese befriended, he managed to snag the over three-decade-old cartridge that was thought to have been lost. As you can see, it featured several prominent WCW wrestlers, Ric Flair and Sting included. Read more for more gameplay footage.

Aladdin Deck Enhancer

Photo credit: eBay
Released in November 1992, Codemasters and Camerica’s Aladdin Deck Enhancer is basically a cartridge-based system that enabled you to run software on Compact Cartridges on the NES. Unfortunately, only seven of the twenty-four planned games were released before production was ended. Simply put, this accessory contained a bypass Security Circuit Chip, a Memory Control Chip, and a Graphics Chip that would work with the lock-out chip and other features inside the Nintendo Entertainment System. The goal was to provide a lower-cost way to make the game cartridges. Read more for another video and additional information.

Touchscreen Casio Calculator Watch

Before smartwatches, there was the gesture-controlled, touchscreen Casio AT-552 Janus. That’s right, the AT Janus models (AT-551 and AT-552) included an eight-digit touchscreen calculator where the entire display could be used to ‘write’ the number or calculator function. The watch would recognize what had been written by the user’s fingertip and perform the calculation. Read more for the full demo video.

Speak & Spell

Basic Fun! is reviving the Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell toy with all the of familiar games, an LCD that mimics the original’s segmented display, and of course the signature orange-and-yellow design. The biggest upgrade is found in the voice, and while the TMS1000 chip inside the original Speak & Spell synthesized voices could handle roughly 200 words, this model uses recorded dialog processed to sound like it’s synthesized, instead of generating sounds on the spot. Read more to see the new version in-action.

Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial

Photo credit: Steve Hayden via Business Insider
Before Apple even filmed the famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial, the company’s ad agency needed buy-in from Apple cofounder Steve Jobs and then-CEO John Sculley. The technology executives were shown a storyboard of a series of pictures that described what the ad would look like when it was actually being filmed. Fortunately, Steve Jobs loved the idea when they showed it to him. Read more for another video and to see the storyboards, courtesy of Steve Hayden, and drawn by Hank Hinton.

Sony Walkman

Does this device look familiar? If so, that’s because it was featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. That’s right, Sony’s metal-cased blue-and-silver Walkman TPS-L2 is the world’s first low-cost portable stereo, and went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979, priced at around ¥39,433.58 (or $150.00), or ¥57,109.02 (or $498.66) adjusted for inflation. The company predicted it would sell about 5,000 units a month, but actually sold more than 50,000 in the first two months. Read more for more cool facts.

SimCity NES

Photo credit: Game History
SimCity for the NES made its debut at the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show, but was never seen again, that is until…now. Read more for a gameplay video and the download link. Originally, SimCity designer Will Wright partnered with Shigeru Miyamoto to port the game to Nintendo consoles, with the NES being first in line, but the game launched on the Super Nintendo in April of 1991 instead, with the former just being quietly retired. Read more for a gameplay video and the download link.

Paris France 1890s Belle

The Belle Époque (French for ‘Beautiful Era’) was a period of Western history dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, an apex of colonial empires, technological, scientific, and cultural innovations. In the climate of the period, especially in Paris, the arts flourished, with many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual arts that gained recognition. Film restoration specialist Guy Jones gives us a tour through Paris, France during the late 1890s, or the “Golden Age”. Read more for another video and additional information.

Nintendo Pajamas

Photo credit: Kotalu
In 1988, Nintendo of America launched Nintendo Power, a monthly news and strategy magazine that served to advertise new games. The first issue of Nintendo Power was published in July/August, which showcased the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2. So, it was only fitting for Sears to include some video game-themed products in their Wish Book catalog the following year. Unfortunately, a pair of ski pajamas would have cost you $12 ($24 today) back then. Read more for additional pictures and information.