A Look Back


Puma 1986 RS-Computer

The Puma RS-Computer running shoe was far ahead of its time, but a few lucky individuals who missed out on the original release back in 1986, will have a chance of snagging a pair soon. However, it will receive a few modern upgrades, including a three-axis accelerometer to measure calorie burn, distance and step counts. Thankfully, you won’t have to plug in a 16-pin data cable to sync up to 30 days of activity data, but can instead use Bluetooth to transmit the data to an Android or iOS app. Read more for additional pictures and information.

KB Toys Catalog 1980s

Photo credit: Tokka via Bored Panda
K·B Toys, also known as Kay Bee Toys, is a now closed American chain of mall-based retail toy stores, originally founded in 1922 as Kaufman Brothers, a wholesale candy store. By 1999, the company operated 1,324 stores across the United States, and was the second-largest toy retailer in the U.S. They officially went out of business on February 9, 2009 after filing for bankruptcy, with just 461 stores in operation at the time of its closure. Strategic Marks, a company that buys and revives defunct brands, purchased the brand in 2016, and in March 2018 announced plans to open new stores under the name this holiday season. Read more for additional pictures and information.

Apple-1 Computer Ad

The Apple-1 was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak, and his friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. To finance its creation, Jobs sold his only motorized means of transportation, a Volkswagen Microbus, for a few hundred dollars, and Steve Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500. It was demonstrated in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California. Since money was an issue, Steve Jobs had to handwrite at least one of the ads, and this one could be yours, if the price is right, during the Dec. 5 Bonhams auction. It offers a bare circuit board for the machine and a manual for $75. The letter also includes his contact information at the bottom, with his parent’s address. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.

Nintendo Game Boy Player

Before the Nintendo Wii, there was the Game Boy Player, which enables Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance cartridges to be played on a GameCube. It was the very last Game Boy-based add-on for a Nintendo console, and connected via the high-speed parallel port at the bottom of the GameCube console. Unfortunately, it required the use of a boot disc to access the hardware, but on the bright side, it doesn’t use software emulation, instead relying on physical hardware nearly identical to that of a Game Boy Advance. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.

Golden Gate Bridge Then and Now

Photo credit: Orbitz | OpenSF History | Niall David via Peta Pixel
Travel booking website Orbitz recently scoured the historical photo archives of OpenSF History and the San Francisco Public Library to create their “The City by the Bay” series. Simply put, they compared photographs captured in the past with present-day photos shot in October 2018 by San Francisco-based photographer Niall David. First up, we have the Golden Gate Bridge as seen during its construction in 1935. Though the idea of a bridge spanning the Golden Gate was not new, the proposal that eventually took hold was made in a 1916 San Francisco Bulletin article by former engineering student James Wilkins. San Francisco’s City Engineer estimated the cost at $100 million, which equates to $2.12 billion today, and impractical for the time. Read more to see additional then and now photo comparisons of famous San Francisco sights.

Nintendo Color TV-Game 6 First Console

Before the NES, Nintendo released the Color TV-Game in Japan, a series of five home dedicated consoles. A total of three million units of the first four models, and half a million units of each of the next two models, were sold. These models have the highest sales figures of the first generation of video game consoles, and can run on C batteries or an AC adapter. Read more for two additional videos and information.

SEGA Power Base Converter

Gaming enthusiasts probably already know that the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive is a 16-bit home video game console first released during 1988 in Japan, followed by North America in 1989. However, did you know that it boasted several add-ons, including a Power Base Converter to play Master System games? That’s right, while it may not have any exterior Master System components, the Power Base Converter acted as a pass-through port, complete with two slots; a top slot for cartridge-based titles and a front slot for card-based games and accessories. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.

SEGA Pods Motion-Sensing Electronic Game

Photo credit: SEGA Retro
SEGA is best known for their Master System and Genesis consoles, but did you know they also released a motion-sensing electronic game back in 1994? That’s right, it’s called “SEGA Pods“, and consists of three sensor-equipped “pods” that the player must hold their hand over in order to play its seven built-in games. The special sensor was able to detect the height of the player’s hand, as long as it’s held 12-inches or below. You can actually get a used version here. Read more to view an original TV commercial for SEGA Pods and another in-depth overview.

Samsung PenMaster Tablet

Before the Galaxy tablets of today, there was the $5,000 Samsung PenMaster from 1992. The device featured a sleek case, or at least for that time, and was based around an Intel i386SL CPU processor. One other interesting fact is that a re-bodied version was sold as the GRiDPad SL. It ran Microsoft’s newly released Windows for Pen Computing operating system, while the touchscreen relies on a chipset by Wacom, paired with a battery-powered pen. Read More of two more in-action videos and additional information.

Super Mario Brothers Lost Levels 2 Japan

Did you know that Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was actually first released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System as Super Mario Bros. 2 on June 3, 1986? This game was developed by Nintendo R&D4, the team led by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and designed for players who wanted something more challenging than the original. Unfortunately, Nintendo of America found the title to be too difficult for its audience and instead chose to reskin the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic. Read more for a full Super Mario Brothers 2 (Japanese) playthrough.