It has been a few weeks since we last checked in with the cadre of kids we threw into our dungeon of ’80s tech delights. Previously, the youngsters successfully figured out Nintendos, Power Gloves, and Polaroids—but that was only the beginning.
It’s fascinating watching the kids confront tech that was commonplace when I was their age. Actually, by the time I turned ten, it was 1988 and CDs were reasonably common, but asking a 10-year old in 2018 to load up a CD player would be too easy. The thing that really made me shake my head this time around was the kids’ comments about the original Game Boy—tech that my generation would try to sneak anywhere and everywhere. Being able to whip out a Game Boy on the bus to school and nonchalantly stack some lines in Tetris made you almost unbelievably cool—although you’d have to fend off the curious, sticky hands of your fellow bus riders. And, of course, if you were brave enough to try to use the Game Boy in class, you faced the possibility of an angry teacher confiscating it until the end of the day—or worse, calling your parents.
We still haven’t yet set up the Windows 3.1-with-an-HP-DeskJet-500 nightmare scenario I mentioned in the last article, but I think that’s definitely on the table for next time. Either that or we’ll see about making the kids deal with tweaking a config.sys file to yield maximum EMS memory so they can see all the extra animations in the original Wing Commander—though maybe that’s a step too far into maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadness.