We all have nostalgic sweet spots, and for many, tech items of the era can be an immediate throwback to another time. While these products may be mostly for novelty or some quick fun, that doesn’t diminish the legitimate joy they can bring. And there are quite a few retro revivals kicking around that will make great gifts this year.
Micro consoles exploded with popularity after the release of the NES and SNES Classic, so it’s only to be expected that some other companies have released their own versions of this great idea.
- Nintendo GAME & WATCH: It wasn’t a surprise to see Nintendo return to this formula, but most people expected the company to revisit the Gameboy era of handhelds before the GAME & WATCH. This handheld was released for the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros and as such, includes the original NES game. The design is faithful to the original GAME & WATCH systems and includes some extra fun doodads like a Mario clock app.
- Sega Genesis Mini: Sega has been releasing plug n’ play versions of the Genesis for a while now, but the build quality, UI, and emulation were always subpar. Fortunately, the Sega Genesis Mini improves on those faults and delivers an excellent micro-console experience with 42 classic games loaded onto it. Whether it’s Sonic, Ristar, or Ecco the Dolphin, you’ll find it on this console. It also comes with two wired controllers out of the box for multiplayer titles.
- The C64 Mini: For fans of the Commodore 64, the C64 Mini is sure to bring waves of nostalgia. The console comes with a joystick controller for playing the 64 included games. Unfortunately, the keyboard on the system is just for show, but there are USB plugs for keyboards/controllers on the side of the console to fix that. You can even write in the “BASIC” code language with this system if you want to mess around with that.
A Modern Arcade Cabinet: Arcade1Up’s Catalogue
Nothing screams retro gaming like an arcade cabinet. The problem is, genuine ones are pretty expensive and very large. That’s why Arcade1Up has become a favorite of many retro collectors over the years. Arcade1Up creates faithful scaled-down versions of arcade cabinets that are still large enough to feel genuine without being a pain to fit in your living room.
Some cabinets even slip in unique features like seats for Atari Star Wars or online play for NBA Jam. And there are many more cabinets than that available, so you have quite the selection to choose from. Whether the person you’re shopping for prefers classic Namco games like Galaga or fighting games like Mortal Kombat, there’s a good chance Arcade1Up has a cabinet to match their tastes. Arcade1Up also produces smaller countertop cabinets that are less expensive and ideal for homes without the space to spare for a full cabinet.
A Resurrected Keyboard: Unicomp Classic Model M
The IBM Model M was a revolutionary keyboard that’s still loved by many for its uniquely satisfying buckling spring key switches. Unicomp has now come out with a modern version of the Model M that’s outfitted with a USB cord and is easy to get your hands on. The exterior design is the same as the classic Model M, so it still has that iconic old-school computer look to it. Unicomp has also been releasing multiple versions of the board including new colors such as “black and gray“.
The Iconic Pet: Tamagotchi On
Tamagotchi is a pleasant memory from the ’90s, and now those memories can be relived with the recently released revival of the classic digital pet. All the classic mechanics of the Tamagotchi games are here, along with updated sprite work and new stuff to do with your Tamagotchi—like marriage. You can also connect it to the Tamagotchi app (Android/iOS) to access some unique multiplayer mechanics with other players.
While this isn’t 100% faithful to the original handhelds, the modern touches make for a fun toy that can still be enjoyed regardless if you’re nostalgic for the original systems or not.
Tamagotchi On - Magic (White) Amazon Exclusive, Magic White
Take care of a brand new digital pet with this updated version of Tamagotchi.
A Turntable: Fluance RT81 Elite
Vinyl has been making a strong comeback over the years, and the RT81 delivers excellent sound quality with a classic wood plinth—although, it’s also available in a standard black color as well. This turntable is expertly designed, and Fluance prides itself on delivering the most accurate analog sound possible without damaging the records. When it comes to turntables in this price range, this is the cream of the crop, and it still has enough retro flair to hearken back to the good ol’ days.
An Instant-Film Camera: Polaroid Originals Now
Instant-film cameras are plenty of fun to mess around with, and the Polaroid Original Now, with its classic exterior style, has the character of these cameras down pat. The accurate flash and auto-focus are nice modern touches, and it’s compatible with both i-Type and 600 film. It’s also available in eight different colors—there’s even one based on The Mandalorian.
Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Instant Camera - Black (9028)
Have fun and take some great pics with this modern instant-film camera.
Some Classic Handhelds: Hasbro Tiger Electronics Handhelds
While LCD handhelds are certainly a thing of the past, they’re great for some nostalgic novelty nowadays. Hasbro decided to revive the Tiger Electronics handhelds from yesteryear to a T. There are four games currently available, all with unique artwork to really seal the deal: X-Men Project X, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Transformers: Robots in DIsguise, and Sonic The Hedgehog 3. The games are simple, but it’s still a nice throwback to this old form of handheld.
A Bluetooth Boombox: GPO Brooklyn
Nothing says “funky” like a boombox, and the Brooklyn from GPO is a great blend of modern features with ’80s style. Not only does it have a cassette player, CD player, and FM radio, but you can also connect to it via USB or Bluetooth if you want full access to your music library. All the dials and buttons are fully functional and the handle is great for taking it on the move. It’s available in two colors: Silver and Black.
GPO Brooklyn 1980S-Style Portable Boombox - CD Player, Cassette Player, FM Radio, USB, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Silver
Mix new and old with this Bluetooth-enabled boombox.
Some Fun Charging Stands: elago Apple Watch Stand
Have you ever wanted your Apple Watch to look like a Gameboy? Because if so, elago has the product for you.
At the end of the day, these are just simple stands to put your Apple Watch on while it’s charging, but the fun designs make them great little stocking stuffers. elago currently has two stands with retro designs: one based on the original GameBoy and one based on an old iMac. These are fitted to neatly display the screen of the watch, so you can still view and interact with the screen while it rests on your nightstand charging.