The Mandalorian as a spaghetti western

Disney's The Mandalorian is the contemporary Star Wars production people actually like and has already wriggled deep into the folds of pop culture. Much of the meme-orializing centers on "Baby Yoda", of course, but the show pays tribute to westerns in depth and that's what's honored in this handsome edit by Kingkida.

Now that the amazing first season of The Mandalorian is complete, I decided to go back and update my Sergio Leone inspired trailer. Thanks for all the feedback on the last one. I incorporated a lot of your suggestions, but I'm sure I butchered more Italian in this pass as well!

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Model rocket pioneer, Vern Estes, celebrates his 90th birthday

When I was a juvie nerd, I lived for Estes (and Centuri) model rockets. I slept with my Estes catalog (sometimes literally). I would mow lawns, rake leaves, and save up my allowance to order from the catalog. I would have maybe ten dollars to spend and would agonize over each order, trying to squeeze out as many products as possible from my measly earnings.

I would finally place the order and wait with agonized impatience for it to arrive. I would always imagine a sizable box showing up in the mail. Every time, the box was disappointingly tiny. But I built what I received with whatever tools and supplies we had in the house, mainly Elmer's glue, scissors, Scotch tape, and (at least for my first rocket) house paint. I cut the balsa wood fins out with a razor blade. By the time I left my rocketry youth behind, I had built around 18 rockets and was Vice President of the Chester Virginia Rocketry Club (we had three members).

Several years ago, I unearthed my first rocket (the house-painted one) from the bowels of my basement. It is the only rocket from my childhood that survives. Here it is, in all of its fragile and funky glory:

The first time we launched it -- the launch controller connected to the battery in my dad's El Camino -- I had glued the launch lug (the small paper tube that holds the rocket to the launch rod) on crooked, so much so that the friction would not allow the rocket to freely travel up the rod. Read the rest

This app turns your iPhone into an iPod

Rewound is a free iPhone app that simulates the iPod Classic click wheel interface. How did its creator Louis Anslow manage to get it approved for the App Store? From 9to5Mac:

The app used some tricks to get through the App Store review process, which generally prohibits the use of images from Apple products or interfaces. It works just like any other third-party player created for Apple Music and you probably won’t find it in the store as an “iPod Classic simulator”.

That’s because the app comes with normal control buttons by default. The secret is in a function that allows users to add any type of image as a player skin. When you add the iPod Classic theme, which is not included in the app, it hides the buttons so it can be controlled by the virtual Click Wheel.

Download Rewound from the App Store and then grab the skin from 9to5Mac or elsewhere. Read the rest

Man builds video store in basement

This man replicated a 1990s video rental store in their basement, right down to giant bags of Sour Patch candy, foamboard drop ceiling and a bulky CRT television set. And, of course, thousands upon thousands of VHS cases--all real, with tapes. It looks so exactly like a real 1990s video rental store that you could shoot an indie movie set in a 1990s video rental store in it. The only "missed" detail is one you wouldn't want to replicate anyway: half the store being dozens if not hundreds of copies of the latest blockbuster.

I just want to just take a second to thank everyone here for all of your extremely kind comments. It really makes my day each and every time I see someone new comment on how this video took them back to their childhood and reminded them of the fond memories of the 80s and 90s.

This project was something that evolved very gradually over time by just accumulating tapes over the years one at a time. When I made this tour video, I had no idea that so many people would find it cool or interesting. It’s mind blowing to me how many views this video of my basement has and continues to get.

Thank you for checking out the video and supporting Nostalgia Video! I’m truly grateful!

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Watch this Coleco Adam home computer commercial starring Lori Loughlin (1984)

In this 1984 TV commercial for Coleco's failed Adam home computer, Lori Laughlin observes a young fellow able to power through his school assignment thanks to the magic of word processing. Laughlin asks, "Is that legal?" Ahem.

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Charles Phoenix's "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug

Pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix (previously) has been busy this year. He's written a book:

Holiday Jubilee is loaded with original eye-popping “test kitchen” recipes and over 500 vintage images, serving up an intoxicating, action-packed extravaganza of America’s favorite seasonal traditions past, present, and future. Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!

And he's created this hilarious and kitschy "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug ($80). This "meatloaf pan-shaped Moai" is inspired by his Tiki Turkey Dinner, an alt-Thanksgiving recipe found in the book.

Hey! Charles will be at Soap Plant WACKO in Los Angeles this Sunday, September 15, signing that new coffee table book of his from 2 to 4 p.m. This line alone, from the event page, makes me want to hop down to LA this weekend: "LIFE ALTERING SNACK and ARTIFICIALLY COLORED AND FLAVORED REFRESHMENTS will be served." Read the rest

This TV only looks old, it's really a 20" LCD with modern inputs

Leave it to Japan to design a modern television that's styled to look like it's from the fifties. That's just what Japanese electronics brand Doshisha has done with this fun, retro-styled cabinet that houses an LCD TV.

Technabob:

This ’50s-style TV has a wooden cabinet, real working volume and channel knobs on front, and stands on spindly wooden legs. While its facade looks a bit like the cool, but fragile Bakelite of the era, I’m betting it’s just cheap plastic that’s been colored that way. Inside, it’s got a 20″ LCD screen with HDMI, AV and USB inputs.

And, because the TV itself isn't hogging up space in the cabinet, the top opens and reveals a place to store things:

The bad news? This TV isn't going to work outside of Japan. Bummer. For ~$786 plus shipping, it better be able to do a lot more than look pretty.

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

Every Windows 3.1 theme

What if Windows 3.1 was better than Windows95? How about that, huh?

Every Windows 3.1 theme

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Polymega, a retro game console for the CD-ROM generation

Unusually for retro game consoles, Polymega includes an optical drive and they offer five custom controllers to make it more fun to play games from all the old systems.

Polymega™ is a modular multi-system game console that lets you enjoy original game cartridges and CD’s for classic game consoles on your HDTV.

Polymega™ was created by a team of passionate game developers who formerly worked for Insomniac Games, Bluepoint Games, and others. The team has a diverse background and has shipped products such as AAA video games like Ratchet & Clank and Titanfall. We’ve also shipped digital storefronts like the Google Chrome Store, consumer electronics like the Vizio M-Series TVs, and TV boxes like the Roku 2, 3, and 4k. In addition to our internal team, we also have many external development partners who are listed in the About page on Polymega.com.

If you’re a person who remembers playing classic games from the 80’s and 90’s and would like to re-experience those games in a modern way on your HDTV, then Polymega™ is for you! If you’re someone who doesn’t want to spend days or weeks building and tuning an emulation PC, and wants a solution that “just works” with your original game cartridges and CD’s — this system is for you. If you have children and want to share with them the joy of playing classic games without needing them to handle cartridges or navigate clunky, unfamiliar interfaces — this is for you.

At $500 (at least for the deluxe multi-controller set) it's pretty fancy. Read the rest

Deck of cards with pixelated 8-bit style designs

The 8bit Deck is a standard 52-card deck with pixelated artwork using the Pico-8 pallette.

A few months ago, I began designing a few face cards for what, at the time, might have been an 8-Bit solitaire game or something similar. As the process continued, the idea of making these pixel art cards in to actual high-quality playing cards came to mind, and thus the 8Bit Deck was born. Each card has been crafted pixel by pixel, and the color palette was heavily inspired by the Pico-8 fantasy console

Here's the full set:

I'm going to be that guy and say that instead of rounded corners, there should be a singe-pixel-sized notch on each. Read the rest

Intellivision Amico, another retro console

With Nintendo and now Sega offering popular retro consoles and Atari soon to join them, here comes the Intellivision Amico.

All of its games are downloadable and will run between $3 - $8 US, with no high-priced DLC or in-game purchases. It will launch with some pre-installed Invellivision classics and over 20 games (both reimagined classics and brand new titles) through the Intellivision Online Store. There will also be similar Atari and Imagic classic titles.

The games coming to the Amico feature updated graphics, modernized audio, additional levels, multi-player modes (local and online), tournament modes and more. This includes games like Astrosmash, Shark! Shark!, Baseball, Night Stalker, Skiing, Math Fun, Pong, Asteroids, Centipede, Tempest, Adventure, Missile Command, Swords & Serpents, Miner 2049er, Super Burgertime, ToeJam & Earl and more.

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What if the foldable mobile phone had been released in the 1990s?

The creative minds at Squirrel Monkey imagine what the new Galaxy Fold would be like if it had been released in the late 1990s. I don't know what technology they use to make these videos, but they do a perfect job of capturing the look and feel of the era. Read the rest

Mallwave: nostalgic synth music for imaginary and abandoned shopping centers

Mallwave is a microgenre of bedroom electronic music and smooth jazz meant to evoke nostalgia for the vibrant mall scenes of the 1980s and 1990s that many of the music's composers are too young to have experienced or at least remember.

Think of Mallwave as a hauntological soundtrack for an Orange Julius-fueled consumer culture where Suncoast, Merry-Go-Round, and Spencer Gifts anchored suburban reality. (Or, in the case of some of the moodier tracks, the kind of muzak that might play in your mind as you wander an abandoned mall in a Ballardian trance.)

From Hussein Kesvanio's feature in MEL:

“The nostalgia is so real you can cry and wish you went back in time,” reads one comment underneath the video “Neon Wave Mall (Vapor Mix).” “I feel a certain sense of… familiarity watching this footage. Almost like I myself have set foot in these places,” adds a viewer of “Corp Palm Mall.” Under the same video, another person opines: “Why wasn’t I born in this time? This video makes me realize how much things were not as advanced as we have now but it was better. I could be wrong, but sometimes I feel like living around the ‘90s sounds fun. Lifestyle is different, mindset is different and not as much laziness.”

According to writer Joe Koenig, this kind of feeling — a “nostalgia for a past you’ve never known” — is called anemoia. In his ongoing project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, Koenig describes it as “the desire to wade into the blurred-edge sepia haze that hangs in the air between people who leer stoically into this dusty and dangerous future.”

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Sci-Fi Sundays: Analog, December 1962

2019 started off with a rather interesting tweet from Elon Musk. He was showing off the "Starship test flight rocket" from SpaceX. This thing evokes a strong bit of imagery that has been so deeply integrated into our culture through science fiction for so many years that it just feels... right. Read the rest

The beauty of blank VHS tape covers

There was something special about the perfectly-dimensioned, shrinkwrapped new VHS tape. Overlarge yet empty, a blank canvas in a new age of copying video. And now, a decade or three later, a perfect mote of nostalgia.

Previously: VHS Camcorder app makes iPhone video look like 1980s tape Read the rest

Retro tattooed mermaids made just like the Chalkware you used to know

Ok, if you're old enough, you'll remember those cute vintage Chalkware ceramics they used to make to hang in the bathroom. There were a bunch of designs like anthropomorphic seashorses and fish, and mermaids. Well, California artist Erin Tinney Halverson of Hell in a Handbag is bringing them back. Her mermaids are especially cool because she custom paints tattoos on them. They're $79 each which may seem steep, but for the right person it would make an amazing gift.

Thanks, Erik! Read the rest

8-bit style sheet for websites

You'll need to be handy with CSS to make use of it, but NES.css offers boxes, buttons, containers, forms, speech balloons, icons and more to make your web projects looks like 8-bit games. It's by @bc_rikko. Read the rest

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