The Clock Ticks, The Tech Pile Grows


One pleasant advantage of having a few years under my belt, is the ability to drone on endlessly about my phenomenal, life-changing adventures in the ’70s and ’80s. And as I pontificate about my collected memories, I can watch happily as Millennial listeners sigh and consider their own meager experiences. They may have youth and beauty, but they’ve never scaled Mt. Everest nor trekked through Ecuador beneath the icy summits of the country’s snow-capped peaks nor walked hand-in-hand with a Korean beauty along the cherry blossom road at Yeojwa stream.

Of course, I haven’t either. But these Millennials don’t know that. And they’re gullible.

The truth is, though, that all my extra years have caused me to collect some memorable things: Namely an incredibly huge pile of ancient tech that I’ve purchased over the years and eventually deemed obsolete. I have been something of an early adopter with some things. As much as I try to steel myself against it, the siren call of the newest video game doohickey or movie-playing thingamajig has generally wooed me with an appeal far stronger than cherry blossom-strewn roads.

I was forcefully reminded of that personal flaw when I started cleaning out my basement this past weekend and uncovered mounds of discarded techmania toss-offs. I found drawers of ancient PC programs and adventure games. And uncovered old game consoles galore—including every Sega unit ever made; a variety of handheld devices; first, second and third generation PlayStations; an Xbox and two discarded Xbox 360s—kept solely for parts after they gave up the ghost in red-ring-of-death agony.

Old game cartridges and CDs? I could open a store. In fact, while talking to a couple video game aficionados not long ago, I found out that one or two of my older cartridge games are actually worth quite a bit of cash. I’m holding on to those in hopes that someday, years from now, they may augment my retirement … or at least buy me a PlayStation 10.

Then there’s the movie side of things. I’m from an old school generation: those who actually purchased physical copies of their favorite flicks. I’ve got boxes of VHS tapes and laserdiscs to prove it. Laserdiscs? Oh yeah, they’re big vinyl record-sized discs that definitely delivered cutting-edge picture quality back when heavy-as-a-bull-elephant analog TVs (and bashing two rocks together) were all the rage.

Of course, all of that techie transition from Intellivision to iPads took me quite a few years to hop-scotch my way through. Nowadays it feels like we’re making similar-sized technological leaps in a matter of a month or two rather than scores of years. So just about the time you pony up for the ultra-blu-ray player and that 4K TV, oop, 8K is here.

Oh, and those who think they can sidestep the hassle and simply buy a download of a video to keep forever and play on whatever clunky old stone-age device they happen to have are finding that even that new-gen trick doesn’t work in the long run. This article from The Atlantic talks about the many ways a bought-and-paid-for download might someday be lost to you, even though you’re convinced it’s tucked away snuggly on some nice little cloud somewhere.

Oh, it’s a vicious cycle I tell ya, vicious. And they’ll get you coming and going. Soon, even Millennials will be looking over their discarded tech collections and thinking back to the good old 2010’s, when technological advancements moved slower, the Apple watch was “fresh” and new PlayStations were still in the single digits. But at least by then I won’t have to worry about it so much. No, I don’t plan on being dead! But I will be busy telling gullible iGens tall tales and distant memories … while they set up my new gaming system.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

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