6 Pieces of Obsolete Tech (That Hung Around Longer Than You Think)
Technology is constantly evolving. Just as our personal media collection is brimming with one form, another is ready to be released and take over. While some forms of media die shortly out the gate (8-Track tapes and HD DVDs, anyone?) many forms hang out much longer than we realize. Today, we’re counting down 6 pieces of technology that hung around long after we stopped using them!
VCRs (Video Cassette Recorders)
While VHS tapes were officially laid to rest in 2006, the last VCR was produced in 2016! JVC’s VHS configuration debuted in 1977, sparking the VHS/Betamax configuration war. VHS trumped Betamax, which debuted in 1975, thanks in large part to its embracing of the X-Rated market; Sony banned the adult industry from releasing movies on its configuration, leading many consumers—who didn’t want to purchase two different devices—to choose VHS. A decade later, in 1987, VHS controlled 90% of the $5.25 billion VCR market.
(Last year, Sony announced it would finally stop selling its blank Betamax cassette tapes.)
While the webzine Pop Matters bid the cassette tape adieu in 2009, a Rolling Stone article from 2016 insists that the medium is not yet dead. “Most people would probably think there aren’t 100,000 cassettes left in the world,” National Audio’s owner Steve Stepp says. “I’ve got an order of 87,000 going out today.”
And while Indie music groups or nostalgia lovers might still be shoving four D batteries into their boom boxes, there’s little debate to be had. Cassettes are no longer accessible, but they were for longer than we realized!
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo ceased production of the SNES in 1999, about two years after releasing Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (its last first-party game for the system) on November 27, 1997, a year after releasing Frogger (its last third-party game for the system). That’s three years after the Nintendo 64 was released and two years before the debut of the Nintendo GameCube!
It may be unknown to people, but Nintendo Japan was still making replacement chips and board for the original NES/Famicom system up until 2012 when the Wii-U was released!
PlayStation 2’s online gaming servers sang their final song on March 31st, 2016 (sixteen years after its debut) when Final Fantasy XI servers were officially shut down. Even more surprising, it was announced just yesterday that effective September 3rd, 2018 that PlayStation Japan would cease repairs on any broken PlayStation 2 consoles.
This one might be a shock to many, but fifteen years after its death, the Sega Dreamcast is still going strong. Possibly due to hackers, home brewers, and piracy, fifteen new games appeared for the system in 2015 alone. Decky Coss, a game designer from the Bronx whose medium is the SEGA Genesis, says this about the Dreamcast:
“I think people are so fond of the Dreamcast because it managed to be both charmingly quirky and a heavyweight contender,” Coss said. “I think the most ambitious projects were the products of people who never played it safe. Nothing was too ‘out there’ for them as long as it was playful and memorable.”