Why is the past so expensive? And stupid?
I’m surfing the web tonight, catching up on the news that I didn’t see earlier in the day, and came across this article about a new version of the Commodore 64 that is due out at the end of the month.
I, like most of my computing peers (or at least the ones who are my age), had a Commodore 64 in their youth. I remember saving long and hard to afford it, then convincing my mom to help float me a little bit when Target had them for an amazing sale price in a weekly ad. I needed the three piece package–the computer, floppy drive, and the color monitor. All told, I believe I ended up spending just over $800 for the entire collection.
We headed out to the store, and got the computer, the monitor, but, alas, the floppy drive was sold out. I needed to get a rain check for it. A week later or so, it finally came in and we picked it up.
Anyway, that was my first computer. I happily programmed on it. I got a flight simulator and a word processor and a couple of other games for it. I eventually got a 9-pin dot matrix printer for it.
This was all in seventh grade. Twenty nine years ago.
I understand people’s desire for nostalgia. But there’s a point where nostalgia is just stupid and pointless. Hanging on to old photos, or record albums, or collectible books: that all makes sense. Those things have a value that is only partially based on the cost of the item itself; the rest is based on how importantly people view them.
I even understand those who collect actual old computers and display them or actually use them from time-to-time. I’ve seen websites with people who are still using their Commodore 64 computers for something (including one guy who managed to get it to act as a basic Twitter feed machine).
But maintaining the 30-year-old form factor to sandwich in the guts of a modern PC is just useless. Sure, there are those who find such kitsch funny or collectible, but really? What about this is going to make someone buy it?
Well, okay, there’s the spiffy dual-boot feature: Windows or the old Commodore Basic OS. That part made me laugh.
But the rest of it? And ranging in price from $250 to $900? I shudder to think of what the $900 machine gets you. Maybe I can relive those days when I’d get home from school, start up the Commodore, and start loading the flight simulator. I’d go to the bathroom, get a snack together, and make it back to the computer just in time for it’s 3 minute, 7 second (yes, that was it’s exact time, every time) load process to finish.
And to think I complain about the time it takes to load up Internet Explorer 8.
See you tomorrow.