It’s surprisingly easy to recreate that good old 90s feeling in the 2020’s. I started with an IKEA Lack table which was being unused so far (I discovered that Lack was also there in the 90s, so all good there!) and traded a crate of sparkling water for a tube television. I love the reduced complexity of the TV - there is no sophisticated menu, no apps, no updating of aforementioned apps, you just turn it on and it happily tunes in the last channel it was tuned to (which is static, since no station broadcasts on the old frequencies anymore).
Also, there is this high-pitched noise not everyone can hear, which tells you that it’s turned on - and the fact that if you have dust on the screen, there is this weird feeling when you touch the screen while it’s turned on. Good times.
(As a side note, I don’t believe in this retro-stance that tries to tell us how everything used to be better in the past. Almost 30 years later, it’s easy to cherry pick the good things and forget about the bad things from the 90s.)
Super Nintendos are a bigger investment. I found a Super Nintendo with two controllers and a couple of games for around 150 EUR, which is both dirt cheap and outrageously expensive. Cheap, because with all the games included, I could easily have paid double for the setup. Expensive, because this is roughly the same amount of money I would have paid in the 90s for a shiny new console.
I also like the fact that I have the original controllers available. Sure, you can use new controllers on the old console - they are available and in the same price range as the old ones - but it’s just not the same.
Same as with the tube tv, the simplicity of the Super Nintendo itself is amazing. You plug in the game, turn it on, and the game is immediately loaded. No load screen, no downloading necessary, just a flip of the switch and you can start - and once you are done, it’s just the same flick of the switch and the console is powered off. Not in standby, not in shutdown mode, it’s actually off.
For kids, the cardtridges are dead easy to handle, the eject/plugin mechanism is easy to understand and to learn. And instead of googling weird error codes, a simple blow on the cardridge fixes most issues.
This simplicity extends into the games as well: It’s extremely easy to get started. There are only 4 buttons, maybe 6, plus the D-Pad that you regularily use, and there is typically no need to go through a tutorial to understand how to do things. If you forgot how it works, just tap the buttons and see what happens on screen.
Anyways, I am happy with my setup and looking forward to putting it to good use!