As holiday icons like The Grinch and Arnold Schwarzenegger teach us year after year, the meaning of the holiday season isn't found in the gifts, but in the quality time we spend with loved ones. And with microchip shortages around the world making it difficult to buy new toys and electronics this year, we think that sentiment rings especially true now more than ever. But just because the shiny, new electronics may be harder to find, doesn't mean that you can't get creative and share a special experience with your loved ones this year.
With '90s fashion, vinyl records, and other nostalgia from our childhoods making a comeback right now, we think that this holiday season is the perfect opportunity to rummage through those old boxes and give some of your favorite childhood tech memories a second chance at life.
Older toys and electronics have a tendency to stop working after a while, but that doesn't mean they need to be tossed. Asurion Experts know a lot about tech—and provide protection, repair and support for a range of devices and appliances, both old and new. Here's a list of some of their favorite childhood toys and electronics that are still cool enough to put back underneath the tree.
What '90s kid didn't marvel at the idea of baking your own personal-sized cake from scratch? The Easy-Bake Oven™ has been around for a while, but the version we knew and loved was re-introduced to the market by Hasbro™ in 1993. Turning packets of mystery dust into tiny cakes and cookies seemed like magic at the time, but we were actually just harnessing the heating power of a lightbulb. The good news about the toy's relatively easy construction, however, is that it isn't too difficult to get this toy back in working order if yours is broken. If the lighting component is the issue, it can be cleaned or replaced and a new lightbulb can be installed. If it's the power supply, that part can be easily sourced and replaced as well. If there's a kid in your life that's interested in baking, break out the tiny pans and plastic poker and show them the magic of the Easy-Bake Oven.
NES, Game Boy, & other retro gaming systems
Gaming systems have massively evolved over the last 20 years, and one could make the argument that it isn't all for the better. Sure, graphics are infinitely clearer and the games themselves are more sophisticated, but there was something beautiful in the simplicity of retro gaming. These days, gaming with friends is mostly done in separate houses over headsets while we used to all gather on beanbags around one TV playing Super Mario Bros™. And remember when we were all considered troubleshooting experts because any problem could be solved by blowing dust out of a cartridge? With retro electronics making such a comeback (and with Xbox® 5s nowhere in sight), we're in favor of breaking out the NES™, N64™, or any retro gaming system and reliving the satisfaction of beating your favorite games.
If your system doesn't power on or contains more dust than you're capable of blowing away, don't despair! Parts for retro gaming systems can be sourced easily and most are just in need of a deep clean or a desoldering of important components.
They say that Millennials are waiting longer to have kids these days—but who could blame us, we used to play with Tamagotchis™. These tiny egg creatures were introduced to kids in the late '90s-early '00s and they only had one objective: keep the Tamagotchi alive. Despite the toy having only three buttons, this wasn't an easy task. The creature needed constant attention to be fed and kept happy and if you forgot about it for a few days or had the attention span of a typical child, more than likely it died. Yep, straight-up died and you had to hatch a new one from scratch. Tamagotchis are still produced today, but they're more sophisticated and don't produce nearly as much anxiety as the classic ones. Since the construction of the toy is relatively simple, chances are yours could be hatching a new little one again with just a battery change or battery corrosion clean-up. If there's a little one in your life who keeps begging for a pet, start them off like past generations with a Tamagotchi.
There were a million reasons to be jealous of Kevin McCallister's adventure in Home Alone 2, but we all know the Talkboy™ hits the top of the list. Using this relatively simple voice recorder and modifier, he was able to outsmart that pesky hotel manager (shoutout to Tim Curry) and gorge himself on room service. The toy was created for the movie, but a real version of the Talkboy hit the shelves of toy stores everywhere in 1993 alongside the release of Home Alone 2 on home video.
The Talkboy is really just a cassette recorder and if you can get your hands on one, there's a great chance that it can be brought back to good-as-new condition. If the battery pack has corroded, it can most likely be cleaned or replaced. If a component of the cassette housing is broken, new parts can be sourced and replaced. So whether you're introducing someone to Home Alone for the first time or just itching to lower your voice for a prank call, dust off that Talkboy and make Kevin proud.
Love them or hate them, you can't deny that the Furby® was a quintessential part of '90s-'00s childhood. These blinking, sleeping, and chatting little friends hit the market in 1998 and took the world by storm. We were convinced that the Furby got smarter over time and could learn and repeat phrases, some even being afraid they could be used as listening devices. If your Furby is still in the dark closet you banished it to, why not take it out and show your kids, siblings, or nieces and nephews why we all went so Furby crazy?
The Furby works using a motor and a few gears around the face and ears. If yours no longer blinks or moves its mouth and ears, the gears could be damaged and in need of replacing. It could also be suffering from corrosion in the battery pack, which is easily fixable.
Walkman, CD players & record players
Listening to music the retro way is all the rage. There are lines at record stores again, cassette tapes flying off of eBay®, and even CDs are starting to be a hot commodity again. Chances are that you still remember or have the first CD, tape, or record that you received as a holiday gift and how cool would it be to share that experience with someone who has only ever used iTunes™ or Spotify™?
If you'd like to bring your old music player back to life, we find that it's pretty easy to source parts. Power source damage is also common in these devices and can be repaired easily and quickly by our experts. There's no easier way to be transported to a simpler time than to jam out to your old favorites.
Before everyone could take high-quality video using their phones, people had to lug around video cameras. Video camera technology evolved quite quickly. In the '70s, cameras used whole videotapes and needed to be held over the shoulder, but by the early 2000s, they were much more compact and used smaller 8mm tapes or even DVDs. No matter what kind of video camera your family had, we bet it's still sitting around somewhere gathering dust. It's true that there's not a ton of use for old video cameras now that we can all be Spielbergs with our phones, but if you still have old home videos or movies that you'd like digitized, your old camera can help with that. By connecting the camera to a computer using cable adapters, you can watch and save home movies to your computer and keep them safe forever—especially if you back them up to the cloud. What better way to celebrate the tech of holiday season's past than to relive the moment you unwrapped it the first time?
After this walk down Santa Clause Lane (IYKYK) we hope you're inspired to give your old tech favorites a second chance beneath the tree. And if your old tech could use some repairs, the helpful repair experts at your local uBreakiFix® by Asurion and Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™ stores would be happy to take a look.