The power of nostalgia and the resurgence of old-school technology

Susie James

25 Aug 2017

Here at Harvard we are big fans of the tech of our youth; the tech that comes with a side of nostalgia. Just look at our previous blog posts on the Nintendo SNES Mini and Nokia 3310 relaunch; both just a taster of the levels of excitement that sweep through the office when an old favourite is revived. The latest launch from Nokia, the Nokia 8, brings back that nostalgic feeling once again. But this time with a modern twist. Almost every product it has launched has given us that same nostalgic feeling you get when hearing that classic ringtone. This time the addition of the much-talked about ‘Bothie’, combined with our inner-teenager favourite Snake, shows that Nokia hasn’t forgotten its heritage. It seems strange when we think about how far tech has come, to consider that some of the most popular tech items are relaunches of our past favourites. Something about taking us back to our childhood via technology, a feature that is so prominent in our adult lives, is resonating with consumers today. But it’s not just Nokia that has realised – and indeed reaped the benefits of – the power of nostalgia. Here are our top three launches that have brought back a childhood favourite and put tech at their heart:

Pokemon Go

The launch of Pokémon Go saw AR rocket to the top of people’s radars, with no limits on the age of those getting involved. It introduced an older generation to the phenomenon, encouraged generation Z (guilty) to get out and about and reinvigorated the love of Pokémon in millennials.

Fujifilm Instax Polaroid Camera

It’s rare that a #throwbackthursday happens without a white border surrounding your shiny photo these days thanks to the reinvention of the Polaroid camera. Once the best way to take a photo, these have now been repositioned as the must-have addition to any Instagram. Fujifilm tapped into the nostalgia of owning a physical copy of your photo, knowing that the power was in the Polaroid.

Nintendo SNES Mini

Following the launch of the Nintendo Switch in May, fans were praying for the reinvention of the SNES Mini. Their tech-based prayers were answered back in June when Nintendo announced it would indeed be updating the cult favourite. The news was met with pure joy from SNES advocates, and the product is guaranteed to be a huge success when it lands in September. Looking a decade ahead, I wonder what will be considered a thing of the past? Will it be the iPod classic (perhaps already considered retro)? And what will that mean for today’s vinyl resurgence? What will become of Siri and Alexa? How long will it be until all we crave to hear is “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”? With nostalgic tech clearly on the rise, I personally cannot wait for Dream Phone to make a comeback. What would you love to see reinvented?