A Throwback With A Difference
2 Years ago when lockdown first hit, it was a scary time for a lot of people. For those not deemed 'essential workers', locked away in their homes, without the day to day interactions that we previously took for granted.
All of a sudden there was a mass of people who had time on their hands. Even working from home, with no tiring commute, people could shut down their computers and straight away get on with spending time doing what you wanted.
Once everyone had completed the jobs around the house that they had been previously been putting off, it seemed like everyone was looking for something to keep them occupied. For a lot of people, the answer came in the form of a new hobby. No longer being able to say "I'd love to have a go at that, but I don't have the time.." people were finding all sorts of new ways to destress and focus on something other than their work or news.
One of the most popular 'new' hobbies that I consistently saw people dipping their toes into was 'Retro Modding'. Fast forward to today, my social feeds are consistently filled with friends and 'tech influencers' who are still taking part in the hobby.
What is Retro Modding? I hear you cry, well handheldlegend.com describes it as "...perfecting vintage console[s] with upgrades and modern technology... Restore and recreate your childhood gaming memories...". An easy example of one of these improvements is the screen on the original GameBoy. Remember having to sit as close to your bedside lamp as possible to play at night? Well, now you can replace that with a backlit screen no problem.
It's not just functional upgrades though, you can completely customise the look of your console, with a thriving aftermarket of custom-designed or hand-painted faceplates and custom buttons and colour combinations. Just look at the examples below.
Given the crossover, should this kind of consumer hobby be something that the repair community should be getting behind? Encouraging consumers to get interested in their tech, how it works and why different parts need maintaining. By building the interest with older, simpler and more affordable tech that it's affordable and not beyond the average Joe. Do these kinds of initiatives help build consumer awareness and let them know that, there is skill involved in repairs and although some things you can do yourself, sometimes you're best off getting an expert to have a look?
Is there a place on your shelves for this kind of thing? Do you think there's a market with your customers for some of these products? Did you pick up a random hobby during a lockdown? We'd love to know your thoughts on the subject. Reach out to us on social media on Facebook or Instagram, or you can send us an email at email@example.com
*ps: No GameBoys were hurt in the making of this article.