Experience the proto-internet running on an Apple IIgs in your web browser

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Back when the Apple IIgs was released in 1986, the Internet as we know it didn’t really exist. Instead, we had electronic bulletin boards, or BBSes: simple ASCII portals for email, games, file downloads, chatting, and — yes — even porn, that we all dialed into over phone lines.

Weren’t around to experience this for yourself? Don’t worry about it. You can now experience all the analog splendor of an old-school BBS for yourself, thanks to Level 29. And even better, it all runs in a web browser.

Retrotastic Pippin portable takes its place in mythical Apple pantheon

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This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of vintage reveries. Images: Mike Donovan
This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of retro reveries. Images: Mike Donovan

Imagine a world in which an Apple portable called Pippin rules the video game industry. Nintendo and Sony are nothing more than petrified corpses after a surprise attack from Cupertino vaporizes their platforms with a portable device so simple, so magical, that Michael Spindler would have let John Sculley waterboard him with Pepsi to make it a reality.

That’s the world imagined by Mike Donovan, a New York City designer who draws faux prototypes of everything from retro iPads to iPhones based on the iMac G3. His retrotastic mockup of the gaming gadget that never was, which he shared exclusively with Cult of Mac, takes the concept of Apple’s failed Pippin video game platform to its logical, period-appropriate extension.

“We’re inundated with new tech choices at almost every turn but there is something so alluring about the fun and simplicity of those early ’80s and ’90s gadgets,” Donovan told Cult of Mac. “Plus, who doesn’t love a good throwback?”

Grace Encore, The Wi-Fi Speaker From the ’80s

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Black-ash finish? Check. Big four-inch woofer? Check. Plenty of knobs and dials and even a built-in screen? Check, check, check! If you were to glance sideways at the Grace Encore (GDI-IRC7500) Stereo System whilst simultaneously taking some experimental military drug that altered your perception of time, you’d think that the Encore was from the 1980s.

ZX Spectrum Bluetooth Keyboard For iPad

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For nerds of a certain age (my age), the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was our first home computer/games console/escape from the nightmare world of normal humans. And now this iconic machine is set to be reborn in its home country of Great Britain, only now it’ll be a Bluetooth accessory for your iPad.

The iRecorder, An iPhone Speaker Styled Like a 1980s Cassette Player

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Remember back when a button was a button, and not a skeuomorphic touch-screen fake complete with drop shadows and gradients? Me too. Back in the 1980s and beyond, kids had tougher fingers thanks to all the button-pushing that went on, not like the kids of today with their weak twiglets which threaten to snap if they squeeze their in–0line remote’s play/pause “button” too hard.

Which is my way of saying that you can keep your pathetic modern-day children from playing any music by simply loading your iPhone into this retro-tastic iRecorder.