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Back to the 80s: nostalgia exhibit in Living Computers, Seattle

Living Computers museum + lab

A temporary 80s exhibit at Living Computers: Museum + Labs in Seattle has garnered international attention for its unique 80s nostalgia theme.

The Living Computers exhibit recreates a day in the life of an 80s teenager. It is called Totally 80s Rewind.

Visitors begin at a school section. Exhibits include Apple //e computers and visitors can watch the overhead projector to learn how to program in BASIC. There is even the opportunity for visitors to play the PC adventure game, Oregon Trail. The exhibit is filled with hidden hidden details that add to the realism: linoleum floor, plastic chairs, florescent lighting, cliché posters, stuffed lockers, pencils stuck to the ceiling, gum under the desks, and even a few “cootie catcher” paper fortune tellers.

Your favorite local videogame arcade

The Bit Zone area is themed to “your favorite local videogame arcade”. Here, visitors can play classic arcade games, from Galaga to Centipede and Joust to Tempest. You can even play chess against a1965 Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-8 computer, where winners receive a Polaroid on the wall.

The final area of the exhibit is themed to a friend’s basement, with wood paneled walls and shabby furniture. Visitors can play on a Nintendo hooked up to the console TV or a TRS-80 Color Computer at the workbench. There is also a 80s music collection: where visitors can flip through the records, throw an LP on the turntable, and watch the “Color Organ” pulse with light.

Classic 80s games are available too: families and friends can challenge their memory with Simon or complete in a game of Battleship.

Last year, The Large Scale Systems Museum (LSSM) in New Kensington PA added a new wing – the Large Scale Integration Museum (LSIM). The museum tracks the leaps in technology from the earliest days of computers the size of rooms, to the smartphones we carry in our pockets.

Image courtesy: The Living Computers Museum + Labs

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Michael Mander

Michael Mander

I am a journalist from Essex, England. I enjoy travelling, and love exploring attractions around the world. I graduated from Lancaster University in 2018. Twitter @michael_mander.

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