A Walkman (or just a cassette player) has become an iconic piece of technology from the 1980s and the 1990s. This piece of tech became the mediator through which a music listener consumed their media. People who grew up (or at least lived) through these decades may look fondly on a piece of technology like the Walkman. The person will remember the good times they had listening to tapes on the Walkman, and may even wish to relive some of those days. In a fictitious world (such as one from a book or a movie), how could this be reproduced with a piece of “old” technology? How could the characters take a piece of technology and convey their emotional attachment to it? How could the device be shown that it gave the characters so many good memories?
First of all, what does some of this technology do for the character? Does it provide a need, or does it do something more? A Walkman, for instance, played cassette tapes on the go. A person could jog or rollerskate while holding the Walkman and listening to music. In this case, the size of it, ease of use, even the design of the Walkman allowed a user to enjoy their music. But what else about the Walkman made it enduring? The device was found everywhere in the 1980s: from TV, to billboards, movies, on the streets, in newspapers, and in magazines. Indeed, it was made iconic for its features, and how so many people purchased the device. Let’s list these things.
- Listen to music on the go
- Competitive price
- Easy to get or find
- Easy to use
- Compatible with different headphones
- Took only a few batteries
- Good to look at
This list shows that the utility, look, and portability of the Walkman were what made it iconic. So how could a piece of “old” fictional tech also be memorable? The piece of tech should provide a service that helped the user in times of need, such as moving something heavy, taking a trip, getting some information, or dealing with hard times. It should be involved in the creation of a fond memory with the character. For instance, a piece of transportation akin to a car. It can be used on road trips, for transporting heavy equipment, or even for relaxing. This “techno car” was what the character had in their best times, sad times, and in times of need, and becomes imbued with sentimental value.