Time Machines

Time Machines

Did you know that you own a time machine?

As a matter of fact, you probably own several.

Even if you don't have all the necessary components, any missing parts of your homemade time machine will be relatively easy and cost-effective to obtain.

In this post, I will tell you everything you need to assemble time machines capable of transporting you to each pre-Cultural Ground Zero era.

If you're interested in taking a vacation from Current Year and revisiting the world of your childhood, read on.

First stop ...

The Early 80s


Here's how to relive the glory days of Lucasfilm, video arcades, and glam metal:
  • Use some vacation time in early fall, on what would have been the first day of the new school year you'd have cut class.
  • In a semi-finished basement room, pull out your vintage Atari 2600, hook it up to a 13" CRT TV, the kind with analog dials.
  • Grab a bag of Funyuns, a six-pack of 7-Up, and enjoy the audio/video/taste experience. 

If you're younger than Gen X or just in the mood for a slightly more sophisticated destination, here's your ticket to ...

The Mid-80s


Perform the following steps to go back to the heyday of John Hughes comedies, wacky sitcoms, and Reaganomics.

  • Wait for a weekday in early spring when you'll be alone in the house. After school hours, around the time you'd let yourself in with the key in the mailbox, go to your bedroom.
  • Take with you a bag of pizza Combos and a pitcher of Berry Blue Kool-Aid.
  • Use the same CRT TV as above, but swap out your Atari for your NES. Slide the original gold Legend of Zelda pak into the control deck, and explore the forests of Hyrule as once you did.

Don't forget your wooden sword.

When you're done feeding bombs to Dodongo, fast forward to ... 

The High 80s

Apply this formula to relive the zenith of mass-market popular entertainment.
  • Around All Hallows' Eve on a Friday evening, run through the drive-up at McDonald's. Order a 20-piece McNugget and a large orange Hi-C.
  • Retreat to your bedroom once again. This time, trade up to a newer TV with push-button controls--an angular black model such as dominated store shelves in the 80s. Connect your Sega Genesis to this TV.
  • Insert your copy of Altered Beast, and raise 1989 from the grave.

After that, it's time to bid the 80s farewell and venture into ...

The Early 90s


Enact this ritual to experience anew the glow of post-Cold War optimism:

  • On a Saturday afternoon in July, move your CRT so you're sitting right next to a vintage 80s window air conditioner. Switch back to your NES for the last time.
  • Load up your Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge.
  • Set out to rescue Princess Peach, frequently dipping into the case of Pepsi Throwback you left to chill in the fridge.

After your sojourn to the time when the wall fell, you will be nearing the last era your time machine can reach before Cultural Ground Zero ...

The High 90s


Take these steps to transport yourself back to the final bow before the curtain fell on American pop culture:
  • Take a sick day deep in winter (easy w/ Corona). Plug your Super Nintendo into a console-style CRT TV in the living room.
  • Go blankie mode with a hot mug of Nesquick & start a game of Final Fantasy III.
  • Play from your normal punch-in time into the afternoon.

With  heavy heart but refreshed in spirit, return to the present.

You'll need new skills to survive here. My good friend and client Adam Lane Smith will teach you. Take his video course today.


  1. The takeaway I got from this is that I should be grateful I still have a CRT TV in the storage room. I've kept it because it has a VCR built into it (and just in case I need to make a time machine with my microwave) but maybe I should plug my Super Nintendo into it.

    1. Retro console games just don't look right on current LCD TVs. Use a flat screen CRT for best results.

  2. Heh....on the way to pick up lunch today, my phone played Eddie Money's "Think I'm In Love." The 80s were (was?) a great time for rock.

  3. I don't have an old style TV, but my NES is hooked up to my main TV now. It gets some playtime fairly often.

  4. This is why I'm glad I was a PC gamer. Most of my old games still work on my new computer, and they don't look much different than on the CRT.

  5. I've read Stu's Gen-Y series, I know where this is going...

    Caveat viatorem: nostalgia-fueled time traveling might end up with the vaguely ominous disappearance of the traveler.

  6. One time as a teenager I remember blasting Oasis while playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles on my long-since dead CRTV and eating a slice from my favorite childhood pizza place.

    It was as bizarre doing that in the '00s as it would be today.

    1. It's strange which moments stick with us.

      Oasis was my Chrono Trigger accompaniment of choice.

    2. Whenever I hear a Silverchair's early albums I feel like I'm playing Lufia II. I did a lot of dungeon crawling to those albums.

      You missed a chance to work "it's dangerous to go alone, take this" into your Adam Lane Smith lede. I was sure that was coming after you mentioned the gold cartridge.

  7. Fun times. Don't know how much time I spent in the 80s playing Space Invaders and other Atari game.

    Only thing I would add is Axis & Allies and seriously unhealthy amounts of Mountain Dew.

  8. Eh... Early eighties was still roll of quarters to the little arcade in the pizza joint for some folks.

    And original recipe AD&D