A timeless love for retro tech


While others might discard outdated gaming consoles that now not work, Iskandar Zend Rahim sees it as an opportunity to present them a second life.

He scouts the Internet for retro consoles labelled as damaged or in unknown situation, usually acquiring them for as little as RM10.

“During the pandemic, I started buying from local sellers, as my regular vendors in countries like Japan were affected by lockdown measures,” he shares.

Typically, a repaired console fetches upwards of RM300, in keeping with Iskandar Zend, who has been into retro gaming since 2014.

He says he’s within the enterprise of promoting cherished reminiscences as a result of clients who’re occupied with stepping into retro gaming do it for nostalgia.

Models such because the Sega Megadrive, launched in 1988, and the PlayStation, which debuted in 1994, are among the most in-demand gadgets.

“The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which came out in 1990, is also popular.

“Back then, most customers played the Micro Genius, which they didn’t realise was a clone of the NES. Now they are looking to acquire the original,” he provides.

Iskandar Zend wearing a NES Power Glove, the granddaddy of virtual reality controllers, which was released in 1989. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The StarIskandar Zend carrying a NES Power Glove, the granddaddy of digital actuality controllers, which was launched in 1989. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

Certain consoles which can be in a sealed field or in mint situation can price hundreds relying on their situation and rarity.

The priciest console Iskandar Zend has bought up to now is the Nintendo Wii U, which was launched in 2012 and went out of manufacturing 5 years later.

“It may sound ridiculous, but I sold an unopened limited edition Wii U Deluxe Set with The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for RM12,000. And, yes, the customer was cool with the price,” he says.

He believes a part of the attraction is in buying one thing that just a few have.

“Some also want to get their hands on something that has never been opened so that they can enjoy the unboxing experience,” he says.

Apart from consoles, he additionally dabbles in retro video games, that are equally standard.

“For now, GameCube games are the hottest items. Titles like Luigi’s Mansion (2001) can be sold for around RM300 and Wario World (2003) for about RM550,” he says, including that the GameCube was launched in 2001 and discontinued in 2007.

Iskandar Zend makes use of the web site PriceCharting to determine how a lot the video games are price primarily based on their situation – if they’re full or solely have the disc or cartridge.

Once, a buyer sought his assist to get Mega Man Legends 2 for the PlayStation, a title launched greater than 20 years in the past.

Iskandar Zend says gamers are on the hunt for CRT TVs to fully recreate a retro gaming experience. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The StarIskandar Zend says avid gamers are on the hunt for CRT TVs to completely recreate a retro gaming expertise. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

“I asked him if he was sure about it because the current market price for the game was high. He said yes, I found one in good condition and sold it to him for RM1,500,” he says.

He provides that as buying unique titles up to now was a luxurious for most avid gamers, they ended up shopping for pirated titles.

“Now that they are older and have the means to relive their childhood memories, they have no qualms about spending money.

“Some also see it as an investment that would increase in value as the items are no longer being produced,” he says.

On a roll

When Chin Koon Yik needed to open a movie digicam store at a time when pictures was shifting to digital and the smartphone was supplanting the normal digicam, his buddies referred to as him loopy.

“I acquired this business from a guy who was closing it down. He told me the business had been rough.

“I saw it as an opportunity to live out my own childhood dream of running a camera shop,” he says.

When Chin wanted to open a film camera shop at a time when photography was shifting to digital, he was called crazy by his friends. ­— YAP CHEE HONG/The StarWhen Chin needed to open a movie digicam store at a time when pictures was shifting to digital, he was referred to as loopy by his buddies. ­— YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Bang Bang Geng was born, and Chin will have fun its tenth anniversary subsequent yr.

He can be seeing extra younger clients desirous to strive their fingers at movie pictures.

“It seems that anybody who is into TikTok or Instagram is getting into film photography, otherwise they will be out of the loop or not seen as trendy.

“Some even bring their parents, who will argue with them about why they want to squander money on film cameras.

“I dare not get involved with family disputes,” he quips.

Film cameras have become a major trend on social media thanks to users 'flexing' their photos. — Old camera photo created by freepik - www.freepik.comFilm cameras have develop into a significant pattern on social media because of customers ‘flexing’ their photographs. — Old digicam photograph created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Film cameras have develop into a significant pattern on social media because of customers “flexing” their photographs.

Videos with the hashtag #filmcamera have obtained over 460 million views on TikTok, whereas #35mm has over 535 million views.

Celebrities like Korean pop sensations Jennie and Lisa from Blackpink have additionally made movie cameras fascinating once more. Jennie, for instance, has a separate Instagram account that’s devoted to pictures shot on movie, with over three million followers.

However, the involvement of celebs can, sadly, inflate the costs of cameras, as was the case for the Contax T2, launched in 1990.

“It became a craze after Kendall Jenner popularised it. The camera used to retail for about RM1,800, but because of her, sellers were asking between RM6,000 and RM7,000,” he says.

Chin (right) says use of film cameras has become trendy, especially on TikTok and Instagram.— YAP CHEE HONG/The StarChin (proper) says use of movie cameras has develop into fashionable, particularly on TikTok and Instagram.— YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Another mannequin that loved an analogous “success” was the Olympus Mju II, launched in 1997, which Chin recollects was a digicam that “nobody wanted to buy” though it price about RM170.

“It has since become a cult favourite and is highly sought after by film camera enthusiasts after it was promoted by a celebrity. The price can go up to RM1,200,” he says.

However, not like trendy devices, adopting a retro pastime requires an individual to spend time studying and researching the gadgets.

Otherwise, the end result might be lower than fascinating, if not disastrous.

“I had a client ask if there was something wrong with his film because he took the roll out of the camera and tried to scan it.

“I told him to go home because the film was ruined,” he says.

In one other occasion, a buyer’s movie roll was destroyed by airport safety, which pulled the movie out of the container to examine it.

Anyone in search of movie pictures recommendation is welcome to go to Chin’s store, and he recommends that rookies begin with a disposable digicam. It’s not solely easy to make use of and cheap, however it is going to produce the specified aesthetics.

Some days, Chin has clients strolling in with baggage of outdated cameras that they discovered at dwelling.

“I will go through the pile and see if anything can still be used. Sometimes it’s just about replacing the batteries.

“I also have a technician who can help with cleaning and fixing old cameras,” he says.

Social media and standard music traits are additionally inspiring the youthful technology to undertake vinyl over streaming companies.

According to Tan, limited-edition coloured vinyl by popular artistes have become a hit with younger customers. — YAP CHEE HONG/The StarAccording to Tan, limited-edition colored vinyl by standard artistes have develop into successful with youthful clients. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Billy Tan, proprietor of Lot 68 Vinyl Shop, says they’re wanting for new releases by standard artistes and are keen to pay extra for limited-edition colored vinyl.

“Most of them don’t even have a vinyl player,” he says, “so I’ll propose a portable set that may not have the highest sound quality but is best for beginners.”

Reliving historical past

Not everybody will get into retro tech for the sake of being on-trend.

For Ikhwan Nazri Mohd Asran, the boss of Amanz, it’s an opportunity to find out about how merchandise have advanced all through the years.

Ikhwan Nazri, an Apple fan since he obtained his fingers on a MacBook in 2007, fondly recollects convincing his father to lend him the cash to buy it.

Ikhwan Nazri says his extensive collection allows him to see for himself why some of Apple’s products thrived while others flopped. — GLENN GUAN/The StarIkhwan Nazri says his intensive assortment permits him to see for himself why a few of Apple’s merchandise thrived whereas others flopped. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

“At the time, he was sceptical because the laptop cost the same as a new motorcycle.

“But he was persuaded after I explained its features and how it would benefit my work,” he mentioned.

He started an Apple product assortment as he grew older, buying fashions that he missed out on beforehand.

From his assortment, Ikhwan Nazri says he may see for himself why among the tech big’s merchandise thrived whereas others flopped.

He additionally observed a major change in how Apple packages its merchandise: up to now, it included further instruments reminiscent of a stand for the webcam and further connectors, however as we speak it solely contains important instruments to keep away from waste.

During the pandemic, he added a PowerE-book 150 laptop computer to his assortment. The PowerE-book 150, launched in 1994, got here with a price ticket of US$1,450. Ikhwan Nazri obtained his for solely RM50.

“I learned through research that the PowerBook 150 is still sought-after by the Japanese, who mainly use it for word processing.

“They even upgrade the storage of the device with a solid-state drive,” he says.

He makes it a degree to by no means spend greater than RM200 per merchandise except it’s in good working situation and contains the unique packaging, which he says is uncommon.

Ikhwan Nazri feels a sense of national pride when he finds Apple products with 'Assembled in Malaysia' labels. — GLENN GUAN/The StarIkhwan Nazri feels a way of nationwide pleasure when he finds Apple merchandise with ‘Assembled in Malaysia’ labels. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

His assortment additionally contains an iMac G3, which astounded the world with its translucent egg-shaped design when it debuted in 1998 for US$1,299.

“The seller offered it for RM20 because he said that it is no longer working.

“I checked and discovered that the device had no RAM. I installed the RAM and it worked,” he says, including that it’s considered one of his proudest purchases. He has since added extra iMac G3 computer systems of various colors to his assortment.

He can be looking out for Apple gadgets labelled as “Assembled in Malaysia”. One such product that he owns is a Mighty Mouse from 2005.

“People are always surprised when I tell them that some Apple products were made here,” he says.

Staying energy

Chin believes the surge in curiosity in movie cameras is because of smartphones’ lack of ability to duplicate the aesthetics and hues produced by movie cameras.

“The smartphone’s algorithm is too perfect, which users dislike because it lacks authenticity.

“Also, lockdowns during the pandemic limited interaction to online activities, so people started craving physical experiences and searching for more tangible things,” he says.

Adapting to older know-how, nevertheless, is just not simple for everybody, in keeping with Chin, and most of his youthful clients ultimately abandon their movie cameras.

Chin showing off a vintage camera at his shop in KL. — YAP CHEE HONG/The StarChin exhibiting off a classic digicam at his store in KL. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

“After a few months, they feel that the hassle and cost of developing film is no longer worthwhile.

“Some never come back for their photos – I have boxes of uncollected pictures from 2018,” he says, including that he fees RM25 for creating a roll of movie.

Tan shares the identical sentiment, lamenting that some clients stop their pastime after studying that they must spend extra to purchase higher vinyl gamers. Some older titles are additionally on the costly aspect.

Another problem is in sustaining older gadgets, as repairs might require components that aren’t simply out there.

Ikhwan Nazri says he should train warning when coping with dated gadgets, particularly when charging them, to stop the battery from degrading or changing into bloated because of overcharging.

“I have to remember to unplug gadgets like old laptops and iPods as soon as they reach 100%,” he provides.

But older know-how will at all times have a spot in folks’s hearts, says Iskandar Zend, who shares that a few of his clients at the moment are wanting for outdated televisions with cathode-ray tube (CRT) shows to completely recreate their retro gaming expertise.

Chin says his youthful clients have been requesting digicams from the early 2000s, whereas Tan thinks that CD gamers will come again in vogue.

For Ikhwan Nazri, nothing beats the sensation of having the ability to get the objects that he has at all times needed however was unable to afford when he was youthful.

“My colleagues make fun of my collection, calling them paperweights. But now, my paperweights are going to be in the paper!” he says, laughing.

Iskandar Zend, however, relishes the sensation of having the ability to assist folks relive their reminiscences via restored gadgets.

“A customer brought in a NES game console and asked if I could repair it because he used to play it with his late father.

“It took a week to restore the machine and I turned it on for him when he returned.

“He just stood there holding the controller, crying, because it transported him back to a time when his father was still around,” he says.

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