Tech forever in our hearts

Love them or hate them, the launch of the new Apple iPhones this week was a hotly anticipated topic for tech writers globally. The San Francisco extravaganza included the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max reveals alongside more from Apple Services, demonstrating further diversification in the business model.

Initial reviews on the latest handsets have been mixed, with the rare price tag reduction hitting headlines over increased functionality. With the launch raising more questions for some than it answered, we questioned ‘has the urge to include all the latest wizardry left the needs of the end user behind?’ It got the cats here at Hot Tin Roof thinking…

We decided to journey back to a time when tech was arguably less sophisticated but its impact, like the Apple iPhone, was most definitely on a global scale. Here are our top three favourites from bygone tech, which, we were surprised to discover, were not necessarily gone for good!


Today, virtual reality and immersive gaming is coupled with dedicated online communities, working together to defeat evil or in competition to get ahead. This level of gaming ‘connectedness’ is mind blowing compared to 10 years ago when our intern Ellie was hiding her Nintendo DS under her pillow. She said, “I loved the DS because of its portable format which meant I could easily play it in secret then hide it quickly when I heard my parents outside my door! Nintendogs was my favourite game.” An early incarnation of autonomous pets, Nintendogs used facial recognition to help build a rapport between the pets and its ‘owner.’ Fast forward to 2019 where the concept of virtual pets has reached a whole new level with robotic dogs like MiRos capturing hearts and minds across Asia with their fully autonomous functionality and ability to learn from their environment.

Nintendo DS

Cassettes and talking bears

At number two is Teddy Ruxpin, the cuddly interactive talking bear that used animatronics along with an embedded audio cassette tape deck to ‘read’ a bedtime story to children. Combining two of our greatest loves from bygone tech, Account Manager Jane, now a mother herself, said: “Bedtime just wasn’t the same without a Teddy Ruxpin story. It’s a great example of a successful piece of tech that’s been brought right up to date for a new generation following the launch of the new animated series from Jim Henson Productions. The latest model has ditched the cassette tape in favour of an app from which parents can upload new content direct to its embedded software platform.”

Teddy Ruxpin himself

Honourable mentions

Before revealing our top pick, lets reflect on some that brought us endless joy at the time:

  • Flip phones – was there anything better than the SNAP when ending a phone call?
  • Floppy Discs
  • Ask Jeeves
  • Clippy the paperclip helper in MS word
  • Dial up
  • Cordless landlines
  • Beehive Bedlam
  • Cassette Tapes
  • The Walkman
  • Cameras with film

A pet in your pocket

Last but definitely not least is hot tin veteran Vickie with her beloved Tamagotchi dinosaur. She may have forgotten its name but her pink and pampered friend was firmly a member of the family. She said: “As the youngest of four children, I was desperate to play ‘big sister’ to someone. The Tamagotchi was my way of genuinely looking after something that relied on me and I took it very seriously. If it got sick, I was devastated and did everything I could to make it feel better – including picking up its cyber poop!”

Launched in 1996, Tamagotchis had sold a staggering 76 million units by 2010 following a worldwide craze. Like Ruxpin, a new incarnation of the toy is now available that utilises infrared communication technology that enables players to link their toys together for friendship, games and even marriage! Later models allow website interaction using alphanumeric codes which the toy self generates, giving users access to online games.

It’s rare we get the chance to reflect back on old tech these days because our daily lives are consumed with our clients’ cutting edge technology. Read more about what we’ve been up to and please get in touch if you’ve got a story to tell. We’d love to hear from you!

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