Should we stop using retrocomputers to save them?

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By retro69

Resident (53)

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11-07-2022, 20:20

Recently the owner of the Youtube channel Retro Recipes has promoted the idea not to use old computer hardware any more (or at least to a lesser extent) in order to better preserve it for the future. Instead we should be using emulation or FPGAs - that way we still can use the software (and it is more convenient than using the original hardware as well).
You can find the video here
What are your thoughts on this ? Should we retire our original computers to preserve them better and look for alternatives ? Or do you think that it is better to use the original hardware while it lasts ? I am curious for your feedback.

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By tfh

Prophet (3492)

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11-07-2022, 20:29

In 40/50+ years time, most of our generation will be gone and interest in these retro-computers will be minimal at best. I prefer to enjoy them before they end up at the scrapyard.

By AxelStone

Prophet (3209)

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11-07-2022, 20:41

I already jumped to FPGAs and to be honest is a very good option, a way to renew the old base of computers. I will not say that everyone should stop using old computers, but at least a good number of old computers should be revised, cleaned and saved for museums and similars.

By santiontanon

Paragon (1872)

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11-07-2022, 21:09

This is a tricky question! I have also thought many times that original hardware should be preserved as much as possible, and minimize wear and tear. That being said, as tfh points out, the 80s-generation computers will not receive much attention in a few decades. So, as long as enough hardware survives this period I think we are fine. I personally use emulators 99% of the time, but I think that as long as these old machines are treated with love and care, and with proper maintenance, we should be able to use them if they cause us joy (as that's what they are for anyway haha).

By Juanmi

Master (158)

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11-07-2022, 21:12

I plan to use the old hardware until it cracks or explodes. When it breaks, I'll try to fix it, and if the problem can't be solved, then that's when I'll put it away or go to a museum. For it to be in a museum, it doesn't have to work either, it's good enough aesthetically. And if a museum doesn't want it, it'll go in the trash or be burned with me.

I am a user, not a collector. What I have is to use, not to look through a glass case. Cool

By aoineko

Paragon (1207)

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11-07-2022, 21:36

We can also ask the question from another point of view: isn't using our MSX the best way to preserve them?
Not using them will make them lose interest and without interest why preserve them?
Personally I am in favor of letting them live. Maybe they will have accidents but they can often be repaired and at worst, they will have lived well (rather than lying at the bottom of a box for years, only to end up in the trash when there are too many boxes).

By gdx

Enlighted (6636)

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12-07-2022, 02:00

Same as tfh. And I avoid buying material with dubious contacts so that the slot contacts are damaged as little as possible. I use joysticks to preserve the keyboard longer.

By roadfighter

Champion (467)

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12-07-2022, 04:14

Preserve them by not using?
Really our next generation is going to dump then liked old garbage.(and they are right in a way to).
I will use my MSX and keep on using any aspect of it. If it is broke so be it. FPGA MSX is no MSX in my opinion, then we all could go and use emulation. Where is the fun in that.
Anyway everybody should choose for them self what to do with your MSX. I will not stop using them, MSX is for me the best retro console I have ever owned.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10157)

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12-07-2022, 09:38

Should we preserve the Opel Kadett E series (same age as the MSX-era) as well? I think these cars are going to end up on the scrapyard or in one of those car crunchers.

Here's the thing; emulators are far more practical for daily usage and especially development. By providing a kind of extra layer of functionality, they allow things an MSX can't do. Think of F9 in openMSX; I use that to speed up loading a 640kb wavekit in the Moonsound. Save states, dumping RAM to a file, the debugger, exporting a video to show a bug, showing a memory value on screen, you name it. Emulators aren't physical machines that can wear out, if your PC goes tits-up, you get a new one (or replace a part), and the emulator works again.

At the same time, there's this funny situation that, like this, the virtual MSX isn't really a computer anymore, rather a set of restrictions and limitations within a computer that can do everything. We use these modern PC's and choose to live by this set of restrictions and limitations. But that's fine, art needs restrictions. At the same time, why do we stick to 30 year old restrictions if most of us use emulators? Heck, if 'new' MSX models get built, chances are it contains emulation anyway. Doesn't anyone want to improve chips so that some of the nagging limitations would be gone? Yes, it wouldn't work on the real 'old' thing, but then again, how relevant is the real thing in this day and age? Again: if new MSX'es are built around a chip emulating an MSX, then new behavior can be added. Who's to say this can or cannot be done? MSX2 software doesn't run on MSX1, 2+ doesn't run on 2, tR doesn't run on 2+... G9k software doesn't run (or at least it doesn't show) without G9k. So where do we draw the line?

By Rataplan

Champion (364)

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12-07-2022, 10:08

Tricky indeed. From the standpoint of esthetic conservation, of course not using them doesn't damage them either. But from electrical standpoint, especially electrolytic capacitors suffer more from not using them over time than from using them. It's not news that when powering up a machine that hasn't been used in 20-25 years, caps may very well fly around the room.
For me, I keep using the original hardware when I can, and use emulators when I'm in a hurry or just want to have a 5 minute blast or so. As tfh stated, our children will have nostalgia for THEIR youth, not ours. (although my kids are growing up with MSX, Colecovision, NES, SNES, Amiga and the like, and not with PS5 or anything Cool )

By meits

Scribe (6581)

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12-07-2022, 10:49

To each his own. Depends on what I want to do with the MSX hobby. If I want to code or play a terribly hard game, it's the emulator. For the rest it's the real machines. My plenty of spares are maintained correctly and will easily outlive me.
Amigas just die easier, I guess.

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