Are you trying to find a gift for one of those crazies who's always going on about the superiority of vinyl, or who dresses like a character on Mad Men? Here are some ideas for the retrophile in your life.
Leica M7: DSLR schmeeSLR. Digital photography still can't match the old-school beauty of film, and Leica's M7 35mm camera is one of the best and most gorgeous out there. It's the kind of gift you'd hand down to your grandkids, partly because it'll last forever and partly because it costs enough that you need several lifetimes to get your money's worth. The M7 also has an even-more-decadent Hermes edition which clocks in at $US14,000, but the normal M7 is available now and would send any prosumer DSLR-owner into fits of jealousy. $US5500 [Gizmodo; Leica]
Retro-Gen: Modern video games are so complicated, so expensive, so... 3D. A true retrophile isn't interested in Modern Warfare 2, but could be persuaded to play a little Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 2 or Toejam and Earl 2: Panic on Funkotron. The Retro-Gen, a little sorta-legal handheld emulator, will play either original Genesis cartridges or ROMs that you've loaded onto an included SD card. Plus, the entire system costs less than some modern DSi or PSP games. $US38 [Gizmodo; Video Game Central Store]
French Press: Here's one where an irrational fear of the new is totally justified. Your typical fancy, electronic drip coffee-maker spits out watery, bitter, brown liquid only technically identifiable as coffee, while the French press (basically a glass jug with a mesh screen plunger) produces rich, delicious coffee, retaining the essential oils that give a true depth of flavour. Not only is it older, simpler and cheaper, it's flat-out better. $US20 [Bodum French Press]
Set of 11 Kenny Loggins Albums on Vinyl: You know what, this is a great gift for anyone, retrophile or not. Even if you don't have a turntable, 11 of these albums would make excellent wall art. Matter of fact, I might just buy these myself. Go find your own Kenny Loggins vinyl collection! $US10 [eBay]
iPod Classic: Multitouch? OLED? Wi-Fi? Widescreen video? What about the good old days, when convergence was a crazy futuristic concept and PMPs were called MP3 players, because, well, that's all they did. The iPod Classic is just about the only traditional hard drive–based PMP left on the market, and while it's better than ever (thin, long battery life, spacious 160GB hard drive), it's still a relic of the past. I mean, seriously, a click wheel? What is this, 2007? $329 at the Australian Apple Store [Gizmodo; Apple Store]
Classic Prints From The Onion: The comedy gods over at The Onion have their very own gifts for retro-minded buyers, creating "classic" Onion front pages from times in the publication's fictional history (what, you didn't know it was founded in the mid-18th century as "The Mercantile Onion" by Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel?). The all-time classic is "Holy Shit: Man Walks on F—king Moon", but "Whites Invent 'Rock and Roll'" and "Mr. T Releases 'Pity List '86'" are both pretty amazing things to hang on your wall, too. Guaranteed to stop passersby and give them the giggles. $US33 each, framed and matted [Onion Store]
Trip to the Computer History Museum: You can be a retrophile and still love tech, and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California is arguably the best place in the world to revel in the fascinating history of technological advancement. Right now, they're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit, examining the history of computer chess and visible storage, and remembering Charles Babbage, inventor of the first automatic computing engine. Among those constantly rotating exhibits are jewels like the Cray 1 supercomputer, the world's first Ethernet cable and a Tandy TRS-80. Free admission, but arrange your own flights... [Gizmodo; CHM Site]
DON'T BUY A Modern Smartphone: Anybody who yearns for the old days is going to find the idea of a powerful, always-connected pocket computer pretty threatening. Today's smartphones are as powerful as the best desktop computers from 10 years ago and are only getting better. An iPhone, BlackBerry or HTC Magic might well explode a retrophile's mind all over his face. But if he's submitted to peer pressure and allowed a thoroughly modern iPhone into his classic-rock life, we do have one recommendation: The iRetroPhone iPhone app, which simulates an old rotary phone. $1.19 [iTunes]
Don't forget to recommend your own favourite retro-centric gifts in the comments.
All Giz Wants is our annual round-up of favourite gift ideas, including amazing attainable objects and a few far-out fantasies. We'll be popping guides catered to different interests several times per day for the next week, so keep checking back.