CES 2020: South Hall goes Retro

Today was a big day for the blog team in the South Hall. South Hall has been home to a lot of the smaller companies and it’s always a great place to see where the industry is really going.

…and this year they went retro.

South Hall was filled with cassette players and old-school video games. Yes there were drones and so many AirPods knockoffs I lost count. But the big splash, right by the door, came from the retro stuff.

Take a look at the photo at the top of the article and tell me it’s really 2020. These old-school-looking cassette players were here to par-tay!!! Some sported Bluetooth connectivity, others would rip to MP3, but most just played cassettes through a big, largely poor quality speaker. Kids if you want to know how mom and dad listened to music, here’s your chance.

It wasn’t just the cassettes.

The other big segment was retro gaming.

What could be more retro than a Stranger Things-themed pinball machine? It was but one of the things found in South Hall. Companies like Arcade 1Up offered up convincing replica consoles playing what looked like genuine original versions of Space Invaders, Frogger, and Burger Time.

I know gaming is more advanced than this…

Clearly this isn’t the show to find out more about the current state of gaming. There’s another show for that. This show was all about the nostalgia of gaming and let me tell you there was a lot of it.  If you tossed away dozens of quarters at the local arcade in your youth, you now have the chance to get the same game at home. If you’re too young to remember those days, you can experience them in person now. All it takes is a few dollars and you’ll be in business.

Where is the new stuff?

Yes, there was a lot of new stuff. Well kind of. A lot of the more modern products seemed like reheated leftovers compared to the newly minted nostalgia stuff. Booth after booth filled with power banks and headphones just didn’t raise the old blood pressure this year. Nothing did, except the old fashioned thrill of blasting the bad guys in an arcade cabinet. Then, I guess, popping in a copy of Journey’s Esc4pe in your new/old cassette player and celebrating 20th-century style.

I guess everything old really is new again, at least here in the South Hall of CES.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.