What do you think of when you picture 1984? Parachute pants and giant shoulder pads were the clothing items to have. Cabbage Patch Dolls, Rainbow Bright, and GI Joe were the ‘it’ toys. Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and The Karate Kid ruled our movie screens. What you may not have realized is that tech was just heating up.

Computers 

Apple launched its iconic commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl. The ad’s original concept was to show the fight for control of computer technology among the masses, with the Mac as a tool for combating conformity and asserting originality, all while never showing a single shot of the actual computer. Two days later, Steve Jobs officially launched the first commercially successful personal computer, the Macintosh PC. The Macintosh PC changed the world, making computers accessible to ordinary people.

During this same time period, Dell also launched its computer, although most people were using IBM PCs, which were much less accessible to the common person and cost a whopping $3,000. 

Bill Gates was not yet one of the wealthiest men in the world. His career was still in its infancy in 1984 when he appeared on the cover of Time holding a floppy disk. The article, titled “The Computer Revolution,” describes the rapid advancements in computer technology and how they are transforming the way people work, live, and communicate. During this time period, with the invention of the Mac and other computers, people realized that computers were becoming more powerful, affordable, and accessible, leading to widespread adoption of technology that would impact society for years to come. 

Phones

It was a rarity to stumble across someone with their own mobile phone in 1984. They were very large devices known as “The Brick,” weighing 2 pounds and costing $4,000, equivalent to $9,000 today! Instead of phones, most people often used pagers. Pagers allowed others to send you a callback number and/or a brief message, and then you would have to find the nearest phone to call someone back. As there were no texts or voicemails, if the person paging you did not pick up, all that was left was to leave a voice message on their answering machine and hope you were around when they called back. 

Video Games

Most video gaming was done in arcades, but some people did have their own gaming systems at home. Atari and Commodore 64 were popular in 1984. Alexey Pajitnov created the legendary puzzle game Tetris in 1984.  In the same year, several Tetris-based games hit the market—the first spin-off with a hat-based theme, hence the name, released by Nintendo. Welltris was a 3D version of Tetris developed by Andromeda for the Commodore 64 computer. It was a unique take on Tetris, with blocks falling into a well instead of a grid. These are just two examples. The popularity of Tetris led to many variations and spin-offs for years to come.  

Leading into 2024, people in 1984 would be shocked by what video games have become capable of today. With lifelike graphics, epic storylines, and more immersive experiences, games like World of Warcraft and Beat Saber VR have moved beyond what creators in 1984 could have ever thought possible.

Four decades later, we see no sign of stopping. We embrace new advances and create opportunities from them; we’re always looking at how we can evolve to serve our customers and theirs better. We can’t wait to see what 2064 will look like.

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