Enjoy these retro iPhone apps before you’re too old

Feb 10, 2012
Shine

Sometimes I wake up with a hop in my step and think, “Hey there, I’m not so old!” But other times, everything I love is disappearing from store shelves, nobody is the same as they used to be a few years ago, and I ache in weird places and getting old feels real and terrifying. […]

Sometimes I wake up with a hop in my step and think, “Hey there, I’m not so old!” But other times, everything I love is disappearing from store shelves, nobody is the same as they used to be a few years ago, and I ache in weird places and getting old feels real and terrifying. Another reminder of this feeling hit recently as Kodak decided to wave the white flag on their whole photo game.

Well, I guess it was more like a grey flag, considering they’re going to leverage their brand for licensing and patent services. But still, the company that was synonymous with film when I was growing up has filed Chapter 11. If nothing else, we’ll still have Kodak Gallery (free), to use when Instagram breaks. For the uninitiated, Kodak Gallery lets users share unlimited photos in large groups, making it easier to combine everyone’s vacation pictures in one easy to access spot. Once the photos have been uploaded they can even be turned into photo books and video slide shows.

But we can’t spend the rest of our days mourning the death of Kodak. Especially when our tears are needed in other places. There are so many app reminders of the good times we used to have with technology that’s now considered “retro” or discontinued.

Take for instance Pad & Quill ($0.99). Do you even remember what a notebook feels like? The office I work in is mostly paperless and my own home has a few notebooks with the pages already filled. Basically, it’s been a long time since I went and bought a spiral notebook, but Pad & Quill does a great job recreating the experience. Users can pick out different paper styles and fonts and type away in the best fictional notebook I’ve seen in some time. Individual notes can be bookmarked, but my favorite feature is that the app lets you organize notes in different books. If you want to keep a notebook full of poetry and a separate one for your TV show ideas, you can do that with Pad & Quill.

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If you’d prefer to remember the simpler times before cell phones, when Ma Bell ruled the dial tone domain, there’s Retro Dialer ($0.99). The app packs 14 old-school phone skins to make your iPhone’s dialer look like it belongs in a museum. My kingdom for a full two-piece rotary that you have to tap to lift up before you can dial, but the sound effects on Retro Dialer will have to suffice for now.

There is also Pocketbooth ($0.99), an app that not only recreates the fun spontaneity of taking pictures in a photo booth but also lets users mail a physical strip of their photos to their friends. Once you’ve taken your pictures you can give the app an address and off they’ll go care of the USPS. Pocketbooth also comes with the requisite amount of filters including black and white, sepia, antique and color.

Of course, some things are better left in the past, like handheld LCD games. With their weird see-through backgrounds and penciled-in characters, LCD games made the Game Boy look downright gorgeous in comparison. Retro Games Collection (free) will remind you just how much you didn’t miss these games over the course of its three recreations. To its credit, the app seems to recognize how weird and bad these were with the tagline, “Poor graphics? Yes. Sounds Limited to bleeps and boops? Yes.” However, its contention that you won’t stop playing doesn’t ring true to this writer.

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If none of these apps get your heart pumping for the good ’ol days, just wait a couple of years and come back and find me when you suddenly really miss Nokia flip phones and Nintendo 64. It’ll happen, and I’ll understand.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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