TechRadar's ultimate Christmas day: our best gifts revealed
25th Dec 2013 | 10:01
The Xmas tech gifts that we forever cherished
Nostalgia, eh? It's that thing that creeps up at you over the festive period. It makes you fondly think back to the days of Christmas past when gifts weren't just iTunes cards and apps, PS4 games and e-readers.
Here the TechRadar team looks back at the tech gifts received at Christmas that they remember the fondest. The ones that made us geeky about gadgets and forget the family squabbling.
Enjoy reading and reminiscing, and thanks for helping to make TechRadar in 2013 one of the most-read technology websites on the planet. Oh, and don't forget to add your tech-mas memories in the comments below so we can all wallow in nostalgia together.
And on that note, let us transport you to the year 1987...
Commodore Amiga 500
Patrick Goss, editor in chief (UK)
I remember being so excited when I got a Commodore Amiga 500 one Christmas that I wanted to rush off and plug it in right away, which given that my other pressies were the games was probably a mistake.
I will always have a place in my heart for the Amiga - from Sensible World of Soccer to Cannon Fodder, from Kick Off 2 to Football Manager and from Lemmings to Speedball 2, this was one of the all time great gaming machines. I'll still fight the death with anyone who suggests the Atari ST was better...
Aiwa ghetto blaster
Paul Douglas, editor in chief (global)
Aah, the Aiwa tape-to-tape deck I was given in the eighties. Like most ghetto blasters, this hunk of black plastic and metal was too big to comfortably carry around and would have needed about 50 batteries, but plugged into the mains it was perfect for making mixtapes. Of course, there was no Spotify, or even an internet, to stream music to it from but it did a mean job of recording the Top 40 from Radio 1 every Sunday.
Sony PlayStation One
Nick Broughall, editor TechRadar Australia
I remember getting a joint PS One with my brother in the mid nineties. We had two controllers so we could play together like we had with every console before it, but that wasn't enough to stop the arguments. Because the game we both wanted to play was Final Fantasy VII, and the single Playstation just wasn't enough. Nor was the single analogue TV.
Still, we somehow managed to survive, and I still have that copy of FFVII. Although sadly I think my brother has the Playstation to play it on, so I guess we're right back to where we started from...
The Argos Catalogue
Desire Athow, editor, TechRadar Pro
Unfortunately, I never got a tech-based gift for Christmas. The closest thing to it was a (paper) Argos catalogue from the late '80s that one relative sent to me from the UK. Flicking through it, I discovered Amstrad, Commodore, Atari, Amiga and so many other tech brands, most of which have now disappeared. It kickstarted my passion (addiction??) for technology, something that lasts till this day and that big, fat bible-like directory of stuff is probably why I am the editor of TechRadar Pro today.
Dan Grabham, associate editor, TechRadar Pro
My favourite Christmas tech memory was when my parents bought me an Acorn A5000 computer (which was a next-gen Archimedes with the ahead-of-its-time RISC OS). I'd wanted one for ages and they really pushed the boat out as they were quite expensive, (although they used it as well). I was about 11 or something at the time. My friends used to come around after school and we'd play games like Stunt Racer 2000. And eat Jaffa Cakes.
Quartz Robot Watch
Marc Chacksfield, deputy editor
While my first proper tech memory was inheriting my uncle's Atari 2600, the best tech present I ever received was a small, plastic watch... that turned into a frickin' robot. It was around 1985 and I was really into Transformers, so a watch (which after hours of looking on the web, I think was the Quartz Robot Watch) that 'transformed' blew my tiny mind.
To be honest, the watch probably broke every health and safety regulation going - I remember its legs and arms falling off a lot - but I didn't care. My watch could tell the time AND become a robot - nothing since has excited me as much. Well, not until I saw Sonic blast through Green Hill Zone catching all those rings a few years later.
NES games console
Gareth Beavis, phones and tablets editor
My best ever gadget was the first ever Nintendo console. The NES. The greatest day in my childhood.
It came with the Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt combo, and even had the light gun. I played it all day long, switching between the games, and quickly became adept at puffing air on the cartridge to make it work.
In a way I've never hit those heights again - subsequent games and even consoles never matched up to that joy. I'd liken it the way the first astronauts felt, knowing that the rush could never be repeated, as adulthood has wiped away all vestiges of my childlike wonder.
Kate Solomon, news editor
There has never been a games console that has smelled as good as the NES. It's pretty much the only thing I remember about Christmas '92 - the almost burnt smell of fresh plastic mingled with woody cardboard and polystyrene, the tang of Christmas tree, the smokey coal of the open fire. I didn't even know I wanted a NES until I ripped the paper off and saw the box because you weren't a hashtag gamer if you had a NES or a Megadrive, you were just a lucky kid who was about to lose a year praying at the altar of Nintendo.
John McCann, phones and tablets writer
Let's travel back to 2000. All my friends (and even my dad) have the Nokia 3210 and are rubbing it in my spotty, pubescent face. Since school started in September it's been a constant barrage of abuse, but come December 25 I have my revenge... wait... what's this?
A Motorola T180. Crap. This isn't a Nokia.
That aside, the T180 will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first mobile phone and kick started a love affair which landed me a killer job.
Kane Fulton, staff writer, TechRadar Pro
Funnily enough, I've just bought an Xbox One for myself to unwrap on Christmas day. It'll be sure to evoke memories of when I last took the wrappings off a festive console - an unexpected Sega Saturn with Bug!, Sega Rally and Virtua Fighter inside the box. A Commodore Amiga gamer at the time, I was spellbound by the Saturn's polygon-driven graphics and arcade thrills. I hope Microsoft can emulate that magic on December 25.
Nintendo Game Boy
Hugh Langley, staff writer
For me, it was opening my original Game Boy on Christmas morning – it set the bar to unrepeatable high. I don't remember anything else about that Christmas so I can only assume I was too buried in Super Mario Land to eat or speak to anyone for the rest of the week. It wasn't so much the games that excited me but the idea of being able to play them on the move. Sure, opening my Motorola V550 years later was good too, but I couldn't play Pokemon, could I?
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