One of the most advanced technologies as a kid growing up in the 80’s was a VTech Talking Whiz Kid; many of you may remember learning from this gaming system with its external features looking much like a little briefcase when it closed or almost like today’s laptops until the handle popped up.
Reminiscing over this retro device allows one to see how much a laptop does replicate the look even with a pull button at the front to open the Talking Whiz Kid, who knew then that similar styled devices would be popular computing devices of today (though fortunately we do not need cartridges, am I right?)
The well-known cards that came with the genius game reminds me much of the Internet, except in 1986, inserting cards for knowledge was how it was done, as today we thankfully have Google and of course the Internet itself.
It is surprising to look back at the Talking Whiz Kid and not be impressed as to how advanced it was right down to reading bar codes to retrieve the information of each individual card, this too got me thinking about how familiar this sounds to what we know today as QR codes.
The cards themselves were not easy, especially for kids, having advanced math problems for the user to enter the correct solution to receive a reward of simple music and a “Yay you are correct or yes you are right.” which is an awful lot like gamification that is used in marketing and promotions in 2012.
Using this form of electronic device in our childhood can’t help but make me wonder how much they have played a role in technology devices, especially when you look back and see how many parts are reminiscent of some of our technologies of today.
The 1986 Talking Whiz Kid taught us many things from math to music and more, but can the more part include prepping us for what was yet to come in the world of technology as we now know it as well?