The first home computers brought novel technology to a non-specialist audience for the first time in the late 1970's, largely used for amateur programming and games. These machines first used audio tape for storage, then adopted 5.25” floppy disks. The main unit often had a baked-in keyboard, with additional peripherals--for storage, more inputs, and dedicated screens for those who were not content with the standard TV--sold separately. Several of our computers use the original matching screens, while others are fitted onto a staple TV screen; various peripherals are available for each system.
The Center for Digital Scholarship strives to maintain the active operation of this collection. Unfortunately, due to the fragility of aging electronics, the functional status of the computers in the Legacy Technology Collection cannot be guaranteed. If a machine is not functional, please contact a member of the NFCDS team.
Radio Shack TRS-80 microcomputer system
Home video game consoles are essentially specialized personal computers limited to gaming applications. While the first entries from the early 1970's were limited to a handful of games baked in at release, game cartridges became the standard toward the end of the decade, yielding the form factor most commonly associated with the category today. Consoles consist of a main body, containing the processing electronics and serving as a hub for plugging in cartridges and connecting controllers and a TV display.
Sega Game Gear
Super game boy (cartridge converter allowing Game Boy cartridges to be played on the console)
Recently, nostalgia for old game consoles has brought several reboot releases, allowing users to relive childhood memories with old games, typically featuring a miniaturized console pre-packaged with game titles (rather than a full-size console that would accept the original storage format) and modern video output compatible with TV or computer screens.
NES Classic Edition
Super Nintendo Classic Edition
The C64 mini
Moving back rather than forward in time, electronic calculators are the direct ancestors of the more complex systems above, and a tangible reminder that all computers are, at heart, simply adding and subtracting numbers.
Casio printing calculator HR-8A
Texas Instruments TI-5005 II calculator
Gamegenie video game enhancer for NES
Aftermarket cheating cartridge