A Moment In Tech: 24 February 1997
Ahoy there gadget lovers, and bienvenue to another steamy, hot slice of A Moment In Tech action. You’re probably well versed in our time travelling ways by now but, for those not familiar with what goes on here, we’re about to examine technology passed from a year consigned to history.
Which year? Why, it’s only 1997 again. We’ve already visited the little beauty once before in another edition, but now February gets the nostalgia treatment. So, without further ado, let’s get to it…
As we’ve said many, many times, the undisputed king of the feature phone game back in the day was that cheeky Finnish firm Nokia, and 1997 saw the firm continue its dominance. Despite facing competition from upstarts like Motorola and Ericsson, the Scandinavians seemingly produced a good effort in the Nokia rinGo. Despite having a truly woeful name, the rinGo boasted a likeable candybar form factor and a simplistic interface designed for ease of use. Yet it seems it went too far on the simplicity front, and the rinGo was quickly dubbed the “Bimbo” for its perceived lack of functionality and controversial marketing aimed at women. Cue lots of outrage, and a revamped version that landed in 1997 as a result. Still, at least it looked nice…
The nineties was a revolutionary decade for personal audio, with CDs in full flow and cassette tapes slowly on the decline, and 1997 provided a real milestone that helped shaped the future that we all enjoy today. Although technically not in the category of personal audio, the Audible.com MobilePlayer was the first portable audio player to go on sale across the world. Designed as a dictation device, users could record and playback voice notes in fairly decent quality. As well as being able to connect to computers to transfer files, it also looked like something straight out of Star Trek. Memory capacity was limited to a paltry 4MB, so you could only cram it with about two hours of notes, but with a rechargeable battery, you didn’t even have to go rooting around for AAs.
Despite being better known as the year that brought us Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, 1997 also had some other 64-bit treats tucked up its little sleeve. Alongside Mr Bond and co came a host of other titles including Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, a niche classic that proved a big hit on the fledgling console. Set in a “primitive world where time has no meaning”, Turok tasks the player with protecting the barrier between earth and The Lost Land, a nasty little place filled with dinosaurs, aliens and all kinds of scary stuff. As a result, you have to slash your way round with a variety of different weaponry in an attempt to destroy an evil overlord. Sounds fun, right? It was. Possessing some similarities to classic first-person shooter Doom, Turok became a cult hit and went on to become a must-have title for all N64 gamers, as well as inhabiting the nightmares of any younger kids that got their hands on it.
So there we are friends, another week notched off in our continual magical mystery tour through time and space. It goes so fast, doesn’t it? But fear not, for we shall be back next weekend to dose you up with another instalment, so see you then.