Retrospecs lets you capture and convert images and videos so that they appear as they would on a variety of home computers and consoles from the 70's, 80's and 90's. It's part camera app, part tribute to the sort of computers I lusted after whilst pouring over copies of Byte magazine as a lad.
For a full list of the current computer and console presets, see the updates section.
Retrospecs is available for iOS (it supports iPhones, iPods and iPads), and version 2 requires iOS 9 or above. (The 1.36 release will work on older devices, although it doesn't support video processing.)
The following images were all generated within Retrospecs. To see the full list of currently "emulated" systems, see the updates section.
After 35 updates to the v1.x series, version 2.0 of Retrospecs is now available in the App Store!
If you want to see any future updates to Retrospecs, please share your creations and help spread the word!
The current system presets as of release 2.0 are:
To create a shiny new custom emulation, either hold two fingers down on the preview image in the converter (which should create a *roughly* equivalent custom emulation for you to begin customising) or select the "Custom" system and then tap "Create new emulation" under the mode tab.
The current custom emulation options as of release 2.0 are:
Bit depth palettes:
System character sets:
Custom character sets:
The idea for Retrospecs had been kicking about in my mind for a few years – the concept being part preservation/part tribute to the sort of computer systems I lusted after whilst pouring over handed down copies of Byte magazine as a lad. However, I didn't get around to implementing anything concrete until early February '14 when I roughed out some vague proof of concept algorithms.
At the time I was re-skilling between jobs (the goal being to transition between web and native app development), so I abandoned the other bits I was experimenting with and started focusing full time on the app proper. After several weeks intensive graft, the first conversion engine (the "attribute" engine, created specifically with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in mind) was limping along natively on my trusty iPhone 4.
Fast forwarding a bit, over the following three months I threw myself into expanding the available conversion engines, added a basic user interface and by Saturday the 7th of June 2014 I'd finally submitted the first build to the Apple App Store.
Shortly after that, I was back in full time work and so Retrospecs became a strictly weekend affair - adding new engines and
emulations and building out the UI until it was roughly how I initially envisaged it. (Apart from a layer of output filters
including phosphor and raster effects - they're still to come. Oh, and video.
And an Android version. And all that
other stuff lurking on the to-do.)
Fast forward three and a half years (and thirty five updates to the 1.x app) and work began on version 2 - the focus being to provide support for video processing. (Although being realistic, this was only going to be feasible on more modern devices.) After a few months working on the app, the initial release of the 2.x app was released on the 13th of March, 2018.
On top of that, I've also spent many snatched hours of an evening completely failing to attract much of a following for the app, usually by failing to convince people to accept a promo code on Twitter. (Sorry about that.)
As I recently phrased it: