What if the Stranger Things Kids Weren’t Stuck with 1980s Technology?

The “outdated” 1980s technology in Stranger Things contributes to the show’s overall nostalgia, but how would the plot change if the kids battled evil with today’s tech, instead?


Netflix's Stranger Things is a media phenomenon — mostly because of its excellent characters, but also partly due to the 80s nostalgia vibe it exudes.

Walkie-talkies, turntables, and, in the latest season, arcade machines all highlight the 1980s technology the characters engage with throughout their battles with evil from the “Upside Down.”

According to a report from the entertainment industry publication Variety, the show is the number one most in-demand show among U.S. viewers, and it averaged approximately 70 million demand expressions (intent to view or watch the show) for the week of Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. 

Related: 12 Classic Movies with a Message for Your Business

Variety also points out that during Stranger Things opening weekend on Netflix (which started October 27), each episode accounted for more than 4 million viewers.

Part of the show’s success lies in the 1980s backdrop, which includes its music, clothing, and of course, its classic 1980s technology.

The show's creators, the Duffer brothers, deserve a lot of credit. Considering they were born roughly about the time the show takes place—season one takes place in 1983 and season two takes place in 1984—they nail the cloak-and-dagger feel of growing up in that period. 

I grew up in the 80s, too, and was somewhere in the age bracket between the Stranger Things boys and teenage characters during that time.

The show transports me and my fellow Gen Xers back to the days of our youth and accurately paints a picture of life before the Internet for Millennial viewers to see. 

But what if the Stranger Things kids had access to today's tech?

Speculating on how Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will and Eleven would handle their dire situation, we look at how these kids would battle the forces from the Upside Down if we substituted those 1980s electronics with modern products.

We won't substitute the music, because we love DEVO, The Clash, MÖTLEY CRÜE, Jefferson Airplane, and even one-hit wonders such as Corey Hart and Sunglasses at Night.

(Spoiler Alert: CE Pro will take a look at season two).

Click here to see a slideshow of 1980s technology found in Stranger Things (and what the kids could have benefitted from in today's world).

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob has also served as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In his personal time beyond his family, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


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