• Facebook

    500 K / likes

  • Twitter

    1 M / followers

Retrospecs App Transforms Your Photos into Retro Computing Art



Do you yearn for a time when graphics were more pixelated and Betamax still had a chance? At times, we can’t help but to reminisce about late 20th-century technology, which is why we have decided to take a close look at Retrospecs for iOS. This nifty $2 app allows you to quickly transform your favorite pictures into retro computing art with the press of a button. Today, we are taking a look to see if it fulfills our nostalgic desires or gives us the pains of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.

Launching the application prompts you to either take a new photograph with your camera or select an existing photograph from your device’s library. The camera doesn’t provide a real-time view of the spectacular Retrospecs experience but is still quite handy for quickly snapping a photo without the need to leave the app itself. Better yet, the built-in camera develops far faster than a Polaroid – take that, instant photography!

If you are so inclined, the same screen has an options button, allowing you to make tweaks before capturing your new retro-moments. Settings allow you to adjust camera settings such as locking the view in landscape mode and whether or not to save original photos. In addition, you can fine tweak the conversion process to output higher quality results (a slower process), keep copies of your new creations in a photo album, and even disable unwanted emulation modes.

ContactSheet-001 copy

If you intend on creating some real pieces of art with the application then it is important to visit the Settings menu and ensure the ‘High-quality mode’ and ‘Save a copy at native size in a photo album’ are both selected. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to hook up your favorite zip drive or floppy disk to backup your creations – you are stuck with Apple’s modern flash storage.

1435158864.485219-atari_st-stucki-serpentine-rgb copy
ATARI ST – Stucki

After selecting a photograph from our library, we were instantly launched into the ‘converter’ process. Besides being able to choose your favorite system to emulate, you can also select a particular dither pattern or apply filter enhancements. For those of you who grew up with photorealistic graphics, the various dither patterns are simply different methods of creating illusions of ‘color depth’. Play around with each option to find which is your favorite.

1435158423.389302-sega_game_gear-none copy
Sega Game Gear – No Dither

Some systems include a further tab, allowing you to easily select various graphic modes. For example, the Commodore 64 allows you to choose between CBMSCII, Hi-Res, and Multicolor graphics. The ATARI 2600 enables you to select between NTSC, PAL, and SECAM color systems.

1435158299.577542-sega_mega_drive-atkinson-serpentine-rgb copy
SEGA Mega Drive – Atkinson

At this time, the app contains thirty-five different system emulations for you to choose from – that’s almost 9x more options than games SEGA’s Dreamcast had at launch. The eight included dither modes include Floyd-Steinberg, Atkinson, Stucki, Sierra, Sierra (2 row) Bayer 4×4, Bayer 8×8, and ‘none’. For a detailed list of every included emulation click here. We have decided to showcase some of our favorites within this article. For the full-resolution versions be sure to visit our official Flickr page.

1435158092.113377-sega_master-sierra-serpentine-rgb copy
SEGA Master System – Sierra

As you can see, you need to have a particular view to appreciate and rendered images. Not everyone will be a fan of taking clear photographs and emulating them as outdated system graphics from decades past. Overall, we had some fun playing around with the app and for the $2 price tag, it may provide you with some fun amusement. And no, you can’t print the photos out on your GameBoy Printer when you are finished.

To download Retrospecs and check it out for yourself, click here. In addition, we have two free copies of the application to give away. For a chance to win a free copy of Retrospecs for iOS, leave a comment below telling us about your favorite nostalgic video gaming moment. After 24 hours of this article being published, we will select two lucky recipients. Good luck!