In the early 1980s, cutting edge video game systems meant the Atari 2600 and an awesome set of wheels with a dashboard that looked like something out of Star Wars. The more switches, knobs and light-up displays your ride had, the more bodacious it was.
As early as 1981, seriously sci-fi dashboards were hitting the street. Of course, it wasn't until the next year that these video game-esque, sci-fi-inspired dashboards hit their zenith. In 1982, Knight Rider debuted and the ultimate high tech light-up dashboard was born. After that, a whole new fantasy spurred designers on in their quest to build the most button, knob and switche-equipped dashboards ever.
In today's world of portable Heads-Up Displays it's easy to view these retro designs as outdated. And yet there remains a visceral, vintage sci-fi aura around these panels. It is an emotion from a time when the tactile flick of a switch could mean anything from igniting hidden turbo boosters to ejecting your passenger. Take a trip down memory lane with us in the gallery below, where we're showcasing some of the best real-life tech a 1980s dashboard could offer. Can you imagine if today's user interfaces were like this? Cool as these dashboards are, they'd be a nightmare for non-geeks to operate.
Dark Roasted Blend has a ton more digital dashboards from the '80s — all worth a look.