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SYFY WIRE Stranger Things

Microsoft takes us back to 1985 with new Stranger Things Windows tie-in

By Matthew Jackson
Microsoft Windows Stranger Things

Every new season of Stranger Things presents an opportunity for companies to embrace their retro side with nostalgic products that tie in to the Netflix hit set in the 1980s, and Stranger Things 3 is no different. This time around the tie-ins are bigger than ever, covering everything from Baskin Robbins sundaes to Polaroid cameras to the brief return of New Coke. Now, it turns out Microsoft's also getting in on the act, and if you still remember what it was like to goof around with a PC back in the '80s, you're going to want in on this. 

In collaboration with Netflix, the software giant has released a new app called "Windows 1.11" (Get it?), a throwback emulator of Windows 1.0, which was released in 1985 — the year Stranger Things 3 takes place. This isn't just a straight-up emulator of the original Windows, though. It's full of hidden clues about the new season, including secrets hidden in the first version of Microsoft Paint, clips from the show that draw from that heavily pixelated look we all remember from the days of FMV gaming, and even an old-fashioned dungeon crawl-style game that helps you unlock the secrets of Stranger Things 3

So, if you've already streamed the new season and you still want more fun Stranger Things content, this could be a fun trip down memory lane for you. Or, if your memory lane doesn't stretch back quite that far, an opportunity to get a peek into what using a computer in the days when Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas were kids was like. 

Microsoft's not just dropping a throwback app in celebration of Stranger Things, though. The company has also announced a series of "Camp Know Where" events at select Microsoft store locations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. Attendees (ages 13 and up) will have the opportunity to participate in one of two workshops: "Rule the arcade," in which they'll learn to code a playable game of their own, and "Strange-ify your world," in which they'll make their own mini-movie. Camp Know Where launches July 20, and you can register at Microsoft's website.

The Stranger Things tie-in bar keeps getting raised. If this is what got rolled out for this season, we can't wait to see what kind of time warp is generated when Stranger Things 4 finally arrives.