Classic gamers will see these 90s PC's as being classic systems. I'd love a good 486/66 or 100 armed with a "real" Sound Blaster Pro for playing the older DOS classics, or even a P166 armed with an AWE32 and a Voodoo2 3DFX card for playing Quake 2, etc.
Emphasis mine. This is really the heart of it. With '90s PCs, you don't have a single, named product like a Commodore 64 or TRS-80. Instead, you have a collection of named components that combine to form a single node of nostalgia.
And believe me, it's just as "classic" as the '80s microcomputers that dominate discussion here, with just as much powerful nostalgia. If you need proof, just check out these subsections of the DOSBox forums:
There's a thriving subculture of retro-PC enthusiasts, myself among them, who delight in recreating pre-millennial systems. 3dfx, Aureal, Gravis - these names carry as much weight there as Applied Engineering and Beagle Bros. do here.
In fact, I recently finished my own PC project, a Dell Dimension XPS D333 heavily enhanced to be a late-90's gaming powerhouse (Voodoo2 SLI, SB Live!, P2-333 replaced by Celeron-500, Windows 98). It runs everything from Half-Life to Deus Ex like a champ and I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if I could get EAX to work with System Shock 2 without a noticeable performance hit...
There's a tendency among the '80s flavor of retrocomputing enthusiasts to view the '90s with disdain, and I think it's (1) based mostly on emotion and (2) sorely misguided. The '90s were perhaps less fundamental for driving computing forward than previous decades (and then only in certain ways), but they were no less important, and no less iconic.
Edited by Streck, Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:52 PM.