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New TI-84 calculator with full color screen is so totally radical

Are you a product of the 90s who remembered programming your Texas Instruments scientific calculators to include 8-bit games? Man, those were some simple times. We’d play anything from Super Mario Bros., Breakout, and Snake during the 10-minute break between classes (and sometime during class. Sorry, Ms. Lim). One decade later, Texas Instruments is finally bringing color screens to an otherwise outdated tool, letting students and mathematicians alike enjoy games and equations in technicolor.

Spotted by TechPoweredMath, the new TI-84+ C Silver Edition will feature a 320 x 240-pixel resolution with a 16-bit color LCD screen. Unlike older models, these calculators will also run on rechargeable batteries and a seemingly slimmer overall body. Texas Instruments has reportedly pilot tested the new models in randomly-selected classrooms, with the product aiming for a spring 2013 launch… hopefully just soon enough before final exams season for high school and college students.

However, if you can’t wait, the TI-84 isn’t the only Texas Instruments calculator with color screens. Last year, the company unveiled the TI-Nspire line that made the new generation of graphic calculators look more like a smartphone than ever, all while complying with most common exam standards. Still, those babies cost upward of $150, and thriftier parents can find online deals on the 84s for below the $100 price point.

Although there’s really no need for a calculator to have full color screens, the addition of this new feature on the TI-84 seems like something we never knew we missed. How have we played Super Mario Bros. for so long without seeing the Koopa shell colors? Or how about the bright gold coins? Once you start getting spoiled with things like iPad Retina displays, it’s hard to imagine any other gadget left behind in a monochromatic world. Maybe it’s just our nostalgia speaking, but if we had this feature back when we were learning about parabolas, math would have been a lot more fun to pay attention to if it meant plotting colorful, twisty graphs.