For a story I'm writing set in the post-apocalypse, I have a character whose only real reminder of their dead family are the movies they used to watch together, since everything else that belonged to the family was lost/destroyed. I thought about having the character download the movies onto a tablet of some kind before the apocalypse really hit, but I'm not sure how long they would be stored on the device or any other issues that might come up due to living in an apocalypse. For a bit of background of the world in question, monster-like creatures have overrun most of the planet, but, 20 to 30 years later, certain clusters of humanity have a some-what functioning government. People live in small, apartment-like homes with necessities like water and electricity and jobs that are similar to the mundane ones in the pre-apocalyptic society, a plumber or a chef or a factory worker, but not enough to have a functioning internet, unless I'm mistaken and this world could reasonably have a barebones, pseudo-internet.

So, given the context of this world, what exactly would it take for the character to have a device the could play old-movies for an indefinite amount of time and is not enough of a hassle that it would be a hinderance to carry around?

  • $\begingroup$ How many years have passed since the apocalypse ? $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @TimMcClelland I was thinking somewhere between 20 to 30 years. $\endgroup$
    – TheWatcher
    May 15, 2020 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Unless there was some sort of EMP event, a tablet kept in good working order should be able to store and play video files in that timeframe. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ @TimMcClelland I see. Is there anything that might make it difficult for a tablet to be kept in good working condition that someone might not think would be an issue, but in the apocalypse, is? $\endgroup$
    – TheWatcher
    May 15, 2020 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ The battery is likely going to need to be replaced at some point. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 20:32

3 Answers 3


One alternative to a tablet would be a small portable DVD player (the kind with a flip up screen) and DVDs in a compact case. Since there is still a power grid, your protagonist should have no problem finding a working electrical outlet.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My thoughts exactly. If the videos were stored on an old-fashioned legacy DVD, it could only be destroyed through direct physical damage - scratching, cracks, or warping from high heat. Before video files on the computer hard drives became popular, several makes of portable DVD players available could even be taken on airplanes, and ran from batteries or six, nine and twelve volt systems. Their are many forms of solar-powered battery chargers, and portable solar-powered power supplies that could provide direct voltage and current to the player, bypassing the necessity for batteries completely. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 20:50

My dad has a 18 years old portable computer, it still works kind of fine, you can use Chrome, word and of other basic softwares on it.

Also broken electronics can be adjusted and restored if you are not lazy.

(there are people who restore old broken and unfoctioning things as an hobby)

I guess, electronics are like love... The more you respect it, the longer it lasts.

  • $\begingroup$ also the older the tech, the more repairable it is, because new tech has more specialized parts. $\endgroup$
    – user253751
    Sep 22 at 18:05

The apocalypse happened in 1981.

super 8

The movies your character watches are super-8 movies. He has jerry-rigged a light source and he turns the reels by hand.

There is no internet, but CB radio remains popular.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ He better watch it quickly. Unless stored in a climate-controlled room, film has a life expectancy of less than 100 years. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond : good thing he is only 99. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 16, 2020 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ There probably aren't going to be many 8mm prints of recent popular films lying around. But I wouldn't mind a scene where the protagonist gets an old 35mm projector going in a movie theater. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2020 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @TimMcClelland - I thought that this was home movies, given that he is remembering his family with them. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 16, 2020 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ The OP says movies they used to watch together, so I'm assuming that means popular films from the protagonist's childhood. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2020 at 19:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .