Created By: PancticeSquadCutterback on April 30, 2013 Last Edited By: PancticeSquadCutterback on June 9, 2013
Troped

The Alleged Computer

A really, really shoddy computer.

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Trope
"Well, I hope [the nine hundred dollars Strong Bad is requesting is] for a new computer. [Strong Bad] could get one like [his] at a garage sale for, like... (chuckling) fifteen dollars".
Strong Sad, sbemail gimmicks

It's a rusty old computer that takes over a minute to perform a simple operation. A beaten-up computer that restarts unexpectedly and at the last time you would like it to.

This is The Alleged Computer. This computer, to put it kindly, isn't the most viable to use to lollygag or search. In fact, you could probably benefit using an old mobile phone with internet capabilities over this type of "computer". Their best use is probably a novelty doorstop. If it runs overly slowly or breaks with a single touch, it definitely fits here.

If a computer is actually much more efficient than it looks, see What a Piece of Junk.

Compare The Alleged Car and The Alleged Steed, which are underperforming automobiles and horses. Also see No Backwards Compatibility In The Future and Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future.

Walking Techbanes turn any computer around them into this trope.
Literature
  • Newton Pulsifer, in Neil Gaiman's and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens has a singular knack for machinery. That is to say he can make it stop working just by trying to make it work. And he always buys the worst. His computers somehow always manage to be the early model with the hopelessly flawed chipset and the like. And don't ask about his car.

Live Action TV
  • Holly from Red Dwarf, Despite apparently having an I.Q of 3000, he (she in the later series) has gone very senile, and often blunderingly damages the people on the ship.
  • In the Thunderbirds episode "Sun Probe", engineer "Brains" accidentally takes his experimental robot instead of a computer along on a rescue. When he's forced to ask the robot to make the calculations, it takes the robot a full 20 seconds (accompanied by obligatory clicks and whirrs) to make the calculation when (in spite of the pseudo-scientific nonsense-calculation used) it could have been solved on a pocket calculator as quickly as you could press the keys.
  • One Tales from the Darkside episode "The Word Processor Of The Gods" has writer Richard Hagstrom receive a homemade word processor from his nephew Jonathan. The machine struggles with mundane text processing, but when commanded to rewrite his life, the results are astounding.
  • Subverted in the Tales from the Darkside episode "The Word Processor Of The Gods" has writer Richard Hagstrom receive a homemade word processor from his nephew Jonathan. The machine struggles with mundane text processing, but when commanded to rewrite his life, the results are astounding.

Newspaper Comics

Web Animation
  • Strong Bad from Homestar Runner apparently loves computers like this and uses them by choice. His first computer, the Tandy, fits this trope after Strong Bad continues to use it after it explodes. The Compy doesn't show any negative qualities other than general obsolescence for its time, but the Lappy is known for being too heavy to be portable and has a battery life of five minutes. He mocks his friend The Cheat for using a modern Apple that doesn't have a text-based interface, he thinks a flat screen means someone cut half of the monitor away, and he thinks the Apple mouse is a bar of soap. Averted with his current computer, the Compé, which was current when the toons that featured it were made.

Webcomics
  • In Leftover Soup Jamie had a "Linux clusterfuck" of three laptops that were supposed to act as one machine but in practice didn't work without all three active at once and was much less powerful than even one of them by itself. He apparently bought the mess for $50 and the original creator had died with no documentation. Professional computer geek Ellen tried for a full day and night to make it work with one laptop but eventually just scrapped them and bought him a new laptop.
  • General Protection Fault - the secret organization of the Brotherhood of the Twisted Pair seek a geek "like none other, whose skills are without equal. He (or she) will initiate a golden age of geekdom, and lead a revolution of ideas that will revolutionize the computerized world." One of the tests is averting this trope with out-of-date machinery.
    • Fooker passed by building a server out of computer equipment made from the late 1980s, when said components were at least a decade out of date.
    • Sharon passed by writing down what you'd have to do in order to pull off a similar feat, using 20-year old equipment.
    • Yoshi passed by having the computer equipment a college kid could buy on a budget confiscated by the FBI, because of what he did with it.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • April 30, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Compare The Alleged Car and The Alleged Steed, which are underperforming automobiles and horses.
  • April 30, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Strong Bad from Homestar Runner apparently loves computers like this and uses them by choice. His first computer, the Tandy, fits this trope after Strong Bad continues to use it after it explodes. The Compy doesn't show any negative qualities other than general obsolescence for its time, but the Lappy is known for being too heavy to be portable and has a battery life of five minutes. He mocks his friend The Cheat for using a modern Apple that doesn't have a text-based interface, he thinks a flat screen means someone cut half of hte monitor away, and he thinks the Apple mouse is a bar of soap. Averted with his current computer, the Compé, which was current when the toons that featured it were made.
  • April 30, 2013
    foxley
    In Knights Of The Dinner Table, B.A. had a Trash 80 nicknamed Molly whose slowness made it the butt of many jokes.
  • May 1, 2013
    spacemarine50
  • May 1, 2013
    CardsOfWar
    Live Action TV

    Holly from Red Dwarf, Despite apparently having an I.Q of 3000, he (she in the later series) has gone very senile, and often blunderingly damages the people on the ship.
  • May 1, 2013
    surgoshan
    Literature
    • Newton Pulsifer, in Neil Gaiman's and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens has a singular knack for machinery. That is to say he can make it stop working just by trying to make it work. And he always buys the worst. His computers somehow always manage to be the early model with the hopelessly flawed chipset and the like. And don't ask about his car.
  • May 1, 2013
    StarSword
    Chromebooks, anywhere there isn't reliable broadband Internet access.
  • May 1, 2013
    spacemarine50
  • May 1, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    The Loony Tunes Dragnet parody "Rocket Squad" in which the Univac Clue Machine's output is a paper scroll for a player piano.

  • May 1, 2013
    spacemarine50
    ^I call it not an example is the work was made recently. Old computers really worked like that. Also, does using an old, but working one counts as this trope?
  • May 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The song "You Can Build a Mainframe From the Things you Find at Home" cobbles together a system which looks superficially similar to but is completely not a computer.
  • May 1, 2013
    dspeyer
    There seems to be room for a supertrope here.
  • May 15, 2013
    Maxaxle
    If you'd like a good example of a mass-produced, "pre-packaged" computer/game console(?) that wasn't intended to be this way, take a look at the Apple Pippin. It was terrible and extremely overpriced, especially in its own time. Also, as for the Fairly Odd Parents example, I'd like to point out that it was powered by a hamster.
  • May 15, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Webcomics
    • In Leftover Soup Jamie had a "Linux clusterfuck" of three laptops that were supposed to act as one machine but in practice didn't work without all three active at once and was much less powerful than even one of them by itself. He apparently bought the mess for $50 and the original creator had died with no documentation. Professional computer geek Ellen tried for a full day and night to make it work with one laptop but eventually just scrapped them and bought him a new laptop.
  • May 17, 2013
    Melkior
    Live-action TV/puppetry:
    • In the Thunderbirds episode, Sun Probe, engineer "Brains" accidentally takes his experimental robot instead of a computer along on a rescue. When he's forced to ask the robot to make the calculations, it takes the robot a full 20 seconds (accompanied by obligatory clicks and whirrs) to make the calculation when (in spite of the pseudo-scientific nonsense-calculation used) it could have been solved on a pocket calculator as quickly as you could press the keys.
  • May 30, 2013
    MorganWick
    Not a fan of the image, which could just as easily be a TV, but the only thing I could think of would probably be a straight-up BSOD.
  • May 30, 2013
    spacemarine50
    ^^^ Might not add the hamster part, unless it's also a CMOA
    • ^ Hate the current image.
  • I'll just not use an image. That seems to be the best idea.
  • May 31, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    "A computer with a dirty mouse." <- the link is a wiki-joke, not really part of the trope. Including the joke invites misuse by new tropers unfamiliar with the joke, in the form of "any time a computer isn't ultra-fast" is this trope.

    Similar to if the Alleged Car said, "A car with dirty tyres".
  • June 1, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    • General Protection Fault - the secret organization of the Brotherhood of the Twisted Pair seek a geek "like none other, whose skills are without equal. He (or she) will initiate a golden age of geekdom, and lead a revolution of ideas that will revolutionize the computerized world." One of the tests is averting this trope with out-of-date machinery.
      • Fooker passed by building a server out of computer equipment made from the late 1980s, when said components were at least a decade out of date.
      • Sharon passed by writing down what you'd have to do in order to pull off a similar feat, using 20-year old equipment.
      • Yoshi passed by having the computer equipment a college kid could buy on a budget confiscated by the FBI, because of what he did with it.

    Walking Techbane turn any computer around them into this trope.
  • June 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On The Simpsons the school's aptitude tests are scored by a huge mainframe-like machine named "Emma" which takes some Percussive Maintenance to operate. It said Bart should be a cop and Lisa a homemaker.
  • June 5, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • The Star Trek The Original Series episode "The City On The Edge Of Forever" has Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock time-travel to Earth in the 1930's, to undo the damage to history wrought by Doctor McCoy. In order to retrieve critical data from his tricorder, Spock must build a computer from the high-tech of the time: vacuum tubes.
  • June 5, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Live A Ction TV
    • One Tales From The Darkside episode "The Word Processor Of The Gods" has writer Richard Hagstrom receive a homemade word processor from his nephew Jonathan. The machine struggles with mundane text processing, but when commanded to rewrite his life, the results are astounding.
  • June 6, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ misuse: the computer functions as well or better than expected.
  • June 6, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    @/spacemarine50, the Looney Tunes example was a clockpunk parody of a computer even by the standards of the time (1950s!).
  • June 6, 2013
    spacemarine50
    ^^ I keep it there and call it a subversion.
  • June 7, 2013
    crazysamaritan
  • June 7, 2013
    henke37
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ywibqb9we42y3e5d43csdx6a&trope=TheAllegedComputer