‘Guardians 2’ Brings Back The Microsoft Zune

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All Marvel movies have a decent amount of comic relief in them. Whether it's Tony Stark cracking wise, Thor being a fish out of water, or Captain America being mocked for his wholesome morals. But Guardians of the Galaxy took that to the next level by being a straight up comedy. The sequel keeps the laughs coming, and one of its best jokes involves Star-Lord receiving a Zune to replace his Walkman. But just what is a Zune, and why does Guardians 2 bring it up?

I can't believe there are people who are young enough to not remember what a Zune is and old enough to read this, and yet, here we are (something, something, get off my lawn). The Zune was a short-lived and infamously unsuccessful attempt by Microsoft to compete with Apple's iPod (oh please tell me you know what an iPod is), and has since become the butt of many jokes. It was a line of mp3 players that were manufactured between 2006 and 2011, but it never really emerged as a viable competitor to the iPod. So the Zune was unceremoniously discontinued, and wasn't really missed by too many people. But over the last few years, oddly enough, the devices have achieved a kind of cult status as a forgotten — and some say underrated — piece of technology.

There were a number of Zune models released over the years, beginning with the Zune 30, which had a 30GB capacity, naturally. Next came the Zune 4, 8, and 16. These were smaller, flash memory-based devices meant to compete with the iPod Nano. As iPods grew in storage, so did the Zune, as 80GB and 120GB versions were eventually released. Finally, in 2009 came the top-level Zune: The Zune HD. Meant to compete with the iPod Touch, the Zune HD did away with its navigation wheel and included a touchscreen. The Zune HD was available in 16GB, 32GB, and in 2010 Microsoft released what would be their final Zune model, the 64GB Zune HD.

Microsoft stopped supporting the Zune in 2015, but there remains a small but dedicated group of hardcore fans who think the Zune was pretty much the greatest invention ever. You can find them in their own corner of Reddit, which is almost like stepping into another dimension as its 1,800-plus subscribers give technical advice on the devices, sing its praises, and lament their bricked Zunes as if they've lost a loved one.

If you're curious about Zunes and want to take the plunge à la Star-Lord, there are a bunch for sale on eBay — just don't expect it to be, you know, as good as an iPod.