Microsoft is hoping the fanfare of “Stranger Things” and the nostalgia of 1985 will remind computer nerds of something else from that year: Windows 1.0.
To promote the third season of Netflix’s hit show, Microsoft has released a PC-based app called Windows 1.11 that includes a “Stranger Things” video game designed to fit the era along with old favorites like Microsoft Paint and Write. The app, available today, was released just days after the show’s latest season debuted on Netflix on July 4.
“Experience 1985 nostalgia with a special edition Windows 10 PC app inspired by Windows 1.0—but one that’s been taken over by the Upside Down from Stranger Things,” according to Microsoft’s description of the app on the company’s website. “Explore the mysteries and secrets plaguing Hawkins, unlock unique show content and easter eggs, and play retro games and puzzles—all building off Stranger Things 3. Join Eleven, Steve, Dustin and gang as they seek to save Hawkins and the world. Embrace the 80s and grab your hairspray, because it’s basically the raddest show companion experience ever. But fair warning: beware the Mind Flayer.”
Microsoft has been teasing out the tie-in for days by posting cryptic tweets with 80s-themed graphics and music. However, Windows 1.0 didn’t actually debut in the summer of 1985; it came out in November of that same year. It’s perhaps using a bit of revisionist history for the marketing stunt—or at least a bit of upside-down creativity.
The app is part of a broader play by Microsoft to integrate its marketing with the show’s. Later this month, the company plans to host a number of Stranger Things-themed coding workshops for kids that will teach them to build their own video game. The workshops for Camp Know Where—a nod to the summer camp in the latest season—will be available for students 13 years and older in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
“At Rule the arcade, students learn game and coding concepts to create a playable game—and become rulers of the arcade like Mad Max or Lucas,” according to Microsoft’s website. “At Strange-ify your world, participants create a Stranger Things-inspired mini movie using 3D models, Windows Ink, special effects, and even a soundtrack.”
Microsoft is just one of many brands integrating with Stranger Things this summer. Last month, Burger King released an Upside Down Whopper in just 11 locations, and Shutterstock imagined what the show would be like using just stock footage. Even the Chicago Cubs played its part with an augmented reality lens on Snapchat that brought the show’s Demogorgon to Wrigley Field.