In my garage I have "The shelf of obsolete toys"
A Pioneer LD player from the early 90's is the most entertaining--no kids, it is not a shiny record. Next to it sits a Tascam profession Mini-Disc machine from the mid 90's the ATRAC equipped before MP3 machine of greatness!
Then there is the lowly 1988 Onkyo (had to google it) Onkyo dual cassette deck without auto-reverse so no head misalignment issues. When the kids ask, I tell them the tail of getting a bunch of friends together in the dorms, everyone combine their CD collections and I would make a mix tape in TDK metal then dub off copies in Maxell chrome for their cars (or for love making by the fire!)
The metal tapes with CD masters were very, very good...but they were passed by the Hi-Fi 7 head VCRs then taken out by the mini-disc. I had a stack of S-VHS studio tapes that were mixed in 2 hour chunks for dorm parties--not exactly the easiest format to carry around but for 1990 about the longest play thing you could use when drinking. It was a bit tough to properly program the multi-CD player when consuming too many spirits. Never mind the music companies did not have consistent loudness levels so the S-VHS party tapes were king....for a few years.
I obsoleted cassette as a viable format in 1990, switched to S-VHS for my at home mix/party recordings but kept the cassette deck for car recordings. Mini-Disc took out S-VHS for a few years until downloads took out MD. The CD format is my last physical format standing--it was the master for cassettes, S-VHS and Minii-Dioc and computer files. When I get with old friends, we will laugh when we spent real money on electronics...then laugh hysterically at anyone messing with cassette decks. My older buddy (ex-boss from back in the day) he has a Nakamichi wazoo cassette deck with auto-bias calibration etc. and still has it sitting on his shelf. He, like me have no cassettes to even test the gear...good times but... you make the best of what was available. He also has some wazoo record player with an Ortofon cartridge, the anti-static guns, mats and isolation tables--he has not turned on the record player in over 30 years. He told me the only audio relic he still uses is his Pearl drum kit from the late 60's... his giant top of the line JBLs from 1980 sit in a storage room. The only records he has left where the ones he purchased when he lived in Japan in the late 70's--he does not play them though.
Cassettes, like records could create a very good sound when done properly. The issue is the equipment is old, my Onkyo still works after 31 years (kids play with it) but I know it is out of calibration. I was given some cassettes so I could make sure it works--nothing like Paula Abdul on cassette--beggers can't be choosers. Considering cassettes were never made to be a musical format, they were for dictation machines it was incredible how far the limited technology could be pushed. Since I got into audio in the 80's when CDs were around, cassettes were just a format used for recording and playing tunes in boomboxes/cars. I knew full well that cassettes and all analog was heading down the road to the history books so I did not spend a ton of cash on musical formats heading toward retirement.
I do find it endlessly entertaining that people would actually spend real money on cassettes--you should of converted the recordings to digital anc cleaned them up 20 years ago when the VHS was converted. The tape format degrades with time, you can't stop it and there are no real decks being made anymore--the war is lost before the first battle is fought. The decks have degraded although you can spend the big bucks to get all the caps replaced, get everything calibrated and so on--but it won't be as good as it was in the 1980's--no matter how much money you throw at it.
Thinking you can get true fidelity out of a 30 year old deck playing 40 year old tapes is akin to going to a rest home to hire adult movie actors--you should be happy it even works and never mind "performance".
My tape deck is something that sits on the obsolete shelf--the 1993 CD player is in that pile. DVD players replaced CD players long ago... my BluRay plays CDs very well... amazing you can buy brand new machines that play a 37 year old format--I bet on the right horse with that one!
In summation, cassettes had their time in the sun and far exceeded their original purpose--but the sun has set long ago. I'm not complaining, better, smaller, higher performance, more features and faster at a much lower cost is the sign of human progress. Sure beats waiting 90 minutes to make a copy of your mix--I have no nostalgia pains for cassette by any means.
The only old format I'd like to have is the victrola, a purely mechanical machine you use a hand crank, slap on a needle vibrating a ram's horn--now THAT is what I call cool technology.... the victory is when it makes sound--any kind of sound.