First off, why does it bother you what other people are riding? If you like your 26" then fine, have at it and ride your 26". Its like complaining that you cant stand people eating pasta because you prefer pizza. Eat what you want.
Secondly, have you ever ridden a 29" wheel bike? If you have then you would realize that the technological advancement was an advancement not a setback in bike technology. You talk about old school, so Im going to assume that you, like me started mountain biking back in the early 1990's. You should still be running cantilever brakes, not V brakes, and certainly not disc brakes. Your cranks should be attached to your bike using a square taper bottom bracket spindle that has more flex than the aforementioned pasta. Your headlight, if you use one at night should be a maximum of 10 watts with varying degrees of dark spots throughout the beam pattern. Also your suspension fork, should you be so lucky to have had one back there is of some hair brained design like the old Girvin Noleen cross link. Or maybe a Rockshox Quadra that freezes up on your in the winter, and then thaws back out when you put it in your house again. So unless you have forsaken all of the other modern tech that makes your bike ride like a bike and not like a rented mule... maybe you aren't so old school after all.
About 2 years ago I made the switch from my Giant NRS full suspension xc bike to a rigid single speed. Quite the jump from one style to the next... but I love it. I will say this, the same bike in 26" would be a nightmare to ride. I like my bike for the simplicity, but it also makes you work hard which is cool. But the thing I like most is the lack of suspension its a challenging ride but it handles great. You cant get that same ride with a 26" Now even if I hadn't gone the unconventional route of rigid single speed, the 29er would still have its advantages. The larger wheel just rolls right over stuff without noticing it, whereas the 26" wheel on the same terrain is bouncing and jostling around. So you can decide whats more important, the old school,the light weight or the 29er with its smoother ride. I like the 29er. One isn't right, and one isn't wrong, its just two different styles. But if you are going to complain about the old school factor then I expect to see you riding an old Trek still made in the USA, or have your bike decked out in various colored Kooka components... otherwise you're just a poser