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Dtoid Community Discusses pt 9: Gaming Merchandise

Sorry I'm late! This past weekend was Wondercon (wooooo!) so I was busy making love to DtoidSF at the con. My nerd cred has grown, since I have finally purchased lots of stuff from a comic convention. I finally found an Aeris figurine (<3) and I bought a really cool print by a guy named John Giang (I'm pimping his site Orbital Harvest here). I'm not normally into art, but his SF painting blew me away....I made an ATM run so I could buy it. Click here to see the print I bought!

Anyway, this kinda segways into this week's Dtoid Community Discusses topic: Gaming Merchandise. I wanted to find out what some members of the Destructoid community thought about the various forms of gaming merchandise. Here is the prompt I gave them:

"Sure as gamers we love playing games, but sometimes just playing them is not enough. Like with any hobby, we just need to make the world know how much we love videogames, and companies know there is money to be made there. This week's topic will be about gaming merchandise!

From Nintendo cereals, to gamer shirts at Hot Topic, gaming has had a history of supplying the passionate gamer other ways to spend their hard earned cash to show off their favorite hobby. What gaming merchandise have you all purchased or collected? Can you think of some gaming merchandise that you were excited about but ended up being crappy? What are examples of stuff you would LOVE to own and from what games?"

This week's panel consisted of Garison, FusionTR, MEE, and Bigby! Read on to find out what they thought!

Note: FusionTR's Avatar is still the spinning CTZ from Hamzakah....and he makes a great Mr. T :D


Ever since I was a little kid, I was in love with game merchandise. Whenever a new kind of Nintendo candy would come to the convenience store near my house, I would buy one in every flavor, and keep them on display in my room. From what I remember, Nintendo was usually pretty bad with making merch for their fans to buy, like they mostly were made by a separate company. The only Nintendo made paraphernalia that I actually got from Nintendo is a Phantom Hourglass feather stylus and a Super Mario Galaxy collectors coin. But now that we have Club Nintendo (thought still not as good as the Japanese version), I think that things are really looking up. Come on Nintendo, I want the Wii SNES controller!


For me, it's really hard to get hold of any decent gaming merchandise. With the games industry being an overly American dominated industry, Britain hardly ever gets decent merchandise without having to pay a ton to get it imported- something I'm not really willing to do. The majority of the things I have are all either things I've acquired for free, through pre-orders of certain games or I've made them myself. I have a collection of game themed papercraft, which decorate my desk, including one of the Prince from Katamari Damacy. Then I have things such as the Fallout 3 Vault Boy bobblehead and a few perler bead designs given to me.

We do have games stores in Britain that sell things such as video game based t-shirts but they seem like a waste of money because it's normally just a games logo on a black t-shirt. I just need to get around to gathering some money together to buy a bunch of great gaming t-shirts from America.

The majority of the merchandise I own that is officially licensed, tend to come in the form of soundtracks from video games. My iPod is full of soundtracks from games like Katamari Damacy and that is my way of showing my appreciation since merchandise is so poor in the UK.


I like what you said about making your own papercraft and whatnot, Fusion. My mom used to be really into cross-stitching, so she taught me how to make little Mario and Zelda sprites. Then a few years ago I made my very first t-shirt with a picture of the Wind Waker Link on it.

Game related t-shirts are really cool to own; they are a way to express your love of games to other people. But some of my favorite game related shirts are ones that don't just have a logo slapped on them. I remember the guys on Podtoid talking about a bumper sticker that said "WWGFD" and a picture of a crowbar obviously relating to Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life games. And the colorful and rainbowy Diablo 3 shirt that was posted a while ago also gave me a little chuckle. I think that the best game related shirts are ones that have sort of a joke to them, or a background that you couldn't possibly understand unless you played the game.

What Would Gordon Freeman Do? He'd make a kick ass bumper sticker!


I am not really the experienced with gaming merch even though I've been playing videogames since I can remember. Most of it is stuff that came with the games. For example, my bedroom walls are beautifully decorated with GTA posters, a PS3 poster and a Ratchet and Clank poster. The only things I remember buying that I consider gaming merch is : the metal case with picture that I received for preordering Assassin's Creed and a miniature Bowser figurine. Another piece of gaming merchandise I own is a Bully t-shirt I won in a contest at Arcadia Festival (the biggest gaming event in Canada, which is not really that big in fact). All the other gaming merchandise I have are a couple of papercraft I made, the ones of which I am the proudest (they aren't really great and I don't know why I should be proud), a miniature Electro-Zapper and a miniature NES, with a little cart slot, with really small controllers.


Not related to gaming shirts as such, but there are a lot of people going around with t-shirts with the full Joker face from The Dark Knight. Then I saw someone with a t-shirt that had "Wanna see a magic trick?" and had a pencil standing upright and I went to tell them they were awesome. The more subtle the t-shirt, the better it is. The Diablo 3 one that you mentioned is probably the best one I've seen so far. But, like I said, it's hard to find decent t-shirts over here.


Gaming swag is always fun, but I never really got into it. Iíve moved a great deal over the past 15 years and a lot of stuff gets broken or lost along the way. However I do admire good gaming stuff that just isn't a logo but something clever and interesting. Like the other day I saw someoneís room on Dtoid made up with gaming references, such as shelves that looked like the girders from Donkey Kong, or cabinets painted to look like question mark blocks. Little things like that are interesting and bring back a wave of nostalgia and you feel all warm and fuzzy and gooey and marshmallowy and....I've gone too far.

The more interesting and clever the gaming swag the more likely I am to get it. I am not big on decorating or anything, in fact my walls are pretty bare as I like the Spartan look, I guess. However, I have always wanted some old gaming stuff on the walls somewhere, even considered pining the tons of demo discs on the wall to make a sort of collage that I have collected over the years.


Its interesting to note the shared admiration we have for swag...I also love it when I see someone wearing a cool gaming T-shirt that has a joke on it that only a select few (us gamers) will get. It kinda makes me feel like I'm part of a cool club whenever I smile at the shirt, and the person wearing it smiles back.

I'm interested as to what you guys think about sites like Cafe Press and such that allow for gamers to design shirts for gamers. I think this definitely ties in with what you guys have mentioned so far that sometimes the "official" shirts are just a logo on a t-shirt meant to make money. However, when the gaming community designs a shirt, itís often times something we would feel proud to wear.

Of course that brings me to something else I'm curious about....how proud are you guys of the gaming merchandise you have? Do you proudly display it, or is it something you keep to yourselves? I've been poked fun at a couple of times for wearing my gaming snap bracelet around, or for having a gaming poster on my living room wall. Although gaming has become more mainstream, it seems like the majority of gaming merchandise is targeted at the hardcore crowd, and thus still slightly unacceptable or thought of as weird by the general public.


To answer what Tactix asked, I have absolutely no problem showing non-gamers my collection of schwag. When I wear my Twilight Princess (yes, I love that game) shirt out, I have only ever had about 2 or 3 people ever say something to me about it. Like if I'm playing my DS in public or something, and someone comes up to me and starts asking me questions, I try to answer them truthfully about the game that I am playing. I don't really remember the last time someone actually called me a "nerd" or anything like that though...

Before Nintendo Power switched publishers, they used to give away things like t-shirts and Players Guides when you would subscribe to their magazine. But before my time (like in SNES days), they would even send out VHS tapes with preview videos. It's retro things like this that I really wish I had in my videogame collection.

Does this shirt make Garison a nerd? Yes...and he has no shame :P


Gaming merch is a niche market that communicates to other gamers while usually excluding those from the outside world. So in that sense it feels more like its made for you than for everyone around. More personal. And that is something I hope sticks around and I don't start seeing casual shirts with references to Wii Fit or Bejeweled any time soon. I think then I would probably tear up a little, crying softly to myself.

Oh, and another thing, does it count if the game swag in question has its source from outside its genre? Such as Transformers? The show and toys inspired movies and then games later on so how does that translate or does it even count as game merch? Same goes for GI Joe, no doubt, and maybe Lego series like Star Wars and Indiana Jones? The line blurs a bit there I think. Where does the line begin or even end? If you are wearing a shirt that has Lego Indy on it, is that game swag or franchise stuff? Hard to say, but I think gamers will see what it is and recognize it for what its worth.

Star Wars is a biggie in that area too.


Well, isn't gaming merchandise supposed to be about videogames? There is a big difference between an Indiana Jones and a Lego Indy t-shirt for me. But now that I think about it, could a non-gamer think that a Lego Indy t-shirt is just a cute t-shirt not related to gaming?


As far as Transformers and GI Joe go, those franchises are known much more for their other forms of media (TV Shows, movies) than videogames, so I never consider any of that stuff gaming merchÖmaybe nerd merchandise (:P). I think an interesting point was brought up with the Lego Indy example though. I can definitely imagine a scenario where a common person (or muggle) sees a Lego Indy shirt, or Puzzle Fighter shirt, and just think itís a cute version of the source materialÖ.completely unaware that it is referencing something by itself.

However, I think the important part is that we gamers recognize the differences, which gives us a sense of belonging to a group. At Wondercon this past weekend, nerds wearing nerdy T-shirts and dressing in cosplay surrounded me. Personally, I donít wear gaming shirts (they donít sell them at Express), but I just felt so happy being surrounded by my gaming peers. And to me, thatís one of the coolest things about gaming merchandise whether its T-shirts or handmade papercrafts :)


Anyway, that was this week's discussion; hope you enjoyed the read! Check the c-blogs again next week for another installment (omg double digits!) of Dtoid Communitry Discusses!
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About Jesse Cortezone of us since 4:34 AM on 01.13.2007


I am a Ph. D. chemist from the University of California, Berkeley. I have been playing videogames since as long as I can remember! My past favorite games include Secret of Mana, TMNT: Turtles in Time, the Resident Evil series (Jill is SUCH as master of unlocking), FFVII, Smash Bros Melee, and many others.

I've definitely gone through phases in my gaming "career". I used to LOVE fighting games in the time of Tekken Tag and Marvel vs Capcom II (my favorite fighting game), but now I find myself drawn to the more story driven games, and very recently, the music games....:)

But....fighting games are making a comeback! SFIV! MvC3! BlazBlue! Beware everyone, Tactix has put a quarter on the screen and is challenging you for battle!

It was mere chance that brought me to Destructoid back in early 2007, and through it all I've stayed because of the great writing staff, a community that cares, and lots of new internet and IRL friends. Destructoid has changed my life. True story.

If you live in the SF Bay Area, check out the DtoidSanFrancisco C-blog and join the Google Group!


Check out the past installments of my DTOID COMMUNITY DISCUSSES! Series:

Part 1: DLC
Part 2: Achievements
Part 3: Gaming Journalism
Part 4: Next Next-Gen Consoles
Part 5: Retro Renaissance
Part 6: Games That Suck
Part 7: Educational Games
Part 8: Evolution of Gaming Music
Part 9: Gaming Merchandise
Part 10: Iconic Games
Part 12: GDC
Part 13: Videogame Movies
Part 14: Competitive Gaming
Part 15: Level Design
Part 16: Emulation and Game Modding
E3 Edition: Microsoft
E3 Edition: Nintendo
E3 Edition: Sony
Part 17: Triple A Titles
Part 18: Fighting Games
Part 19: Digital Distribution

Card courtesy of TheGHost

Rock Band tag courtesy of CutieHoney

Thanks guys!

Last but not least, Chad Concelmo and I are the same person. Go ahead and ask him. :P

Xbox LIVE:Tactixpimp
Mii code:0680 0947 9731 1775


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