Merchandise is as big a part of the gaming landscape these days as the threat of microtransactions in Triple-A releases. Publishers pump out as many statues, hoodies, tog bags, T-shirts and other knick-knacks as they do games and fans are spoiled for choice with the amount of merch available. If you want to pick up a statue of Marcus Fenix for the Gears of War fan in your life (or indeed yourself) your local toy store has you covered (rest in peace, Toys R Us). But what if you’re after something that harkens back to the days of dial-up modems, classic consoles or the arcade games of old?
Well, it takes some digging but luckily there’s a lot of swag out there for players who want to fly their retro flag high. We’ve put together this list to save you some searching.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Atari Branded T-shirt
Anyone who was into video games in the 80s will remember Atari, once a giant in the industry that was brought low by a movie game tie-in. Its logo, though, is still instantly recognisable and arguably one of the most iconic in the gaming’s distinguished history – so much so, it even made an appearance in the latest Blade Runner movie from last year.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Super Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System
Loaded with a ton of classic titles – now spruced up to play in HD – the Super Nintendo Classic Mini is proof (if any were needed) that nostalgia and gaming go hand-in-hand. A great gift or purchase for any player, whether you were there when the original arrived, or if you missed it and you want to know what all the fuss was about. Really, this should need no introduction and any gamer one has in their life would be grateful to own it.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Cacodemon Money Box
Anyone who played the original DOOM will remember the Cacodemon, a grinning, one-eyed tumour that could come floating in above the eye-line firing plasma when you’d least expect it. Here’s something else, you wouldn’t expect; the Cacodemon is also a handy place to keep loose change. Not only is this demonic soul a decent bank, its nasty visage might make you think twice before emptying it!
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Pac Man Heat Change Mug
No list of retro gaming swag would be complete without something referencing Pac Man and this rather sweet mug fits the bill brilliantly. When empty, the design on its side is an empty maze from the game, but add a hot beverage and the pellets, power pills, ghosts and Namco’s iconic mascot make an appearance. No one likes getting up in the morning. This mug makes the prospect a little more bearable.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Commodore 64 Shoulder Bag
This faux leather shoulder bag should raise a knowing smile in retro gaming fans when you sling your laptop out of it. Big enough to hold gym gear, work supplies and possibly the supplies for a short trip, this bag is as useful as it is fetching to look at. If you’re prepared to spend dollars and pay for international postage you can pick one up on redbubble.com, but if you want to save some pennies, we’ve managed to track down some local vendors through Amazon UK’s marketplace.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Space Invaders Bottle Opener
Show off your retro gaming credentials at any social function (involving beer, naturally) with this rather nifty conversation piece. Struck in neon green it gives old arcade hounds the chance to crack a beverage using one of the most recognisable nemeses from the arcade era.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: The Legend of Zelda Hoodie
If you’ve ever wanted your Link fandom colours nailed to the mast with aplomb, this hoodie may be worth your while. Featuring Link’s iconic hood and faux belt-straps, this may be positioned more towards the Cosplay crowd, but we’re betting any fan of the original game would be glad to have it. Just don’t wear it to any event that has the words ‘black tie’ on the invitation.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Super Mario Bros NES Start Screen Wallet
Keychains, caps, plushy toys, hoodies, bags – Nintendo’s iconic plumber has more merchandise surrounding him (and his friends and enemies) than most. But for this list, we had to go with the iconic opening screen from the NES lovingly wrapped around a wallet. Establish your retro credentials every time you buy a round.
Best Retro Gaming Gifts: Lemmings Plush Soft Toy
One of the best games from the days when the PC ruled in the 90s, this cute little battery-operated toy will prompt a wry smile from anyone who sent many a rodent to its grisly end. The toy even emits the classic “Oh No!!” sound when pressed.