We know that Pac-Man has a thing for dots and ghosts. And while the yellow dot-gobbler and his ghostly enemies look pretty great as pixel art, I think they’re even better all lit up in neon. This awesomely geeky Pac-Man light comes from Neon World Custom, which makes all kinds of amazing and vibrant lights using silicone tubing filled with LEDs, resulting in an impressively accurate neon effect, and without any of the downsides like broken glass tubes, slowly-leaking gas, or high voltage electrocution.
Each one is handmade and would look amazing in any game room. For that matter, you could put it in your dining room or master bedroom if your significant other is into retro gaming too. The Pac-Man LED Neon Light is available on Etsy. It comes in sizes ranging from 23″ x 6″ to a massive 55″ x 14″, with prices from $225 to $400. Neon World Custom has lots of other cool lights in their shop, like this LED neon cheeseburger and light-up astronaut. They can also make custom designs to your specs, so be sure to check them out.
Now can I have a neon maze to go with my neon Pac-Man?
If you’re trying to grow plants, you’ll need seeds, dirt, water, and sunlight if you hope to keep them alive. But did you know that plants grow extra strong when you feed them power pills? At least that’s what Pac-Man told me. Or maybe I’m just starting to hear things after being quarantined at home too long. Either way, this Pac-Man and Ghost planter set looks like a fun way to grow house plants.
Manchester, UK outfit RetroGamingCentre makes these colorful 3D-printed plastic planters inspired by Namco’s classic 8-bit arcade game. The set includes a Pac-Man planter, along with Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde pots. Apparently, Inky is as bashful as they said he was on the title screen of the game, and didn’t show up for the garden party. The set comes with a matching blue tray, decorated with white pellets around its edge. Clearly, Pac-Man hasn’t found any power pills yet, because none of the ghosts have turned blue.
The set is available over on Etsy, with prices ranging from about $50 up to $118, depending on the size you go with (6cm or 10cm) and if you want the tray. If Pac-Man isn’t your thing, they also make a Super Mario planter set, a couple of Pokémon planter sets, and also individual planters so you can mix and match.
Back in the 1980s, I was a serious Atari kid. I had an Atari 2600, an Atari 800, an Atari 7800, an Atari Lynx, and an Atari 520ST along the way. I was even president of an Atari Users Group. So the iconic Atari “Fuji” logo is permanently embedded in my brain.
One of the more memorable versions of the Atari logo was the rainbow-colored one that was used to show off the graphical chops of Atari’s 8-bit computers, which trounced Apple and Commodore’s capabilities at the time.
Now 80s kids like me can reminisce about our youths with a replica of this classic logo to put on our desks or bookshelves. The colorful, gradient rainbow logo looks just like the original, though this one has smoother edges than the pixelated original, so clearly, this Atari has had a resolution upgrade. It also comes with a matching acrylic stand.
Thunktronix makes this logo and kinds of nifty retro goodies using back-painted, laser-cut Plexiglas. I can totally hear the music from that Atari 400/800 in-store demo program that started out with an animated version of the logo. You’re welcome…
Those of us who grew up playing video games back in the 1980s have a special place in our hearts for the pixel art characters from the 8-bit arcade and home console world. From Pac-Man to Dig Dug to Donkey Kong to Galaga, game artists had to really stretch their creativity and imagination to give us memorable and identifiable characters using the most primitive of blocks and limited color schemes.
If you love old school pixel art as much as I do, then you need to check out this collection I found over on Etsy.
Idaho-based artist Thunktronix makes all kinds of nifty collectible trinkets based on classic video game characters and items, including all of the aforementioned games, along with Robotron 2049, Wizard of Wor, Frogger, Space Invaders, and more. Each of the sprites is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, so you can put a whole bunch of these on your shelf without taking up too much space.
Each one is precision cut from 1/4″-thick plexiglass, with some characters getting colorful backprinting, and others left to stand on their own as see-through shapes. In addition to video game characters, they’ve got a few other great designs, like Ignignokt and Err, the iconic, antagonistic, bird-flipping Mooninites from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which I just had to buy for myself.
Some pieces are sold individually, while many of them come in complete sprite sets. Prices start at just $5 for a single keychain-sized figure, while full game sprite sets range from $25 to $32. You can check out all of their designs over on the Thunktronix Etsy shop.
I love LEGO, and I love Nintendo games, so when I first heard the two companies were partnering up, I thought it could result in some really great collaborations. While the first LEGO Super Mario kits were definitely targeted to little kids, and not overgrown kids like me, their newly-announced set is definitely up my alley.
This brick-built replica of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System has a whopping 2,646 pieces, and sells for $229.99 – so it’s definitely not kid stuff. It’s not cheap, but on the other hand, it’s 100% awesome. The kit comes with four main components – the game console, a controller, a game cartridge, and the pièce de résistance, an old school CRT TV set which displays a level from Super Mario Bros., all constructed from LEGO blocks.
What makes the TV so special is that the game level actually scrolls from side to side when you turn the crank on the side of its faux wood cabinet. Not only that, the pixelated Mario sprite actually jumps over obstacles and punches power-ups as it moves through the level. Check it out in action:
As the video above shows, the kit also interacts with model of Mario from the LEGO Super Mario starter kit, adding classic game sound effects and music when you place him on top of the TV set. I’m wondering if LEGO and Nintendo will offer up additional game cartridges and scrolling screens at some point. If not, I’m certain that some serious LEGO fans out there will do that for themselves.
The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System (set #71374) goes on sale on August 1, 2020 over on LEGO.com and other retailers for $229.99. I’d keep your eye out on the LEGO website to see if they offer any pre-order opportunities, as I think this one is going to be really popular once it’s released.
When it comes to retro gaming systems, SEGA made some of my favorites, including the Master System, Genesis, and Dreamcast. Long before modern mobile devices, the Japanese video game company created one of the first full-color handhelds, the SEGA Game Gear. The portable arrived back in 1990, and played 8-bit games that were often inspired by the 16-bit titles that came to the Genesis.
The original system is pretty easy to come by on eBay these days, but if you want something different, check out these new collectibles coming from SEGA to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the handheld.
The Game Gear Micro is a ridiculously small, fully-playable version of the classic handheld. It measures in at just 3.1″w x 1.7″h x 0.8″d, and has a diminutive 1.15″ diagonal color LCD screen. That’s roughly 40% of the size of the original. It runs on two AAA batteries or via USB power, and has a tiny mono speaker as well as a headphone jack for listening in stereo.
Unlike the original Game Gear, it doesn’t take cartridges. Instead, each of the four available colors will come preloaded with four games. That’s a bit of a bummer since portables like the @Games Genesis handheld came packed with 80 games.
Here’s a list of titles that each Game Gear Micro will come with:
Black: Sonic the Hedgehog, Puyo Puyo 2, Out Run, Royal Stone
Blue: Sonic Chaos, Gunstar Heroes, Sylvan Tale, Baku Baku Animal
Yellow: Shining Force Gaiden: Ensei – Jashin no Kuni he, Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, Nazopuyo Aruru no Ru
Red:Revelations: The Demon Slayer, Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible Special, The GG Shinobi, Columns
Since the screen on the Game Gear Micro is so teensy, SEGA is also making an accessory called the “Big Window,” which is basically a fresnel magnifier that sits atop the device so you can actually see what you’re doing. It’s not the prettiest add-on, but I guess it gets the trick done.
The Game Gear Micro will ship starting on October 6, 2020 in Japan, and you can find purchase links on SEGA’s website. The tiny handhelds are priced at ¥4,980 (~$46 USD) each, and you’ll get the Big Window magnifier if you buy all four colors. There’s also a ¥28,512 (~$261 USD) super special edition that includes a fifth Game Gear Micro in a see-through smoke color, along with a display frame. I’m guessing these things will become quite collectible, so you’ll want to place your order as soon as you can.
Full disclosure: as much as people loved Tetris, I sucked at the game. Every time the blocks started falling from the sky, I’d survive for about two minutes before I got overwhelmed, and they hit the top and my game was over. Another quarter down the drain until my pockets were empty. At least with this Tetris lamp, I never have to worry about that.
This fun USB-powered lamp comes with 53 stackable Tetromino blocks for you to stack and arrange however you want. Just start humming the Tetris theme song to yourself, and you’re all set. The blocks won’t automatically disappear when you complete a row, but they will look cool sitting there on your desk or bookshelf.
Best of all you can stack the blocks any way you want. Challenge yourself, and if you can make them look like Mario or Pac-Man or a Space Invader. The Tetris lamp is available from I Want One of Those for $25.99.
Back in the day, there was a Nintendo arcade and NES game called Punch-Out!! As far as I know, it was the first boxing game ever. The original arcade game featured fictitious fighters like Glass Joe, Piston Hurricane, Bald Bull, and Mr. Sandman. But when it eventually made it to the NES in 1987, Mike Tyson licensed his name and likeness to Nintendo, and he became the game’s final boss.
If you’re a fan of Punch-Out!! and the pixelated version of Tyson that appeared in the game, then you’ll want to check this life-size cutout of 8-bit Tyson that I spotted over on Etsy.
This 66″ tall version of the boxer was made by artist Jason Walker, who cut it from a sheet of 1/2″ plywood, then painted all the pixels to make him come to life. I imagine it took quite some time to get all of those jaggy edges just right, so it’s well worth the $300 asking price. Of course, it’s a bit heavy and unwieldy, so it’ll cost you another $130 for shipping here in the US. Then again shipping around the actual Mike Tyson would surely cost more, and he’d probably punch you in the face while you tried to cover him in bubble wrap.
Do you love retro arcade games? I certainly do. While the pixel art character sprites get a whole lot of love, the fonts used to display your score and life status deserve much more appreciation.
Typeface designer Toshi Omagari’s book catalogs dozens of the chunky pixelated fonts used in arcade games from the 1970s through the 1990s. The 272-page book is chockful of retro gaming goodness, and includes type specimens for each font, along with an example screenshot from one of the games it appeared in, including everything from Pac-Man to Shinobi to Marble Madness, along with many more obscure games.
The softcover version of book is available for order from Amazon now, while ReadOnlyMemory has a sweet, limited-edition hardcover version that ships in September 2020.
Adidas is teaming up with Snapchat on a unique way to launch a product. The sportswear giant has created an 8-bit game you can play in Snapchat, called Baseball's Next Level, where you'll have the chance to buy its new 8-bit-themed baseball cleats. P...