I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of overlap between the gaming community and the watch-lover community. How else would you explain Tag Heuer collaborating with Mario Kart, or Anicorn partnering with Hideo Kojima over this 2022 Metal Gear timepiece… or even the fact that Casio has a League of Legends edition of their G-Shock collection. The collabs don’t stop there because Microsoft just teamed up with Meister Watches to debut an Xbox-themed limited-edition timepiece. The exclusive watch, limited to just 250 units, comes with a gorgeous Stormtrooper color aesthetic, and the Xbox logo emblazoned across the watch’s face, making the collaboration pretty evident.
Designer: Microsoft Xbox & Meister Watches
Dubbed rather simply the XBOX watch, the timepiece comes in a colorway Meister calls “Crystal White”, as an homage to the limited edition transparent plastic ‘Crystal’ Xbox consoles back in the day. Aside from the massive Xbox logo on the dial as well as the crown, the watch sports topographical details on the face as well as the strap, a flair from Meister’s end that tries to bring about visual depth to the timepiece. That is, if you exclude that chunky outer body.
At the core of this watch lies a reliable Japanese 3-hand quartz movement, ensuring accuracy and longevity. The movement also supports features like the watch’s day and date functions, visible through the day and date windows at 3 and 12 o’clock respectively. You’ve even got water resistance of up to 50 meters, which, coupled with that rubber/silicone strap, means you can easily take a dip in a pool or go surfing without worrying about the water affecting your watch. Luminous markings on the hands allow you to read time at night or even under the water, although don’t expect this to serve as a dive watch.
The limited edition watch is already sold out as of writing this piece, but if you were one of the lucky ones to snag this up, it cost a mere $80, making for a pretty nifty keepsake. To add to that, the watch also shipped in a collector’s box that resembles a miniature Xbox Series S, adding to its appeal as a piece of gaming memorabilia.
Handheld gaming devices are in vogue again, and not just the smartphones we always have in our hands these days. The success of the Nintendo Switch has given rise to a new breed of portable PCs built specifically with gaming in mind, and now even big brands like ASUS and Lenovo are playing in this very niche field. While both the Switch and the Steam Deck have become the poster children for this category of devices, they aren’t the only way to play PC games anywhere and everywhere. Another contender is pushing a new entry into the race, and this one hides a QWERTY keyboard for those times when you need keys rather than buttons to play, communicate, or even work.
Handheld PCs like the Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go are probably PC gamers’ dreams come true. They allow them to play their favorite modern and even retro titles without having to worry about finding a place to set up a laptop. That convenience, however, comes at the price of relying only on controller buttons and joysticks for movement, while being at the mercy of a touchscreen and an on-screen keyboard for everything else. That’s not a problem for something like the Nintendo Switch with games specifically designed for such an input scheme, but for a PC that can potentially play and do anything, it’s severely limiting.
The AYANEO SLIDE addresses this problem by introducing a physical QWERTY keyboard that doesn’t get in the way when you don’t actually need it. Its trick is to hide that keyboard underneath the display using a sliding mechanism, not unlike the slider keyboards of smartphones from long ago. That makes it trivial to type out messages for games that require chatting with other players or to even play games that might not fully support game controllers. And since you can easily hide it when you’re done, it doesn’t take up too much extra space when it’s not in use.
Granted, the AYANEO SLIDE is hardly the first to use this design to address the problem of an absent keyboard. The recent GPD WIN 4 and the old Sony VAIO UX from 2006 both used a sliding mechanism to hide a QWERTY keyboard. AYANEO’s design, however, also lets you set the screen at an angle when you slide it up, which offers a slightly more ergonomic viewing angle compared to a completely flat screen.
While the addition of a hidden keyboard does fix one problem, the design has some drawbacks in the current implementation. Given the large size of the device, thumb-typing on that keyboard isn’t exactly comfortable or fast. A sliding mechanism also invites trouble because of moving parts. An alternative design, one employed by AYAENO rival GPD, uses a mini laptop form factor to offer a different way to mix gaming and typing on the go, but that also brings its own problems in terms of portability and bulk.
Chess, often considered as the game of intellect, has been a canvas for storytelling throughout history. It weaves narratives of wars and strategies and tales that mirror the complexities of human existence. The characters, like kings, queens, knights, and pawns, carry the weight of history and symbolism. However, in the hands of visionary artist Taras Yoom, chess transcends its traditional boundaries, stepping into a realm where two kingdoms declare a truce – a symbolic new stage in life.
Yoom’s creation, “Another Kingdom: Light Stage,” is not your average chess set; it’s a handcrafted collectible that breathes life into the timeless game. Yoom, known for his work with Yoomoota, introduces a limited edition collection of 21 chess sets that embody a harmonious exchange between two realms. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, each set is a masterpiece of 3D printing from photopolymer plastic, molding, sculpting, polymer casting, and acrylic paint detailing.
The color palette, dominated by light pastels and blues, mirrors the essence of the truce and the exchange of knowledge and goods between the two kingdoms. The fusion of acrylic, metal, plastic, silicone, and wood adds a tactile richness to the pieces, making them not just strategic tools but also works of art. To further elevate the chess sets, Yoom incorporates a digital secret in the form of an NFC chip. This digital certificate validates, authenticates, and records the ownership and provenance of each artwork, ensuring a unique connection to its collector.
The Another Kingdom: Light Stage chess sets serve as a tangible link to the Yoomoota universe, specifically the planet Us2BeBetter.
According to Yoom’s narrative, the inhabitants of this celestial body are on the cusp of a new story, one that avoids conflict and destruction. The chessboard becomes the stage for this narrative, a conceptual landscape where pieces rise on two mountains, guarding a coveted artifact resembling an old pocket watch. This artifact possesses the unique power to temporarily revert the past, offering players the chance to rewrite history as they engage in the age-old game.
Describing Another Kingdom: Light Stage as the dawn of a new era in the development of the Yoomoota kingdom, Taras Yoom infuses the chess set with a festive ambiance reminiscent of an endless fair. It goes beyond the physical victories dictated by classical chess rules, offering a symbolic triumph through the discovery of a hidden treasure at the board’s center. The chess set personifies not just a game but a celebration of peace and the rewriting of destinies.
As the game unfolds, players or residents are presented with a unique opportunity to reshape the narrative of their world. The alien-like creatures that inhabit this planet add an element of otherworldliness to the playful chess set, transporting it into a realm beyond our own – the vibrant and imaginative Yoomoota.
In the intricate craftsmanship of Another Kingdom: Light Stage, Taras Yoom invites chess enthusiasts and art collectors alike to partake in a journey where strategy meets symbolism, and where the truce declared on the chessboard echoes into the vast expanse of Yoomoota.
The PlayStation 5 may have gotten a design refresh in the form of a detachable disc drive… but this handheld concept gets a feature we never thought we’d see… handheld disc gaming! The MOI3D is a concept controller from the brains of Vadim Danilkov, who wanted to build a modern variant of the PS One. Debuted in 2000, the redesigned PS One was the highest-selling console that year (even outperforming the more capable PS2 which launched in the same year)… its highlight, a detachable LCD screen that made it a complete gaming solution that you could play with sans a TV. MOI3D builds on that retro vision, with a handheld variant that lets you play all your disc-based PS games going all the way back to the first PlayStation made. Pop the disc in the back and the console fires up, allowing you to relive almost 3 decades of gaming a la PlayStation!
Designer: Vadim Danilkov
The MOI3D was created as a part of Vadim’s broader CAD modeling and plastics rendering course back in the day, and only recently revived as a concept tech device given Sony’s odd PlayStation Portal debut that really confused the entire gaming world. While the Portal looked like a spiritual successor to the PSP, it turned out to be a glorified controller that only worked when wirelessly tethered to an existing PS5. The MOI3D has no such problem, given that it physically runs games on the device thanks to that built-in CD player.
The MOI3D’s aesthetic gets defined by the presence of this CD reader. While most handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck have a rather sensible rectangular shape, the MOI3D looks sort of like if a rectangle ate a circle. The weird form may be a deterrent for some, but I think it’s a classic example of form following function… and what the MOI3D loses in sleek appeal, it makes up for with its gaming chops and incredible backward compatibility.
The level of detailing in this concept is maddening to the point where I feel like it should just be a real product by now. Vadim’s pretty much built out every PCB, button, and plastic component in this device and that in itself is a design feat that’s difficult to achieve.
Keeping in line with current handheld consoles, the MOI3D has all the bells and whistles, including all the action buttons (even the L1/L2 and R1/R2 buttons on the shoulders), an HDMI out, and a USB-C port for charging. A centrally located button on the top surface helps open the CD tray, and at least from the looks of it, the one thing missing is a 3.5mm audio jack. To be fair, the MOI3D does have its own front-firing speaker units. That should definitely hold up wonderfully for some of the older games you’ll find yourself playing on the MOI3D, given its ability to support games from the original PS dating back to 1994! Online gaming could never compare itself to this…
An upper-class version of the capitalist’s favorite board game!
The Monopoly Heirloom Edition is a sumptuous reimagining of the classic game. Its solid wood case, elegantly combining rosewood, walnut, and maple inlays, doesn’t just scream quality—it serenades it. This isn’t your typical cardboard and plastic setup. It’s a striking, handcrafted ensemble that includes a wooden banker’s tray, plated die-cast metal tokens, Monopoly money, wood houses and hotels, and custom foil-stamped Chance and Community Chest cards.
The board itself, a delightful blend of walnut cabinet and tiger maple and rosewood veneers, is not just a playing surface but a centerpiece that demands attention. Measuring a substantial 23″ wide x 24″ deep x 4″ high and weighing a hefty 17 pounds, it’s clear that this edition of Monopoly is built to last and to be cherished through generations. My one complaint? It isn’t foldable or travel-friendly.
But it’s not just about aesthetics. This Heirloom Edition is a nod to the timeless appeal of Monopoly, a game that has transcended generations, outliving fleeting gaming trends. Each set, with its rich hardwoods and veneers, gets heirloom status, allowing it to be used, cherished, retained, and passed down from one generation to another (quite like Jumanji but without any of the sci-fi drama). The inclusion of a storage drawer and built-in banker’s tray speaks to the thoughtfulness put into its design, ensuring that all the game components are neatly stored and easily accessible.
The interest in retro products hasn’t disappeared so far, and it has spread to more than just turntables, cameras, and fashion. The pull of nostalgia is especially strong in the gaming industry, giving rise not just to retro consoles but also to retro gaming itself. Gamers of all ages are reliving and discovering the peculiar quirks and joys of old-school titles, some of which are best experienced using the controllers for which they were designed. Commercial arcades might now be endangered species, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate that gaming experience at home today. Retro arcades, after all, are also trending, but this innovative modular system goes the extra mile to ensure you’ll be able to enjoy any game on any kind of control not just today but also for the foreseeable future. Better yet, it even supports playing modern games that will become tomorrow’s retro titles.
Here’s a few examples of awesome modern games that can be played on the Polycade Sente
In the years before PC gaming took root, most video games were either played on consoles or arcade cabinets, both of which used controllers with joysticks, D-pads, and buttons. The early age of arcades gave birth to several different controller designs, which may differ from game to game or from cabinet to cabinet. Supporting retro games can be quite a challenge because of that, and supporting both classic and modern titles makes it even more complicated. Polycade Sente, however, has a rather ingenious solution that lets the owner design the mix of hardware components they need, swapping out controllers to support different kinds of playing styles and more than a single player.
Comes with modular controls.
Traditional arcade systems are designed as complete and fixed machines, but that doesn’t have to be the case today. The Polycade Sente, for example, lets you easily swap or add different kinds of controllers and input devices to ensure compatibility with almost all games in existence. Playing a two-player beat ’em up? Use the default single full panel for the best combos. Playing solo and want to have your snack within reach? The center-mounted half panel has inserts for cup holders. Some games require shooting, so Light Gun add-ons can also be installed on each side.
The Polycade Sente’s modularity goes beyond the controller panels. While it’s designed to mount directly to a well, it can also installed on a freestand add-on so you can relocate it anywhere in the room. The very “brain” of the arcade system is also modular and you can choose the kind of computer you need to drive the games you want to play. The standard package includes an already powerful Windows 11 mini PC with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. That’s enough to run plenty of games, both the lightweight classics as well as some more recent titles. If you really want the muscle to handle even the likes of Street Fighter VI 6 and Mortal Kombat 1, however, you can go the DIY route and assemble your own PC with all the bells and whistles you can afford. You can even use a console instead if that’s the way you play. Either way, you’re in complete control of how you want to play.
Whichever route you take, you’ll have access to an overwhelming number of games, starting with 24 premium games right off the bat and dozens more from the Polycade Game Store, all of them officially licensed for your guilt-free enjoyment. And since you’re actually running on a Windows PC, you also have access to games from Steam, GOG, itch.io, and more! Still missing some beloved titles from decades past? Polycade’s software includes pre-configured emulators that work seamlessly with the Polycade Sente. It may look like a floating arcade cabinet, but it’s actually a gateway to a gaming dreamland!
The Polycade Sente’s modular design makes it easy to upgrade or replace parts with standard off-the-shelf components. With a powder-coated steel cabinet, it’s also designed to last so that you can keep on playing your beloved titles for years to come. The chassis comes in either white or black colorways, and there are also vinyl stripes or magnetic full-body decals to personalize your arcade. A neon LED backlight, which can be controlled with a remote to change colors or pre-programmed patterns, adds a bit of bling to your setup. Just because you’re playing old games doesn’t mean your gaming machine has to look old as well. With the Polycade Sente modular arcade system, you get to enjoy the guilty pleasures of the past in a future-proof design today.
After the runaway success of LEGO’s Super Mario build, the company is partnering again with Nintendo to make brick-based versions of scenes from their hit game, Animal Crossing. Made popular on Nintendo Switch, the company’s highly popular handheld gaming console, Animal Crossing is a game where players inhabit and civilize a desert island, turning it into a burgeoning, flourishing society. LEGO hand-picked some iconic scenes from the game, introducing popular characters in the form of minifigures that children can play with. Parents, however, will appreciate the fact that this entire endeavor is screen-free!
Designers: LEGO & Nintendo
The lineup consists of five unique sets, each beautifully capturing the essence of Animal Crossing’s most beloved characters and locations. Prices range from a wallet-friendly $14.99 to a more premium $74.99, ensuring there’s something for every fan, regardless of their budget. The sets vary in complexity, with piece counts ranging from a modest 164 pieces to an impressive 535 pieces, offering both simplicity and challenge for builders of different skill levels.
The series kicks off with “Isabelle’s House Visit” (Set 77049), boasting 389 pieces and featuring characters Isabelle & Fauna. It’s a medium-sized set, priced at $39.99 USD, and stands over 6.5 inches high and 10 inches wide when assembled. For those seeking a more compact experience, “Julian’s Birthday Party” (Set 77046) offers a 170-piece build featuring the character Julian, priced at $14.99 USD. This set measures over 3.5 inches high, 6.5 inches wide, and 4 inches deep in its standard configuration.
“Bunnie’s Outdoor Activities” (Set 77047) is another delightful addition, comprising 164 pieces and priced at $19.99 USD. This set captures the whimsical outdoor adventures of the character Bunnie. The “Kapp’n’s Island Boat Tour” (Set 77048) is a slightly larger set with 233 pieces, featuring characters Kapp’n and Marshal, and is priced at $29.99 USD. The crown jewel of the collection is undoubtedly “Nook’s Cranny & Rosie´s House” (Set 77050), the largest set with 535 pieces, featuring Tom Nook & Rosie. This elaborate set is the most expensive, priced at $74.99 USD.
Each of these sets not only stands out on its own but also forms part of a larger, interconnected LEGO Animal Crossing world. The possibility to interchange elements between sets adds a layer of customization and creativity, allowing fans to create their unique versions of this beloved universe. In sum, the LEGO Animal Crossing series is a dream come true for fans, combining the immersive world of the game with the hands-on creativity of LEGO building. So, whether you’re a fan of Animal Crossing, a LEGO enthusiast, or both, these sets are a perfect way to bring a bit of that peaceful, playful spirit into your home. Just remember, unlike the game, you can’t pay for these with bells – get your wallets ready for some real-world currency action!
Just because you’re trying to design a retro interpretation of an old design doesn’t mean you have to copy the original inch for inch. In fact, it might even be illegal in some cases to be an exact replica of the product you’re trying to pay homage to. It’s definitely a good opportunity to address the flaws of the past or to implement designs that were intended but couldn’t be implemented because of the limitations or tastes of ages past. It wouldn’t make sense, for example, for a modern recreation of the Game Boy Color to display the extremely limited palette of the original in this day and age. Fortunately, Analogue had the sense to equip its retro gaming handheld with modern capabilities while staying faithful to the original’s essence. So faithful that it, in fact, even tried to recreate the playful colors of the Game Boy Color while also expanding that selection with almost all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
Even by yesteryear’s standards, the Game Boy Color’s chunky design clearly earmarked it as a toy for kids. Those kids, however, have now grown up, and many of them want to relive those fun-filled days but probably with something that doesn’t look like it was plucked out of a time capsule. The Analogue Pocket is an attempt to feed this hunger while also making the design and the heritage accessible to a lot more people. Its more modern and sleeker aesthetic easily appeals to gamers of all ages but still exudes that charm that made the GBC an icon. Still, the retro handheld seemed to be missing one particular element that would really set it apart from other Game Boy Color recreations.
That missing piece of the puzzle was delivered by the “Classic” edition of the Analogue Pocket, which basically gives the device a colorful paint job. The very first GBC was a rather boring and very industrial gray, but the market eventually exploded in a variety of colors, including a transparent one. The Analogue Pocket Classic brings back not just one or two or five of these but offers no less than eight hues. That’s on top of the plain black, white, transparent, and glow-in-the-dark editions that came out in the past.
The full palette includes Indigo, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink, Orange, and Silver, all of which Analogue boasts have been color-matched to the original models. It might just be a change of hue, but it immediately gives the Pocket a vibrant character befitting of a gaming device. With these accurate colors and the overall design of the handheld, there is very little doubt that this retro revival truly captures the spirit of the Game Boy Color as faithfully as it can without tripping over legal landmines.
The story doesn’t end on a high note, unfortunately, with all variants of the Analogue Pocket now declared to be completely sold out. That’s true for this colorful yet limited run of the “Classic” edition as well as the original models. It’s uncertain if these will ever return to shelves, and collectors will have to stay on their toes while waiting for hopeful news in the coming days.
Although there’s no air involved in this particular build, the LEGO Ideas Tabletop Air Hockey kit captures the joy of slinging a puck around from left to right, trying to score a goal while protecting your own post. Submitted to the LEGO Ideas forum, this fan-made build from ‘LordFamousTulip100’ sits on the global LEGO forum with nearly a 1000 votes.
With a highly sturdy reliable construction that can easily handle the occasional violence of Air Hockey, LordFamousTulip100’s build comprises a staggering 2,500 bricks. The playing surface is smooth, has all the markings, and is spacious enough to accommodate two players comfortably. It’s still compact enough that the entire apparatus can sit on a coffee table, occupying perhaps the same amount of space as a large board game.
“The model features two brick build mallets and two pucks, which the goal can comfortably fit and store when you are not playing,” says designer LordFamousTulip100. “The playing surface is made with the largest pieces possible to ensure a smooth game.”
The board also features a goal counter to keep score, and has exposed dotted bricks on either side that you can plug your mallets/strikers into when not in use. The lack of air-based lubrication may be the one thing really missing from this game, but it makes up for it with the ability to be customized/modified thanks to the open-source LEGO-based design!
Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion, especially judging by the number of successful “retro” products sold in the market in the past years. Although the flood has seemingly trickled down a bit, it continues to flow especially in the gaming scene. Old gaming brands have suddenly resurfaced to bring nearly forgotten designs to the present, taking previous generations down memory lane while introducing today’s gamers to old-school experiences. While some of these retro consoles actually try to relive the past, this interesting and rather cute box might take your head for a spin with its Mac design and PC internals, combined to offer not just a gaming computer but a piece of desk decoration as well.
Compared to the computers put out by the likes of Atari and Commodore, the early PCs didn’t really have a memorable design that would go down in history as iconic computers. It was the original Apple Macintosh, instead, that captured people’s attention and imagination of what a home personal computer should look like. Of course, that was decades in the past, but the imagery has stood the test of time as proof of the design’s timeless character. AYANEO, a brand better known for gaming handhelds, is now taking that immensely popular design and giving it a rather curious twist.
As part of its AYANEO REMAKE concept line, the AYANEO Retro Mini PC AM01 slaps the old Mac design onto a new machine. The basic elements that have distinguished one of Apple’s earliest successes are there, tweaked a bit to avoid potential controversies, of course. There’s the telltale sign of a floppy drive, as well as a square rainbow badge that’s a nod to the old Apple logo. There’s a black rectangle near the top that’s purely cosmetic, denoting where the screen is supposed to be located. There’s nothing there, though, which is a bit of a waste, but it doesn’t really matter considering how the mini PC is used.
Unlike the Mac, the AYANEO Retro Mini PC is meant to lie down on its “back” rather than standing up, with that black rectangle in the rear. That’s because the ports for the computer are actually located on what would have been the top and bottom sides, so it has to be horizontal to actually be useful. Of course, this product is a gaming console anyway, not a standalone computer with a built-in display, so you’ll need to plug in peripherals to make it work. And yes, it runs Windows 11, which, given the eternal rivalry between Macs and PCs, some might find a bit insulting.
AYANEO has other retro designs also in the pipeline, including the Retro Mini PC AM02 that takes after the classic NES design. Curiously, that one does have a functional mini display since it can actually be used upright. It’s also working on a handheld that brings back the dual-display design of the not-so-old Nintendo DS, though the practical purpose of that second display is yet to be revealed.