Super Mario Bros. Warp Pipe Can Koozie: Don’t Drink the Piranha Plants

Keeping your drink cold: it’s a necessity. Unless you’re drinking coffee or hot chocolate, then it’s the exact opposite of what I said. Besides, there’s already a coffee mug warp pipe for your hot beverage needs. But this is about beverages of the canned variety. And what better way to sip an insulated cold one and pledge your allegiance to old-school gaming than with this Super Mario Bros.-inspired warp pipe can koozie? Luigi would be so proud.

Made by Toynk and available on Amazon (affiliate link), the officially-licensed koozie looks just like an 8-bit warp pipe from the original Super Mario Bros. game for the NES. It will undoubtedly keep my Monster Energy nice and cold while I spent countless, infuriating hours trying to set a new speedrun record for the game, smashing controller after controller and unsettling the neighbors with my screaming.

I can never think of Super Mario Bros. and not think about how when I was a kid I’d convince my brother that the pits on the water levels were actually warp zones, so he’d swim down them and die and it would be my turn again. He still doesn’t trust me to this day.

[via The Awesomer]

This Keycap Looks Like a Teensy Nintendo Game Boy

Recently, I wrote about the Thumby, a teensy Game Boy-inspired gaming system that you basically need to be Ant-Man to play. If you like the idea of a miniature Game Boy, but your thumbs aren’t small enough to play that thing, you might want to consider the ZMKC Pocket Game Console Artisan Keycap instead.

These unique keycaps have an awesome retro look that apes the Nintendo Game Boy but stretched into the shape of a truncated pyramid, also known as a frustum. Yep, we all learned a new word today. If you’re typing on a mechanical keyboard, you have a whole bunch of frustums sitting there right in front of you. But I digress. These awesome artisan keycaps come not only in a retro beige color but in bold egg yolk yellow, a muted black, and several other hues in case you don’t care for the classic Game Boy color scheme.

Another neat thing about this keycap is its see-through window, which lets a keyboard backlight shine through like the old Game Boy Light screen.

The keycap is available for pre-order for $35 over on Drop, which means it’s actually more expensive than the playable Thumby game system. But I wouldn’t try gluing one of those onto your existing keyboard. It’ll start playing every time you type, plus you’ll probably get Krazy Glue stuck to your fingers when you’re doing it. Just think, for $35 each, you could replace all 85 of the 1U keys on a standard 104-key keyboard with these things for just about $3000!

This Life-Size Bubo the Owl Figure from Clash of the Titans is Kraken Battle Ready

Everyone needs a faithful companion, and Perseus really lucked out in Clash of the Titans when Athena refused Zeus’s request to send the hero her own pet owl, instead offering a brass-and-iron version of Bubo she had Hephaestus construct. Sure the mechanical Bubo was clumsy, but he came through in the end, and I think we can all agree the end is the most important part to come through in.

Bubo is one of legendary visual effects creator Ray Harryhausen’s most beloved creatures, given life in the movie using Ray’s own ‘Dynamation’ form of stop-motion model animation. Available for pre-order from the BigBadToyStore for the godly sum of $250, this 30-cm Bubo replica was faithfully recreated from the model used in the movie. Unlike the model in the film, though, this Bubo is made of soft vinyl, featuring eight points of articulation for posing how you see fit. I see fit to pose him on my shoulder and pretend I’m a steampunk pirate. Yarrrrr!

Will I be buying one myself? Unfortunately, I don’t have the $250 required, but I will be crafting my own Bubo out of Progresso soup cans and parts I can scavenge from the hot water heater. Sure all the cold showers will suck this winter, but can you really put a price on owning your own poorly constructed mechanical owl friend?

[via Nerdist]

Super Mario Bros. Build-A-Light Level Is a Definite 1-Up

The original Super Mario Bros. changed the course of video games as we know it, and arguably the most influential game of all time. And what better way to celebrate that than with a Super Mario Bros light with stackable, interchangeable, light blocks? Okay, I’m sure there actually are better ways to celebrate that, but this article isn’t about those. This is about the light.

The Build-A-Light level, available from FireBox, includes a lighted base and 16 double-sided light blocks to stack as you see fit, constructing the perfect level and lighting ambiance for your gaming room. Or your bedroom. Granted my wife said there will be no Mario light in our bedroom, but she also said the same thing about food, and I keep a stash of OREOs in my bedside table.

But do you think they’ll also release a Super Mario Bros. 3 version if this one is a financial success? Because I’d buy one of those too. And a Metroid one! And The Legend of Zelda! Actually just take my wallet already, Nintendo, you win.

[via The Awesomer]

From Bitcoin prices to the weather, to even calendar alerts, this lo-fi LED Smart Display handles it all

A retro display for your rustic mid-century tabletop, the Tidbyt gives you the best of both worlds – a cutting edge IoT display that lets you see the weather, news, stock and currency prices, images and album art, inspirational quotes, etc. in a steampunk-ish display that uses a matrix of LEDs to supply you with your info in a lo-fi 8-bit style.

Designer: Tidbyt

Conceived as a Kickstarter project earlier this year, Tidbyt brings information to you in a uniquely pleasing format. Unlike Amazon and Google’s smart displays that come with clear bright OLEDs, the Tidbyt has a retro charm of its own, with a walnut-wood enclosure on the outside, and a matrix of 2048 LEDs on the front, arranged in 64×32. The layout lets you pretty much display anything on your Tidbyt, as long as it fits on the 64×32 resolution screen.

The Tidbyt can be controlled/customized entirely through its companion smartphone app. The team behind Tidbyt is constantly upgrading the app with new widgets for the Tidbyt, and if you’re a bit of a coder, the display’s open-source API lets you customize your experience. The app lets you cycle through different screens for your Tidbyt too. You can choose multiple apps to be displayed on your Tidbyt at the same time. It will cycle or rotate through, displaying each of them for either 5, 10 or 15 seconds (which you configure through the app). This allows you to easily cycle through multiple stock tickers, time and weather in different cities, multiple subway stops, a bunch of fun messages, or all of the above.

Each Tidbyt comes with a set of controls to help you adjust the brightness of your display. Based on where you’ve kept it (on your work table, your mantelpiece, or bedside), the Tidbyt’s LEDs can be dimmed or brightened for clarity. The app even comes with an auto-dimming feature that follows the sun, and a night mode that kicks in around bedtime, keeping the display running at its lowest brightness so you can sleep with your Tidbyt on.

Post a successful campaign on Kickstarter (which got fully funded in just 2 hours), the Tidbyt is now in its production stages as it prepares to ship to its backers. For people who missed the campaign, the Tidbyt’s up for pre-order on its site for s price of $179 with shipping in November.

Store Your Floppy Disk Coasters in a Wooden Floppy Drive

Do you long for the days when software shipped on a bunch of floppy disks? Yeah, me either. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for collecting retro technology and art that celebrates it out of a sense of nostalgia. A while back I used my laser cutter to make myself some wood coasters that look like 3.5-inch floppy disks, but they just end up sitting out all over the place. I think it would be better if I had a disk drive to keep them in. Well, thanks to Lazerjammer Studios, that’s now a possibility.

This wooden coaster storage box looks like a vintage disk drive, with a slot in the front where you can deposit up to four wooden 3.5″ coasters. The box has a hinged top for retrieving the coasters, and its interior is lined with felt to protect them. Now I’ve tried inserting my floppy disk coasters in a real 3.5″ drive and they just get stuck, and I need a bunch of tools to yank them back out. And never mind what happened when I tried jamming four of them in there. This is a much better solution.

As I mentioned, I made my own wood floppy disk coasters, but the ones that Lazerjammer sells look much more professional than mine, and will definitely fit inside of the storage box/disk drive. So I recommend buying those to go with. They’re sold in a set of four for $24.95. The disk drive also sells for $24.95, so you’re looking at a great gift for under 50 bucks. And don’t forget to flip the write-protect tabs so your important files don’t get overwritten when you put your coffee cup on top.

The Thumby Is the World’s Smallest Game Boy

The whole point of game systems like the Nintendo Game Boy was to make them small enough to carry in your pocket and play on the go. But what if you’ve got really tiny pockets?.. or really tiny fingers? Then you need the Thumby!

Created by TinyCircuits, the Thumby is by all accounts the world’s smallest handheld gaming system. It measures just 1.2″ x 0.7″ x 0.3″ and packs a Raspberry Pi RP2040 processor, 2MB of onboard storage, and a tiny 72×40 OLED screen. It’s also got a really small D-Pad and two buttons, but there’s no way I’d be able to push the right ones with my ape-like digits.

It comes pre-loaded with five retro-inspired games so you can start playing right away, but it’s also fully programmable. Connect the Thumby’s Micro USB port to your computer, and you can create your own custom games using MicroPython or the Arduino IDE. Plus, it’s built on an Open Source platform, which means modding and tweaking are encouraged. TinyCircuits also made it so you can play head-to-head by connecting two Thumbys with a link cable.

Best of all, Thumby won’t break the bank. You can pre-order a Thumby on Kickstarter now for just $19 for the classic grey color or $24 in a color case.


This coffee-grinder’s retro-inspired form harks back to the golden age of Italian automotive design

Look at the Niche Zero and tell me it doesn’t possess the soul of a Vespa! The beautifully curvilinear design of the Niche Zero coffee grinder isn’t a result of function, but rather of expression. Inspired by old-timey automobiles (and even appliances), the Niche Zero coffee grinder celebrates the bold, beautiful design languages of icons like Piaggio, Fiat, Alessi, and Olivetti.

The Niche’s commanding presence in your kitchen is a stark deviation from most burr grinders that look to be compact, sleek, and portable. Designed by UK-based brand Niche Coffee, Niche Zero is a specially designed single-dose grinder that refreshes you with not just a cup of coffee, but also with its eye-catching design. The grinder, which comes in either white or black, features a gently curved metal body, retro-style switches, and wooden accents and stubby legs that make it look warm and approachable. On the inside, the Niche Zero comes with 63mm conical steel burr grinders with a step-less adjustment system that gives you precise and complete control over your grind size. Load the coffee beans into the hopper, secure the safety lid, and flip the antique toggle-style switch on the side and the Niche Zero begins whirring to life, delivering a single dose of ground coffee powder that you can then use with your espresso machine, French press, pour-over, cold-brew carafe, or any style of coffee-brewing apparatus you may have!

The Niche Zero measures a little over 12 inches in height (311mm) and boldly sits on your kitchen counter almost like a sculptural piece. It operates at 72 decibels too, which some might consider just a tad loud (if you’re one of them, maybe invest in a hand-grinder).

Each Niche Zero comes in either Pure White or Midnight Black (both equally classy colors, although the white one looks less visually heavy) with oak wood accents. The grinder comes along with a 58mm grind cup (perfect for most portafilters), a wooden-handled cleaning brush, a user manual, and a socket driver.

The grinder itself is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The safety lid on top helps secure the beans while the machine is operational, and a step-less adjustment disc on the inside even comes with a marked guide that lets you calibrate your grind-size to suit the kind of brewing you plan on doing (finer grind for Espresso, coarser grind for a French press). A single switch on the side lets you turn the Niche Zero on or off, and the grinder’s direct outlet path ensures that no bits and specks of coffee dust remain behind inside the machine. However, a nifty little accompanying brush lets you clean out your Niche Zero every couple of uses.

Designer: Niche Coffee

These Wireless Charging Mats Look Like SEGA Game Controllers

Back in the day, I was a serious SEGA fanboy. The SEGA Genesis and Dreamcast are still two of my favorite video game consoles of all time, the Japanese brand offering an outsider’s approach to gaming, releasing offbeat and edgy titles that Nintendo and Sony wouldn’t have dreamed of at the time. Sadly, SEGA isn’t in the console business anymore, but they still make some pretty cool video games for other consoles and mobile devices. If you’re a fan of classic SEGA gaming like me, check out these sweet wireless charging mats.

Numskull teamed up with SEGA to make these “Charging Matz” because any word that ends with “z” is cooler than a word that ends with “s.” They’re available in four styles, including Mega Drive and Dreamcast controllers, a Dreamcast console, and the Sonic the Hedgehog logo, complete with his wagging finger. The picture above also shows a Saturn controller, so I assume that’s on the way too. Each mat offers 10-watt fast charging for Qi-compatible wireless devices and has a non-slip rubber base. I like how the Dreamcast controller even has the VMU there in the middle. Now can I use it to play some Shenmue?

All four SEGA Charging Matz are available for order in the EU and UK via their official SEGA shops. If you want one in the US, check back here and we’ll provide an update when we know when and where you can buy them.

VHS Pillowcases and Duvets: Be Kind, Relax and Rewind

While VHS tapes clearly won the format war against Betamax, I was always more of a Beta fan because I’ve always been an outsider-slash-tech snob. Regardless of the kind of videotape you chose back in the day, your blank tapes almost certainly came in a boldly designed box with colorful line art graphics. Now, you can enjoy the classic VHS tape look every time you lie down to go to bed.

Clothing and accessory brand MoonLambo makes a variety of fun items decked out to look like classic VHS art, including a VHS tape pillowcase, and two different VHS-inspired duvet covers: one in a white/yellow/orange/red color scheme, and another in a black/gold/RGB combo. All three are labeled as “T-120” which means that they can record up to 2 hours of low-quality video in SP mode, 4 hours of mediocre video in LP mode, and 6 hours of “shot on a potato” quality video in EP mode. And if you start to see squiggly lines while you drift off to sleep, try adjusting the tracking control.

And if you have a particularly memorable dream of Heather Locklear coming out of the swimming pool that you don’t want to forget, be sure to punch out the write-protect tab to prevent someone in the house from overwriting your precious fantasies with a bad episode of Silver Spoons.