When someone mentions the “video game industry,” what’s the first image that comes to mind? I’m betting it’s your favorite game, or perhaps a console or handheld device. But the industry is made up of far more than just the games and hardware. Developers and publishers use clothing, action figures, stuffed animals, toys, key chains, buttons, and even replicas of in-game weapons and armor to promote their games. ICHEG strives to collect and preserve all aspects of the gaming community, and that includes a plethora of unique merchandise. Here are some of my favorites at ICHEG.
It’s not surprising that a popular series like Mario Bros. includes a remarkable amount of related merchandise. With more than 200 games to its credit, Mario is the best-selling video game franchise ever created. Most gamers know about Mario figurines, stuffed animals, and t-shirts, but what about a 2002 telephone promoting the Mario Kart series? Manufactured by Pollyflame Concept Ltd., Mario zooms from room to room with you throughout your house, ensuring you’ll never miss a phone call, again. I’d recommend you avoid any banana peels or blue shells heading your way before you answer it.
Looking for something with a bit more vintage flair? Pac-Man, one of my favorite arcade games, pairs well with a number of fascinating merchandise. Published by Namco in 1980, Pac-Man provided a non-violent, maze-based gaming experience that was unique among arcade games of the era. I still smile whenever I see the wide-eyed yellow character munching happily away at his dots. When I came across a child’s Pac-Man Halloween costume in ICHEG’s collections, I had to resist the urge to try it on. The plastic mask and bib may not seem intricate by today’s standards, but it certainly pleased many a gamer during its time.
Clothing and knick-knacks prove popular, but how about something to consume while playing a favorite game? In 2010, fans of Microsoft’s flagship Halo series found themselves picking up an extra bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos featuring Master Chief and his soldiers. Not only did it sooth the munchies, it also reminded buyers that the new Halo: Reach game would hit the shelves soon. I always hoped to win one of the free prizes marketed on the bag.
No matter how you’re looking to display your love for a franchise, there’s enough varied merchandise to satisfy even the most devoted gamer. Do you have a game-related item you particularly love to show off to friends and family? Share them with us in the comments.