As video games and gaming culture expands and becomes more and more popular and prominent in our everyday lives we have access to some really great merchandise thanks to many companies capitalizing on this ever growing community.
Personally when it comes to t-shirts for video games or bands I prefer the designs to be somewhat ambiguous and not simply a lazy logo pasted on to a black t-shirt; I'm drawn to creative use of gaming properties and bright eye catching colours... as you will see! What always wins out though is the love for the game that the t-shirt is based on, the design could be amazing but if it isn't tied to a game I'm passionate about I won't buy it.
My fairly small collection that I've amounted over the years comes from three places, Uni Qlo, Rising Star Games and Fangamer although there are many other great sites out there including RetroGT which has some great t-shirts for games such as Space Harrier and systems such as Game & Watch and Megadrive.
Please share your collection too, put a link in the comment box below and I'll check it out. Cheers!
APE ESCAPE - Uni Qlo
This bright bright yellow (the camera had trouble picking up just how bright it is!) t-shirt is for the gaming series Ape Escape and features the cheeky apes in various poses making the shape of one big ape. This is a very soft thick t-shirt that is super high quality... as is the case with all Uni Qlo t-shirts.
I love the original Ape Escape, it's full of so much charm and utilized the (then) new Sony dual analog stick controller in interesting ways. I haven't played any of the other games in the franchise though... it feels like the franchise has branched out in so many different ways that I don't know where to start.
I believe 'Piposaru' - which is written on the back collar - is a reference to a Japan only PS2 sequel called Pipo Saru 2001.
GAMEBOY - Fangamer
I got this as a present for my recent birthday and has since become my favorite game related t-shirt. The t-shirt is designed by Game Paused who I believe to be a UK company (I half remember visiting their site in the past which is currently under maintenance) and depicts an original Gameboy exploding and revealing all the internal hardware. From with the Gameboy subtle references to Gameboy classic games spring forth.
To me this t-shirt is just so unique and eye catching. It's incredibly well made and really captures the nostalgia factor of gaming. It also feeds into my interest in the internals of these game machines.
KILLER 7 - Fangamer
Before my birthday I had not heard of Fangamer, but after being so happy with the two designs my partner got me for my birthday I checked out their website. I went scrolling down the t-shirts, all of which are incredible, but one just blew me away and I knew I had to get it asap!
Killer 7 is easily in my top 5 games of all time and the idea that someone put the effort into designing a t-shirt for this incredibly surreal and niche game just blew me away. The design is very ambiguous, so much in fact that you wouldn't really see the references to Killer 7 unless you had personally played through the game... still, to me this is a Killer 7 t-shirt and I am incredibly happy with it. It's not my usual colour but it is actually quite nice, somewhere between an orange and a pink, kind of salmon.
The t-shirt was designed by Cory Schmitz.
MAPPY - Uni Qlo
Uni Qlo had a bunch of Namco t-shirts at one time including a load of Tekken t-shirts that I wish I had picked up. I got this t-shirt on the sale rack for £4. It's a large which means it's too big for me but I love Mappy and the old Namco arcade classics so I ended up buying it anyway.
The t-shirt is an eye scorching orange and feature a embroidered mappy patch sewn on to the front. The back feature a large pixel art Mappy. To be honest this is my least favourite game shirt as it seems a little hodgepodge but I still really like seeing Mappy in embroidered form. Now if I could only get a Galaga shirt...
SUPER MARIO BROS. - Fangamer
This is the second of the two Fangamer t-shirts that my partner got me for my birthday this year. It features a fun mash up of different Mario imagery and came with a free badge which feature a glow in dark Boo on it!
As with the other Fangamer shirts it is made lovingly and is of very high quality. This design was made by Momo & Sprits and was originally featured in the Game Icons: Luigi book by Gamepaused (it's a small world!)
METAL GEAR SOLID - Uni Qlo
Another Uni Qlo t-shirt, this one and the one below were made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear franchise as well as to celebrate the (then) release of Peace Walker.
Mr Hideo Kojima was in store doing signings which I kick myself for not attending. The signing was heavily advertising Peace Walker so I felt uncomfortable going having never even owned a PSP never mind Peace Walker... alas.
I got the t-shirt below first and then came back for this one. I'm not hugely into this design, I just don't like the text on the front as its a bit plain and I feel it comes across a bit weird to wear something that says that whilst walking down the street! The text is like a short felt material which hasn't shown any signs of coming off... fingers crossed it will stay stuck for years to come! The back is supposed to emulate Grey Fox's exoskeleton which is pretty cool.
METAL GEAR SOLID - Uni Qlo
I really like this deign as it is all based around the original Metal Gear Solid game which I love and have many fond memories of. Like the t-shirt above the text is a short felt material that so far isn't showing any signs of falling off. I wish they did more designs like this for the series as the watercolour art of the Solid series is phenomenal. I would happily buy a t-shirt that simply had a design like this on it.
Classic t-shirt with Meryl and Solid Snake with his SOCOM.
NO MORE HEROES - Rising Star Games
I got this from the newly opened Rising Star Games website. For those who don't know RSG are a video game publishing company that specializes in bringing games over from Japan. This design depicts Travis from No More Heroes' energy meter. The higher the energy the more the tiger rises. When you are super powered the icon changes to the top one. If I remember correctly in the second game you could actually turn into a tiger as a power up... I might be remembering that wrong though.
I enjoyed the No More Heroes games but personally I don't think anything will ever compare to Killer 7, I hope I'm wrong but I believe that it will always be Suda 51's peak.
The t-shirt material is okay I guess, in comparison to the high quality Uni Qlo and Fangamer t-shirts this feels a little scratchy but the print is of high quality. As of now the RSG hasn't added any new items for some time but I'm hoping for Virtue's Last Reward, Flower, Sun & Rain, Muramasa, KoF XIII and Bit.Trip merchandise... we can dream right!?
PAC-MAN - Uni Qlo
Finally we have one of the most recognisable characters in video game history taking over a city-scape. I really like this t-shirt, in terms of scale and design it is a little bizarre but not in a bad way. This was featured along with many other designs to commemorate Pac-man's 30th birthday. The yellow dot just recently celebrated his 35th so, Happy Birthday Pac-man! This design was by Brian Alfred.