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Awesome 8-bit

Cult of 8-Bit Personality

Cult of 8-Bit Personality

Living Colour is one of those great bands that doesn’t get the kind of retro love that they deserve. The genre-defying group gave us songs like Love Rears Its Ugly Head, Glamour Boys, and their biggest hit Cult of Personality. 8 Bit Universe created this chiptune cover which gives the track a totally different and unexpected sound.

G-SHOCK x Super Mario Bros LCD Watch

G-SHOCK x Super Mario Bros LCD Watch

G-SHOCK and Nintendo created this sweet Super Mario Bros. watch, inspired by the classic 8-bit game. Its bezel and dial are done up in the color of Mario’s red overalls, while the bezel is the sky blue of the Overworld stages. The band features Mario pixel art print, and the LCD screen has an EL backlight with a Mario 1up graphic.

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Commodore Meets Bach

Commodore Meets Bach

Engineer Linus Akesson shows off his typing and musical skills with a performance of Bach’s Prelude from Partita No. 3 on old Commodore 64 computers, along with a 1541 floppy drive which makes sounds with its motors. Stick around to the end of the video or visit his blog for details on the project.

The Commodordion: A Commodore 64 Accordion

The Commodordion: A Commodore 64 Accordion

Known for its graphical and sound abilities, the Commodore 64 personal computer was home to some of the best games of the 8-bit era. Engineer Linus Åkesson took advantage of its audio capabilities to build this unique accordion which consists of two C64 computers connected by bellows made out of floppy disks and tape.

Atari Video Music Light Show

Atari Video Music Light Show

A while back, Techmoan showed off the Atari Video Music, a device that produces colorful patterns from audio. YouTube channel Atari Video Music CRT Garage makes music videos with the 8-bit box, displaying its images on a roomful of TV screens. There are more than 40 videos in the series. Here’s a playlist of our faves.

8-Bit Bee Gees

8-Bit Bee Gees

The 1970s disco era collides with 1980s video game sounds in this great chiptune cover of the Bee Gees’ hit You Should Be Dancing. We can imagine a pixelated John Travolta lighting up the dance floor while Mario, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong cheer him on from the sidelines.

8-Bit Muse

8-Bit Muse

The Muse track Knights of Cydonia is one of our favorites. It sounds especially great as a retro video game song. 8-bit Universe created this stellar chiptune version of the 2006 track which would have been perfect as the theme music for an old school Atari game like Ballblazer or M.U.L.E.

Galaga Enamel Pins

Galaga Enamel Pins
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Fans of retro 8-bit gaming will love these colorful enamel pins inspired by the aliens in the top-down shooter Galaga. Etsy seller Wardingers offers a selection of handmade pixel art pins based on characters like the Bee, Butterfly, Scorpion, Galaxian, and Bosconian. Sold individually or in various combinations.

LEGO Icons Atari 2600

LEGO Icons Atari 2600
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It might cost more than an actual Atari 2600, but this 2532-piece LEGO kit is still awesome. The brick-built 8-bit console and includes a joystick and switches that move. Plug in the Asteroids, Adventure, and Centipede cartridges and enjoy the accompanying 3D vignettes. Slide open the console to reveal a tiny basement scene.

NES Cartridge Notebooks

NES Cartridge Notebooks
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These officially-licensed Nintendo notebooks look just like NES cartridges – if they got run over by a steamroller. They have A5-size (5-7/8″ x 8-1/4″) ruled pages, game graphics on their inside covers and come in a slip-cover inspired by an NES cartridge case. Choose from Super Mario Bros. or Metroid versions.

World’s Smallest Atari 2600

World’s Smallest Atari 2600
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This teensy replica of the Atari 2600 comes with a miniature TV cabinet. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is loaded with nine 8-bit video games, including Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Combat, Millipede, Missile Command, Pong Tempest, Warlords, and Pac-Man. They’re not the original 2600 versions though.

Retro Rifle Arcade Series 1 Shirt

Retro Rifle Arcade Series 1 Shirt
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Go back to the ’80s with Retro Rifle’s arcade shirt. The black short-sleeve shirt is covered with vibrant neon pixel art inspired by the classic arcade shooter Galaga. It’s made from a custom blend of materials designed for stretch, durability, and sweat resistance. The first in a series of four arcade shirts.

Animation vs. Arcade Games

Animation vs. Arcade Games

Alan Becker revisits his Animation vs. series yet again. This time, his stick figure characters attempt to play classic arcade games on a MAME cabinet. As they fight over the joystick, things go off the rails and they crawl inside the machine in an attempt to debug the system.

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Cairo Throw

Cairo Throw
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Artist Susan Kare is known for her design of the system icons used on the original Apple Macintosh. In addition, she created the Cairo “dingbats” typeface, which can now be enjoyed on one of Areaware’s woven 50″ x 70″ blankets, crafted from 100% organic cotton. Available in black/white, green/pink, or grey/yellow.

Atari 2600 3D Voxel Art

Atari 2600 3D Voxel Art

Despite their primitive gameplay and rough graphics, we have a fond place in our hearts for the old Atari 2600. Mauri Helme pays tribute to the classic 8-bit console with a 3D voxel art animation, featuring scenes from Pitfall, River Raid, Frostbite, Keystone Kapers, and the oft-maligned E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Floppy Drive Video Demo

Floppy Drive Video Demo

Back in the 1980s, the demoscene was all about creating cool motion visuals and music using the computers of the day. Engineer Matthias Kramm figured out a way to create an old-school demo without a computer by hacking the output of an old Commodore 1541 floppy drive into a video signal. More details on his blog.

Donkey Kong A Capella

Donkey Kong A Capella

The A capella group Maytree is really good at making mouth sounds. In this clip, they replicate the music and sound effects from Nintendo’s classic 8-bit arcade game, Donkey Kong. Though like many of us, they couldn’t make it past Level 1.

Pixel Art Plexiglass Sprites

Pixel Art Plexiglass Sprites
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Idaho artist Thunktronix makes playful pixel-art sculptures of characters from video games and pop culture. Each of the sprites is made from 1/4″-thick plexiglass which has been decorated with translucent colors on back. Robotron, Donkey Kong, and the Mooninites from Aqua Teen Hunger Force are among our favorites.

Replicade 1942 and 1943 Machines

Replicade 1942 and 1943 Machines
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New Wave Toys expands its collection of 1/6th-scale arcade machines with a duo of vertical scrollers. The Romstar low-boy 1942 machine is pristine, while the 1943 Overhaul Edition has a battle-worn coin door. Both cabinets play both games and include a mini arcade stick for 2-player action. Pre-order by 3.17.21 and save $20.

Arcade1Up PartyCade Portable Arcades

Arcade1Up PartyCade Portable Arcades
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Arcade1Up created these retro video game systems that you can put on a tabletop or mount on a wall. Each one features a 17″ color LCD screen, arcade-quality joystick and buttons, and comes loaded with eight licensed games. QVC sells the Asteroids, Pac-Man, or Ms. Pac-Man variants, while HSN has a Centipede version.

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Game Cartridge Wood Coasters

Game Cartridge Wood Coasters
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Fans of 8-bit console gaming and adult beverages will love these wood coasters from Cutting Boredom. Each of the six available designs envisions a drunk version of a classic NES game, with titles like “Drunkey Kong” and “Mike Tyson’s Pass Out!!” Each one is printed in color then sealed with a two-coat polyurethane finish.

Pretty Eight Machine on Vinyl

Pretty Eight Machine on Vinyl
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Created by Brendan Becker aka Inverse Phase in 2012, Pretty Eight Machine is an awesome tribute to the music of Nine Inch Nails, performed on 8-bit gaming and computer sound chips. Now, you can pre-order it as a vinyl double album. The set includes 13 tracks from the SE release, and will be pressed on splatter art discs.

8-Bit Boston

8-Bit Boston

The Boston track Foreplay/Long Time is a masterpiece of 1970s prog rock, kicking off with an epic instrumental intro, leading into a rock-and-roll classic. 8-Bit Universe presents an equally entertaining chiptune version of the nearly 8-minute long track.

Arcade1Up Pong Pub Table

Arcade1Up Pong Pub Table
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Arcade1Up continues to build out its collection of retro-inspired video game cabinets with this stand-up system that lets four people play Pong at the same time. It also plays Warlords, Circus Atari, Tempest, Super Breakout, and a couple of other Pong variants. Pre-orders start shipping 4.1.2021.

Jeremy Messersmith: Video Games

Jeremy Messersmith: Video Games

Jeremy Messersmith’s heartfelt folk tune looks back fondly on his childhood days playing video games. The track is accompanied by a wonderful papercut animation by Eric Power that includes imagery from classic games like Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Tetris, and Asteroids. From the album Mixtape for the Milky Way.

Brava Fabrics Pac-Man Collection

Brava Fabrics Pac-Man Collection
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Celebrate your love for Namco’s classic arcade game with this series of premium wearables from Brava Fabrics. The collection includes a mix of cotton shirts and wool sweaters embellished with pixel art characters. Our favorites are the printed long-sleeve shirt and the less subtle, holiday-friendly Jacquard sweater.

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