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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.