Toy Story 2: Game Harder

Back in April I discussed – at great length – my love of computer game toys and memorabilia. Today I’d like to return to the subject but this time with a twist. I’ve asked some of our other writers to give their opinions on the subject and boy did they ramble on! I’m looking at you Markuz and Preacher. Some of our writers love their toys – keep your minds out of the gutter, children – while others have neither the time or money to amass the collection of their dreams. Either way, they still had something to say about it. All the writers who participated were asked one very simple thing; to talk about their memorabilia, or lack thereof.

I’ve never really been all that big on collectibles for games or even collectors editions. It’s only really been this past 12 months where the developers have been colluding with the retailers to force us into buying some particular version of the game because it net’s me some awesome Hat of Bitchin’ +1. I’m pretty against that kind of marketing as it serves only to hurt the consumer in the long run (and dent our wallets when we have to fork over our precious M$ points to play catch up) but every now and again there’s a little something that catches my eye.

When I was working in video game retail, I loved having a prod and a poke around at all the promotional material and the collector’s edition stuff. I remember in the run up to the release of the 360, we were all given 360 Beanies to wear and as far as I know, I’m one of the only few in the country to have one. That’s a pretty special feeling. I don’t wear it too much, though everyone always tells me how awesome it is. That’s the point I take it off and hide in my back for fear of someone stealing it or some hawt chick talking me out of it because it’s soooooo unique, she just has to have it (Note: Women = Evil).

A few years back, a good friend of mine bought for me on my birthday a crowbar, followed 4 days later on Christmas Day by the Half Life 2 art book. I’m no artist and have very little appreciation generally for that sort of stuff but it’s a coffee table favourite of mine and it often gets passed around when I have company over. It’s a wonderful thing to have for a game I very much enjoyed. It helped me to appreciate so much more of the game and convinced me to do yet another play through of it. Lee certainly has a more sizeable collection than I and despite what memorabilia I do own (Movie, Games and Comic) always being on show, it pales in comparison. I know that what little I do have holds a very special place in my heart all the same and I would be </3 without it.


Hard to say what my first piece of memorabilia was. I would at a push say that it was a Blastoise plush toy that I won from one of those claw grabber machines. Blastoise was my Pokemon of choice from the starting three (back in the Red & Blue day) so it was a nice mix. My favourite item would have to be my Half Life 2 “Raising the Bar Book”.

My collection’s quite small at the moment though as I’m currently slipping bits off on eBay, no doubt it’ll be rebuilt in a couple of years, post-Uni life. I’ve lost a few pieces as well as my current downsizing which I’m estimating will be a total clear out [insert sad panda face], but once I’ve finished Uni, have a job and my own place – the collection will be reborn in full force.

All stuff is on my shelves and viewable to everyone. I have a main shelving system which houses my games and a few other bits, especially my books. Other cabinet has bigger items such as my Resident Evil chainsaw, World of Warcraft collector’s editions and a few other bits and pieces.


Admittedly I didn’t used to be very big on gaming toys or the like, but after I finished my GCSEs a few years back and had a long summer, a Gamestation opened up near where I lived and they sold a lot of gaming shirts. So that’s pretty much when I began to get into gaming memorabilia. I think it was just a Legend of Zelda t-shirt with a triforce on it, but then it descended into loads of those sweatbands and wristbands, which I used to wear quite a lot. My collection is basically a bunch of shirts, and loads of gaming sweat/wrist bands, a Wario doll, and a Solid Snake replica model. I wear the shirts quite a lot, but I don’t wear the ‘bands anywhere near as much anymore, and the last ones I wore were some ones I won with a copy of Sands of Destruction by Sega. I only tend to want to buy them if I need new t-shirts, or I really like the look of them, and they tend to be impulse buys more than anything.


Like many games collectors, you start off getting excited about British stuff, then slowly as you fill the gaps you realise that Japanese stuff looks so much nicer and how those Japanese gamers are spoilt. They get toys and gadgets based even on the most obscure titles. Personally, I often find game related toys more interesting than the games themselves and I have a pretty ridiculous hoard of them.

The first things I remember snagging were those ridiculous cardboard cut-outs you used to have to beg shops to give you when they’d finished with them. Back in the Amiga days I had this four foot cardboard lemming, which I kept behind my bed. Back in the early 1990s, the UK toy shops didn’t really offer anything games related but I recall on a day trip to France, I discovered a whole section for game related items in one of their Toys R Us stores. I’ll cherish that Mario Frisbee till the day I die.

Parappa the Rapper toaster was only ever available in Japan, for 12800 yen... tasty!

These days my collection of toys is probably too big. Notable items include a light up Sonic Yo-Yo, the complete cast of Diddy Kong Racing with their carts, a large cuddly Mumbo Jumbo from the Banjo games, and my pride and joy, a Parappa the Rapper toaster which prints either him or Sunny Funny onto your toast. Oh, and my Donkey Kong Jenga is worth a mention too.

The toys I remember getting very excited about were the plushy UFO catcher toys from Samba De Amigo. I adored that game on the Dreamcast, and managed to snag the entire set of cuddly characters from it, including the extra large Mexican monkey dude. It still amazes me that Sega have a division dedicated to creating memorabilia for their nationwide army of UFO catcher machines. Forget the crud we try and get out of our seaside crane games, these are proper quality toys you can only get by winning.

And then there’s the part of my collection which is all Nintendo stuff. Most of their toys these days are given away free to members of the Japanese users club. I finished my Game & Watch collection many years ago, and the natural progression from there is onto Nintendo toys. I have many, including the 1960s Love Tester, Ultra Machine and Custom Gunman, but that’s a subject worthy of an article in its own right.


I don’t think I’ve ever purchased any gaming toys but that’s mainly because until recently none of the games I’m passionate about had any figures. That’s changed with the release of a Ratchet and Clank series and Valve have started a range of plush Special Infected. I want these so, so badly! Sadly I don’t have the funds. I get my memorabilia fix with t-shirts and posters instead for the time being. A Red Dead Redemption and Left 4 Dead poster grace my walls alongside, now framed, glossy postcards included with Batman Arkham Asylum. There is one solitary gaming “toy” that guards my PC and he’s extra special as I crafted him by my own fair hands. I made a Maw via the medium of Fimo! I display things with pride whether it’s film, music or game paraphernalia and wouldn’t ever hide things out of shame. I am geek, like it or lump it!


Tom Nook... considering how much he robs you, he's a miserable bastard!

I’ve never really been one for gaming toys, preferring instead, to sink my quota of geek points into a collection of limited edition games and guides. I have always been tempted but know that I’d regret having something else to ignore the dust on. Besides, I don’t have the money or shelf space for everything anyway, so it is with a mixture of relief and sometimes envy that I view the collections of others. Perhaps I haven’t yet found a franchise that I’m devoted to? Or maybe I just haven’t seen the right toy when I have a miraculous bag of cash in my pocket?

In recent years however, a few toys have managed to slip quietly onto my shelf when I wasn’t looking. My plush Tom Nook sits in pride of place, surveying an empire that could be expanded with the right menial labourer and a few bells. I think at night, he coerces my three plush Pikmin toys into service with the promise of a larger Onion for their tribe and possibly a basement with some Spaceman wallpaper. Either that or he is slowly directing them to cut a hole into the back of Mark’s Brotherhood of Steel statue so that he can install an operating system and joystick. Imagine Tom Nook at the helm of a giant Brotherhood suit…no sleepy woodland would be able to stop his bid for commercial expansion…


As odd as it may sound, I’ve never actually owned any gaming toys that I can think of. I feel like I’m letting the side down now, especially as I’ve been interested in games much longer than I have in movies… yet I have a load of movie memorabilia and toys. I can only assume it’s because I’ve never been into the typical “merchandised to hell” games such as Mario, Sonic, Halo or anything like that so I’ve never actually been in the position where I was able to buy memorabilia.

Fred in the kitchen, before we braved carrying him upstairs

The first time I really threw myself into a game in terms of merchandising was Fallout 3, because I love the extent they went to in order to take you to another time and place. All the 1950s futurama and the propaganda posters really struck a chord with me, and I fell in love with their history and the imagery used to depict it. I ended up designing my own retro Fallout posters and buying a load of promotional bits and bobs from eBay just to satiate my desire for goodies. I got the Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide, bottle opener, pin badge, sticker set, soundtrack CD and even considered the Penny Arcade glove puppet of Vault Boy. What I DO have, however, is an 8ft tall Brotherhood of Steel statue named Fred… he watches over me from the corner of my gaming room and protects me from zombies and Peggles… although he doesn’t do too well with Peggles.

The gaming room is strewn with various pieces of movie memorabilia, rare box sets and stuff like that. It used to be the cinema room but, as I spent more time playing games than watching movies, it has since been renamed. I’ll need to start my own gaming collection when I have enough money but, until then, Fred will take pride of place and he tends to be the first thing that anyone asks when visiting us for the first time; “can I meet Fred?” yes… yes you can!

I used to be MAD on Pac-Man and always bought the sticker sets with the scratch cards whenever I had my pocket money, it was the first gaming memorabilia I can remember, and when I saw them on eBay recently I wanted to buy them again!

Bunch of Fallout 3 merch from eBay

Most of my Fallout 3 A3+ retro prints


I’ve never really grown out of toys, so consequently my collection is on the larger side, never having gotten rid of my childhood playthings; which is a good thing, as I have a lot of now rare and collectable Star Wars figures, from the original 80s lines and from the 90s. Not that I’d ever sell them, but still, it does make for some nice bragging rights.

That said I’ve not got too many in the way of purely gaming inspired toys around. I tend towards film and cartoon based toys, or construction and design toys, so I have loads of Star Wars and Transformers, Star Trek, model aircraft, LEGO, Kinex, Mechano, but all of my games stuff came as freebies with games. I’d rather play the actual game, than with an action figure of the main character. I did used to have a plushie Sonic the Hedgehog, which was bought for me one Christmas when I was on the smaller side, but my baby cousin claimed it as his own a few years ago and it’s apparently not the done thing to take a stuffed hedgehog off a 2 year old because it makes you look a bit of a bastard… I’ve never been that enthused about plushies or stuffed toys anyway.

I do have some Street Fighter figures, but they hold the rare distinction of having never been removed from their packaging; I normally don’t buy into that “keep it in the original box” bullshit, preferring to play with my toys the way they were intended to be but the figures came in a big bundle at the same time as my Street Fighter IV Collector’s Edition (itself with two figures in it), strategy guide, and Tournament Edition arcade stick, all of which I got on eBay as a single auction and I only have them for that reason; my main objective being the then-hard to find arcade stick. I also have some other stuff that came with collector’s editions of games, like my Altair and Ezio figures from the two Assassin’s Creed games, but they don’t get played with, merely displayed on a shelf.

I don’t hide them away, I prefer to keep all my stuff out in the open because I’m not ashamed of them in any way, and what few games related toys I have form part of my larger display of all my games and consoles. It takes up a 2 meter by 4 meter bookcase, and is over spilling into the floor, and my desk, and a wardrobe, but that’s more by virtue of the sheer number of actual games I have now, and having never sold a console, going back to the old Atari ST. To be completely honest, most of the games I play don’t really lend themselves to toys very well, being primarily a strategy and simulator gamer. There are some Japanese RPG figures around that I’ve looked at, and a few other things, but ultimately I preferred to spend the money on more games. Maybe if they ever make a model of Shepard’s ship from Mass Effect, the Normandy, or a model of the Ranger from the old X-COM games – those I’d buy in a heartbeat, and display next to my starship Enterprise, and my Imperial Star Destroyer, heh.

So there we have it folks; eight different writers, eight different takes on gaming memorabilia. Think you can top Preacher’s overflowing collection? Own something bigger than Fred? Add a comment and let us know. We might not believe you but that’s a different story.

Last five articles by Iain



  1. Kat says:

    I think Fred wins!

    Still want those Ratchet and Clank toys. Waiting for to bloody get them in stock then they’re mine, ALL MINE!

  2. Edward Edward says:

    Everyone’s collections kick mine into the dust, I feel.

    Though most of my clothing attire is either gaming shirts or band shirts now, so I’m geeking up up hardcore that way, I guess.

    I want to meet Fred.

  3. M@thew says:

    Adam, I love the idea of someone giving you a crowbar for your birthday! That brought a smile to my face. Now I want one too!

    And Markuz, I can empathize with your collection of movie memoribilla. My room is absolutely littered with games, but the figures and toys that line my shelf are typically Aliens, Doctor Who, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters. Things I was exposed to heavilly as a kid. Could be a freudian link there?
    (Ps. I think I’ve fallen in love with Fred and we’ve only just been introduced. Where did you get him if you don’t me asking? can’t have been easy!)

    Interesting read Mr Iain! I’ll have to read up on your original piece methinks.

  4. Samuel The Preacher says:

    Fred definitely wins. I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to acquire a similar larger than life-sized figure, of the (then) new Iron Man Mark III suit from the movie. At the time though I lacked the space to put him, or the means to transport him from the cinema that offered me him. So with a great deal of regret I had to pass on it… I’ve looked around since to see what those Iron Man suits are going for, and it’s nearly a grand. I could cry, but that wouldn’t be terribly manly. But it is pretty gutting knowing I had to turn down a free one.

    Mark’s Fallout 3 prints are definitely awesome too. He just gave me one, the Vault Life one that’s in the top left of his photo there, and it looks spectacular; the result of his talents as a graphic designer, and obsession with getting the best quality printer and inks. I’m trying to find a suitable frame at a reasonable price, so that I can hang it next to my bookcase o’ gaming glory.

    Since I replied to Iain’s email, my collection has only gotten larger… I now have a Batman figurine, and the Bioshock 2 collector’s edition with its LP and Little Sister figure. This is why I never have any money. I collect too many expensive things. It’s basically a nerd tax. If I ever stop collecting, the economy will tank.

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    @everyone… Fred only wins unless Fawkes is around, then Fawkes wins… AGAIN! I won’t explain that joke to the non Fallout players, you’ll just need to remain excluded from our awesome club of awesomeness.

    @Matthew… picked up Fred on eBay. The guy didn’t list it correctly, and he was named as something obscure like “promotional statue” rather than anything to do with Fallout 3 or Brotherhood of Steel. The guy had just moved from a flat in London to a barge, so Fred had to go. Thankfully, as it was badly named, it was about to finish and nobody had bid yet so I offered him £550 (his starting price) and he agreed. One of our clients shipped it up from London free of charge, and he’s been in the gaming room ever since! Fred… not the client.

    @Preacher… thank you sir, your praise of my work is most appreciated! If I could afford it, they’d all be framed and on the wall but it’s expensive enough to produce each print let alone the frames… although… I tend to use and the frames are generally around £18 – £20 each custom made. Problem is, I tend to buy five at a time to save on shipping, and that’s where it gets expensive!

    I love Jace’s toaster… it’s crude, it’s awful looking, but it’s SO kitsch… it’s fantastic!! Kat’s Maw… well… let’s just say that if she brings it up here at any point, she ain’t leaving with it! I love it, and Lorna thought it was fantastic.

  6. Lorna Lorna says:

    Having a nose into what other folk have got is always interesting :) Loving the Fimo Maw though Kat!

  7. Iain says:

    I really enjoyed getting everyone involved’s views on gaming toys and the like :)

    Since the original article, I’ve amassed a few more bits and pieces too, including a Boo hat, a Goomba plush, a Bioshock Eve hypo replica, a Wall-E toy (I know it’s not game related but meh) and saw an articluated GoW Ticker on play that I want, but can’t afford :(

    Fred definitely gets the “best in show” award though.

  8. Xerxes says:

    Hey I really love the fallout 3 prints. Any way you can hint to how you made/got them? I’m currently in the process of doing the same thing for both Fallout 3 and for Bioshock.

  9. Eldorado says:

    @Markuz – Do you sell some of your fallout items ?

  10. Rikard says:

    @Markuz – Your fallout prints are really cool. I thought about doing my own version of them to put up on my wall. Where did you find the prints for download? I can’t seem to find them anywhere online!

  11. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Hey Rikard. It probably went un-noticed from the article, but I didn’t download the Fallout prints from anywhere, I designed them myself. It’s just something that had to be done as I couldn’t find anything decent to buy or download that had the sense of humour or that legit feel. Glad you like them though!

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