There’s more to the video game industry than the games themselves. Developers, always looking to get more money out of their hard work, routinely turn to merchandising to compliment sales. Usually they’ll just release a standard line-up of shirts and action figures, but now and then they’ll get creative. And by creative we mean insane, as the following 10 products demonstrate.
10. Resident Evil 4 Aftershave
To promote the release of Resident Evil 4, its developer created “Leon’s Collection,” a series of products designed with the sensibilities of the game’s main character in mind. This included sunglasses, a jacket like the one he wears in the game and… aftershave. Because fans won’t just want to look like a character, they’ll want to shave like him, too.
Associating video games with shaving is already bizarre, but it’s even weirder when you consider the game in question. In Resident Evil 4 you run through dark and grimy locales, killing hundreds of Spanish zombies and other grotesque monsters. It’s a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to smell like it after they shave. We’ll stick with Old Spice over Eau de Splattered Monster Brains.
9. Stranglehold Berettas
More work went into these replica Berettas than the game they were made to advertise—we’re pretty sure Stranglehold got its name after its designers constantly found their throats in the hands of the people who were forced to test it.
But what’s strange about these guns is that they’re actually incredibly impractical cigarette lighters. Now you can literally pack heat, because why carry a Bic around when you could pull a pistol out of your pants every time you want a smoke? Just think how many strangers you’d terrify! Although we have to admit, you’d look pretty awesome lighting two cigarettes at once with guns. At least until someone misunderstood the situation and called the cops.
8. Super Mario Bros. Shower Power
Mario is an iconic video game character, but he’s no longer the merchandising juggernaut he was in the 80s. Back then he was slapped onto everything from cereal to pap smear kits, usually with the addition of the words “super” or “power.” There were countless Mario products, but none represented the remarkable ability of Mario to separate money from the wallets of his fan’s parents better than the Shower Power.
We don’t care how much your kid loves Mario—he shouldn’t be naked with a pair of moustachioed Italian plumbers. And what exactly is “built-in scald protection”? It sounds like marketing jargon for “water will always be freezing cold, deal with it.” But at least it’s “safe,” and thank God—we all know how dangerous most showerheads are.
7. Super Mario Bros. Long Stitch
While we make fun of the Shower Power we can still see it being purchased, perhaps by some desperate parents whose child’s Mario fanaticism is matched only by his poor hygiene. The same isn’t true for the Super Mario Bros. Long Stitch Picture Kit, which combines all the excitement of video games with the raw thrills of embroidery.
Who on Earth would buy this? Seriously, name one kid who’s interested in both video games and freaking cross-stitching. Its target audience is obviously girls, but the only girls who still do embroidery are the ones who think video games come out of a satanic box of horrors. This is the worst cross-medium promotion since the Schindler’s List coloring book.
6. Gamer Grub
Gamer Grub isn’t associated with any particular game, but it’s such a patently stupid attempt to cash in on the market that it bears mentioning. Designed by someone who has either never touched a video game or never touched a woman, Gamer Grub is a “performance snack” that’s packed with “essential vitamins and neurotransmitters” to “keep you focused and quick.” Otherwise known as trail mix.
There are so many things wrong with this product. First, who wants to eat something called grub? I think most of us would prefer actual food. Second, the “Tear N Tilt” method of eating (where you dump the package’s contents directly into your mouth so your fingers don’t get greasy) isn’t how gamers eat, it’s how starving hobos eat. Finally, who could take themselves seriously after eating this crap? Buying Gamer Grub is like buying an extension for your virginity.
5. Mass Effect 2 Commander Shepard Hoodie
There’s all sorts of video game clothing out there, a lot of which are tasteful pieces of attire that you could wear in public without feeling like a nerd. And then there’s this hoodie.
Made to resemble the armour of Mass Effect 2’s main character, the hoodie looks like a cross between a Halloween costume and a gimp suit. The hood zip rights up to the top, so you can protect your head on windy days, disguise your identity when you rob a bank, or, most likely, hide your shame. And it can be yours for a mere 88 dollars, along with whatever your dignity is worth to you.
4. No More Heroes 2 Lingerie
The Mass Effect hoodie shows that the game clothing field is going too far, but what about the untapped market of video game lingerie? The creators of No More Heroes 2 boldly entered that final frontier by commissioning a lingerie company to design three sexy outfits, inspired by the game’s three main female characters. The results were… confusing.
Now, we like video games, and we really like sex, but trying to combine the two just feels silly. There’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy, but when you’re roleplaying a deadly teenage assassin with a grey wig and a samurai sword you might be taking things a little too far. And good luck talking your girlfriend into wearing a black and yellow corset while pretending to be a sultry weapons manufacturer.
Guys, if you buy this lingerie for your girlfriend, you’re asking her to break up with you. Ladies, if you buy this lingerie for yourself, try to disprove our argument by sending us pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
3. World of Warcraft Beer Stein
World of Warcraft fans are so obsessive they’d buy a self-castration kit if it came in Alliance and Horde variations. Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky that beer steins are as ridiculous as the merchandise has gotten so far.
Or maybe not. Look at that monstrosity! It looks like the cover art to a metal album made by teenagers. It’s what alcoholics buy when they want to quit drinking. Anyone who uses it is going to get beaten up by all the cool Bavarians at Oktoberfest.
If you’ve suffered enough blows to the head to actually want that… thing, it’s going to set you back 100 dollars. And if you’re going to fork out 100 bucks for a pewter and stoneware disaster, the only thing society should allow you to drink out of it is antifreeze.
2. Manhunt Piggsy Figurine
Action figures are a staple of video game merchandise. No matter how unpopular a character is, someone is inevitably going to try to sell a figure of it. That explains this statue of Piggsy, one of the villains of Manhunt—a game played exclusively by budding serial killers.
We know what you’re thinking: the guy’s pretty ugly and you’re not sure why anyone would want him on their desk, but otherwise what’s the big deal? Well, you can’t tell from the picture, but Piggsy is anatomically correct. Take off his loincloth and you’ll discover that, while not blessed with beauty, Piggsy is quite gifted in other areas. Including the ability to horrify his owners.
Sadly, only 500 of these works of art were created, so if you want to get your hands on a psychopathic killer’s junk you’re going to have to pony up some serious cash. Or just make your own, out of the skin of your victims.
1. Dead or Alive Kasumi Squishy Pillow
Dead or Alive is a fighting game series beloved for its exciting combat and jiggly, ample bosom-ed leading ladies. Tecmo, the game’s developer, has tried to cash in on Dead or Alive’s sex appeal in every way they can think of. Out of the myriad products they’ve made to fulfill terrible stereotypes about gamers, none is more cringe worthy than their pillow.
The pillow contains “stress reliving micro beads,” which means it has boobs. It’s a boob pillow. If you buy this pillow, you’re buying yourself disembodied boobs.
The greatest thing about it is that Tecmo doesn’t even try to make it sound like a product for normal people. Just check out this quote from their website:
“Donning sexy pink lingerie and a sly smile, it will seem as if Kasumi is lying there right beside you! This is not a dream DOA fans, for only $55.00, cuddling up to Kasumi can be a reality!”
They might as well say, “Go ahead and use this pillow to masturbate! We won’t think any less of you, loyal fan!” Well, they might not, but the rest of us will.