TGR recognizes something about gaming: The truest, most hardcore gamers aren’t a product of what console they own, the achievements or trophies they’ve unlocked, or anything silly like that. No, nothing speaks louder about the level of affection for your favorite pastime as the amount of pointless crap you own. That’s right folks! Go ahead and beat Gears of War 2 on super duper hard without firing a shot and taking no hits, because those bragging rights will never compare to the power of pure commercialism! As such, we present you The Schwag Review, TGR’s bi-weekly guide to all the goodies a gamer could ever want to up their geek street cred! As I’m in a Zelda mood this week, that’s going to be our starting point, so get out your rupees, boys and girls, we have some spending to do!
No matter what Nintendo is currently doing to further ruin, or as they’d say, make the Zelda games more accessible to all those adventure-inclined soccer moms, we still have the good old days when the best graphics were 8-bit and a complete and utter lack of a story wasn’t a problem, but an expectation. This shirt taps into the best of that era, featuring a nice style print of the original Legend of Zelda logo. I have a lot of gaming shirts, and while I’m a fan of the occasional shirt loaded with bombastic imagery, usually I prefer something a bit more subtle. This shirt meets that requisite and with the recent love of retro stuff by both gamers and the mainstream, you might earn a few compliments from more than just the middle-aged balding fellow that manages the local GameStop.
While we’re on the subject of retro-themed stuff, there are probably more than a few of us who have a nice stack of NES and SNES games, including for instance some of the older Zelda games. Well, twenty years is bound to make any bit of technology a little less than reliable, meaning many NES consoles, despite their decades of dedicated service, have been rendered into junk. This is the case with my own. I popped in my NES copy of The Legend of Zelda recently, and try as I might, the thing wouldn’t work. I fear for the future of my SNES as well. So whether you’re hankering for some time with the original gold-cartridge wonder or perhaps some time with A Link to the Past, this is the machine for you. For a mere fifty dollars you can have access to all those aging classics. It’s probably more convenient to just buy one of the various Game Boy Advance ports, or better yet, to just play them via Wiiware, but really it’s so much cooler to play the actual games.
Despite the relative pint-sized proportions of this sword compared to some of the weapons adult Link got to wield, I always thought this little bit of steel was one of the coolest. For a hundred rupees you could wield this bad boy in Majora’s Mask. Sadly it would break after two-hundred hits, or you’d lose it if you traveled through time, making it a tad on the impractical side compared to the more powerful, but infinitely lamer-looking Gilded Sword. Luckily, replicas like this one are available, and for less than the price of a Wii you get it and the Mirror Shield from Ocarina of Time, which by itself is endowed with some serious coolness. Buying this for small children, or even adults with sub par intelligence probably isn’t recommended, but if you’re responsible enough not to hit someone with a sword, then this is a great collectible for fans of the series.
There haven’t been a lot of good video game cartoons. Actually, as I recall, there haven’t been any good game cartoons. Not for lack of trying though; Pokemon was and still is pretty popular among children, and I still have a particular nostalgic fondness for the version of Sonic the Hedgehog that featured Erkal as the voice of Sonic. Hell, even the Super Mario Brothers had two monstrously horrid attempts at Saturday morning animation. And then we have The Legend of Zelda. The Zelda cartoon show is by no standard good, but it does have a certain campy appeal that makes it an amusing part of Zelda history. If nothing else, the show gives us good reason to value Link’s perpetual silence throughout the games. After a few hours of listening to him whine for a kiss, you’ll never want to hear him speak again.
Is there some bit of memorabilia you’d like to see here? Do you have a particular shirt or piece of schwag you’re particularly proud of? The Schwag Review is always open to suggestions and if you have an idea for a product or theme that you’d like featured here, let me know by sending a link to Stew@TheGameReviews.com. Better yet, if you have a collection of your own to show off, send me a picture and barring a sudden influx of readers I’ll print it the next edition of The Schwag Review. I’m not saying a TGR account is a necessity, but if you happen to have one shoot me that and the number of forums posts you have to your name and maybe I’ll bump you to the top of the list.