The cool thing about the internet is that people practically live on it. And when people live someplace, they’re bound to make themselves at home– which, if you’ve ever seen handmade-item-shop Etsy, is totally unsurprising. And as Mother Brain Day comes and goes, there’s bound to be a few of us sitting wondering what we could have given our mothers, other than that wholly untasty card with that scrawl we call a “family portrait.” Heck, what could we give ourselves? The answer lies on Etsy. Who knew nerds could be both artsy and geeky?
(Don’t worry, this is still Nintendojo, not Martha Stewart’s Handmade Collection. No matter how much you wish it were otherwise.)
Original Art from 8 Bit Dreams
Elizabeth Marruffo and Campbell Whyte run a little shop in Etsy (as if there’s any other kind, but we digress) called beth + bell, which specializes in Marruffo and Whyte’s handdrawn and/or handpainted illustrations. Recently, Campbell Whyte, a professional artist in Perth, Australia, started a project called 8 Bit Dreams, in which Whyte will single-handedly illustrate every single NES game ever released, and post the results on his website. Whyte’s illustrated only 1985 and 1986 so far, but he’s got his work cut out for him, considering the final North American game for NES was released on December 10, 1994. (It was Wario’s Woods.)
Naturally, Whyte’s also selling the originals on his Etsy shop, so if you’ve got fifty bucks to spare, you can hit ’em up. (You can also commission him to illustrate an NES game of your choosing, even if it’s already been illustrated.) And even if you don’t want to drop some cash, just looking at the various things for sale in beth + bell is an absolutely fantastic way to spend a lazy Sunday. Marruffo and Whyte’s respective sites might be even better.
Video Game Apparel
Once upon a time, Mervyn’s or Hot Topic was the only place you could go if you desperately wanted (low-grade, second-tier) video game apparel, and also planned on never going out in public. Now, Etsy’s here to throw hundreds of possible sit-at-home-on-your-computer outfits at you, and while a lot of them are duds, there are still a few out there that are at least sort of cool. Take the shirt above, for instance, from DesignNoy, which takes an admittedly overdone concept and injects some fresh Pokémon juice into it (though, fine, the typography is a little off) (not a hipster); or maybe this Scrafty hat from cutekick. If you’re feeling old-school, there’s a classy Contra code shirt here (and another one here). And who can resist a Super Mario Bros./Star Wars mashup in the form of Koopa Stormtroopa?
The point is, whatever you can think of, Etsy’s probably selling it. Just be careful scrolling around the apparel section. While this is true for all categories of Etsy, it seems like apparel’s the one most prone to mediocrity. If your eyes hurt after just a few minutes from looking at badly silkscreened tees of Zero Suit Samus, you should probably move on.
Charms and Other Accessories
We did mention Mother Brain Day, so while it might be a little late to be handing out gifts to our mothers, it’s never too late for next year’s holiday! (It’s also never bad to just have “Happy Sunday!” gifts. Just sayin’, it might get you back into her good graces.) YellerCrakka, a polymer clay artist on Etsy, has been working with the material for over a decade, and his creations run the gamut from bottled fairies of Zelda fame (pictured above, goes great with this button) to Lon Lon Milk charms that wouldn’t be out of place at a Harvest Moon party. (People have those, right?) And while Kingdom Hearts is not a Nintendo franchise, hey, these Paopu fruit charms seem pretty tasty too (there’s a whole one and a broken one, you know, for the emo KH fans) (just kidding the broken one is two necklaces). Finally, no, you don’t have to be sentimental to enjoy YellerCrakka’s creations– because here’s a vial of T-Virus and Antivirus. (Just for you, James.)
There’s of course plenty of other gifts/charms/accessories on Etsy, too, but many of them are buttons that you can make yourself with a button machine, or otherwise DIY-able. (Though that is the point of Etsy. Allegedly.) There’s pixel-for-pixel beaded magnets, Luma plushies (among others, of course), and heck, even greeting cards for those of you who hate shopping at Hallmark. While video games might be the last thing people think of when they think of handmade goods, the complete deluge of video game-related goods on Etsy says absolutely otherwise. Just be sure to separate the wheat from the chaff.