There are many ways to show your appreciation for gaming's illustrious past. One is obviously re-living classic titles via Nintendo's popular Virtual Console service, while another is seeking out original hardware and software for that authentic experience.
However, here at Nintendo Life HQ we've been advertising our love of this noble hobby in a somewhat different manner since we discovered the brilliant T-shirts produced by Geek Prints.
A small company set up by ardent UK-based gamer Stu Robinson, Geek Prints produces high-quality shirts boasting iconic video game logos and images.
On Stu's rapidly-expanding eBay shop-front you'll find all the classics, including the SNES, Mega Drive and Neo Geo AES. You'll also witness some classic characters, including Sonic, Mario and the humble Chocobo from Final Fantasy.
Being the dedicated retro gamers that we are, we've already snapped up several of these shirts (and as you can see from the included photos, we look pretty swish in them, too) and decided to get in touch with Stu to learn a little more about his venture.
Nintendo Life: What inspired you to create a range of gaming-focused shirts?
Stu Robinson: I’m a gamer myself, and I like to think I’m knowledgeable on the subject. Having a passion for games makes it easier to do too. I’ve always wanted to make a living for myself rather than ‘working for the man’ so it seemed like a perfect thing to do. I don’t just limit my designs to games, though - I have anime and movie T-shirts too.
NL: There once was a time when wearing a gaming-related item of clothing would result in a torrent of insults when out in public, but that has clearly changed over the years. Do you think iconic gaming logos and characters have now become cooler and more respectable?
Oh definitely. I think gaming now gets the recognition it sorely deserves. Mario and Sonic are as iconic as Mickey Mouse & Bugs Bunny, Solid Snake is as recognisable as Stallone and even my parents know who Master Chief is despite not knowing anything about the Xbox brand.
I think it helps that there’s a huge number or 30-somethings out there (myself included) that are proud to display our appreciation for the things that we love. People have been wearing band T-shirts for years for exactly the same reason.
NL: Many people are wary of buying shirts on eBay due to the proliferation of poor-quality examples - how do you ensure yours are the best of the best? What materials and print do you use?
I can understand that completely, as I’ve bought these horrible cheap T-shirts in the past. The high quality of my T-shirts is something I am extremely proud of and I was desperate to emphasise this quality when I started selling them.
There are many different types of cotton out there and most sellers use the cheapest, thinnest, tackiest quality T-shirts that they can get away with. They tend to use very cheap vinyl for the designs too, which is a recipe for disaster as they won’t last more than a couple of washes before cracking or peeling off.
I only use 190-200gsm ultra heavy, thick cotton T-shirts. This is better quality than most big-branded companies actually use for their T-shirts.
In keeping with my high standards, I cut all designs from premium grade vinyl. This stuff is as strong as it comes and won’t peel off in the wash. You can even tumble dry my T-shirts without any worries. This is something that not many others can boast of. Nobody has ever complained about the standards of quality on my T-shirts and I intend to keep my 100% positive feedback score.
NL: Your range covers a wide spectrum of gaming legends, from the SNES to the Mega Drive and Neo Geo - do you have any future designs in the pipeline that might interest our readers?
I have lots and lots of ideas. There are loads of different types of vinyl out there too, from fuzzy felt to glow in the dark. I am constantly trying out new ideas and adding different designs. I’ll be adding numerous new designs over the coming weeks to ensure my portfolio stays fresh. I’m also open to creating bespoke designs too.
NL: Do you plan to branch out into other items of clothing and merchandise?
I’m trying not to deviate too much from T-shirts as these are by far the best clothing items to sell. I do have a range of gaming & anime key rings in my shop though. I’m always thinking of new lines to add. If I see something that would work, be it clothing or otherwise, then I’ll try it. I don’t want to shoehorn the designs onto something just for the sake of it though.
NL: As a gamer yourself, what Nintendo titles stand out as your particular favourites?
As for my favourite Nintendo titles (I’ll stick to 1st party titles only): Almost everything Mario-related (sports titles excluded), all Zelda games (CDI excluded), Pikmin 1 & 2, Animal Crossing, Pilotwings, Waverace and Pokemon - although I feel slightly embarrassed to admit that last one!
Our thanks go to Stu for offering up his valuable time to take part in this interview. You can visit the Geek Prints eBay store here.