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Weirdness: Classic Game Characters Part of Artist's Neighbourhood Watch Makeover

Posted by Tim Latshaw

"What I'm doing is technically illegal..."

If you're looking for video games, creativity, and urban culture, all three intersect in Toronto, Canada. Not only does the city boast a sizable indie scene, but signs of gaming love sometimes leak out onto the streets as well.

An artist under the pseudonym "Andrew Lamb" has been slapping healthy doses of nostalgia over the Neighbourhood Watch signs in Toronto, replacing the standard (and some might say rather creepy) logos with characters from classic shows, movies, and games.

Several fan favorites on Nintendo systems have made an appearance, including Tanooki Suit Mario, Link, Samus, and Mega Man. We have made a gallery of the above signs here, but Lamb's entire repertoire can be viewed on his Instagram page.

According to a CBC interview, Lamb is aware what he does is considered vandalism, but he has received only a couple complaints while altering signs in broad daylight:

What I'm doing is technically illegal, but I don't feel it's ethically or morally wrong. So there might be a fine some day but I kind of feel like that's money well spent. I'm not that worried about it.

While we at Nintendo Life do not recommend breaking the law, what do you think of Lamb's retro displays? Feel free to sound off below, but remember: you never know who may be watching.

Well, aside from moderators.

[via cbc.ca, instagram.com]

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User Comments (43)

King47

#2

King47 said:

"Not only does the city boast a sizable indie scene,.." So it's a hipster town?

Anyways, I remember I visited a city once and the "people crossing" sign had wings and werewolf makeovers on the people, I thought it was pretty awesome. This reminds me of that, I like this.

IxC

#3

IxC said:

I thoroughly recommend breaking the law when it results in something cool.

Giygas_95

#7

Giygas_95 said:

I'd purposefully get mugged just so I could watch Mega Man rescue me.

He'd probably scare the guy off with a few metal blades. :D

ejamer

#8

ejamer said:

I guess I don't really get it. The Nintendo-themed images are cool, but not really fitting thematically for the signs so they just look out of place to me. I'd rather just see the characters put up as graffiti somewhere in this case.

That said, the vandalism doesn't look worse than those super creepy original signs. I don't think I'd want to live in a community filled with weird red houses where the occupants had nothing better to do than spy on others all day...

faint

#9

faint said:

@King47 indie doesn't mean hipster. Those guys are normally at bounce night or some old timey balkin show. At least where I've lived. (Across half the us) not complaining just not wanting to be lumped with them.

absuplendous

#10

absuplendous said:

The images have nothing to do with what the sign is supposed to convey. I like these characters, too, but that doesn't mean they're appropriate in every context, certainly not public property.

Kyloctopus

#11

Kyloctopus said:

I need to visit Toronto sometime soon. Make me some good selfies.
In one of my Christmas cards in Toronto, in the background has a very awesome spraypainting of Earthworm Jim, I wonder if this Lamb fellow is affiliated with that too. Would be a funny coincidence.

hydeks

#12

hydeks said:

wow, its really creepy that I seen that Link one not that long ago when going through the G.T.A, and now you have a article about it lol I gotta be honest, at first glance at it I thought it was just a sticker lol

PlywoodStick

#13

PlywoodStick said:

"What I'm doing is technically illegal, but I don't feel it's ethically or morally wrong."

That... may be a deeper message than he intended. We follow bad laws all the time in our societies, and yet we reject good yet unlawful things... such is the nature of civilization.

"Follow the law because it is the law, no matter what." To that, I say...
Why bother following a bad law? Is that the true nature of humanity to do so?

kyuubikid213

#15

kyuubikid213 said:

Eh. I think it's cool.

Whether or not they have anything to do with the signs doesn't bother me. It's not like if the signs aren't relevant, there won't be Neighborhood Watch.

Mrclaycoat

#16

Mrclaycoat said:

I live in Toronto and my street is guarded by He-man. Only a few are nintendo related, but there's tons of these across the city. Most people I've talked to don't really care since neighborhood watch is kind of a thing of the past anyways. My favourite is Robocop protecting the Dufferin Grove Park!

Iggly

#19

Iggly said:

Where exactly is this in Toronto? I'd love to see this in my weekly walks.

rp17

#20

rp17 said:

@PlywoodStick This would fall under Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning. The artist here is functioning at a higher stage of moral reasoning then most people, who blindly follow every rule they are given.

PlywoodStick

#21

PlywoodStick said:

@rp17 After looking it up, I found he devised 6 successive stages of moral principles. So... Andrew Lamb is operating at Stage 6, while most adults only operate at either Stage 4 or 5?

ejamer

#23

ejamer said:

@rp17
... or, assuming you believe in Kohlberg's stages, he could be acting at a low enough stage of reasoning that he hasn't reached conventional moral reasoning.

My opinion: what he's doing simply doesn't matter. There is no meaningful benefit to society and no significant harm (outside of maybe incurring some cost to taxpayers for removal/new signs). What he's doing isn't due to a sense of justice - instead it "just is". That's why I consider it a selfish act instead of anything motivated by higher reasoning.

But hey, to each their own. It's not hurting anything and gives us something to talk about, right?

BlueStar101

#26

BlueStar101 said:

I wonder how many of the people in the neighborhood said "Hey look, it's Metroid!" and "Isn't that Zelda?".

SleepyCrossing

#29

SleepyCrossing said:

What he is doing essentially calls attention to the fact that there IS a neighborhood watch using recognizable characters. I can't see a downside here, so props to him!

ejamer

#31

ejamer said:

@PlywoodStick
Realistically, he's probably neither a 6 nor a 2. It's most likely that this one action isn't indicative of anything larger than the act itself. But I'm not a psychologist.

unrandomsam

#32

unrandomsam said:

@PlywoodStick America at the time of the constitution was probably stage 5. (Cannot think of another instance of stage 5 - everything that was likely to happen was considered and they were right) Modern America is more like Stage 3. (The Antigua WTC decision about gambling shows it pretty well. If they accepted the decision they would be at level 4 they enforce things against others but won't accept the rules they agreed to).

rp17

#33

rp17 said:

@ejamer Wow I spawned some kind of philosophical discussion... cool? I guess I sort of failed at what I was trying to communicate. My original response was to where @PlywoodStick quoted "What I'm doing is technically illegal, but I don't feel it's ethically or morally wrong." This implies he has an internal set of values that say it would be "unjust" to be punished for something that isn't ethically or morally wrong. He also wasn't being selfish as he is willing to pay the fine if he has to.

Or as PlywoodStick said, "That... may be a deeper message than he intended." I was trying to discuss more of the idea behind the quote then the artist himself... and was trying to answer this part of Plywood's post:

"We follow bad laws all the time in our societies, and yet we reject good yet unlawful things... such is the nature of civilization.
'Follow the law because it is the law, no matter what.' To that, I say...
Why bother following a bad law? Is that the true nature of humanity to do so?"

rp17

#34

rp17 said:

@unrandomsam These stages are meant to measure an individual's progess. They don't apply well to entire countries. If you meant the average stage of an adult in America... maybe it would work... but these stages are hard to measure for an individual. To estimate a whole of the United States would require too much generalization and extrapolation.

Besides it would best be measured as a bell curve as they are always under and extra-developed, with a majority in the middle. But as far as your hypothesis, who said that the people actually changed? Maybe the "lesser developed" have just become more vocal and have more to the power than the others? Certainly this would make it seem as if the entire country has fallen, instead of it just having worse and worse representation.

StarDust4Ever

#35

StarDust4Ever said:

Been obsessed with Mario Kart lately. I could see someone doing Mario Kart makeovers of road signs. Instead of "Slippery when wet," have a "Banana Peel Area" sign. "Speed Checked by Radar" could be "Beware of Blue Spiny!" Here's some more: "Resume Speed" = "Mushroom Boost Zone" "Falling Rocks" = "Likatu Sighting..." :D

SheldonRandoms

#36

SheldonRandoms said:

I would do the same thing, though I kinda do when I draw on the bottle cap return box at work (it's just a random box someone got inside, and it's just......a box).

Revolution909

#37

Revolution909 said:

Makes me want to go swipe them. Seriously that Samus one looks cool. On my day off I should go see them firsthand.

shaneoh

#39

shaneoh said:

Got a Mario, Pac-man and blinkey (red ghost) on direction signs near home. Enjoyable to see a large 8 bit mario on my way home from work

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