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  • Honorary Mention: Hills of Mario by Christopher Holthof

    Etsy isn’t just for doilies and throw pillows. It’s got a panoply of nerdery buried in its easy-to-browse interface of homemade craft goods. Just because that person from high school spams you twice a week with her laundry-pin reindeer doesn’t mean that there aren’t 1-ups hidden in the bricks.

    I have a book coming out on Super Mario, so I thought I’d see what Esty had to offer regarding my favorite mustached plumber. Turns out there are over four thousand Mario items: yikes!

    What I expected going in was pillows, bedspreads, scarves, hats, pins, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Old-school pixel art is really easy to convert into crochet or quilting squares, so it’s much easier to capture Mario then, say, Darth Vader. But there’s a lot more than that: tech gifts, snarky things, hard drives shoved into NES games.

    Sure, there are people selling their fan-art Mario watercolors for $500. And there are eight-buck children’s party invitations. But the breadth and clarity of creativity on display is pretty amazing. Take a look.

  • Bonus: You can download this as a desktop wallpaper, here!

    Alright, I'll admit it. I freaking love Nyan Cat, one of the most annoying Internet memes of all time. When I'm having a rough day, the non-stop Nyan Cat website cheers me up immediately.

    The little cat wedged inside a Pop Tart has inspired a number of things, from video games (Nyan Cat iOS) to a custom YouTube slider bar. But perhaps most importantly, its driven a wealth of crafters to create his/her likeness, from scarves to necklaces, plushies to totebags. Below, you'll find my top ten Etsy creations, sparked by the Nyan Cat phenomenon.

    Have some picks that didn't make it? Own a special handmade Nyan Cat item? Let me know!

    Nyan Cat Scarf: Made-to-order, anti-pill fleece scarf. Over 5 feet long. As of this posting, Carly (XD Creations) is donating 10% of her profits to Japan through the Red Cross. $32.

    Keeep Calmz An Nyanyan Print: 12x18", printed on heavyweight 150g paper by DesignNoy. $12.

  • I grew up on Sonic (the blue hedgehog, not the fast food restaurant), and today SEGA's beloved blue blur turns twenty.

    And while the spiny little erinaceidae has seen better days in terms of modern games (see Sonic & the Black Knight, set in the world of King Arthur, and Sonic Unleashed, where he turns into a werehog), I choose to remember the better times.

    Forget about the modern platformers and Sonic racing games. I'm talking about the early to mid-90's era of Sonic. There was the original, its two subsequent 16-bit sequels, and Sonic & Knuckles with its crazy lock-on cartridge. Those were good days. Life was simple and side-scrolling.

  • Full of references to Say Anything, Sixteen Candles, & Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the popular Legend of Zelda '87 trailer tells us the classic story of Link and Zelda... told through the lens of an 80's teen rom-com.

    In this charming critically-acclaimed tale of first love, Link (Jon Tomlinson), an eternal optimist and adventurer, seeks to capture the heart of Zelda, an unattainable high school beauty and straight-A student (Zane Bauer). He surprises just about everyone-including himself-when she returns the sentiment. But the high school's over-possessive, megalomaniacal Principal Ganondorf (Dominic Moschitti) doesn't approve and it's going to take more than just the power of love to conquer all.

    Now, I've seen the trailer dozens of times. But in a recent viewing, I spotted someone I've only recently become familiar with... comedian and author of Quirk's upcoming Little Old Lady Recipes cookbook, Meg Favreau! She appears as Navi, Link's fairy companion in the Ocarina of Time.

    "Hyrule is full of guys... be a hero." Way to have the best line in the entire trailer, Meg.

    Legend of Zelda '87
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF-7jPXvPEA

     

  • Everyone here at Quirk Books knows about my crippling video game addition. There’s a reason I usually only request off on Tuesdays… because it’s New Game Day. You better believe I took two days off to play Portal 2. What? Don’t judge me. Have you seen this game?

    Ahem. But I digress.

    I recently stumbled upon dPad, an awesome Etsy shop that features video game inspired art crafted using upcycled books. Like this adorable 8-bit mushroom from Super Mario Bros., or this brilliant (but long since sold) vintage style Duck Hunt painting. I've posted a few more after the jump, have a look!

  • I play a lot of iPhone games. Sometimes, too many.

    I’m frequently kept up at night, filled with turmoil and wrestling with what game I should delete to make room on my iPhone for important things and… OMG. There’s a new Final Fantasy game out?! It takes up 1.2GB of space? WHAT DO I DO?!

    [Deletes entire album full of photos and treasured, precious memories]

    Whew. Okay.

    As someone who adores books and video games equally, I love it when I’m able to find a combination of both of those things. Whether it’s with a book that uses video games as a key plot point (Ready Player One), or a game that happens to incorporate the literary (Device 6).

    Here are a few iOS games inspired by books, that you should probably start playing now.

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