Last holiday seasons Retro Gift Guide was an unqualified success. So much so that I felt compelled to do one for 2010 (plus it is fun to go through online sites looking for retro stuff that I want). Now I know you all have that special person in your life who constantly plays games on their Atari 2600 or NES and prefers the crack and hiss of vinyl to digital sound. These people love things retro and although they might seem difficult to shop for, thanks to the internet their are 100s of holiday gift ideas for them. Here are a few of my favorite item that are sure to please. You can scroll down or jump to a section by picking a category.
While some of these toys might make a kid smile, they have been chosen more for older kids trying to recapture childhood moments.
Mad Men Barbie Dolls
Are you sick and tired of the modern incarnation of Barbie and friends and their constant clubbing, kite surfing and texting? Lets return to a classier, more restrained era of Barbie with the Mad Men edition of Barbie. Each doll is meticulously outfitted in period outfits and are guaranteed to turn playtime into a tense stomach churning hour of drama. They come in 4 flavors: You have Joan, Betty, Don and of course everyone’s favorite Roger.
Flybar Foam Master Pogo Stick
You know what the world needs more of? Jumping up and down. I know what your saying, but trampolines cost so much and are hard to tote around! Well you don’t need a trampoline people, because they made a magical jumping stick that you can carry in one hand. Its called the Pogo Stick and its is guaranteed fun for kids of all age. Jump up and down the driveway, in the yard, even on the sidewalk. I guess you could say the Pogo is an all terrain vehicle (note: pogo stick does not work on all terrain). Pogo stick are fun, risky toys — that are way overdue for a comeback. I like me the the Flybar and I think you will agree it is a might fine pogo stick for the price. Just be careful — they might be a toy, but like all good toys, they carry some risk, so exercise caution when using the pogo.
Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo
You are stuck at a train station, snowed in for hours and the batteries on all of your high techery have failed. What do you do to entertain yourself? Read a book? Nope, you just finished your book and this place has no magazine or newspapers. Now what hotshot? Why don’t you just take a seat and let this imperial Yo-Yo master show you a thing or two? Around the world? Walk the dog? I can do them all? How does it work? I have no idea, so I will have to assume magic. How did I become so good? I always keep my trust Duncan Yo-Yo handy for just such and occasion and I like to hang out at snowed in train depots. Now that you know that and see how awesome I am you know what you got to do. So pick up an Imperial Duncan Yo-Yo for you and yours and you will never be bored again.
What would a Holiday season be without a Rubik’s Cube. Every Christmas, I get some Rubik related and I have developed quite a collection of cubes. So many that I have begun work on a new a invention. The Rubik’s Wall. The catchphrase for it will be, “a lifetime to build…impossible to master”. I guess what I am trying to say is, people stop buying ME Rubik’s Cubes. Did you forget that this is the 5th year in a row you bought one for me? Sigh. If you don’t know me and you have a puzzle fan in your life (who does not have 80 of them already), I suggest you pick them up a classic Rubik’s Cube.
Star Wars Imperial AT-AT
What would Christmas be without a Star Wars toy under the tree? The star of this X-mas will need to be this ginormous AT-AT. Scaled to interact with 3 ” figures, the Star Wars 2010 Super Deluxe AT-AT Walker measures approximately 24″ tall x 28″ long x 12″ wide, is designed to carry a total of 20 figures, 6 of which can be used as crew for the AT-AT’s head cockpit; the Super Deluxe AT-AT is accompanied by a 3 ” AT-AT Driver and a deploy-able Speeder Bike. Bearing dimensions sufficient to crush all opposition and thoroughly terrorize all enemies of the Empire, the quadrupedal AT-AT stands 22.5 meters tall. Crewed by a pilot, gunner/copilot, deck officers and a commander, the AT-AT is capable of housing forty or more troops, and as many as five Speeder Bikes and two AT-ST vehicles. Powered by an FW62 compact fusion drive system, the AT-AT is equipped with an MS-1 fire-linked heavy laser cannon, medium repeating blasters, and Durasteel footpads.
Pac-Man Power Plush Toys
Having problems sleeping? Maybe it is too much caffeine or maybe you just need the proper friend to share your bed with. Me, I like to surround myself with memorable characters from my youth, which is why my bedroom looks like a giant saturday morning cartoon monster vomited everywhere. I was at the point where I had been feeling pretty comfortable with my level of plush collectibles (which I know should be low for a grown up), but then I found these Namco Power Plushes. They are soft, adorable and you can get the whole Pac-Man set. They have Inky, Blinky, Pokey, Pinky and Pac-Man.
Retro Video Games
Sometimes even with modern technology, it is nice to take a step back and play a classic game. So why not get the gamer in your life something retro this year that goes beep boop beep.
Retron 3 NES/SNES/Genesis Triple System in Candy-like Vector Red
A lot of modernized retro systems out there, but if you are like me and subscribe to the more is better philosophy, with the Retron Triple System you can play many of you favorite NES, SNES and Genesis all in one delicious candy red system. Just do yourself a favor and investigate some new controllers, because the IR controllers that come with it — not so great. Still look at it..its so…red. You know you cannot resist so order a Retron 3 NES/SNES/Genesis Triple System – Vector Red today.
USB Atari VCS Joystick
Sometimes the retro gamer in your life just does not have the time to maintain their hardware or the gaming hobby is just too expensive to them. When this happens they will often turn towards emulating. Their are a lot of great emulators for the Atari 2600 out there, but once you fire them up, the experience can often feel hollow as you pound away on the keyboard or with a modern joystick. Well it doesn’t have to be that way because you can pick a replica Atari controller that plus right into your USB port and play the games they were meant to be played.
Atari 2600 Cartridge Magnets
Atari Age made these very cool Atari 2600 magnets available at their booth. According to their store, these cartridges feature various prototype and rare Atari 2600 games, and the labels came out great! We removed the game board from the carts and replaced them with quite powerful magnets. They’ll stick very well to refrigerator, car, computer hard drive, and other metal surfaces. Pick them up at the Atari Age store.
Meggy Jr RGB
What is more satisfying then playing a video game? Clearing it? Mastering it? Mere child’s play when compared with the joy you will get when you put together your own system and design your own games on the Meggy Jr RGB. This kit from Mad Scientist Labs has a decent following and while it might look simple, mastering it will take you a lot longer then anything you might try and mast on current era consoles.
8 Bit Weapon: A Chiptune Odyssey
For those interested in making their own video game styled music….Set the wayback machine to the golden age of gaming with 8 Bit Weapon: A Chiptune Odyssey, a massive collection powered up with vintage low-bit sounds coaxed from the most venerated micro-computers and game consoles of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Accept no imitations! Chiptune is the real thing—all the gritty lo-fi basslines, whirling computer arpeggios, bleepy synth solos, cosmic FX, and squishy drum patterns you’ve come to know and love. For your pixilated pleasure, each royalty-free sample has been energized with modern-day metadata to ensure seamless playback in your DAW of choice. With over 1,000 building blocks to choose from, you’ll have all the pieces you need to build your own chiptune masterpiece. Now get to work, and don’t forget to save the princess!
Atari’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 for the Nintendo DS
If the classic gamer in your life already has a Nintendo DS, pick them up a copy of Atari’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 for the Nintendo DS. It is filled with classic Atari arcade games and classic VCS titles, that can be played on the go. Atari’s Greatest Hits Vol 1 will keep them silent and staring at their screen until Colume 2 appears in March.
Retro Movies and TV
Nothing says holidays like the classic movies and TV from our youth. Be they Holiday related or not, they bring us comfort during the cold winter months. Here are some that I think are great.
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection
Certain pieces of your holiday collection need to be in great shape and SHOULD be of the highest quality. If you were an expert marksman, you would take care of your weapons, if you were a race car driver you would make sure you had the best accessories on your vehicle. I feel the same way when it comes to the core Holiday TV watching experience. That is why I picked up the Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection. Not only is it a DVD and Blu-Ray Double Pack, but it 3 holiday specials you need every year in HD (Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas), plus 3 bonus episodes and featurettes. It will carry you through the last 3 month of the year in the HD splendor you or the retro fan in your life deserves.
Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series
In the early 1980s an amazing animated Sci-Fi fantasy series ran called Thundarr The Barbarian. The show was well animated and well written, but sadly it could not be sustained and was canceled almost as quickly as it began. For those who watched it, they would always be left wanting, since the show was never fully released on home video. It would take nearly 30 years, but this year, the Warner Archive finally released the show on DVD and my Saturday mornings have been a much richer experience. If you are a fan or have a fan in your life, pick up a copy today and enjoy this overlooked classic.
Rankin/Bass’ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Year without a Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
are holiday classics that everyone should own, but their are other lesser know Rankin/Bass classics that are available as well. One of the one’s I think would make a great addition to you collection is Twas the Night Before Christmas. In this holiday special, for some unexplained reason, letters to Santa Claus are being returned to the children of Junctionville. It seems some resident has angered St. Nick, calling Christmas “a fraudulent myth!” Skeptical Albert Mouse has to be brought to his senses “and let up a little on the wonder why.” How Albert is persuaded to change his tune paves the way for Santa’s jolly return to town – and the joyous finale of the animated fable inspired by Clement Moore’s poem.
The Goonies (25th Anniversary Edition) on Blu-ray
From the imagination of Steven Spielberg, The Goonies plunges a band of small heroes into a swashbuckling surprise-around-every corner quest beyond their wildest dreams! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of a family of bumbling bad guys…and a mild mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. This Anniversary Edition is filled with extras and will make an excellent addition to anyone’s movie collection.
Classic TV Christmas Collection
The Classic TV Collection is one of those discs that I look forward to finding each holiday season. The set is four disc set that has the Christmas episode from 10 different TV shows (some classic — some not) for your holiday watching entertainment. The shows included are: DVD Includes: Dr. Kildare, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, CHiPs, Eight is Enough, Welcome Back, Kotter, Alice, Perfect Strangers, Mama’s Family, Veronica’s Closet and Suddenly Susan. A long evening of holiday entertainment aways you with the Classic TV Christmas Collection.
Dragnet 1969: Season 3
I am a big fan of all incarnations of Dragnet. So I would suggest that anyone interested should pick up both Season 1 and Season 2 of the series as well (since the both are already available). Now I had been looking to do mostly Xmas movies and shows for this gift guide, but I could not ignore the fact that Shout Factory! is releasing the long awaited Season 3 on December 7th. This boxset has some fun extras including: Rare Dragnet 1950s bonus episode “The Big Smoke”, Vintage promo and rare PSAs. This DVD is Great for fans of cop shows and classic TV, this will be watched many times by me both before and after Christmas.