If you grew up in the 80s/90s, relive the joy of the seasonal promise of a great new video game!
“Devote yourself, but do not lose who you are!” –Marvel vs. Capcom
As a child growing up in a huge city, the greatest hope of the holiday season wasn’t a Red Ryder BB Gun as it was for some, but rather of either a new video game or — if the time was right — a new console system! Although times have changed a little bit as technology has progressed, the same story still rings true for many kids (and their parents) across the world. Have a listen to Calexico’s holiday-themed song, Gift X-change,
while I take you through a fusion of two holiday traditions: the hideous knitted holiday sweater, and the video games (or game systems) that they’re based on.
And don’t be fooled! Screen-printing doesn’t count at all; if you find a “faux” sweater that’s actually a printed design on a T-shirt or a sweatshirt, that ruins all the fun. It has to actually be knitted to count, as any ugly Christmas sweater enthusiast will tell you. It’s why some of my favorite designs out there couldn’t make this list, including ones based off of Mega Man, Castlevania and — most spectacularly — this outstanding Sonic the Hedgehog sweater.
That last one is really crushing to me, because it was supposed to be knitted initially, but the manufacturers switched their offering at the last minute; what a pity! But with all that said, let’s come to the top five.
5.) Donkey Kong/Santa Kong Sweater: this riff on lone of the most classic video games of all-time, complete with candy cane I-beams, wrapped presents and a Santa-themed Donkey Kong, makes this a must-have. Alex Stevens also has a Super Mario-themed Elf/Santa sweater that should be given an honorable mention for its creativity, but couldn’t displace any of the other four entries on this list.
4.) Space Invaders (knock-off) Sweater: As far as knock-offs go, this one’s really hard to beat! An actual knitted sweater with a combination of seasonal imagery (snowflakes and stars) along with classic gaming sights (pixelated aliens, a 1960s-style “spaceship” and box-like bullets and fortresses) makes this one of my favorites. I have to fess up that the holiday sweater was never my style (and still isn’t), but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the fabulous efforts that are out there.
But now, knock-offs aside, it’s time to break in to the heavyweights in the video game sweater world!
3.) Numskull/Yellow Bulldog’s Playstation Sweater: this is simplicity and beauty itself. Sure, it’s just a classic winter/christmas sweater, with snow, reindeer, trees and seasonal borders, right? Until you put in the iconic green triangle, red circle, blue x and pink square that any gamer — past or present — will immediately identify with the PlayStation! And with that simple change, the Christmas/Video Game sweater genre is forever changed.
Although, Numskull/Yellow Bulldog has an even better entrant, if you ask me.
2.) Street Fighter II Sweater: this is just a thing of beauty. Ken and Ryu hadouken-ing it out, with “KO” populating the border and a giant snowflake representing the two fireballs canceling each other out?
Unbeatable, right? Even the pallate colors chosen go incredibly well together. This was one of only two patterned sweaters I’ve ever seen that I would gladly wear, and an entrant that was really hard to top. But there was one sweater that I found that simply made my jaw drop, and that I’d totally get if I could figure out how.
1.) Contra Sweater: up up down down left right left right B A start. Is this too good to be true? Is this a photoshop job where someone’s taken an actual sweater and added an extra level of detail well beyond what can be knitted? Or did someone truly go above and beyond creating this one-of-a-kind gem?
And if I order “↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A start” of them, can I get thirty? If this is real — and you know where I can get one — let me know, because I will!
Happy video game holiday sweaters, everyone, and see you back here tomorrow for more joys and wonders of the Universe!