There was a time when video games were uncool. I guess it was around the early/mid-1990s. How do I know? Because I wore this shirt and faced the consequences.
This is a Legend of Zelda shirt that was sold in the Nintendo Power Super Power Club, a catalog of Nintendo branded clothing and other products that came with issues of Nintendo Power. This shirt came out around the time A Link To The Past was released. I wanted one because I wanted everyone to know how great I thought Zelda was.
But nobody agreed. Most of my peers didn’t understand the reference. I got teased a lot for wearing this. One bigger kid shouted “ZELDAAAAAA” at twelve year-old me. I was a chunky twelve year-old. I looked like a big dork walking around with this on.
There was one time I was at a restaurant with my parents wearing this t-shirt. An old couple approached the table and asked us about the story behind the t-shirt. “I have a sister named Zelda” this old lady said. My mom replied, “Oh, this is from a video game he likes.”
I wrote about the Super Star Fox Weekend where they gave everybody a Star Fox t-shirt.
Again, I would wear this to school with pride, but it served only to indicate how much of a dork I was. That logo? It’s the logo for the SuperFX chip that was heavily marketed as a part of Star Fox on the Super Nintendo. Nobody but those who read Nintendo Power understood what it meant.
I didn’t get picked on for the SuperFX logo, but the back provided plenty of fodder for bullies since it did a great job at demonstrating ones dorkiness.
Around my senior year of high school I wrote about video games for a website. Sometimes I got free t-shirts like these:
I wised up by then. I never wore these out in public.
Why do I mention this? Because I saw this in a JC Penney today:
In the past five years I’ve seen a lot of clothing with Nintendo characters on them. Walk around the Arizona Jeans section of a JC Penney and you’ll see a lot of Super Mario Brothers shirts. Sometimes I see kids wearing these around either to show their pride or to wear them like some hipster. I can’t tell.
During my teenage years if you wanted to show your video game pride you had to go out of your way to special order these kinds of items. By wearing these you’d be doing all the bullies a favor by making it easy for them to pick you out of the crowd. You couldn’t just walk into any shopping mall. But today you can. Judging from their prevalence maybe kids don’t worry about getting picked on over them.
…I’m not so sure about that last part. I think it’s still dorky, but maybe it’s an acceptable dorky.