Presented by Tom Bordelon with Racketboy
Clothing and fashion is natural way for humans to express their personality and interests to the world. However, up until this last decade or so, options for showing off your retro gaming interests have been quite limited, especially for something outside of promotional t-shirts and indie designs. As many of us grow older [and possibly have more spending power] we often will look for more stylish items than can still communicate our personality.
It is a common trope that gamers aren’t exactly known for dressing stylishly. With gamers being known for rocking bootcut jeans and ill-fitting graphic tees, it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear higher end fashion brands collaborating with gaming companies. However, video games are becoming a more significant part of pop culture. Plus, those of us that grew up with video games have become a stronger part of target demographic for fashion. As a result, you should see collaborations with established gaming brands flourish over the years to come.
There is a large world of fashion and gaming collabs in recent years, but in this particular piece, we are going to focus on retrogaming collabs (with a few extra based on long-time franchises).
If you happen to know of a retrogaming colab that we should include, please share in the comments below — we’d love to do a follow-up on this someday. Also, we know there’s a lot of indie designs that are out there (mostly not official collabs) and we’d be down for checking out some of the most outstanding recommendations.
A Bathing Ape x Nintendo (2008)
Bape Nintendo DS Models
In 2008, Japanese Streetwear giant, A Bathing Ape (or Bape for short) collaborated with Nintendo to release two special edition DS Lites- a white colorway available to the public and a gold colorway exclusive to those with a Bape membership card: making the gold console quite the rarity. These were released exclusively in Japan for 16,800 Yen, or about $155 USD at the time.
Currently, pricing either of these consoles is a bit difficult as they are so rare, but expect to pay a premium at the very least- with both systems going for 500+$. The Gold Bape DS model now ranks as one of the most valuable Nintendo DS models out there.
2008 Bape x Nintendo Clothing
The 2008 Bape X Nintendo collaboration was not limited to the special edition consoles however, and a capsule of adult and children’s clothing was released. The Bape aesthetic translated well to the world of Mario and definitely works for all ages.
There were a handful of different Mario + Milo design combinations for each of the hoodies, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. There were also both grey and navy options for the hoodies and sweatshirts (both colors complimented the artwork quite nicely). You can see some more detailed pictures of some of the hoodies on the eBay listing.
The tees released in August of 2008, and the sweatshirts dropped later that year, in October.
Bape has released multiple other gaming related collaborations in recent years. However, these were released after the creator Nigo left in 2011, so for Bapeheads, the original Nintendo release is usually seen as the favorite as far as the gaming collaborations go. That means getting anything from the collection will be tough and pricey. See below for some overall Bape shopping tips.
A Bathing Ape x Pokemon (2017)
Nearly a decade after the Mario collab, a Japan exclusive capsule released featuring Pokemon designs in August 2017. Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander made an excellent transition into Bape’s art style and the shirt lineup offers both full, individual Pokemon designs and a compilation pattern — and each on either a black or white tee.
The Bape x Pokemon capsule dropped in a special pop up shop set up inside of the Shinjuku Isetan department store, before being widely released in Bape stores.
Even though the Mario collab is highly regarded, Pokemon has remained quite a collectible force over the last decade. Bape x Pokemon items are a fair bit pricier than the classic Mario — just a shirt will run you at least $150-$175.
Bape X Capcom
While it didn’t get as much mainstream attention as the Pokemon collab, the Bape x Capcom capsule has a lot of options for old school gaming fans.
Released in September of 2016, this set features the likes of Street Fighter, Rockman/Megaman, Biohazard/Resident Evil, Ghouls ‘n Goblins, Monster Hunter, and Ace Attorney series. While the individual series design are pleasant, it’s very easy to get seduced by the mashup graphic design that is available on both a tee and a bag.
The Street Fighter characters are included on the mashup pieces, but you’ll need to visit some of the specific Street Fighter collections for SF targeted pieces (see below).
A lot of the asking prices on eBay can get into the $300-$400 ranges, but if you wait patiently or shop around, you can score these pieces for about $100 to $200 or so, depending on the popularity of the design you’re shooting for.
Bape x Street Fighter
Street Fighter II 2012 Capsule
Released in September of 2012 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Street Fighter II, this collaboration is the project that started the strong relationship between Bape and Capcom.
This collection has a few different styles – some featuring all eight of the original World Warriors, and then a couple extra with a nice Guile + Ryu battle scene and Baby Milo peeking over a Ryu shorykun pose.
Certain styles can still be found for under $100, but some of the more popular styles are going to command $200 or more
Street Fighter 2016 Capsule
After four years passed, Bape double-dipped with Street Fighter alongside their full Capcom collaboration. This release also went along nicely with the release of Street Fighter V. There’s more pieces in the style of the 2012 Street Fighter II collection in addition to a few pieces that feel more true to the Street Fighter V promotional artwork.
Expect to pay a premium if you’re interested in any of the Street Fighter shirts; they’ll most likely run you 200$+ at a minimum.
Bape [OG] Xbox (2003)
Nigo, the creator and original designer of Bape produced his custom Bape Xbox back in 2003, sporting his trademark camo print. The choice of the Xbox is especially interesting considering how poorly the Xbox performed in Japan. But you have to admit, this looks pretty slick.
Bape Shopping Tips
If you are interested in buying some OG Bape for yourself, first try to check out reputable resellers, such as Pondon. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try checking sites such as Zozotown or Yahoo Japan auctions through a proxy site like Buyee. Bape is a japanese brand, and is sold at a significantly lower price within the country, so that is usually your best bet for getting things at a good price. Websites like Grailed are also good to check, though fakes and higher prices are a lot more common on it.
Speaking of fakes, you have to keep a close eye out for fakes when purchasing Bape. One of the easiest ways to tell is by looking at the tags. There is a small asterisk ( * ) besides the “A Bathing Ape” name on the neck tag. It shouldn’t look perfect, and should look like its almost smudged into a dot. It’s best to try to look up reference pics if possible. The next best way to check is to look at the Ape head on the sleeve tag.
Additional Bape Gaming Collaborations
Interested in some of the other Bape gaming collaborations? Then check below!
Tommy Hilfiger x Nintendo
Released in the Summer of 2000, Nintendo worked with Tommy Hilfiger to promote the newly released Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64 in their stores with kiosks.
Alongside this partnership, a special edition Gameboy Color was released in department stores such as Macy’s for 69.99 (or only $57.50 if you purchased $50 of Tommy gear), and was also apparently given to some Tommy Hilfiger employees as a gift. If you want to play your Gameboy games in style, it’ll run you around $100 for a loose console, and $250 for a complete in box one.
Gucci x Sega Sneakers
In 2018, Gucci licensed the Sega font and released several sneakers featuring the design. Some of the designs are a little stark and bold — not necessarily appealing to every Sega fan. Although, for those looking for a bright pop of blue and orange, the pair shown to the right in the collage above, is pretty sharp.
Being a luxury brand, the price on these are a bit steep; with most of them originally retailing for around $1000. They can still be found online at around retail pricing.
If you’re interested in leather backpacks, clutches, wallets, or shoulder bags, Gucci has some pieces for the collection as well.
Puma Sega Sonic RS-0 Shoes
If the price and/or aesthetic of the Gucci kicks above doesn’t connect with you, Puma may have you covered.
In June of 2018, Puma released the Sega Sonic RS-0’s, with the centerpiece featuring a homage to Green Hill Zone. Another RS-O design was a solid red with black and yellow stripes to evoke Dr. Eggman’s stylings. Currently, you can score them on eBay for about $200 for the Sonic/Green Hill version and about $130 for the red Dr Eggman version.
A much plainer looking pair of RS-X3 were also released alongside them, both retailing for $120, and they can still be found for around that price. Children’s sizes were also released, and they are still available on the Puma website and on Amazon.
Nike X Playstation
In January of 2018, Sony and Nike partnered to release their first pair of shoes together; the Nike PG2 “Playstation” (which had styling inspired by the PS4). As NBA/Nike fans may notice, these shoes are in the NBA’s Paul George’s signature line of shoes (in collaboration with designer Tony Hardman). But George has a strong passion for the Playstation family and was excited to tie the theme into his line. For more info, read Sony’s PR and Nike’s PR on the release. Retailing at $110, and featuring a light up design on the tongue, the PG2 sold out quite quickly. They now sell for around $400.
Now if you’re a modern PlayStation gamer, those might be right up your alley, but perhaps us old-school gamers might be more interested in the later release (shown in the pictures above – See more pictures here). In November of 2018, Nike and Sony released the PG 2.5 Playstation (see their press release) — with color and styling reminiscent of the original PlayStation. This design avoided the shoe’s tongue light and reduced the retail price down to $90. They now sell for around $200 — pretty reasonable for a diehard PS1 fan.
Nike Air Max 97 Nintendo 64
Nike continued to build on their gaming collaborations using their popular Air Max 97 design as the canvas for an interesting creation. The selection of the Air Max 97 is also interesting as 1997 was the year the N64 was kicked into full distribution (was released in Japan and North American in the Fall of 1996 and then Europe and Australia in 1997).
While you won’t see an actual Nintendo or N64 logo on the sneakers, there are plenty of subtle visual touches in addition to the N64 inspired color scheme. A triangle pattern is spotted on the bottom of the grey shoes as a homage to the directional buttons on the original controllers. The words “power” and “reset” are printed on the tongues of the shoes, and “Air Max” is printed on the back of the shoe in a font that imitates Nintendo’s signature logo.
The shoes were originally sold in the Fall of 2019 on Nike.com and at Foot Locker stores for $170. You can now found them on eBay for at or below their original retail price.
Not quite as retro as the items above, but here are some additional fashion collaborations that are based on long-time gaming franchises.
Hideo Kojima / Metal Gear Solid x J.E. Rey Sunglasses
Released with the launch of Metal Gear Solid V, JF Rey Eyewear partnered with Hideo Kojima to make special edition Metal Gear Glasses. They have an asian fit, so if you’re a big headed American, your dreams of wearing some Kojima glasses may be shattered.
You can see a full lineup of promotional images at Metal Gear Wiki and you can see some real-life photos of a units (that were also signed by Kojima on eBay.
Puma X Metal Gear Solid Sneaking Boots
Alongside official Metal Gear Glasses to coincide with the release of MGSV, official Metal Gear sneaking boots were produced by Puma.
Metal Gear X Uniqlo
Casualwear brand Uniqlo collaborated on an extensive lineup of tees that were released in 2012 for Metal Gear’s 25th Anniversary. While it might be tricky to find a specific piece from the collection on eBay at any given moment, they don’t typically sell for a super-high amount. Some pieces sell in the $20 to $50 range.
Final Fantasy x Louis Vuitton
In February of 2016, Louis Vuitton and Square Enix worked together to have Final Fantasy characters model some of the new products that Louis Vuitton was releasing that year.