1980s Christmas: My Top 3 80s Gifts

Here we are again, back with an 1980s themed multi-stream (don’t cross the streams) crossover event! In December “The 80s League” are contemplating #80sChristmas, be it toys, games, fashion, electronics or anything else from the 80s. My choices are items that arrived in my bulging sack (really, my parents used a sack with Santa on it until the mid 80s) on Christmas morning, either becasue I asked for them or things that fall into the “it’s the thought that counts” category.

#80sChristmas Blog Podcast

Links to other 80s League #80sChristmas blogs and podcasts – 80s Reboot Overdrive blog and podcastRealweegiemidgetRediscover the 80s Blog and Podcast and Return to the 80s. We’re all on Twitter and using the #80sChristmas hash-tag so why not join the party and send us your 1980s Christmas memories.

Let’s get this show on the road. Born in 1970 I quickly became a technology geek and consequently the only member of the household that could wire plugs, set up the Hi-Fi and video, tune the TV or play computer games. From a basic pong system this was upgraded to an Atari 2600 followed by my first pick from the 80s.

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K #80sChristmas
I had been saving for several months to buy a Sinclair ZX81 home computer, it was the cheapest option available for me to start learning basic programming. I spent many an hour in WH Smith messing about on the computers that were set up on display. Along came December 1982 and my pocket money savings had topped £20, my parents took that and surprised me with a ZX Spectrum 48K (RRP £175) for Christmas. They hit the big time and received my unending gratitude, which lasted at least two full days.

From the offset I could tell this was a massive upgrade from the Atari and quickly got to grips inputting basic programs on the quirky rubber keyboard. Games came on cassette tape and took anywhere from one to five minutes to load, a far cry from the instant gratification of slapping a cartridge in a console but the games were worth the wait. I have great memories of playing the early releases including 3D Tanx, Arcadia, Ant Attack, Atic Atac, Manic Miner and the Horace games.

Skip forward one year and pop music had begun to infiltrate my sponge-like teenage mind. I picked up my first 12″ single in 1983, Blue Monday by New Order. I would spend a huge chunk of my Saturday afternoons hitting the record and games shops, probably making a nuisance of myself browsing the chart titles and hunting for reduced bargains. I needed a way of taking my music with me so in 1983 I added the Sony Walkman to my Christmas list.

SANYO Stereo portable cassette player #80sChristmas

This is the point where my parents lack of either money or understanding began to become apparent and they bought me a Sanyo (or something similar) Stereo portable cassette player. It did the job and I would spend the next few years recording the chart from BBC Radio One and carefully editing mix tapes to cut out chatter and jingles. By this time I had discovered the dulcet tones of John Peel and other alternative radio shows which formed the basis for my wide ranging music tastes of today. Along with the cassette player my parents would also wrap up multi-packs of tapes for several years to come. I got through many, many blank cassettes and filled them with music and ZX Spectrum games, all of which were catalogued and indexed.

1980s Cassette Tapes #80sChristmas

A few years later and I’m in my mid teens and unfortunately at this point nobody has any idea what to buy me. The terms Axel F, Ultravox, Starglider and Microdrive meant very little to my parents and relatives so I inevitably started receiving talcum powder, soap on a rope, socks and the pièce de résistance… Hai Karate.

Hai Karate #80sChristmas

Still popular in the 1980s Hai Karate was, and still is, bloody awful. I didn’t use talcum powder but had a never-ending supply and the aftershave was grim. Also, I hadn’t started shaving yet. You name it and I got it from Brut and Old Spice to Pagan Man and Insignia. If growing up ever seemed like it was going to suck this was definitely the turning point. From Star Wars action figures, Britains soldiers and Matchbox cars to soap, a box of biscuits and the occasional toothbrush wrapped up and waiting for you on Christmas morning. I still have a Hai Karate body talc tucked away in a drawer.

Thankfully, it’s not all bad as I bought myself a Nintendo Entertainment System with my hard earned paper round money. My relatives wouldn’t spring for £50 games but that meant I could ask for Christmas cash and buy my own. In conclusion, the best gift is a thoughtful gift but when in doubt cold hard cash in a Christmas card works a charm, Merry Christmas!

Custom 3D Catan by Calder Kibyuk Designs

Looking for the perfect holiday, birthday, celebration or house-warming gift for the hardcore or casual Catan player? Calder Kibyuk Designs has created a series of made-to-order Custom 3D Catan boards. All pieces are hand painted, covered in a matte finish and moulded from a highly durable resin which will endure future infrastructure construction, resource trades and invasions of the dreaded robber (plus the casual drop from the coffee table).

Custom 3D Settlers of Catan by Calder Kibyuk Designs

All of the landscapes host the original Catan pieces perfectly – letting you build your “longest road,” settlements and cities amongst the 3D backdrop. Boards are available in painted or unpainted versions, and include custom number pieces. Contact calderkdesign@gmail.com for more information and prices. Tell them I sent you, you won’t get a discount but at least they’ll know I’m helping.

Check out the fast paced Killer Kitsch Twitter Account and pop culture art and cosplay Facebook Page. Also, check out Calder Kibyuk Designs amazing Steampunk Sculptures.

Custom 3D Settlers of Catan by Calder Kibyuk Designs
Custom 3D Settlers of Catan by Calder Kibyuk Designs
Custom 3D Settlers of Catan by Calder Kibyuk Designs

2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April – 1 May

UPDATE: Saturday 30th April photo album is now live!

Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Retro Handheld Games via Console Passion
Retro Handheld Games via Console Passion
Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Streets of Rage via Sprite Planet
Streets of Rage via Sprite Planet
Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Custom NERF by AWTB
Custom NERF by AWTB
Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Retro Gaming via Retro Reload
Retro Gaming via Retro Reload

Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Pinball
Replay Events Ltd 2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool Retro Collect

PLAY Expo Blackpool has been bringing retro and modern gaming entertainment to Blackpool for years and 2016 is no exception. This year Replay Events are bringing the best classics, tournaments and even a world first hands on session of an upcoming game.

PLAY Expo Blackpool takes place at the Norcolympia Exhibition Centre in Blackpool on 30 April – 1 May 2016 www.playexpoblackpool.com. Also, please don’t forget to like Killer Kitsch on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter @killer_kitsch for live updates from the event. See my blog post and video for PLAY Expo 2015 for a taster of what went down last year.

The team are very proud to announce that this year they will be hosting a world first preview and hands on of a game; Sociable Soccer. After years away from football games, Jon Hare is ready to show the world the ‘spiritual successor; to the classics hits Sensible Soccer and Sensible World of Soccer. Not only will Jon be giving a talk and Q&A session all about the past and present games, but there will also be tournaments overseen by Sky Sports eSports presenter Matt Andrews.

Over the course of the weekend there will be several other tournaments for attendees to take part in to flex their skills and win some prizes. 8bit Planet will be bringing both paid and free to enter Super Smash Bros tournaments, Super Mario UK Champion Sami Cetin will be returning with Super Mario Kart and Manchester Battle Arena will be setting up the ring for some brilliant fighting game tournaments.

2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April - 1 May

If that has attendees in the mood for racing, then a full size replica Formula One car should be of interest. Visitors to the expo will be able to test their driving skills in this simulator that comes complete with authentic pedals and steering wheel. The game plays on a large screen at the front of the cockpit giving a brilliant immersive and memorable experience. The player with the fastest lap time each day will win a prize, so there’s loads of reasons to have a go in this F1 car.

For the very first time PLAY Expo Blackpool will be offering the chance for visitors to attend master classes with industry experts. Sega artist Duncan Gutteridge will be talking about his work on various Sonic projects and showing visitors how to draw this classic character. For those into Pac-Man Jon Stoodley, the first European and one of seven people in the world to achieve the perfect score on the game, will be discussing his achievements and dishing out tips and pro secrets on how to up your game on the arcade classic. Industry veteran Jim Bagley will also be giving a Q&A over the weekend on his recent world record video game conversion and upcoming projects.

The Museum of Games and Gaming will be bringing their “Why do we play?” exhibition to PLAY Expo Blackpool. The exhibit investigates the entire history of gaming from ancient games like the Egyptian Senet to the most modern of video games and why we have always been so interested in devoting time and energy to playing these games. The exhibition has been curated by ex-Psygnosis employee and Museum of Games and Gaming Director Phil Robinson, who will be on hand at PLAY Expo Blackpool to talk visitors through the exhibit and answer any questions they may have.

2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April - 1 May

For lovers of more modern gaming, there will be a selection of Indie developers and studios attending with their latest titles for guests to get stuck into. The Indie Zone has been a popular area and it can be a great place to get hands on with new and upcoming titles, as well as being able to talk to the people who designed and developed them.

2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April - 1 May

Dark Cleo Productions will be hosting the ever popular cosplay and tabletop gaming sections of the expo. The masquerade will be on each day and will showcase the public’s talent and passion for all things cosplay, over seen by brilliant cosplay judges. There will be a host of tabletop games for attendees to try out, with staff on hand to teach the rules and how to play.

The Minecraft Zone is returning this year after a popular reception in 2015 with a dedicated LAN team to run the different maps. Will attendees get useful items in their bags and be the last man standing on the exciting Hunger Games map? Or maybe they just want to explore, build and fight mobs on the Survival Map? If they’re not feeling up to taking on Creepers and hunting out Diamonds, then the Creative Map will allow them to express their creativity.

There will, of course, be the usual extensive collection of free play arcade cabinets and pinball machines and hundreds of retro consoles, computers and handhelds to play all weekend. The Retro Computer Museum will be bringing two linked W Industries Virtual Reality machines for attendees to play on together and if there’s a group then head to the PC LAN area to play some classic LAN games.

Finally, guests looking to spend some hard earned pennies on cool merchandise should head to the trading hall which will be full of video games, apparel and memorabilia vendors for that must-have item.

2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April - 1 May2016 PLAY Expo Blackpool 30 April - 1 May


Numskull Designs Free Give-Away!

The lovely people at Numskull Designs (don’t click that link yet!) have sent me three interesting items for my perusal. I’ve decided to give these cool things away on Twitter, because I’m kind like that. Not forcing you to like my FACEBOOK page or anything. But please do.

The one BIG rule is you need to be based in the UK as posting to other countries get’s costly. Sorry! If you live anywhere else in the world, win and want to pay the P&P that’s okay but sending things tracked and / or recorded is expensive and even then stuff can go missing. You have been warned and I hold no responsibility for missing items. All give-away tweets close on Tue 9th Feb at 3pm and winners will be announced on #GeekHour. Now, on with the fun stuff…

Fetching Boba Fett Knitted Hat (RRP £19.99)

To win this marvellous bounty simply head over to Killer Star Wars on Twitter and RT THIS POST.

You need to be following @StarWarsTHX & @NumskullDesigns to win.

Numskull Designs Star Wars Boba Fett Hat

Official Star Wars Product
Outer: 100% Acrylic, Knitted Hat
Inner: 100% Polyester
Unisex Design
One size fits all (just about fits on my overly large head)
Ear covers for added warmth and comfort (won’t stop a laser blast though)

Totally retotastic SEGA Mega Drive Cufflinks (RRP £14.99)

To win this must have gaming fashion accessory head over to Killer Gaming on Twitter and RT THIS POST.

You need to be following @ZXRetro & @NumskullDesigns to win.

Numskull Designs SEGA Mega Drive Cufflinks
High-Quality Nickel Plating
Official SEGA Mega Drive Product
Swivel bar type
Set of two cufflinks
Exact replica of D-pad and buttons.
Super-cool, gaming-inspired design

Super fine SONY PlayStation Console Wallet (RRP £14.99)

To win this essential PS1 wallet head over to Geek Hour on Twitter and RT THIS POST.

You need to be following @geek_hour & @NumskullDesigns to win.

Numskull Designs SONY PlayStation Console Wallet

Exact replica of original console
3D embossed elements (mmmm, tactile)
Official PlayStation Product
Supplied in presentation gift box (clear plastic)
PU Leather
Card, ID and note slot (memory card slot)

There you go, you can win these precious things with a simple re-tweet, how easy is that? No cash alternative, no alternate prizes and only one of each prize to give away. Please direct all complaints to anyone but myself. Items provided by Numskull Designs, wise and powerful wizards of UK licensed mechanise including t-shirts, jumpers, socks, hats and accessories.

Numskull Designs Star Wars Boba Fett Hat, SONY PlayStation Wallet and SEGA Mega Drive Cufflinks

Play Expo Manchester 2015

PLAY Expo (Oct 10-11 2015) is brought to you by Replay Events and is jam packed with hundreds of games and consoles, an arcade, huge traders area, exhibitors, guest talks, cosplay, board gaming, tournaments and a whole lot more.  Held at Event City in Manchester you can check out the Facebook event here and a full line-up of what’s going down this weekend can be found on the PLAY Expo website.

PLAY Expo 2015

My event photo gallery has been uploaded. Due to a double family emergency over the weekend my visit was a whirlwind so no video this time. Were you at Play Blackpool this April? If so take a look at my blog and YouTube Video from this fun filled event.

Check out Killer Kitsch on your favourite social networks including
Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest tsū Tumblr Twitter YouTube

PLAY Expo 2015

Donkey Kong mash-ups by Pixel Baz

Pixel Artist Pixel Baz presents Donkey Kong mashed with pop culture movies and TV shows in classic 8-bit pixel-art style. As a retro gaming fan, and massive geek, these designs tick all the right boxes. Aliens, Adventure Time, Doctor Who, Star Wars and Sesame Street characters climb those sloping levels trying to reach the top, save their ally and hopefully take out the fiendish kidnapper at the end of the game (with a big sword, pulse rifle or in Cookie Monsters case a giant cookie distraction).

Donkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Adventure TimeDonkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Sesame Street

Check out Killer Kitsch on Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube tsū Instagram

Donkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - AliensDonkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Prometheus

Donkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Star Wars The Empire Strikes BackDonkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Star Wars The Return of the Jedi

Donkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Game of ThronesDonkey Kong mash-ups by BazNet - Doctor Who

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo

These Rubik’s, Mario, Portal and Game Cubes built to conceal a box of tissues by kanojo are not to be sneezed at.

“We happen to be fans of Big Bang Theory and in one episode, we spotted a Rubik’s Cube tissue box somewhere in their geek apartment. Of course they’re not the first one to have this idea but we got curious and were convinced they would make awesome Christmas gifts for our friends.”

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo - Rubik's Cube

“In the end we overdid it a little and made every cubic (and geek-ish) item we could think of. Each cube is made in a different way, some painted, stencilled or glued.”

There are loads of images and a build guides via their blog.kanojo.de including dimensions, cutting, painting, stencilling etc. and they also sell card versions with a magnetic lid.

Check out Killer Kitsch on Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube tsū Instagram

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo - Nintendo Game Cube

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo - Mario

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo - Mario

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo - Portal

Gaming & retro tissue boxes by kanojo

Custom Fallout, Iron Man & The Thing My Little Pony by daunted

I’ve previously covered custom MLP’s but these are too good not to show off in all their Pony glory. By Deviant Art user ‘daunted’, these customs include lighting and incredible attention to detail. The subject matters include gaming, movies, anime, superheroes and horror. My favourite is the R.J. MacReady and Spider Head ‘Thing’ from the classic 1982 horror / Sci-Fi directed by John Carpenter.

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Fallout Brotherhood of Steel

All these custom MLP’s are fully sculpted with Apoxie sculpt and Super sculpey, hand painted with model masters and professional grade automotive paints then sealed with gloss for protection. The Iron Man (Pony Stark?) MK XLII Armor has embed LED lights powered by a super long life battery. You can see more of this artists work over on daunted’s Deviant Art profile.

Check out Killer Kitsch on Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube tsū Instagram

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - The Thing

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Iron Man Pony Stark

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - GhostriderCustom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Skyrim Dovahkiin

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Naga World of Warcraft

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Megaman X

Custom pop culture My Little Pony by daunted - Appa Avatar The Last Airbender

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos

Custom, and functional, Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos.

The figures look great on display and each comes with a compartment in the base to hold a fully functional Amiibo NFC chip. Each figure is a limited edition of 25 in each pose and comes individually numbered on the base.

The Amiibo’s NFC chip is acquired from an original Amiibo. The original figure’s base is taken apart and the chip is placed inside the Paper Mario characters custom wooden base. “Each custom Paper Mario [character] is made with paper, wood, glue, patience, and tweezers.”

When the NFC chip is installed (supplied by yourself or as an option from SuperAmiigos), the custom figure is fully functional with any applicable Amiibo supported Nintendo game. Custom Amiibo display units are also available along with colour choices for your figures.

Check out Killer Kitsch on Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube tsū Instagram

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigosCustom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - Luigi

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - ToadCustom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - Princess Peach

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - BowserCustom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - Mr. L

Custom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - Kid YoshiCustom Paper Mario Amiibo by SuperAmiigos - Kid Yoshi


Multicade of the Universe – custom He-Man arcade cabinet by Tom Ace

Toy collector, customiser and all round master tinkerer Tom Ace picked up a vintage arcade machine about a month ago, with 620 games built in. “The guy told me it was called a Multicade, so naturally I had to put a Masters of the Universe twist on it, and I turned it into Multicade of the Universe!”

Tom designed, printed and installed all of the graphics, replaced the T-trim, changed out the buttons and joysticks, replaced the clear plastic over the control panel, tinted the glass and added an LCD monitor. The entire cabinet is smothered in retro Masters of the Universe imagery originally used to promote the hugely successful Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line and the animated television series produced by Filmation.

“[It’s] been a fun project and the games are a ton of fun to play!”

Tom is indeed the Master of the Universe when it comes to creating something that toy collectors, arcade enthusiasts and 1980s kids would love to get their hands on. Some might even be prepared to trade their precious Wonder Bread He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor for such an awesome looking arcade cabinet.

Check out Killer Kitsch on Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube tsū Instagram