The very best and worst of games merchandise

We collect a lot of gaming merchandise at GamesRadar. While we buy some of it ourselves, one of the perks of working in the industry is that a week rarely goes by without some new item of promotional gaming paraphernalia finding its way to our desks. And generally it's a pretty even mix of awesome and crap.

So, inspired by the clutter that takes up about 75% of our working space, here's 10 of the very best and 10 of the very worst bits of gaming merchandise you're likely to find in shops, eBay, import stores and, of course, on our desks. Let's start with the goodness...


Here's a piñata toy that no true game fan could ever smash up to get to the candy - quite aside from the fact that those cheap skates at Rare didn't fill it with any, isn't he just too cute? The character is, of course, Henry Horstachio, from the Viva Pinata series. This little horsie is a very limited edition, with only a few drifting around. So don't expect to be able to ride away with one from eBay. One thing though - is his mouth upside down?

Where'd it come from?: Given out as prizes at a Rare event at Nottingham's Game City 2007.


These have the words 'Property of the Coalition of Ordered Governments' engraved on one of them, and the Gears of War 2 logo on the other. In the game, Cog Tags are worn by soldiers and have the same purpose as real-life dog tags - to identify the fallen.

There are 30 to collect in the first Gears game, and some require serious hunting. Once 10 have been found, Minh Young Kim becomes a playable multiplayer character in Gears of War 2. These real-life versions aren't any kind of cheap plastic - they’re proper metal for proper men. It's just a real shame that only a few were made.

Where'd it come from?: Given to the chosen few by Epic, and also at the Gears of Wars 2 midnight launch in the US.


Awww… Sackboy. What's not to love? The cheeky chappie comes in two sizes - three inches and six inches tall. He has poseable arms and the trademark irresistible grin.

One of the best gaming characters to emerge recently, despite the fact that as people design their own sackboy character, most are likely to never see him in the game. In the Asian markets there are also sackboy plushies, which will hopefully make their way to other continents soon.

Where'd it come from?: The three inchers were given out with pre-orders and the six inchers to the press.


This little big guy is the result of democracy at work. When BioShock was first released there wasn't a Collector's Edition of the game. However, when fans of the game posted an online petition on the 2K web site asking for one, a 2K staffer actually took notice. The powers at 2K responded to say that if there were 5000 signatures, a Collector's Edition would be forthcoming. In the end there were almost 20,000.

The fans were then given a choice of what they wanted in the Collector's Edition, from a variety of options including a Big Daddy figurine, soundtrack CD, cloth poster, steelbook DVD case, 'Making of' DVD, and an art print with all the team's signatures on it. In the end, Big Daddy, the soundtrack CD and making of DVD won.

Where'd it come from?: Only available as part of the BioShock Collector's Edition.


  • BeastlyB - July 31, 2009 5:49 p.m.

    I would LOVE to get some NMH toilet paper, I wouldn't use it I'd put it on my shelf and stare at it for hours to come I'm getting the feeling one day someone will use it because they ran out of toilet paper NOOOOO! The PW cards look awesome and so does the mario mouse DO WANT!
  • key0blade - January 29, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    lol Shocker glove
  • Maikeru_Go - January 25, 2009 11:31 a.m.

    If they really were going to make darts from DMC, they really needed to have some kind of rose theme to them as it does fit in with that one move from DMC4.
  • thochaos - January 10, 2009 5:25 a.m.

    I have one item from each list. The Big Daddy from the good, and the GTAIV safety deposit box from the bad. The RE4 aftershave looks cool.
  • foarthelulz - January 10, 2009 2:39 a.m.

    maro mouse=awesome
  • foarthelulz - January 10, 2009 2:38 a.m.

    maro mouse=awesome
  • foarthelulz - January 10, 2009 2:37 a.m.

    maro mouse=awesome
  • CandiedJester - January 10, 2009 2:15 a.m.

    I thought that blood was a t-shirt at first O.o did I know know about this Bioshock collectors edition?! D; I might have to pick one of those up >__> I want big daddy statue.. and I agree with kianbung, the aftershave bottle looks pretty cool. It reminds me of the movies.
  • Tomsta666 - January 9, 2009 8:13 p.m.

    I could just go for a nice frosty Pißwasser right about now!!!
  • kianbung - January 9, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    the RE4 bottle actually looks pretty cool. i looked at play-asia - gyakuten saiban playing cards sold out =/
  • cped - January 9, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    i wish the pip-boy worked and the Lancer shoulda been on the awesome list
  • KnightDehumidifier - January 9, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    If there is one great piece of gaming merchandise worth noting, it's the Heavenly Sword letter opener modeled after the sword in the game. Cool enough to open letters or threaten co-workers.
  • PCG_Evan - January 9, 2009 12:52 a.m.

    Dante darts, haha. Outstanding. XL-by-default t-shirts deserve some mention here, too.
  • flare149 - January 9, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    I love the Safety Deposit box. Yeah it's not a really one, but it still works really well as a good place to hide stuff
  • Snarf - January 8, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    I thought they made Nuka-Cola for Fallout 3 like they did with the GTA4 Pisswasser beer.
  • Xplosive59 - January 8, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    wow that resi after shave looks absolute awesomeness... why didnt you put the lancer on the awesome list... or at all?
  • SkullSplitter - January 8, 2009 6:53 p.m.

    The only thing I want on this list is the sackboy and maybe the Mario mouse.
  • MeesesGlokmah - January 8, 2009 5:43 p.m.

    I actually wouldn't mind some of those products on the Worst list. The RE4 Aftershave, if anything, has a cool bottle, and the DMC Darts could be fun. That severed finger, though, is just disturbing.
  • NullG7 - January 13, 2009 12:42 a.m.

    I suppose you could make the pip-boy work like the in game one but you would have to enter every thing you do I cant see geting arounfd that problem for the next 60 years...
  • cart00n - January 12, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    Personally, I really dug on both of the special editions for GTA4 and BioShock (Fallout 3's is really awesome, too, but I never got the Amazon exclusive one). While the "safety-deposit" box isn't all that burly, did you really expect it to be? Hell, just the shipping costs on one of those things would be enormous! But I actually USE everything that came in that package! The duffle is pretty great, the key-ring is aces, and the box has become a great place to put all of my family's important documents. The BioShock package was really cool, tho' I would've liked the artwork for the standard edition's box to have been included somewhere in the package. And the lunch-box and Vault-Boy bobble-head are absolute classics - really surprised you didn't mention them...

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