I’m away on a business trip for the week and staying in a hotel. I don’t have any games loaded on my laptop and not sure that it could run anything that I would be interested in playing anyway. Obviously I didn’t bring my PC gaming rig, but I also did not bring the family’s Xbox 360 (Even though I have one of those nifty metal transport cases). I did bring my PSP, but to be honest…I’m not real pleased with the games I chose to bring along. I suppose that’s a whole different blog though.


So what’s a guy to do?


Well, since I did bring the Halo Legends DVD along…why not watch it?


That’s what I did. I watched the Halo Legends DVD. Halo fans will enjoy it. Non Halo fans will criticize it. (Personally, I am a Halo fan and while I thought most of episodes were entertaining, I really enjoyed, “The Babysitter” but thought “The Package“ was pretty good too.


It’s funny how if you’re a fan of a particular game or series you will buy without hesitation a lot of the merchandise associated with it. From t-shirts to comic books and even in game goodies (like those who pre-ordered Left for Dead 2 and got the bonus hat for their TF2 characters).


While this is becoming more and more popular, I’m actually surprised it hasn’t caught on much sooner. It seems like from a marketing perspective it just makes sense and could make a particular title even more profitable. Games like Halo are what some might call a cash cow because of the amount of money it draws in. I know I feed the cow every chance I get, with products like books and now, DVDs (that's not even counting all the games).


Now we see everything from a special edition version of the game bundled with a Spartan helmet or Night Vision Goggles, to plush toys and comic books. Video game merchandise is really starting to pick up steam and several of the big studios even have their own virtual stores for interested gamers to peruse.


Some of my favorites are (I’ll limit it to 5 for the sake of brevity):



Valve. Who doesn’t love at least one Valve game? Not only do they have T-shirts and coffee mugs, but also novelty items like Black Mesa parking permits and prints that you can actually frame and hang on the wall. Wouldn’t your significant other just be thrilled to have a TF2 “Meet the Sandvich” print hanging in your living room? Their merchandise is tailored from classic games including Half Life, Counterstrike, Team Fortress, Portal and Left for Dead. (Honey, if you’re reading this I would really like a Team Fortress 2 Red or Blue iPhone cover).




Blizzard. Don’t dismiss Blizzard because of their recent release of plush toys. While most might think this is a bit silly and childish, plush toys are actually quite popular and Blizzard more than makes up for it with all the other cool merchandise they have to offer.



Of course they have an apparel section with hats and shirts and such but also a book section and a collectibles section with some pretty spectacular deluxe figures. Of course, Blizzard games need no introduction, but just in case you’ve been in carbon freezing for the last few years, they make a few titles that you might have heard of including World of WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo.




Lucasarts. If you don’t know who they are then smack yourself with a trout or choke yourself with your own hand. Lucasarts has so many classic titles under their belt I wouldn’t even know where to begin listing them. Oh yeah, and as the owner of all thing Star Wars, take a guess how much merchandise they have to offer? They have one of the largest online stores I’ve seen and actually have it broken down by Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Lucasarts. While the store doesn’t seem to carry a lot (or any) merchandise for some of their early classics, it’s certainly not ALL Star Wars. Right now, they do have a lot of Monkey Island product. But yes…there is indeed a lot of Star Wars stuff. What’s wrong with that though?





Bungie. Like most of the other sites, Bungie has a full line of apparel, books and collectibles. While Bungie pretty much relies on their pride and joy, Halo, to fill their coppers, there certainly isn’t any shortage of people interested in the series. I’m assuming there must be some kind of deal with Microsoft, as most of the apparel is limited to official Bungie corporate logos and such, but there are Halo collectibles and other items available. Still a neat store.



Last but not least…(but kind of a dark horse really…)


Bioware. While they may not be as seasoned or as prestigious as some of the other veteran companies, they have definitely left their mark on the gaming community. With the latest games they are turning out, Bioware is certainly getting noticed and drawing large audiences. At the moment, the store is rather slim and doesn’t have a lot to offer. But they are unique items that only the most astute and dedicated gamers will recognize.  Too bad they probably won’t be able to offer any “The Old Republic” merchandise as I’m sure Lucasarts will handle all of that, but we’ll know who really deserves the credit. I’d say the odds are good they’re going to continue climbing the ladder of fame and fortune…but as Han Solo used to say, “Never tell me the odds.”



That’s it for now, but stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog…where I will continue discussing the cash cow and how game companies are coming up with creative ways to market their new releases.


For those interested in checking out one or more of the stores…look, I made it easy for you. You’re welcome. :)








May the Force be with you. Always.