Super Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda series salutes among the winners in global design contest.
Although there was a time when Nintendo was virtually unknown outside of Japan, by consistently giving customers great games year after year, it eventually became the world-famous company it is today. So when fashion retailer Uniqlo held its recent UGTP ’17 T-shirt design contest, which was open to entrants from around the world, it figured making the contest Nintendo-themed wouldn’t be a problem for contestants, regardless of their nationalities.
In the end, Uniqlo received some 16,000 entries. While the Yamaguchi Prefecture-based clothing company obviously can’t produce each and every one, it did manage to narrow the field down to the top 25 Nintendo T-shirts, which will be going on sale at Uniqlo locations across Japan later this month.
▼ The video announcement shows off some of the winning designs
10 different Nintendo franchises are represented in the collection. Unsurprisingly, the judges’ grand prize-winner features Nintendo mascot Mario himself, jumping into the air as he blends into the bold red fabric.
▼ There’s also a white fabric version, available exclusively in the slimmer women’s cut.
Second place went to a colorful Splatoon tee, which might also be a great choice to wear if you’re painting your home.
And securing third place was this incredibly imaginative Legend of Zelda design that reminds us all of the epic exploration aspects the franchise is known for.
While the judges’ rankings stopped at the top three, there are plenty more shirts to choose from. All are priced at 1,500 yen (US$13.50) for men’s and women’s sizes, while kids’ sizes are just 990 yen (size availability varies by design).
The Super Mario series has the most winning entries, many of which take their cues from the original 8-bit installment.
▼ Small Mario, gigantic Starman
▼ Luigi makes a rare appearance in the T-shirt lineup
▼ A soft-focus collection of power-up headgear
▼ Ironically, the bashful Boo shirt is one of the more attention-grabbing tees.
While much of Pokémon’s marketing is handled by a semi-autonomous company, it’s still part of the extended Nintendo family, so you’ll be able to catch Pikachu at Uniqlo.
▼ Be careful not to spill any of your Magikarp sweet bean cake on your Magikarp T-shirt, which has a playing card motif because of the Pokémon’s Japanese name; Koiking
While Nintendo doesn’t venture into the sci-fi genre too often, when it does, it usually leaves a deep impression on gamers, as it did with Metroid and Star Fox.
If you need still more black T-shirts, there’s one more Zelda T-shirt that was picked. It announces to everyone looking at your chest that it’s dangerous to go alone, so be prepared for people to ask you to accompany to them to their destination when you slip it on.
Pikmin may not have ever achieved smash-hit status, but its elegant ladies-only T-shirt is as intriguingly creative as the early GameCube title. The kids-only Kirby shirt, meanwhile is astoundingly adorable.
The low-key Animal Crossing inspired two shirts, one of which seems to reference the series’ complicated love/hate relationship with players resetting the game.
And finally, the oldest of the old-school graphics in the contest show up on this pair of Donkey Kong shirts.
▼ Why does one shirt need a fake pocket? So that Donkey Kong has something to grab onto, of course.
The entire lineup goes on sale May 19 at Uniqlo branches across Japan, making them attractive souvenirs for summer travelers, or for anyone who sweats through the shirt they’re wearing and needs to buy a new one to change into during Japan’s hot and humid June rainy season.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering what happened to his Samurai Shodown II T-shirt.