Father's Day Gifts For a Totally '80s Dad

Serenity CrewThis Father’s Day, my husband is getting … his birthday present. Hey, I thought this project was going to be a lot quicker! I  mention this because it’s part of a neat little trend in the crafting/pop culture universe right now: 8-Bit Art.
When you think “vintage,” you might think of ‘50s-style Cadillac-fin refrigerators. But the ‘80s were more than twenty years ago (gulp!), so the blocky, uneven style of early computer animation causes quite the frisson of nostalgia in many guys, many of whom spent an inordinate amount of time with their friends Mario and Donkey Kong, not to mention Leisure Suite Larry.
You can capitalize on that nostalgia and hit your guy’s sweet spot. Here are some of the neatest innovations in 8-bit gifts and crafts.


The item I’m working on is a counted cross-stitch of the characters from the TV show Firefly (and the movie Serenity). Yes, yes, we’re geeks. I got the pattern for this cross-stitch from the Etsy shop Wee Little Stitches, which also has Shaun of the Dead, Ghostbusters, and a slew of other similar patterns. Jacqueline Gable, the shop’s owner, has promised she can make me a pattern based on the “characters” in my own family if I’m so inclined. How awesome does that sound? Answer: pretty awesome. Pattern only, $9 at Etsy
8-bit tieWhat’s the most traditional (read: unimaginative) father’s-day present you can think of? That’s right. A tie. Unless it’s this tie, in which case the whole tie-gift thing becomes an ironic meta commentary on the nature of commodifying fatherhood via a Hallmark-inspired holiday. Er – or it’s just a hilarious gift. $14.99 at ThinkGeek





8-bit watchIt’s a watch. That makes his wrist look like it exists within the realm of an old-school video game. So that every time he checks the time, he feels transported inside a Nintendo NES. I mean, right?! $40 at ThinkGeek



8-bit quiltDoes he have a man-cave? Who cares! You’ll want this for your connubial bed! It’s a custom-made quilt in the style of Mario (or a mushroom, or a Mooninite, or whatever else you and GameInspired can dream up!). $110 at Etsy





8-bit converseMy old roommate always said “never buy a man shoes, he’ll walk away from you in them.” Speaking as a woman who has bought my husband shoes emblazoned with the old Centipede arcade game, I encourage you to ignore my old roommate and get your guy these hand-painted Mario Converse kicks. $55 at Etsy






8-bit woodThese are beyond. Just beyond. They’re computer art … hand-crafted in wood. He can put them on the cabinet above his cubicle and assemble levels IRL while thinking of what an amazing wife he has. Boom goes the dynamite. $45 at Etsy









Would your guy like a lo-fi Father's Day gift?

Images via ThinkGeek and Etsy

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