Tech

The detailed toys and rare collectibles that keep watch over our home offices

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Thanks to Ars Technica's unique staff-from-all-over arrangement, we don't often see how our coworkers organize their home offices. There's also the matter of us being a bunch of overgrown children who keep, and proudly display, all kinds of toys, action figures, dolls, and other nerdy decorations in our home offices.

Thus, this latest edition of our ongoing "how Ars works" series focuses specifically on the toys and characters that keep watch over our desks, chairs, coffee mugs, and other home-office accoutrements.

  • Tech Culture Editor Sam Machkovech presents his "forever alone" shelf. More details in next images, but for now: that 8-bit Starry Night print came from the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. And "Bedmaster" is perhaps the rarest board game Sam owns. It's a '70s swingers board game. (Sam has never opened it, he insists.)
  • That Box Boy box set (the one with Japanese text, from a Nintendo 3DS game) is a relatively rare Nintendo creation, and it includes the simplest, most boring Amiibo Nintendo has ever produced.
  • Two Nintendo-produced hanafuda card sets. The one on the left is a limited edition, Mario-themed set given away exclusively by Japan's Club Nintendo series.
  • The card stock on Nintendo's hanafuda cards is pretty stellar. Here's a peek at one Mario-ized version of a classic Nintendo hanafuda card.
  • A better look at the Pac-Man jigsaw puzzle that came in the Milton Bradley Pac-Man board game from the '80s. Weird to see anthropomorphized Pac eat a ghost whole like a snake.
  • And a tighter zoom on that relatively rare Spelunky Joe figurine. Sam bee-lined to Spelunky's PAX booth many, many years ago to claim this from series creator Derek Yu before the game became a speedrunning sensation.
  • Sam has decided to start collecting Japanese N64 boxes for some reason. He says it's because the box designs are cooler than the Western ones.
  • Sam's toy-shelf protectors.
  • Amiibo, some figurines to recreate the original Mario Bros. arcade cabinet art, mint-condition Nintendo "Classic" consoles, and a litany of Nicktoon-affiliated figurines.
  • A Kerbal Space Program mini, flanked by some friends.
  • Not quite toys, but Sam keeps these perler bead coasters on his living room table. Handmade by a thoughtful ex.

A few Ars staffers have outed themselves as particularly pack-ratty toy collectors, so those people (Sam Machkovech, Aurich Lawson, and Jonathan Gitlin) have their collections broken out as separate galleries.

  • Creative Director Aurich Lawson has shared images of his incredible Star Wars toy collection in the past; these are his newest pickups, yet to receive Ars scrutiny.
  • Samurai variants. Don't ask questions. Just gaze in awe. Aurich Lawson
  • Not pictured here: a bunch of shattered and smashed toy-mainframes.
  • Salacious in tow, of course.
  • D'awww.
  • Hi, Cars Section Editor Jonathan Gitlin here. I'll admit it, I'm a manchild, and my workspace reflects that. In the background are three 400% Bearbricks (L-R: Futura, Dave Flores, Unkle). In the foreground, the Gorillaz. The metal object between the creepy leather bear and Murdoc is a stub axle that failed in a race car, costing us the chance of a win. Jonathan Gitlin
  • A classic, Bill McMullin's Shuttlemax. Jonathan Gitlin
  • This is all waiting to be reassembled following our house move earlier this year. Jonathan Gitlin
  • And these ones. Technically the Saturn V belongs to my wife. Jonathan Gitlin
  • Zapp Brannigan, Zombie Lisa, Homer the surf bum, Bender, and Fry. And an errant Mk 7 Space Marine. The metal cog in the foreground used to be the first gear for a Honda F1 car. Jonathan Gitlin
  • Some Kubricks stage an impromptu dance-off for an audience. Jonathan Gitlin
  • Fellow Arsian Dave Chen printed these out for me a few years ago. Jonathan Gitlin
  • OK, he doesn't usually live here, right in front of my monitor. Jonathan Gitlin

The rest of our slightly more restrained staffers' collections can be seen in this last gallery, below.

  • Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland: "This shelf has too much stuff to individually list, but the right half is all Mario. There's also some Pac-man stuff from my first E3 in 2004 on the left, and you can spot a WarioWare Twisted store display that actually moves when the solar battery is working."
  • Orland: "This photo includes my very first video game collectible, a boxed super Mario Bros. plastic trophy from a late '80s Toys R us clearance, and my newest ones, mini arcade cabinets that are fully functional."
  • Orland: "Random knickknacks atop my retro gaming CRT, including a Super Mario Bros. Famicom box purchased on my Tokyo Game Show trip."
  • Managing Editor Eric Bangeman: "A mix of geek stuff and souvenirs. Middle shelf from left to right: pass from tour of Twickenham Stadium in London in 2016, a couple of frogs, Pillars of Kings bookstands from LOTR, a proof set from the London Mint, and a geode. On the bottom shelf are some mementos of my time with the Park Ridge Wilderness Scouts, a model of Gondor, an unopened can of Primo from a trip to Hawaii, and a 'fart molecule' from a chemistry class in the mid-'80s." Eric Bangeman
  • Bangeman: "I'm an architecture geek, too. This is a reproduction of the Mercury on the walls of what is now a ballroom at the last surviving hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright, The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa. It's worth visiting if you ever find yourself in north-central Iowa." Eric Bangeman
  • Bangeman: "The remainder of my collection of obsolete Apple hardware: a G4 Cube, graphite iBook SE, and an eMate. Plus Gumby and Pokey, with a Pac-Man plush from Level 257. There's some rugby stuff at top left from the USA-Australia match at Soldier Field in 2015. And at right, you can see my non-obsolete Apple hardware: a 4K Apple TV sitting on top of a Directv Genie, which goes to the 43" 4K TV I have mounted on the wall across from my desk." Eric Bangeman
  • Senior Reviews Editor Samuel Axon: "We’re big Blizzard fans in our home—such that we have two TVs set up for playing Overwatch together on two PS4s. That all started with World of Warcraft, so we’ve themed parts of our kitchen on WoW. Ragnaros, the fiery end-boss of early WoW, stands guard over our stove, basically saying, 'By fire, be cooked!'"
  • Axon: "We also have this more obscure WoW toy on the entry table to the kitchen. It’s based off of the Cinder Kitten WoW in-game pet, and in this case, all that California sunshine powers it to constantly do that waving motion you see on the good luck cats at Chinese restaurants."
  • Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson isn't much for figurines, he says, but he sent along this shot of his Sharknado 3 figure with no further description.
  • Health Reporter Beth Mole: "I don't like knick-knacks generally, but we do put out our cozy Christmas Death Star by the window, which was a miraculous sign to mark the birth of a new Star Wars movie."
  • Technology Editor Peter Bright has currently packed up all of his Dota 2 collectibles. Until they've been unpacked and more properly presented, here's an older image of his massive collection.

Listing image by Aurich Lawson

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