Thanks to Ars Technica’s unique staffing scheme, we don’t often see how our colleagues organize their home office. There’s also the matter of being a bunch of overgrown kids who keep and proudly display all kinds of toys, action figures, dolls, and other nerdy decorations in our home offices.
That’s why this latest edition of our ongoing series ‘How Ars Works’ focuses specifically on the toys and characters that watch over our desks, chairs, coffee mugs and other office accessories.
Tech Culture Editor Sam Machkovech presents his “forever alone” shelf. More details in the following images, but for now: That 8-bit Starry Night print came from the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. And “Bedmaster” is arguably the rarest board game Sam owns. It’s a swingers board game from the 1970s. (Sam 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 includes the simplest, dullest 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 the Japanese Club Nintendo series.
The card stock on Nintendo’s hanafuda cards is pretty fantastic. Here’s a look at a Marioized version of a classic Nintendo hanafuda card.
A closer look at the Pac-Man puzzle that came in the Milton Bradley Pac-Man board game from the 1980s. Strange to watch the anthropomorphic Pac eat a ghost like a snake whole.
And a tighter zoom on that relatively rare Spelunky Joe figurine. Many, many years ago, Sam queued at Spelunky’s PAX booth to claim this from series creator Derek Yu before the game became a speedrunning sensation.
Sam has for some reason decided to start collecting Japanese N64 boxes. He says it’s because the box designs are cooler than the western ones.
Sam’s toy shelf protectors.
Amiibo, some figurines to mimic the original
Mario Bros. arcade cabinet art, Nintendo “Classic” consoles in mint condition and a whole host of Nicktoon-affiliated figurines.
A Kerbal Space Program mini, flanked by some friends.
Not exactly a toy, but Sam keeps these perler pearl coasters on his living room table. Handmade by an attentive ex.
A few Ars staffers have emerged as toy collectors, so those folks (Sam Machkovech, Aurich Lawson, and Jonathan Gitlin) have distributed their collections as separate galleries.
Creative director Aurich Lawson has shared images of his incredible Star Wars toy collection in the past; these are his latest pickups, which have not yet been examined by Ars.
Samurai variants. Don’t ask questions. Just look in awe.
Not pictured here: A bunch of shattered and shattered toy mainframes.
Blissfully in tow, of course.
Hi, auto section editor Jonathan Gitlin here. I admit it, I’m a man-child, and my workspace reflects that. In the background are three 400% Bearbricks (LR: Futura, Dave Flores, Unkle). In the foreground the Gorillaz. The metal object between the creepy leather bear and Murdoc is a fusee that broke in a race car, costing us the chance to win.
A classic, Bill McMullin’s Shuttlemax.
This is all just waiting to be put back together after our move earlier this year.
And this one. Technically, the Saturn V belongs to my wife.
Zapp Brannigan, Zombie Lisa, Homer the surf bum, Bender and Fry. And an errant Mk 7 Space Marine. The metal gear in the foreground used to be the first gear for a Honda F1 car.
Some Kubricks organize an impromptu dance-off for an audience.
Colleague Arsian Dave Chen printed this one out for me a few years ago.
Okay, he usually doesn’t live here, right in front of my monitor.
The rest of our slightly more understated staff collections can be seen in this final gallery below.
Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland: “This shelf has too much stuff to list individually, 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 get a WarioWare Twisted store see display that actually moves when the solar battery is working.”
Orland: “This photo features my very first video game collectible, a plastic Super Mario Bros. trophy in boxes from a Toys R us sale from the late 1980s, and my latest mini arcade cabinets that are fully functional.”
Orland: “Random knick knacks on top of my retro gaming CRT, including a Super Mario Bros. Famicom box I bought during my Tokyo Game Show trip.”
Editor-in-Chief Eric Bangeman: “A mix of geek stuff and souvenirs. Middle shelf from left to right: pass from tour of London’s Twickenham Stadium in 2016, a few frogs, Pillars of Kings book stands from
LOTR, a sample 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. ”
Bangeman: “I’m also an architecture geek. This is a reproduction of the Mercury on the walls of what is now a ballroom in the last remaining hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright, The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa. It’s a visit worth it if you’re ever in north central Iowa.”
Bangeman: “The rest of my collection of outdated Apple hardware: a G4 Cube, graphite iBook SE and an eMate. Plus Gumby and Pokey, with a Pac-Man plush from Level 257. Top left is some rugby stuff from the USA – Australia game at Soldier Field in 2015. And on the right is my aging Apple hardware: a 4K Apple TV on top of a Directv Genie, going to the 43-inch 4K TV I mounted on the wall of my desk .”
Senior Reviews Editor Samuel Axon: “We’re big Blizzard fans in our house, so we set up two TVs to play Overwatch together on two PS4s. It all started with
World of Warcraftso we have themed parts of our kitchen on Wow. Ragnaros, the fiery boss of early Wowwatches over our stove and basically says, ‘By fire, cook!'”
Axon: “We also have this more obscure
Wow toys on the entrance table to the kitchen. It’s based on the in-game pet Cinder Kitten WoW, and in this case all that California sunshine makes it constantly make that waving motion you see on the lucky cats in Chinese restaurants.
Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson doesn’t like figurines much, he says, but he sent this photo of his Sharknado 3 figure with no further description.
Health Reporter Beth Mole: “I generally don’t like knick-knacks, but we put our cozy Christmas Death Star by the window, which was a wonderful sign to mark the birth of a new Star Wars movie.”
Technology editor Peter Bright has all his stuff packed right now
dota 2 collectibles. Until they are unpacked and better presented, here is an older image of his huge collection.
List image by Aurich Lawson