Gamers wear T-shirts for the same reasons that everyone else does: to mark our cultural territory, inform the world at large that we are pro World of Warcraft. But the label “gamer” still has that pejorative tang to it when it comes to the public at large, so when we go out there in public and represent we want to put our best foot forward.
First off, you want to avoid apparel that is really hideous. Look at fox hunting. That shit was pretty brutal, but a lot of sharp-looking clothes were involved, so the public let it slide. A lot of gaming t-shirt designers like to take a literal approach by just slapping the game's box art on a black shirt. (Seriously: Why so much black?) I prefer stuff that has some interesting design to it. You gotta nerd out proper.
Second, I try to keep the games message a little subtle. Hey, I love fragging noobs as much as the next man. You, me, everybody. We all do. But ask yourself: is this an element of your character you want to foreground? Tell the truth about your love of games, but tell it slant. When you run into people who get the whole context they will appreciate being in on it. I saw a dude wearing a University of Catan T-shirt while jogging yesterday and I gave him the thumbs-up. That thumbs up says it all: “pretty sweet.” That's what it's all about.
And make sure your collar's not too stretched out.
Okay, so this one breaks the rule, because everyone knows about Mario. But it also contains a Rene Magritte joke in the original French, and that screams class.
This one might lead to some misunderstandings, maybe even a few brushes with the law. (I was totally safe in Arizona until '06!) But since Settlers of Catan is on live arcade it will net you some recognition from both the video- and board-game crowd.
I think Penny Arcade makes some great shirts (they relish the in-jokes and also the creative visual style) and I love that they make Guitar Hero look suitably iconic on this shirt. Also, the guitar is on fire! On BLUE FIRE!
The company that makes these shirts also makes really good Mac software. Apparently t-shirts are a sideline for them. I really love Katamari and the ladies say powder blue brings out my eyes.
I have nothing but love for Shadow of the Colossus and I found this one Canadian guy on a blog who makes his own Colossus designs. The desert-like color scheme and the horseman silhouette create a more traditionally “manly,” wild west aesthetic than your average gamer shirt, if you can look past the ginormous stone-monster.