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Farewell Majesco, makers of the greatest piece of E3 swag

It’s definitely not over the $50 threshold

Owen Good/Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

I'm sad to hear the Majesco name is no more and the company, which dates to 1986, has been bought up and will leave the video games business altogether. They gave me the greatest and most useful piece of video game swag I've ever received.

For everyone waiting to pounce on ethics, let me clarify this fits an originalist interpretation of SWAG — (S)hit (W)e (A)ll (G)et. It was an oven mitt for Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic, handed out to anyone who came up to hug a mute, foam-headed Cooking Mama mascot at E3 2011, whom I found patrolling the food court outside the show floor. Theoretically, someone without an E3 badge could have walked into West Hall and gotten this thing.

I still have it. In fact, I used it to take a spiral sliced ham out of the oven today at noon (pictured above. Also: mmm, spiral sliced ham.)

For a long time swag has been the dirty secret of the specialty press, whether covering games or any other subject. But I feel that swag’s insinuation and its use is sharply declining. The unsolicited deliveries of special editions, maquettes, t-shirts and other dreck (Brian Crecente once got brass knuckles, in violation of state laws) has slowed to a trickle. For me at least, but I work remotely.

Publishers have understood, increasingly, they can communicate with large numbers of people through several channels that bypass the formal press — a livestream, a Facebook page, etc. There's no need to spend money on things like a quarterback's play-calling wristband (For Madden NFL 13, second-most functional thing I've received) if a formal industry press is decreasingly relevant to your promotion activities.

I don't say that as a lamentation. Unsolicited swag over the $50 limit, no matter how casually sent or well intentioned it was, is a headache to deal with as a remote employee, because it meant running a giveaway or shipping it to the home office to tell them to deal with it. At E3 2010, Klei insisted that I take home a Shank figurine, so I had to gin up a way to get rid of it, paying the shipping myself.

But hell yes I kept that damn oven mitt. It is probably the most perfect piece of gaming swag ever made. It fits the product's theme and it's eternally useful. You'll keep it forever and think about the game every time. Really, when is the last time you threw out an oven mitt? My Dad still has the potholder that he'd use when making turkey croquettes for me and my brother before he watched The White Shadow at 8 p.m. on channel 2.

So, farewell, Majesco. I sorrowfully wave goodbye with my mittened hand. I don’t know how many pizzas or ... OK, about the only thing I cook in the oven is a pizza. But you delivered so much yummy food — real food — to my table.