Some recent weekend screengrabs of Sonic and Mario engaged in vice and loansharking supply fodder for the latest edition of Kotaku's 'Shop Contest.

Three weeks ago, reader Aaron S. sent us that picture of a pawn shop on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Sorry, Mario, but our hunting knife, stereo and moped are in another person's home!

Two days later, reader 2MON sent along this picture of Sonic hawking smokes on a Russian storefront. Not that anyone in Eastern Europe really needs the encouragement of a charming video game character to smoke, but it's an extra incentive for the kiddies.


Clearly, the Great Recession has meant belt-tightening and moonlighting for everyone, even superstar video game characters. That's where you come in. Just how hard are the hard times for game mascots? The signs are your canvas, and the sky is the limit.

Source Image: Mario Pawn Shop in Maryland.

Source Image: Sonic Cigarette Ad in Russia.

Use one, use both or, of course, use neither - if you think you have better source material, go for it. Our only rules, don't post anything more than 1200 pixels wide or 800 pixels tall. Again, violating that rule doesn't bring any sanction, it just decreases the likelihood you'll be selected. Although if it truly is awesome we'll make every effort.


The 20 best will get rounded up in a post next Saturday. 'Til then, I and the starred commenters will do our best to approve and promote legit entries as we see them.