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Fans of 'Stranger Things' Are Blanketing the Web With Digital Kitsch

The popular show has inspired fans to create and share everything from point-and-click adventure games to DIY Halloween costumes.

by Kayla Matthews
Oct 31 2016, 5:00pm

Image: Netflix

Netflix's original content has impressed viewers of just about every genre, and nothing could be more indicative of that success in recent months than the company's abruptly cult classic series, Stranger Things

The series, practically made for viewing on Halloween (Netflix pinpoints 7:29pm as peak trick or treating time, citing data on when viewers most frequently hit pause on their remotes), has a stellar script, storyline, soundtrack, cast and nostalgic plugs, all of which contributed to its immediate success.

Netflix recently confirmed that a second season of Stranger Things will be released sometime in 2017 (presumably toward the end of the year). However, fans of the show can't imagine waiting so long to reunite with Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will. Who knows—maybe Eleven will even somehow show up again?

In the meantime, Stranger fans are keeping the spirit of the show alive with a swath of fan-made games, websites, t-shirts and even toys, with more fan-made pieces coming out regularly.

One popular example, Make It Stranger, is a type generator that allows you to "strangify" any words you choose into the show title's unique font.

Another, Infamous Quests' Stranger Things, is a point-and-click, one-room adventure game created as a labor of love tribute to the series. The game was built by Steven Alexander, James Mulvale, and Jon Taylor-Stoll.

Information Quests' Stranger Things. Image: Information Quests.

"I'd heard about [Stranger Things] pretty early on from one of my team members," said Alexander, who is the co-founder and CEO of Infamous Quests and the designer behind the company's Stranger Things game. Alexander and his wife planned to go to bed early one night after putting their infant son to sleep but, like so many other fans, ended up binge-watching several Stranger Things episodes back-to-back.

"We HAD to stop after three episodes, because we knew we'd be up early with the baby, but I thought about it all night anyway," Alexander said. "I thought about how much fun it would be to play an adventure game in the world of the show and my mind concocted up a few things then and there."

Over the next three weeks, Alexander, Mulvale and Taylor-Stoll exchanged ideas and brought their one-room universe to life, but Alexander says they'd love to work on a full-length Stranger Things game.

Information Quests' Stranger Things. Image: Information Quests.

"I had it worked out that if it became a full game, you'd be able to play as Chief Hopper, Mike Wheeler and Nancy Wheeler at different parts of the game. I wrote up a preliminary design document for all of that."

Opting to narrow the release down to a single room, though, hasn't disappointed. Alexander says Stranger Things fans have been "really receptive" to the game.

Maybe that warm welcome will encourage Netflix to seriously consider the gaming options for the show moving forward.

Stranger Play is another eighties-style game, but you play this one in a browser using the arrow keys on your keyboard. This Pac-Man-style game was created by Danielle Gasbarro and Claire Barnette.

Stranger Play. Image:

"After watching the show, and seeing how quickly it blew up, we knew we wanted to try and make something cool as fans," said Barnette. "We felt like the twisted plot and the 80's visual style of the show really lent itself to becoming a fun, retro online game.

"We started thinking, and had the idea for a Stranger-Things-themed, 80's-style, Pac-Man game. It really just seemed like such a fun, natural fit that we had to do it."

One month later, Gasbarro and Barnette's vision became the reality you can play today.

Other examples abound. With the "Stranger Things" synth machine you can customize your version of the theme song with Robert Vinlaun's ramsophone. Stranger Gif is a light bulb message maker where you create your own blinking messages with up to 20 characters. Wish a friend luck or tell someone you love them. Learn the lyrics to the theme song, as taught officially by the kids of the show. And of course there's a subreddit, which showcases everything from fan art to video essays on 80s pop culture to tattoos that people have gotten that are inspired by the series.

What if Stranger Things was an eighties sitcom? One fan reimagines what that'd be like in this pretend trailer for Stranger Things, the sitcom.

One fan, with the handle @Kibooki on social media, created vinyl toys mockups showing what each of the kids would look like if they were a Funko vinyl toy.

Fans have got you covered for cosplay and Halloween with this DIY costume design for Mike and Eleven. Don't forget to add the Peter Pan collar to Eleven's pink dress!

This eighties-style fan-made Stranger Things poster, designed by Fro Design Co. in the style of eighties films by Stephen King and Steven Spielberg, is incredible. There are 150 posters available as a giclée print on archival paper, sized 18 inches by 24 inches, signed and numbered.

Certain fans stepped up to honor the character Barb when she didn't appear on commercial or fan-made merchandize. Probably the most epic of Barb creations is BARBie. The doll was made by @adollworldafterall on Instagram. BARBie in her mom jeans and chic ruffle top is everything, complete with big glasses and a load of books.

The wait for the second season of Stranger Things will be a difficult road ahead for die-hard fans, but these tributes to the show (along with the new additions bound to surface in the coming months) should tide them over until then.