There's loads of reasons why we love writing about video games. More often than not they're great fun, and it actually pays the bills, too. But one of the best things about it is mountains of cool stuff we get sent by games publishers publicising their new titles. Whenever large packages arrive at HQ they always bring the office to a complete standstill. As copies of Gears of War 2, Fallout 3 and Killzone 2 are tossed aside, fights break out over who gets what in the swag stakes. Whether it's a cool t-shirt or something far more unique, arguments are put forward as to why certain people should get certain items, before Tom pulls rank, takes the good stuff, and, with a maniacal laugh dishes out the 'with compliments' slip as a consolation prize. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to round up the best promotional swag the games industry has found it in its heart to send over our way in 2008. Here's to swag, and better swag in 2009.

Rabbids on the loose


Of all the shirts we've received this year, this Rabbids t-shirt from Ubisoft has to be the cutest, and perhaps the one we'd be most willing to wear in public if for some reason our wardrobe of high fashion items ran dry. We're not fashion experts, but the artwork here is excellent and sure to turn a few heads, and not just of our fellow gaming geek mates. Just in case we hadn't seen enough of the Rabbids, Ubisoft also sent over some little figurines - now adorning various desks inside HQ.

The sins of Saints Row 2


We probably should have expected it, what with the press event for THQ's open-city mischief maker taking place partly in a strip club, but the sheer amount of Saints Row 2-related swag still took us by surprise when it arrived in force as the game's release date approached. The condom is the most unexpected piece of swag we received all year, but it was joined by all manner of other items, including a hoodie, vest, bullet casing shot glasses, shot dispensing gun and playing cards. Well played THQ, although we're not sure if any of it tops the brilliantly uncontrollable remote control Saints Row helicopter from December 07.

SEGA brings back the cool


There was a buzz around August Games Convention 2008, not because of the brilliant games, but because of the swag SEGA was handing out at its press booth. The publisher is known for its SEGA manbags, adorned by the coolest of cool videogame journos, but it was the House of the Dead Overkill t-shirt that was making waves. Presented inside an 80's VHS case, and in the shape of a letter, the t-shirt folded out when inserted into water, turning into the wondrous vision you can see above.

If we had kids they'd be taking this to school


We knew the Fallout 3 lunch box tin was available in shops, but when the promo box arrived in the office there was still a small fight over who got what. In the end Neon claimed most of it, although the rather large t-shirt was too big for our athletic frames (it fit me perfectly, skinny losers! - Wes). What you can't see here is the display of awesomeness that is Neon's desk, complete with keychain and bobblehead figure.

Sony: King of promo items


Many publishers send over review copies complete with some general info about the game, but Sony regularly goes one step further. Seen below is the brilliant Resistance 2 review kit, designed to look like a war-savaged item from the era. What you can't see here is the review disk made to look like vinyl and the assortment of propaganda leaflets. As well as Resistance 2, Sony delivered the goods with a Kratos toy, diorama for God of War: Chains of Olympus, festival pack inside a tyre envelope for MotorStorm Pacific Rift and stylish metallic case and credit card sized memory stick for WipEout HD. Quality stuff Sony. Quality stuff.