Forget tempered glass and RGB, witness the fruits of a cross-country effort to save a 20-year-old Teddy bear PC

A retro PC encased in a jumbo Teddy Bear on a desk next to a CRT monitor outputting artwork of a bear in the wild and an IBM model M keyboard with some green highlight keys.
(Image credit: LGR)

We at PC Gamer have developed a fondness for bears rendered by our computers, be they a party of bears in Pillars of Eternity or the results of putting all your skill points into "bear" in Diablo 4, but what if the computer itself was the bear? Prolific retro hardware YouTuber LGR engaged in a cross country effort to secure just that: a turn of the millennium desktop encased in a giant Ikea Teddy bear.

LGR was alerted by his followers to an LA Craigslist post for the ursine contraption, put up for sale by its creator, Case modder and computing enthusiast Peter Isaacson. Isaacson created the "Bear-a-Byte" for his wife, documented on his personal website via the Wayback Machine. Isaacson hollowed out a now-discontinued "Varlig" Ikea jumbo stuffed bear just enough so it could encase an old PC tower, then coated the front plate with some of the leftover fur just for good measure.

LGR viewer Charles Lai stepped up to make the pickup and ship the Bear-a-Byte to the YouTuber, and thus history was made and the cyborg bear preserved. In the rest of the video, LGR goes about taking the mechanized apex predator apart, giving his innards and coat a much needed clean while also replacing problem components like his mismatched floppy drive and borked power supply.

Curiously, some mishap or the sheer weight of the Varlig-brand jumbo bear pressing down over the years seems to have warped the case slightly, but if he's made it 20+ years already, he should be fine for a few more at least. LGR opted to install the slightly cursed Windows Millennium Edition OS to jive with the charmingly cursed nature of the Bear-a-Byte, and by the end of the video the system is even up and running appropriately ursine games like Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise and Mechwarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy. The Bear-a-Byte still needs a new sound card to fix his crackling audio, however, and Unreal Tournament proved too much for the system's 500 MHz Pentium 3.

The Bear-a-Byte, ultimately, is shaped like a friend, and it warmed my heart to see his new lease on life. Shortly after Bear-a-Byte's original construction, the Varlig line of big boy bears seems to have been discontinued, leaving LGR's Bear-a-Byte the only known example of such a rig. Though, an intrepid modern case modder could theoretically do the same with Ikea's DJUNKELSKOG-brand jumbo bear, the T-1000 to Varlig's T-800 Terminator.

As a final happy note, Isaacson himself is an LGR viewer, and popped into the comments to express his approval: "I'm so insanely chuffed that of all the people who could give this thing a loving home, it turns out to be LGR! Yay!"

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.