I get a lot of subscription boxes each month. Most are a mixed bag (or should I say “box?”)- some items are great, others are average. Some boxes hit it out of the ballpark. Others, like this month’s Geek Fuel box, don’t even get up to the plate.
June’s box is a mix of Pokemon items and Mario Brothers. On one side of the box you have items that peaked in the early 90s and on the other half of the box you have items that peaked in the late 90s, early 200s at best. I never kept up with card games like Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, or the numerous card games both inspired. At one point, both these card games were huge among a certain demographic. Like all fads both these games seemed to have leveled out years ago.
I did just a brief search of the internet. One article states Pokemon has sold 100 million copies over the past twenty years. I am assuming that’s a really good number for a trading card game. Another article says sales of the game are still holding strong (Granted that article is five years old) and yet another article says sales are good in Japan and China. I guess I had always assumed Pokemon was for kids.
So I did my own, brief and unscientific, research on Pokemon, I asked my 14-year old nephew and a group of his friends if they had ever played or heard of Pokemon. They had all heard of the game, but none had ever played the game. Not only had they not played the game, but none of them showed any interest in the game. It’s not surprising that a group of boys who have grown up with Playstation 3s and 4s and Xbox 360s and Ones never wanted to play a card game.
What about the video games? Negative on the video game front too. My nephew and his friends are typical teenagers. That’s not a criticism. It’s a fact. They like to play games like Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War, Call of Duty, and various sports titles. Maybe it’s the generation. Maybe they like more interactive games than a card game can provide. However, they all liked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles are featured prominently on the cover of the included booklet. Strangely, there’s no sign of the Heroes on a Half Shell in the box.
Unlike Pokemon, The Turtles haven’t really been out of the public eye since they originally hit the big screen in the early 90s. Their longevity has been in part due to the numerous cartoons and toys that have been on the market. The sequel to the 2014 movie may not be lighting up the box office, but it is a movie with product tie-in potential. Heck, some box subscriptions are still getting a lot of mileage out of the Deadpool movie. A movie out and no product tie-in makes it even odder that TMNT is absent from the box.
So what is in June’s box? First, there’s a small Yoshi stamp. I don’t know what you can do with a stamp except stamp things like paper. I also don’t know anyone over the age of six who still uses stamps except for middle age women who still do the scrapbooking thing. If folks still do the scrapbooking thing, which seems like another fad that has passed, they could include this little stamp in some sort fun way. Yeah, scrapbooking!
There are a couple of Pokemon temporary tattoos. Again, I don’t know anyone over the age of six who is even interested in temporary tattoos. A good friend of mine has a daughter. She was into temporary tattoos when she was kid. When she was sixteen she graduated to real tattoos. She’s a gamer/geek girl too. She loves Harry Potter. She stopped liking temporary tattoos.
I do have a six-year old niece. She likes stamps, but not temporary tattoos. I’ve seen her use other temporary tattoos on her arts and crafts projects like a stamp. These tattoos may make someone smile If you have a scrapbooker or a child in your family.
There’s a rather large Pokemon stress ball inside the box. I never understood how squeezing a ball could relieve stress, but there it is. I guess the theory is instead of hitting something or screaming you squeeze a ball. I don’t know if there have been studies published in a medical journals showing the medical benefits of using a stress ball. I do know that in all the weird and odd things to put in a subscription box a stress ball, a Pokemon stress ball, is perhaps the oddest. (It’s come to my attention that it’s not a Pokemon ball but a TMNT stress ball. It sure as heck looks like a Pokemon ball. So, we’ll add flawed design to the list of things wrong with this item.)
Probably the best item in the box is the flower pot shaped like the tunnel entrances from Mario Brothers. In the game, Venus flytraps come out of of the pipes to eat up poor Mario. If you timed it correctly, or killed the suckers, the flytraps weren’t a problem. It’s a cute little item and, depending on the species, looks like it could hold one or two flowers. But we all want a Venus flytrap. Right?
The Geek Fuel booklet has a coupon inside for free seeds. Why the seeds, any seeds, weren’t packed in with the pot? I don’t know. Maybe cost was a factor in the poor decision not to include seeds. The coupon has to be included with a S.A.S.E. If you don’t know what that means it’s short for “Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.” I thought those went the way of snail mail. However, I can’t imagine one of these Mario tunnels without a Venus flytrap.
I do like how most, if not all, of these subscription boxes include a t-shirt. June’s box includes a Pikachu t-shirt. It’s actually a pretty clever design. Featured on the shirt is a Pikachu wearing a baseball cap and it appears that it is throwing a ball. Why would a Pikachu be throwing a ball that Pickachues (or is it Pikachie? What is the plural of Pikachu? Maybe it’s a pluralization is like fish) live? The artist(?) combined the Big League Chew logo with Pikachu creating what could be the official gum of the Pokemon league. It’s a cute design. I’m not a Pokemon fan so I won’t be wearing it any time soon. It’s not on a black shirt which earns a lot of points with me.
The last item in the box definitely stands out from the rest and not because it’s spectacular. At the bottom of the box is the Sherlock Holmes comic book. A Sherlock Holmes comic book? I’m not really interested in comic books anymore. I usually open the comics books included in these boxes just to flip through it and glance at the art. The stories are typically for kids and the art all looks the same. I wouldn’t be able to tell one artist or writer from another if it weren’t for the credits.
So, typically I open these things. I’m going to leave the Sherlock comic in its bag. No, not because the value will drop because it’s out of the bag. I’m going to leave it in the bag because the cover and the certificate on the back have told me what I need to know.
The Sherlock comic is based on the episode “A Study in Pink.” I’ve seen the episode. I don’t know what a comic book can add or subtract from the episode. If they did either it wouldn’t be a “Study in Pink.” It’s a limited edition comic book created just for the Geek Fuel box. This may make it interesting for comic book collectors.
At first, I thought this was going to be a retro themed box. It made sense with the Pokemon/Turtle ball, the Mario items, and the Pikachu shirt. The Sherlock Holmes comic throws that theory out the window. I don’t know what Geek Fuel was aiming for this week so I can’t say if it hit the mark. June’s items are definitely geared towards a very specific audience. Unless you fall into that narrow audience I would suggest trying to get which items you like on eBay. Odds are it will be cheaper than buying the complete box.