Hi everyone and welcome back for the unboxing of the July Arcade Block. We’re charging on into August now and this edition of the subscription mystery box turned up right when I was having a pretty awful week. It sure was nice to come home to a new box, with new stuff to dig through. Clutter stuff, useful stuff, wearible stuff. Y’know. Stuff. Having done my digging now, I must say that this month’s block is a very mixed bag (or box) for knick knacks and Useful Items, but that doesn’t mean those things aren’t cool, just that of course, not everyone can be pleased 100% of the time. Let’s take a look at what we got here, shall we?
This Month’s T-Shirt
Now of course as with all boxes from Nerd Block their side goal is to combat nakedness everywhere and spread nods to popular culture while they do it, and the Arcade Block is no exception. To do this they partnered up with ShirtPunch, a daily shirt site which has ben host to all manner of gaming, movie, TV show and well any kind of popular culture themed shirts, and for a couple of years now, that partnership has worked out rather well. No prizes for what kind of themed shirt goes into a gaming box. Sooooo. One cotton shirt? Check. Game franchise I care about? Check! Great quality print? Check. It’s by no means mind blowing, but the Smash Bros themed blue t-shirt, featuring big yellow lettering spelling SMASH with faint images of some of the characters in the letters is an attractive look. Now personally, artwork like this borders on the lazy because the character art on the shirt is literally taken from the official art for Smash 4, and if I were designing such a shirt, I’d draw all the characters myself instead of just lifting existing art and editing it. But that niggle aside, it’s still a very attractive shirt. Andy and I have yet to decide who gets this shirt this time around. Maybe we’ll… settle it in SMASH!! …Sorry.
This Month’s Loot
Ahh finally! Now I can open that big ominous iron door with all those eerie sounds behind it! Anyone who knows me or Andy are no doubt aware that we are pretty big fans of the Legend of Zelda series, that we’ve more or less built a shrine to the franchise on my desk. I should really get a decent photo of that at some point… So anyway, exclusive items like the Dungeon Boss Key are pretty awesome to discover. It’s a nickel and zinc keychain (lols, a key for a keychain, brilliant) by waxoffdesign made especially for the Arcade Block, and although it’s not official Zelda merch it’s OBVIOUSLY a boss key from the franchise, but whatever, this is the kind of exclusive stuff I like. It’s right up my alley for gaming merchandise especially for our personal collection; it’s instantly recognizable, it’s very well crafted and if it were not going onto that shrine it would definitely be the most boss keychain around (y’see what I did there?), making it a badass useful item too. Gotta love useful stuff. I can hear people asking about it now. “What’s that crazy key for?” “For the boss room, duh. I gotta find the hook shot first though.”
Moving on to the opposite of useful items though is the figurine included in the box. I know, I know, it’s probably another vinyl figure which I’m not at all excited for and really…. that’s true. From Funko’s Mystery Minis series is the Warcraft movie random vinyl figures, of which I got the… druid guy? He kinda looks like AlphaOmegaSin, you rocking gamer Youtuber, less angry at stuff and more… confused and just sorta accepting his fate that he’s made of plastic. All that aside, I haven’t touched a Warcraft since Warcraft 3 and if I wanted a figurine of any description, let alone from this movie/game series, I’d have to justify some of my already limited shelf space for it. While this is honestly a pretty cool little sculpt, I have no actual investment in the franchise, so I’m probably going to be giving it away, unless we can find something interesting for it to do.
Remember some time back when those yellow road signs appeared, sporting the warning “Blue Shell on Board”? Car decorations are pretty cool and that’s one which I still need to put into my car. And then see if the cops want to race (psst don’t race the cops, their red and blues aren’t as forgiving as shells.) So anyways, we’ve already got the yellow sign, headed for the back window. In comes the strawberry scented Toad air freshener for the front, probably around the rear view mirror and my vehicle may be taking on a distinctly Mario Kart feel to it (psst still don’t race the cops. Don’t race anyone). This is official Nintendo merch and is just the kind of thing I really like, rather than just take up space I can pick it up and immediately decide on a place or use for the object. And as Nerd Block themselves write on the feature card, “It’s about time Toad did something useful.” Spot on.
Now, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about the next item. I never played any of the Deus Ex games, although I have definitely wanted to. What we got here is an official autographed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided print of Adam Jensen from the series, signed by Elias Toufexis, Adam’s voice actor. And it comes with certificate of authenticity from Nerd Block stating that this is an authentic celebrity signature. All of that? Very cool, but without being more into the series and even the community and fanbase, it’s difficult for me to gauge how big a deal that is. It’s the sort of thing that, especially in a gaming themed mystery box aimed at appealing to a wide audience, is potentially going to be putting a scarce and special item into the hands of people whom just don’t care. So I’m probably going to gifting this one too, to someone who can actually appreciate it.
Back to awesome exclusive stuff that’s borderline useful. I say borderline, because with devices like this, there’s only so much quality to be expected. The Megaman Helmet Speaker comes in blue or red and is actually a really well-crafted little speaker, the plastic looks great, it’s a good size and shape, and I freakin’ love Megaman so that’s a plus. The cable for it is unfortunately kinda short though and it requires both the sound jack and the USB plug to be connected at the same time to work; on my tablet laptop, these two ports are on opposite sides of the machine and I had to split the cable quite far to hook it up. The speaker quality isn’t amazing, but it’s also not bad. It can definitely go louder than my tablet’s internal speakers, although not nearly as clear on sound. Considering that computer speakers, even the cheap and nasty ones are still not CHEAP, this helmet speaker does a fine enough job, especially when factored in with the total value of everything in the block this month.
Of course the new addition of the $10 Shirt Credit for Shirt Punch is going strong. Money off sweet shirts is always good!
As I said at the beginning, it’s a mixed box, and overall I’m still pretty happy with the things inside. I’m loving ongoing inclusions of Nintendo gear as well as Arcade Block branching out across other franchises (also I admit the Warcraft movie stuff is kinda toeing the line of relevancy) and I hope this trend continues into more titles like Monster Hunter or DOOM, or even Stardew Valley.
More variety can only be good, right?