Friday, February 6, 2015

Arcade Block Review: January 2015

Theoretically, Arcade Block should be the perfect subscription box for me. My husband and I are both hardcore gamers and between the two of us, we play a really wide range of games. However, this is the second month we've received Arcade Block and this month is even more disappointing than last (which was one of the biggest disappointments as a whole, but we gave it the benefit of the doubt).

My biggest problem with Arcade Block, besides the fact that I think the value is pretty weak, is that the people putting it together appear to subscribe to the mentality that video games are for kids. That's pretty ignorant, and honestly, it's a stupid philosophy that is insulting to gamers. There has been so much progress in gaming in the last decade, but looking over Arcade Block, you would think we were back in the days of NES with cartoon games for children. With such a rich gaming culture to pull from, including an incredibly diverse and comprehensive indie game culture that could be tapped into for this subscription, this is basically product marketing. Something really amazing has to happen next month or I am definitely canceling this subscription.

So the first items in this box were stickers and buttons. I'm not as irritated about these items being in boxes as many subscribers are (some see them as filler, but I look at them as bonus items). The protagonist stickers are pretty cute and I love that they included Bioshock and Fallout. However, these are the only items in the box featuring games not for kids (well, except the Halo item, but you'll see the issue there). I can appreciate that families with children are also gamers, but maybe Arcade Block needs to have two options for subscribers - the family game pack and the M-rated or something. Because I don't have my Wii hooked up for a reason. I'm not interested in happy, bubbly gaming; I'm a grown adult and I want to see my favorite games represented.

We also received a Plants vs. Zombies graphic novel, which isn't that exciting but I like graphic novels and I'll read it. I suppose this represents a good value, but again, it's very kid-friendly. Then there was a selection of Sega Genesis buttons, which are also fine, but not really something I want to pay $30 for each month.

My husband will make use of the Tetris notebook and it's a cute addition to the box. It's the kind of item that I expected to see in this subscription as an add-on, and I can't complain about it since it's useful and gaming-related. However, this and the shirt are the only items I am not either lukewarm or irritated about.

Now the Halo item is a Mega Blocks kit. There are a lot of people out there who probably feel like gamers need to grow up and be adults, which is pretty darn degrading. While I'm sure there are gamers who would enjoy building a ship from blocks, there's a big issue here in that the blocks are for kids and the game is not. You can't really build this with your children if you don't want them exposed to violent video games. I suppose this is personal, but this was hyped up and I'm not thrilled about it. For two months, I've heard rumors about awesome Halo items and I got a Mega Blocks kit and a lanyard. :/ Again, this is kind of the battle with subscription boxes, but I'm extra cranky because Arcade Block should be loaded with awesome things geared towards me and I feel like I'm being treated like a child for having a hobby I'm passionate about. A hobby that is by no means a small industry.

Anyway, I did really like this month's shirt, which is a Donkey Kong shirt and is finally something a bit more adult. I think Arcade Block needs to either a) acknowledge that gaming is something lots of adults do and gear its boxes not only to children or b) charge less for these boxes and roll them in with their junior boxes. It's just doubly insulting to adult gamers to take our money and then treat us like kids, demeaning the entire gaming industry as child's play.

Note: I had written this review and contacted Arcade Block several times, via Twitter, email, Instagram, and other social media before posting it, because I wanted to get their side on things first. It took them five days to reply to a four sentence email. Their reply did not even address anything in the four sentences, clearly had not actually been read, and used the wrong name when addressing me. I strongly recommend choosing another geeky subscription, although I still have a few months with the four blocks I still get from this company. I will still review the blocks fairly and honestly, and maybe something will change. However, their excuse is simply "it's what people want." Apparently they haven't read the reddit on what their customers ACTUALLY want.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I have to agree with the MegaBlock Halo set. Honestly as a mom of boys who generally like building youngest likes Megablocks, my middle likes Legos neither are old enough to be exposed to Halo. Hopefully at some point Arcade Block will start to listen to their customers and stop insulting them.