Subscription blocks are becoming increasingly popular and the video game world is no exception to this trend. When it comes to nerdy subscription blocks, the most popular are Loot Crate and Arcade Block. Loot Crate markets itself as a “geek & gamer monthly subscription box” and Arcade Block, a subsidy of nerd block, is known as “the video game mystery box.” I subscribed to Arcade Block because it was more specifically gamer related than Loot Crate and at $19.99 a month—with a t-shirt included in each box—it seemed to pay for itself. Unfortunately, since the block is shipped from Canada, a 3-month subscription costs $82. Keep in mind this is based on where in the US it gets delivered (in my case, Chicago). Still, fiscally the box is “worth it.” But is the content?
The content of Arcade Block is varied: ranging from retro to modern. However, with such a large breadth of products each block is heavily hit or miss. The more diverse and up-to-date your gaming aesthetic is, the more likely you are to enjoy Arcade Block. Personally, being a Nintendo fan, a 7th generation Sony fan, and a late-to-the game Xbox One owner, many blocks fell flat for me. But I still received a lot of items that did click for me: Master Cork (a Zelda master sword wine cork), a Portal Placard, a Yoshi t-shirt, a Mortal Kombat bobble head, and the list goes on. The exclusivity of the items only add to the value. As someone who constantly wants more video game geekery and nerdy t-shirts, it was nice to get a monthly supply.
While the surprise of Arcade Block is a big part of the fun, it can also lead to a lot of disappointment. Sure I can sleep in my Call of Duty Black Ops shirt and I can easily regift the Fallout items, but there’s not much excitement involved. And for every few items I nerd-out about, there’s an item that I look at and ask “uhhhh what is this from?” (see: the Galak-Z The Dimensional record). And yes, some of you may be reading this and rolling your eyes at my video game gaps—but that’s part of the community.
We haven’t always played the soon-to-be canonical games and we don’t always know a series enough to wear a T-shirt. But we are gamers nonetheless.
For financial reasons, I have canceled my subscription to Arcade Block. But I’ll definitely miss it because—no matter what kind of gamer you are—the items you get excited about always feel like striking gold.
If you have the money to spare—go for it, you’ll enjoy the monthly mystery.
If you have a diverse and vast range of gaming interests—go for it, you’ll find a lot of items you like.
If not, you’d be better off putting aside some money and shopping yourself. The surprise is gone but the items will be right each time.