I have fond childhood memories of riding my bike to the town toy store each week. I’d flip my kickstand, walk-in and for just a few dollars purchase an unassuming, stapled shut, paper bag full of mystery and crappy toys. Week after week my allowance went to my grab bag addiction. I was paying for the mystery, the thrill of not knowing what laid inside. It was glorious!
Today, that experience has taken the form of the subscription box phenomenon, a multi-million dollar industry of marketing genius. There are boxes out there for every taste and obsession. For me, geek boxes like Loot Crate and the upcoming Marvel Collectors Corps are most likely to earn my allowance.
As the subscription box trend continues its growth, another contender takes to our mailboxes in competition for our hard earned money and intrinsic desire for surprise. Its time to put Geek Fuel to the test for three months of unboxing to determine if this new subscription is worth its starting price of $13.90 plus $6 shipping per box.
In the box: The inaugural box included a handful of fun items from some of the most beloved geek franchises out there. Among the items included were a deck of Princess Bride playing cards from Albino Dragon, a Halo mini-figure blind-bag from Mega Bloks, a Star Wars Pez dispenser, limited edition Geek Fuel tee, issue #1 of Armor Hunters from Valiant Comics and a graphic poster of the Kitchen Overlords recipe for Eye Of Sauron.
Initial thoughts: Not a bad inaugural box, however, though the items represent some great franchises, the items themselves felt a bit generic and unexciting. The Geek Fuel branded tee is nice quality, but who really wants to pay for a shirt that is nothing more than a marketing tool for a new company?
Is it worth it? If you figure out the cost associated with each item, the contents of the box are worth somewhere around $37, with the comic costing $3.50, the Princess Bride cards costing a whopping (and not worth it) $14.99, the Halo blind-bag around $6, Pez dispenser around $3 and the t-shirt most likely worth about $10. When you break it all down by dollars and cents, that’s a good value. Without anything all that exciting in the box however, it felt like a waste to me. I guess it could be worse.
In the box: Geek Fuel’s second box included a bag of “50% more caffeinated” Atomic Coffee from Boca Java, a Terraria bookmark and game download, an Android (phone) vinyl mini figure, a small booklet sampling excerpts from Living Language’s “Learn to Speak Dothraki” book, a Hobbit themed holiday card, cosplay stickers by ENFU, a “NihonTown” art poster of Japanese and pop-culture references and a graphic t-shirt of Princess Leia in “Dia de los Muertos” style face paint.
Initial thoughts: This month’s t-shirt was pretty awesome, though; again, the rest of the box seemed to lack anything exciting. I can’t help but compare this to Loot Crate, which always seems to offer an exciting assortment of items month after month.
Is it worth it? The t-shirt itself feels worth the price of the box, but the rest of the items, except for the coffee, which retails for about $7, feel promotional at best and of little value.
In the box: Geek Fuel kicked off 2015 in a big way with a box that included a Dr. Who Dalek monitor-mate figure from Bif Bang Pow!, a tin of mints shaped like Link’s shield, an Iron Man/Ant Man mash up magnet, a Full Mojo Rampage sticker and game download, a Star Trek desk coaster and an awesome history of time travel t-shirt featuring time travel machines from H.G. Wells, Dr. Who, Back to the Future, Terminator, Bill & Ted and Hot Tub Time Machine.
Initial thoughts: It looks like Geek Fuel may have found its stride with a box featuring more than a few items that had me genuinely excited.
Is it worth it? Yes! More than the previous two months, the January box features items that feel worth the subscription price. The shirt, Dalek and game download alone are worth at least $38, so you certainly get your moneys worth.
Hopefully Geek Fuel will continue to grow and offer increasingly unique and fun items. They have a lot of growing competition, but the inclusion of a t-shirt each month at least gives them an identity in the subscription box market. At the end of the day Geek Fuel has started to grow on me, but for my hard earned dollars, I’m more likely to stick with the consistency of Loot Crate or the exclusivity of the forthcoming Collectors Corps box from Marvel.