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Saturday, May 21, 2016

#GeekFuel Review: May 2016

Geek Fuel's May release brings the geek, but still confuses.

Review by Matt Cummings

For the past few months, Geek Fuel has shown us something that we never thought would happen: improve the quality of its monthly items without raising the price. That represents a significant change in an industry where consistency has been a real problem. March and April showed us that change was coming, even if the boxes were such a mish-mash that theme could not be discerned. May does the same thing, continuing to expose GFs weak side of timing, but making a good case that they might have learned their lesson.

Before diving in, let's review the details:
  • The cost for a Month to Month is $17.90, $16.90/month for a 3-month subscription, $15.90/month for a 6-month tour and just $13.90/month for a one-year subscription.
  • Shipping $6.00 to the US, Canada, and at least a few other countries.

  • We use QUALITY and TIMING to base our reviews, so let's see how this box stands up. As always, we'll end our review with some additional thoughts after the unboxing:

    Winners
    There's a lot here to like. Those of you who love HBO's Game of Thrones will be impressed with the (somewhat scratchy) Westeros shirt and map, while those who play Uncharted are going to go ape shit over the ring and (to a lesser degree) the art cards. The ring is one of the most unique things GF has ever produced, from the decorated box to the highly detailed ring itself. But there's also the cool Deadpool gear and the now-monthly Steam game. By itself, the shirt is probably worth the cost. I will be checking out Thrones for the first time this summer, so perhaps my enthusiasm will grow as a result.

    Losers
    Why is there a Geek Fuel glass? Was this part of the reason why the box arrived late this month? We received word that the box would be shipped later than normal, and we have to think the sudden inclusion of a pint glass that doesn't connect to anything else here represents the problem child. And once again, we're stuck on theme. The great Uncharted stuff screams ADVENTURE, while Deadpool and Thrones suggest two other unconnected ones. Honestly, I have no idea what they were reaching for here. That doesn't bother me as much you might think, but it also points to a problem with GF's submissions. A lack of theme presents a marketing problem for them, and the sheer diversity of items could have been better timed. I get that Uncharted 4 is arriving soon, so why not base it around that? I'm also getting interested in Uncharted as a summer game series, but I just bought LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes still beckons. Maybe once the PS NEO arrives, we'll finally take a plunge into Nathan Drake's world.

    This box is definitely not a Hot Topic rip off, but in the short run there's little here I will be keeping. No need to clutter my display cases if what I'm getting doesn't register quite yet.

    A Shift is On
    May's Geek Fuel delivers a (mostly) terrific collection of geeky goodness. It appears that the company has learned its lesson about quality, giving us quite an impressive line of items. Timing is still a huge problem, reminding us that a buckshot approach to encourage the greatest amount of subscribers is bound to leave some pining for more. But make no mistake: there's a shift happening with sub boxes, as some (GF for sure and Loot Crate not so much) are upping their game, forced to accept that others (Star Wars, Marvel, DC) have exceptionally better boxes. I'm not sure we would have gotten this much quality from GF if the others weren't around, so mark that as a win for geeks. Yet, the repeating lack of theme suggests GF still has a ways to go. From a quality perspective, call this month a WIN, especially if you're a Deadpool/Thrones/Uncharted fan, but I'd like to see them tie their boxes to major film/television releases and other geek "calendar events." Making this happen should be a top priority for the company, even if geeks like me like the recent changes they've already made.

    Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below: MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS
    May
    June
    August
    October
    December

    LOOT CRATE REVIEWS
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    December

    GEEK FUEL REVIEWS
    September
    October
    November
    December
    January
    March
    April
    SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY
    May

    Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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