The Crate Chronicles Return: Let’s look at a three-year-old Loot Crate.

About three years ago, I had won a free year of Loot Crate through reasons I don’t really remember these days. For the first couple of months, I started writing about them as part of “The Crate Chronicles,” documenting these goofy little things. They stopped in early 2016 because I lost interest. Among other things.

The biggest problem I had – and this is not the fault of Loot Crate – is that these were often for things I had no interest in. The Avengers. Star Wars. The Walking Dead. All those TV shows and movies that are “the in-thing” at the moment. I’m so out of touch when it comes to that stuff that I can’t even feign interest. When it had something video game related, however, I was a bit more hyped.

I ended up getting the full year and let it lapse, because the monthly costs for junk I don’t really need wasn’t worth it, for the reasons mentioned above. By then, I think they expanded to other crate types, including one that was specifically about video games. But again, cost. On the bright side, at least I didn’t get a loot crate with an inflatable crown in it.

(Kanye West’s “POWER” starts blaring in the background)

All the Loot Crates eventually got stored away, along with a bunch of other things. But one thing made the rounds on social media lately that made me think “Hey, wait, didn’t I get that item in a Loot Crate once?” And sure enough, I did. We’re gonna talk about it, as well as the other things in there. Strap in, as I cover May 2016’s Loot Crate. Three years (and a month) to the day.

Hulk SMASH… this thing, whatever it is

The Incredible Hulk Qfig

Oh hey, a figurine based on that big green dude who punches things. Made to advertise Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s a nice, stylized figurine of The Incredible Hulk doing his patented Hulk Smash on some poor building. The style is a bit more cartoonish than the film it’s based on, which is a good choice.

I don’t have much else to say about this one. It’s a neat figurine, but I have no space in my house for something like this. At least it’s not a Funko Pop.

I wonder why hes wrapped around that thing…

Dragon Ball Z Shenron plush keychain

You can add Dragon Ball Z to the list of “things I haven’t watched.” Well, maybe I watched it when I was a teenager on Toonami or something, my memory’s foggy on that front. Was that the version that had the “Rock the Dragon” theme song? I forget.

Anyway, it’s Shenron, that dragon dude wrapped around a dragon ball. Like in the intro and a handful of episodes. It’s nice and squishy. It even has a hook to place on your bag or on an actual keychain. It looks pretty neat, and I’m not even a fan of the series.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should’ve listened to All Systems Goku. That could’ve gotten me interested in this silly Dragon Ball stuff. It’s certainly better than what I watch these days.

For the low, low price of $5, I’ll wear only this shirt while holding a battle axe.
(I will not actually do this.)

Warcraft T-shirt

Every month came with a t-shirt. This one was based on Warcraft. Considering the theme of the month’s crate, Power, it makes sense. Until I realized this was made for the Warcraft movie.

Remember the Warcraft movie? I certainly don’t. All I remember is it being pretty much mocked for having computer-generated orcs and making a derivative series look even more derivative. It likely got tossed into the same league as films like Silent Hill where it was a decent adaptation, and not much else. It’s likely not Mortal Kombat: Annihilation bad or any Uwe Boll production bad.

It also seemed like bad timing: The franchise hadn’t been relevant for years – and I don’t count World of Warcraft in this because that too hasn’t been relevant in a long time – and just felt like it was too little, too late. Much like how Hollywood is trying to make a movie based on Sonic the Hedgehog that’s coming out in 2020 and already looks bad by the first trailer.

I’m just saying video game movies are just going to be bad no matter what, with the exception of a few so-bad-it’s-good films like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Bros. So temper expectations a little, folks.

Surprisingly, the shirt still fits me, for a Large. Then again, I figure they have to accommodate for a large swath of people of varying shirt sizes, so that helps it fits and is not too tight on me now. Sadly, I did not bother to model myself in the shirt this time.

Too bad the infinity gems don’t protect him from something as simple as a hot oven…

Thanos Oven Mitt

Now we come to this. This is the thing people were talking about. The inspiration for why I wrote this post. A three year anniversary to one of the biggest blunders Loot Crate ever did.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t care for The Avengers. To date, as I write this, I have not seen a single movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With there being so many movies at this point, I don’t think I could catch up and not get fatigued by the end of it. Maybe one day I’ll sit down and watch Iron Man or Captain America: The First Avenger, but I don’t think I’m gonna chase the MCU gravy train any time soon.

So why was this particular item infamous? Well, apparently the company who made the oven mitts did not accommodate for extreme heat. Not long after it came out, there were reports of the glove melting, causing potential burns and damage to any person who actually used the thing for its intended purpose. Loot Crate would later apologize for the egregious mistake, offering to refund the item or swap it out for a different item.

Meanwhile, mine’s never been opened. I own an item that became infamous on the internet for not doing the thing it’s meant to do: Protect your hands when grabbing hot things out of an oven. It’s probably not a rare valuable item I can get beaucoup bucks on eBay, but it’s a nice trinket of the past.

Thanos became a meme last year thanks to a spoiler in Avengers: Infinity War – at the time the most recent film – but I wouldn’t recommend trying to do that Thanos thing with these. Though, it’d be pretty hard to do with an oven mitt in the first place.

Probably the least terrible thing Randy Pitchford’s had a hand in lately…

Battleborn Pin

Oh right, there was also a monthly pin along with the shirt and random goodies. And boy, is this gonna be an interesting one.

When I looked up what was in this Loot Crate for May 2016, I figured the Thanos oven mitt would be the only interesting thing to talk about here. Nope, we get to talk about a video game, and one of the most infamous.

Battleborn was a first-person action game that had MOBA-like elements. Developed by Gearbox Software, it was the first new franchise the studio had done since 2009’s Borderlands. It even has a quirky comedy style similar to Borderlands, and Ashly Burch doesn’t voice some obnoxious kid this time!

The game was a colossal failure on many fronts, but the biggest thing that killed it was another first-person action game that had classes in it also coming out that year: Overwatch.

While Overwatch and Battleborn are basically apples and oranges, it was pretty clear Blizzard wanted to stop Battleborn dead in its tracks. At one point, Blizzard released a beta of Overwatch when Battleborn was just about to come out, killing any potential Battleborn hype. It didn’t help that after its release, Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford kept getting defensive over the game, saying it’s an unappreciated gem. He even mentioned there was a subreddit dedicated to porn of the Battleborn characters that supposedly was something he made himself for publicity. The game was a hot mess, basically.

At least the game looked alright for its time.

I bought the game for $15 on a Humble Bundle alongside a few other 2K Games. I always come into games with low to moderate expectations to avoid being disappointed, but I was actually surprised with Battleborn at the time. The art style was quirky, the gameplay was fairly varied, and it was clear the guys at Gearbox put a lot of heart and soul into this game in spite of its founds constantly putting his foot in his mouth,

So I was surprised when it was Battleborn that got the Loot Pin for that month, based on one of the robots you had to protect to complete objectives. I think it unlocked some fancy skin for use in the game, but code redemption for Loot Crate never worked for me, possibly because of it being a free year subscription rather than a paid one. I don’t think I’m losing out, since it would be bonus content for what is basically a dead game these days, but it still stings just a little.

Come to think of it, I never did finish Battleborn’s campaign. I should see if any of my friends are interested in giving the game a go one last time.

There you have it, May 2016’s Loot Crate. It had some cool things as well as some infamous ones, and it’s honestly the most interesting one out of all the Loot Crates I got. It might not be much of a big thing these days, but it was an interesting time capsule of the 2010s.

Granted, monthly crates are still a thing now – that’s basically what Blue Apron and MeUndies are – but they’re not nearly as ubiquitous as it once was. I’m suddenly reminded of Mega64’s Gamez Alive Podcast skit that poked fun at the monthly crate subscriptions along with gamer culture at large. It’s a funny time capsule.

While I’m not gonna go back and review the ones I didn’t cover – unless there’s any interest – it does highlight a strange time where everybody and their grandma had a monthly crate thing coming out.

B.J. Brown

B.J. Brown is the creator and sole writer on You Found a Secret Area. Casually writing since 2010, Fascinated by dumb things like game shows, music, and of course, video games. Also on Twitter. You can support their work on Ko-Fi or Patreon.

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1 Response

  1. January 25, 2021

    […] other things. For me, I had forgotten about the game’s existence, even as recent as 2019 when I wrote about a Loot Crate featuring the infamous “Thanos Oven Mitt,” which featured a Battleborn pin as part of that […]

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