Loot boxes are a pretty controversial subject in gaming right now. If you aren’t aware of them, it’s a pretty simple system – they’re crates filled with randomised loot. The loot varies from game to game, but it can be anything – as inconsequential as a pair of sunglasses for your in-game avatar, or as game-altering as a powerful attachment for a weapon that can’t be obtained through any other means. These can usually be earned through playing the game, which is fine. There’s usually a more wicked alternative, though – pay in cash, and you can get as many loot boxes as you want – which means infinite opportunities to roll for the item of your dreams.
The problem, at least in my eyes, lies entirely within the real money side of thing. Loot boxes by themselves aren’t inherently evil – they’re just a somewhat lazy way of rewarding the player for, well, playing the game. If you don’t give people the option of playing in cash, it’s essentially a way for the game to drip feed the player rewards while making them do the same activities over and over. When you introduce the option to pay in cash to remove the monotony, however – that’s when things get sketchy.
There’s stories all over the place about people spending thousands and thousands of dollars on loot box microtranscations – sometimes because of mobile games which are ‘affectionately’ referred to as ‘gacha’ games. In these games, you can drop real money for random characters – which range from common units, which are generally crap – to esteemed ‘rare’ units which can have drop lates as low, or even lower than, one percent.
Don’t worry. We’re going somewhere with this.
The term ‘gacha’ comes from gashapon, which is the Japanese term for capsule toy machines. For those unfamiliar, capsule toy machines work as so. Slide a coin into a slot. Crank a handle. Out comes a capsule with a random toy inside. The comparison between ‘gacha’ and ‘gasha’ is obvious, then – the point being that you have no idea what you’re going to get until you’ve already spent your money.
My local corner store has capsule machines. So, in the spirit of scummy loot boxes and gacha games, I decided to spin the wheel and see what I got. And as I just explained, it’s all tentatively linked to gaming, meaning that this feature is appropriate for my blog.
Aye. An introduction just shy of four hundred words, just for that.
I bought three mystery capsules in total, and they were only twenty pence each – meaning that I spent sixty pence total. Considering that a full pound coin wouldn’t get you a spin on most mobile gacha game, this is pretty damn good value for money, especially when compared to it’s digital brethren. Anyway. Let’s crack these plastic pods of joy open and see what we got inside.
Yeah, I’m not really sure what this one is supposed to be. I think it’s supposed to be a dinosaur, though the drips of ooze running down certain parts of it’s body tell me that it might be made of slime. Or he could just be an alien creature that’s recently hatched out of some egg-pod-thing. The green colouration obviously adds to all of these hypotheses, so let’s just call this one ‘Gooey Extraterrestrial Dinofuck’ and move on.
Whilst I could make guesses as to the previous toys identity, I don’t have a single goddamn clue what this thing is supposed to be. It’s a yellow, bug-eyed thing that’s wearing a buttoned down shirt of some variety. It has a sinister vibe. With one foot slightly raised as if ready to tap, and a hand extended outward, it’s almost as if the little bastard is asking for your money. How’s about no, dickhead? I’ve already given up twenty hard-earned pennies for the sake of your demanding plastic posture.
I can’t really think of a name for this one. He can be ‘Vaguely Threatening Bugeyed Prick’, in lieu of anything better.
Aha! I know what this one is! Finally, we’re on my level – it’s a sad, literal hunk of shit. Look at those weird tears – it’s bawling it’s eyes out. I can emphasise – I was born from the plastic shite mould as well. Poor guy. Since his life is already (literal) shite, I’ll give him a nice name. Like ‘George’. Yeah. Carry on being stinky, George.
Alternatively, and preferable to George, you can also pretend that he’s a misshapen slime monster from the Dragon Quest series.
I feel cheated – as cheated as the time that I spent a tenner on Fire Emblem: Heroes and got nothing but rubbish bronze drops. I think these guys are the real-life equivalent of garbage gacha game characters. I might not have a stat sheet, or anything decent to quantify them against, but they aren’t exactly winners, are they? I can’t even tell what two of them are supposed to be, though that might just be me being a completely ignorant shite.
What’s the take away, then? I don’t know. Look, it’s thirty two degrees outside, and my delicate British brain is completely and utterly fried. I suppose the conclusion that we can arrive to is that everything related to gashapon is a luck-based shitshow, and unless you’re willing to drop a ton of real cash, you’re not going to get anything great.
Join me next time, then, as I shove a tenner’s worth of twenty pence coins into the machine outside of the corner shop and bring home like, fifty of the bastards. I’m not kidding. I’m going to do this. This feature was nothing more than a simple test run. Don’t worry – when the children near the store point and laugh at me for being a giant adult dickhead who’s buying crappy plastic toys from a machine that even they don’t bother with, I’ll angrily turn around and shout ATOMIC KOTE DOT COM at them whilst I stuff more and more tiny plastic pods in my creepy, overfull pockets. Free advertising, mate.
Bet you can’t fucking wait.
Atomic Kote is a blog that focuses on delivering the best content that I can manage, dealing with entertainment and gaming primarily. It’s all written independently by one person, me.
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