Blind Collectables : Holding Endorphines Hostage?

Before I start this off I hasten to add that I am not saying blind boxes are bad. That would be amazingly hypocritical of me as I am addicted to the Pokemon Trading Card Game. This is simply me putting across a viewpoint I thought of for people to mull over. Please don’t kill me. 

Blind boxes, blind bags, booster packs, even random lots from places like eBay. As nerds, we love them. We can’t wait to grab massive armfuls of the things and then proceeding to bound home to free them from their cardboard/foil holding cell and release the beautiful contents. They are literally Schrodingers box of small plastic wonders. Before you open them they could be anything (within reason. You wouldn’t expect to open a TMNT mini figure blind box and find a live Komodo dragon. That would be a bit weird). 

When you open the box, there are three feelings you can get. You open the bag to feel happiness when you find a regular item you don’t have, you feel amazing when you find a special rare item you don’t have, but then there is the feeling of annoyance when you open the box and find something you already have, especially if it’s a rare variant and out of all the ones it could have been, it has to be the one you already have (and having pulled 4 Kyogre EX and 3 Groudon EX from Pokemon Primal Clash boosters, I know those feels).

The very reason that there are rarities in these boxes is for the purpose of making you have to buy more boxes than there are collectables, making sure you get the majority of common items quickly and then having to hunt down the rare ones. There are some companies that release boxes that are guaranteed to contain a full set, giving die hard collectors a way to ensure a whole set, but these are few and far between.

I mentioned a very scientific word in the title didn’t I? Yes, Endorphines are basically things in your brain that make you feel VERY good about something, for example, like pulling that 1/100 clear with glitter pony. There is a negative to this however, as not only can the rush be addictive, but it can be exploited. When you open a blind box you always hope for something good, and if you don’t get it you’re tempted to try again and again. You get the urge to buy more and more until you get something you really want, only then getting the positive endorphine feedback that you crave. This can take a long time, and also a large amount of money, sometimes costing multiple times more money than entire sets of regular figures or sets of living card games (card games with an entire set in a box) will cost.

You may be thinking that it sounds like gambling, and in many ways it’s very similar. Once in Japan, Bandai got into trouble when they did a blind figure Gundam promotion with Coca Cola, hiding small figures on the bottle caps, covered by a plastic shield. These figures gained such high values that the Japanese government considered the difference between the cost of the drink and the potential value of the item to be breaking their gambling rules, and forced them to make the domes clear, thereby making the figures much less valuable. 

Random packed games also have their own negative side too, with the rarer cards or figures tending to be more powerful than their common counterparts. This makes competitive play very challenging as you could have a very good collection, but someone who has paid more money for their collection will have a much more versatile and powerful library to choose from.  

So, the question were left with is, even knowing all of this, why do we still love them? Well this topic is much bigger than just me, and so I’m opening the floor to all of you. What do you think about the topic? Do you think they’re a waste of money, or does the endorphine Rush defeat any negatives you might think of? I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to hearing your discussions with eachother in the comments 🙂

– Dave

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