Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mega Bloks Nuketown Rant

I have NEVER been so disappointed with a company's quality control than I am now...

I've never played a single Call of Duty game. All I know is that it's the most polarizing game series I've ever seen, with people either calling it the best, most innovative FPS series ever made, or the absolute worst thing Activision has published since... half of all Activision titles... But that's not what we're focusing on here. Instead, we're focusing on their licensed building brick line... because action-heavy games with an emphasis on chaos and destruction NEED building brick lines, I guess...



Meet the Call of Duty: Nuketown set from Mega Bloks.

Let me make it clear that this isn't a review. I'd need to have completed building a set first and actually seen the final product for myself. And I will; I'll get to it eventually, but for now, I just want to make something clear:

The quality of this set SUCKS!

The problem isn't with the plastic quality. It's a little rubbery compared to Lego bricks, but it's solid and colorful enough. The problem is in the quality CONTROL! Someone had to have inspected this set, declared it good for public sale, and let it get shipped out to the Target I bought it from. Well, I hate to do your job for you Inspector-person, but let me point out THREE problems with this set you graciously let me buy.

1. Missing Pieces

Currently, my desk area looks like this:


That's 500+ pieces scattered across the desk, ranging from small grey bricks to large blue tiles. I'd love to put the whole thing together, but an hour in, I encountered a problem that prevented me from continuing construction, namely THEY FORGOT AN ENTIRE BAG OF PIECES! No joke, I got to a certain part and I couldn't find any of the parts listed in the manual for this step. At first, I thought it was just a few parts missing and I'd come back to it, see if they were hidden under a pile, but as I moved onto the next step and then the next step, NONE of the parts I needed were around. I checked all over my desk area and the box, but no, they actually forgot to stuff an entire bag of pieces into the box! Luckily Target was having a sale and I had bought another set to sell or give as a gift, so I opened the box to get the missing bag from there.


So now I do have all the parts, but I had to open TWO boxes to complete a set. Imagine buying this for $45 and finding an entire bag missing! Yes, you could possibly return it to Target, though I'm not sure what their policy on Lego is, or you might be able to contact Mega Bloks for a replacement, but the point is that this shouldn't have happened in the first place! The bags are numbered and quite obvious, so all bags should have been included. And no, I can't return these since they were on clearance, so I'm stuck with a complete set I only bought due to the sale and an incomplete set I can no longer sell or give as a present...

Admittedly, the other two problems are small potatoes compared to this first one, but I feel like I need to address them anyway...

2. Nuked Nuketown Piece

One of the squares that makes up the clock tower base looks like this:


It's clearly melted and barely holds onto the studs, and this would be fine IF IT WAS INTENTIONAL! But no, a bag from the other set clearly shows this isn't the case:


All three squares are in good condition with no signs of a "nuking" having occurred. Now admittedly, this is probably harder to catch, since these are produced in batches and might not have something to catch these mistakes, but a melted block on top of an entire missing bag?! This set is rapidly convincing me that Satan exists, because how else could two great evils occur in the SAME BOX?!

3. Addendum

The Nuketown set contains the first instance I've ever seen of a building brick company, or any company for that matter, actually including a correction in their instructions:


Now creating instructions for building brick sets can't be easy. Artists need to paint the bricks and the progression step-by-step, giving a clear view of where everything goes and what is needed to create that shape. I have a few sets from smaller companies that paints a strange order for bricks to go in or even mistakenly switched a few steps around. ...But really Mega Bloks...? You seriously didn't follow the instructions BEFORE you made the parts and shipped it out? Nobody questioned the positions and if it actually matched whatever prototype you made before you produced a few thousand of these? Now you have me wondering how many sets you sold or recalled before you even noticed that hey, maybe you messed up somewhere down the line and need to take another look at what goes where! But I guess this wasn't an issue for me since, again, YOU FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE PIECES! So thanks for fixing your mistake AFTER you already took people's time and money!

And there you have THREE major mistakes all in one box! If this was a small independent Chinese company just cranking these out for a quick buck, I wouldn't have minded as much. ...But this is freakin' MEGA BLOKS, a billion-dollar company that's almost as big as Lego, with dozens of lines and licenses under their belt, dedicated to achieving reality and more advanced building designs than Lego! So nobody, NOBODY, noticed anything off about this set, called a do-over, and made any attempt to fix it! ...That is amazing... Mega Bloks, I haven't been a fan of your products to begin with, and now you've given me even more reasons to hate you...

Ok, this might have been a bad first impression, but when you have a problem THIS massive, it's best to get it over with ASAP. Rest assured that I'll review this set when I can, so stay tuned to see if the criticism toward the game series can also be applied to the building block line.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Short Introduction to an Infinite Blog

I really didn't think I'd be posting to this blog so soon after creating it. Blogging just seemed like a potential field to contribute to sometime in the future, so I thought it would be good to register a Blogger account and get one set up in case I decided to follow through (and to prevent someone registering this name before me and possibly pretending to be me. Paranoid delusion, probably, but it happens...) However, wouldn't you know it, on the same day I get this site set up, something pops up that I ABSOLUTELY have to write about before something else happens to upset it. It already did a good job of upsetting me, but that's beside the point. However, before I dig into the blocky details, I figure I should give a bit of introduction to this whole shebang and give everyone some idea as to who this pasty white guy is and why he's so obsessed with reviewing things nobody cares about. ...Yes, there are a few gazillion guys already fitting that description, but here's the story of one in particular.

My name's Zachary Christensen, but I'd much rather be called by my online alias ZC-Infinity, which you can either spell phonetically or as Z∞C, though I prefer the "Artist Formerly Known As Prince" treatment myself. I'm a Western American guy who likes video games (especially the Xbox line), comics, posters, Lego and its many knockoffs and competitors, novelty books, strange foods, obscure board games, making and watching videos, writing, reviewing, and reading/watching a large selection of other online critics and reviewers. Just from that list, you can probably tell what is covered here. I LOVE to collect and study things that most other people would pass over. I mean, just type "movie review" or "game review" into the YouTube search bar and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of personalities that cover those bases. But try typing in "VCR Board game review" or "Collected Trade review" or "Plug n Play TV game review" or even "Lego set review" into YouTube, Zippcast, Blogger, or just Yahoo or Google in general, and it's most likely that you'll only find a handful of relevant results if that.

That's where I come in. I've dedicated myself to collecting these shreds of pop culture history that the world is intent on tossing into the "Dustbin of History." Some were hugely popular and are still known today, while others have been collecting dust since they were first released. Whatever the case, I seek out the bizarre and forgotten, dust them off, and give them another chance to be remembered. Maybe they deserve it, or maybe they were best left on that thrift store shelf with a $0.25 price tag. We won't know until we pick it up and give it a shot.

So while I do have a lot of stuff to cover, I'm mostly going to focus on the Big Four: Comic Trade Collections, Building Bricks, Plug 'n Play Consoles, and Knockoff Games/Systems. These are the things I've dedicated the most time and effort to finding and acquiring, and what I really think deserves an opinion. We might take a look at some of my other collections at times, but these are what I really want to go over in this blog. Every so often, depending on what update schedule I've decided and what is going on in the anomaly known as "real life", I'll take one of these things, put it through its paces, give some insight and tell a few terrible jokes, and see how it holds up. The style may be a little different for each category, with the knockoff systems getting breakdown and overall scores while the comics get a more general good/bad/meh-type final judgement, but I hope that no matter what format I used to judge, that the qualities and attributes of whatever I'm reviewing become obvious and you'll get the impression that it's either something worth your time and money to buy... or something to take a sledgehammer to the next time you see it, for it is clearly possessed by Cthulhu!

And that's the long and short of this here blog. Any questions, suggestions, or requests, or if you just want to say "Hi!", feel free to contact me at therealzcinfinity@gmail.com or to post approval(or disapproval) in the comments of each post. I'll probably also be posting to my YouTube channel and Twitter as I'm working, so be sure to check those out as well. Here's to a good life and a good blog! ...Or to the inverse if ever that occurs!