Loot Gamings GEAR UP Crate is Kind of Questionable

first_imgLoot Crate’s Loot Gaming boxes are usually pretty strong hits. In the past they’ve included canteens, miniature space ships, keychains, even hood ornaments. I was excited to hear that April 2017’s Loot Gaming theme was GEAR UP, because it seems like a natural theme that could have some rad stuff in it.Loot Crate sent us one, and it sadly fell a bit flat. Part of it is my own taste because I just am not a big fan of Halo, but a bigger part is because the big centerpiece item in the crate is a baffling misfire. But let’s start with the good.The Halo Icons Spartan Figure is actually two Spartans, squared against each other. They’re in slightly big-headed super-deformed proportions, but they still look really dynamic on their base. They work with other Halo Icons figures, because each one has the same D-shaped peg for the base.Overwatch is still a really strong game and Blizzard has been pushing it surprisingly far. It still has less in-game lore than Destiny, but it’s a great multiplayer shooter that has rightfully replaced Team Fortress 2 as the big, long-standing class-based non-military shooter in gaming. This is a Cute But Deadly figure of Pharah in her Titanium skin. It’s super-deformed to almost Funko Pop proportions, but more detailed and looks way nicer.Injustice 2 comes out soon, and so the crate includes an Injustice 2 t-shirt. The GEAR UP theme applies for this game, because it features a loot system where you can customize each fighter’s costume with different pieces of equipment. The resulting look doesn’t seem to be as strong as when character designs are built from the ground up with a single vision, but it should add an interesting bit of variety. Though Batman and Harley Quinn squaring off against the menacing visage of Superman seems pretty silly unless her bat is filled with kryptonite.The coin pin is pretty great. It’s a power armor helmet, not from any specific series but with elements that invoke Halo. It’s two-toned, with a silver outside and gold visor.Then there’s this. It’s The Coon’s flag, promoting the upcoming South Park: The Fractured But WholeOkay, I’m not going to call the flag “problematic,” and I’ll do my best to not sound like a hand-wringing SJW because I know how much that upsets some people. But it’s a really weird choice. It’s a comedic misfire, because its detachment from the humor of that joke (from Cartman’s premiere as The Coon in the episode “The Coon” from season 13, episode 2 in 2009) makes it loop back around into what made the original joke work.Cartman from the beginning has been an incredibly tone-deaf (and often outright bigoted) individual in regards to race. His superhero alter-ego “The Coon” comes from shortening the word raccoon, and invokes the animal like Batman invokes bats in his design. It’s also an outmoded racial slur for black people. It’s not directly addressed in his appearances on the show, but the humor of his name comes from the unspoken racial biases and ignorance Cartman holds. He didn’t choose the name to be racist, but the choice was a weird, tone-deaf one that would give most people pause.Now, after several other episodes featuring The Coon and an upcoming game where he is a main character, we now have a “Coon and Friends” flag in a Loot Gaming crate. And it’s a replica of the flag Cartman used with his team “Coon and Friends.” So that’s pretty great, as a concept.But it’s also literally a big red flag that says “COON” on it. I’m not offended by it, but it’s really weird to see as a physical thing not in a cartoon, away from the buffer of detachment South Park provides. It’s just a bizarre choice where the joke is undermined by taking it out of the context of the edginess of South Park and making it something you receive in the mail and could hang up on your wall.I’m not calling Loot Crate or South Park racist. I’m not calling anyone racist (except Cartman, who’s written as a character to be racist for comedy). I’m not even calling the flag racist. (Black Guy Editor’s Note: I am) I just think it’s a really, really weird choice that gets away from the layer of detachment and characterized ignorance that made the joke work in the first place.I’m still excited about the next Loot Gaming crate! The theme for this month is ROAD RAGE, and it includes items from Rocket League, Mario Kart 8, and Twisted Metal. And Destiny. I’m not sure why.As always, Loot Crate is a monthly subscription box that sends you geek collectibles for $13.37 per month plus shipping (about $20 total). Loot Crate offers a variety of specialized crate subscriptions like Loot Anime, Loot Gaming, and Loot Pets, as well as licensed crates for properties like Firefly, Halo, and Harry Potter. Loot Crate sends us sample crates for unboxing and review.last_img