Vintage and rare booster boxes.
I’ve spent the majority of the last 12 months watching live streams with thousands of viewers as YouTubers break the 20-year-old seals of old Pokémon TCG boxes. We’ve all found some form of home comfort in Pokémon this year, hence why you’re reading this article in the first place, and with that, I want to delve a little deeper into understanding the fascination of watching others open packs on the internet.
Stuck at home with little to do, 2020 led to a resurgence in individuals cleaning out their homes and old lofts, finding long-lost Pokémon cards in the process. For many this has led to exponential growth in profit as they stumble upon a Shadowless base set Charizard or a sealed booster pack from 1999. For others, disappointment of the nostalgic stash they once had long gone. Falling into that second category makes vintage Pokémon openings an expensive pastime for many, yet equally a fantastic opportunity for those with large audiences in the community.
Most famously, Logan Paul’s 1st edition booster box opening now sits at over 10 million YouTube views. Originally purchasing the incredibly rare box for $200,000 (£145,000), he went on to sell each individual pack for $11000 (£8000). By playing on nostalgia his $200,000 investment quickly sold for close to $400,000 (£290,000). This idea of giving individuals the thrill of opening rare packs with the guarantee of authenticity trickled down throughout YouTube. Logan Paul’s live stream was certainly not the first, yet his influence cannot be underestimated — leading to thousands of live box breaks across YouTube and Twitch.
So, what makes a live box break so intriguing?
Nostalgia. This was touched upon in a previous article and I’ll reiterate here: the experience of reliving childhood memories is something so precious and rare. Whether it’s tasting your mum’s cooking or smelling the scent of a recently opened pack of WOTC (Wizard’s of the coast) Pokémon cards, it’s a priceless experience. Box Breaks fulfil a few home comforts that have been so scarce this year: Community, spending time with others in a chat as a streamer opens up packs you’ve purchased. Nostalgia, seeing old packs you once had as a child and remembering memories linked to the artwork you’ve not seen in decades. Excitement, taking a risk on a pack and getting the card you once owned as a child back again. These are elements that don’t necessarily have any monetary value yet provide far more worth in a year when there is little to shout home about.
As YouTubers and streamers continue to break vintage boxes, those with smaller funds have started to break modern sets that have become less readily available due to the rise in demand for Pokémon TCG as a whole. Harder to find modern sets like Evolutions and Hidden Fates have become a staple for content creators looking to grow an audience leading to a wide variety of supply across all platforms. No matter your price range, First Edition Neo Genesis or Vivid Voltage, you’ll find a box break online to take part in.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor