Honestly, you guys pick some of the most random topics for us to talk about. This week, we felt absolutely boxed in by your decision, as we’ve been given the gift of boxes to write a Top 10 about. But let’s be frank here. A box is not just a solid mass that’s in the shape of a cube (Sorry Companion Cube). No, a box must be able to have things inside of it in some capacity. That changes our scope from the get go.
Ah, we can’t contain ourselves any more. This list cannot be held any longer, it’s time for this weeks Top 10!
10) Puzzle Box, Hellraiser
The 1987 British horror film Hellraiser is perhaps most remember for the chief Cenobite, Pinhead, a white faced man whose face is a grid of nails. But he and his compatriots can only enter the world through a puzzle box. Once the box is solved, it opens a portal, and the one who solved it is taken through to experience a realm where the absolute heights of their senses are broken. In truth the Cenobites are not evil, Pinhead is even reasonable – to a point.
The film spawned many sequels, and earned a place in the horror halls of fame. It was even heavily referenced in Joss Whedon’s meta-horror Cabin in the Woods, where a familiar looking puzzle ball sits tantalisingly amidst the trove of monster-summoning totems. Later on a Cenobite is seen in the horde of contained nemeses.
9) Orange Box
In 2007, Valve did something awesome. The Orange Box contained some of their most famous titles ever, Team Fortress 2, the (still) most recent episode of Half Life 2, and the now legendary Portal! It has been nearly eight years since initial release and those games still have thriving fandoms and undying memes. TF2 still has a flourishing mod community and regularly features in other games, Portal (and its’ sequel) still generate merchandise, and Half Life… is still waiting for a third anything.
I bought the Orange Box as part of a university course. I still occasionally bust open Hammer Editor to see what I can make to play around in, or I might retry a puzzle in Portal from time to time. The games are still enormous to this day, and the fact that they all came together in one box at a reasonable price makes the Orange Box a mini-legend.
8) Crates, Crash Bandicoot
Are crates really boxes, or are boxes really crates? Who cares, honestly. It’s Crash Bandicoot, that zany Bandicoot from the 90s, as he went around jumping on crates to smash them open and get the fruits of his labour from within. No really, there were apples inside of those crates.
Yes you could find apples, which could be used not only as a way to get an extra life, but as ammo for your apple bazooka. But not only that, these crates sometimes contained whole extra lives. How about the TNT crates, which on impact, gives 3 seconds before explosions happen? What about the Nitro crates, which exploded on impact… Or, the steel crates, which required a ferocious body slam… Or the most important crate of them all, the Aku Aku crate! Rutabaga!
There’s many names for this pen and paper classic, but many of us know it as Boxes. A game where you draw a grid of dots (10×10 is what me and my friends used to do), in hopes to fill up the whole square with a plethora of boxes. I used to be super cheeky and draw around the edges in hopes that no one would notice I’ve drawn a massive box around the whole grid of boxes, in hopes to say I own all the boxes!
Sure, it’s not really a game you can say is innovative in any way shape or form, but let’s be honest – We’ve all played it, or a variant of it. We should respect the legacy this game ha– I can’t back this up. There’s no legacy here, it’s damn boxes! Draw lines in turns, whoever completes the “box” owns it by putting their initial in it. Simple as that.
As a Dungeon Master, your chief weapons are fear, surprise and a comfy chair. If you’re interested in making your players fear every door, shiny thing on a pedestal, and chest brimming with coin, nothing does it quite like a Mimic. Though a Mimic can assume any shape, usually with a limit of 150ft³ they are most commonly depicted as the most classic use, a chest full of treasure… and pain.
Mimic’s are patient predators, they sit and wait for something to pass it by before sticking firmly to it and beginning the process of beating the prey into submission. Always a fun image of course, that gold you were grabbing? You’re stuck to it, and the lid just sprouted teeth. Looking for a variation on a box? What about a cage containing a corpse in fine robes and armour? But use with caution, you might end up scaring your party to a stand-still.
5) Snake in a Box, Metal Gear Solid
If anyone didn’t suspect this box would be here, then… What?! Snake and his box is one of the most infamous parts of the Metal Gear franchise. Snake sure loves to hide inside of his box, which has even been parodied in one of the games.
But, the real surprise of Snake in a Box comes from all of the witty, creative cosplayers of the world. Yes, people have literally gone around cosplaying as Snake inside of a box and you know what? The effect is pretty damn funny. Check out video above, of a guy who walked around a Wal-Mart as Snake in a box!
4) Cardbo/Danbo, Yotsuba&!
Rejoice manga fans, did you seriously think that Danbo wouldn’t at least get a mention from us? Those of you familiar with Danbo knows why it’s here, but to those of you who don’t know of it, you’re in for a bit of a treat.
Yotsuba&!, (not me falling asleep on my keyboard, honest,) is a comedy manga which I believe is still ongoing to this day. There has never been an anime of it to my knowledge, but perhaps there have been some either based on or as a spin-off of the series. Regardless, the manga started all the way back in 2003 and is still going today. So what exactly is Danbo?
It’s a robot made entirely out of cardboard! At least, this is what Yotsuba believes, but what Danbo really is… Is another character, called Miura, inside of the cardboard robot. Let’s be honest though. Danbos head is just a box with some holes. Oh yes, he’s now also synonymous with Amazon.co.jp too.
3) Box Cat, Cat Face
Cat Face, MrWeebl’s feline creation, has a companion kitty who is only known as Box Cat. A nod to the fact that cats really enjoy boxes for some bizarre reason. Perhaps this can be counted less of a box and more of a cat, but all you ever see is a box and rarely a paw.
Mrao? Is the noise of Box Cat, which always sounds incredibly muffled. Box Cat has even been the subject of abuse from TV Presenter “Jezzer K”, a fun parody of a rather well known British daytime television show. Whilst Box Cat is always inside of his box, I guess sometimes there’s room for two in there. Cosy!
2) The Luggage, Discworld
‘Besides…where Rincewind went’ – he lowered his voice – ‘trouble followed behind.’
Ridcully noticed that the wizards drew a little closer together.
‘Sounds all right to me,’ he said. ‘Best place for trouble, behind. You certainly don’t want it in front.’
‘You don’t understand, Archchancellor,’ said the Dean. ‘It followed behind on hundreds of little legs.’
What murderous travel accessory devours would-be muggers whole and yet only ever seems to contain freshly laundered and folded clothes? The Luggage is a chest carved of Sapient Pearwood, a magical lumber that has a tendency to imbue objects made of it with a kind of intellect, in the case of Luggages the devoted loyalty to follow their master anywhere in the world, out of the world, and anywhere in time and space. It has some trouble with outside of time and space but it always finds a way.
Rincewind’s Luggage appears to be a little more aggressive than most others, but it has a personality of its’ very own. The lovable trundling box was inspired in part by a wheeled carry-case and a D&D Mimic, but it’s become something altogether different, and far more loved by Discworld fans world over.
1) Pandora’s Box
We love our ancient mythology around here. The stories, the legends, the heroes and monsters, and every now and again, one or two artifacts of tremendous importance. No other object is so immediately memorable, and no box has ever held so much.
The first woman, Pandora, was given the container of all worldly evils by Zeus. Death, suffering, misfortune and disease, every woe and tragedy was released in a moment of curiosity, and though she slammed the lid shut only one thing remained inside. Elpis, hope personified.
There is in fact some debate on that score, whether Elpis was indeed hope, or simply expectation. Either way she was the worst and cruellest of all evils, the hope of something better. Long story short, dammit Zeus! If you must clear out your loft space give mortals a bike or something! Giving us a box of evil and saying “don’t open it” is like giving us a trailer for Deadpool and saying “don’t leak that on the internet!”
Loot Crate, Retro Gamer Crate, et al
Don’t you just LOVE those geek boxes that are out there, such as the incredibly popular Loot Crate? We’ve even previously done a post on a Retro Gamer Crate, as well as discussing the other kinds of crates out there. In seriousness, whilst these are great, they’re not from anything in particular, hence they only get thrown in at the honourable mentions list.
At least they’ve been put in here, right? I mean we’ve sifted through hundreds of boxes in our lives and did you ever expect to see this kind of box featured in our list of Top 10 boxes? Then again, I reckon you didn’t know what to expect, which I guess is synonymous with opening up a box in a game or sometimes for real.
With our usual cheap trickery we present our second honourable mention, a cunning play on words. Bwahahahaaa!
But seriously, the sandbox is a fantastic way to play, an enclosed space in which to mess around with mechanics and generally experiment with the limits of a system. Gary’s Mod is perhaps the best example of a game designed entirely to be a toy, start a map then start sticking stuff to stuff and set fire to it. Minecraft (omitted from this list for being made of blocks, not boxes, important distinction there) is the best construction toy on the market, the first true rival to Lego. The survival sandbox offers you a world to simply live in for as long as possible. Even RPGs and FPS games are increasingly free to roam around, less bound to a storyline and given so much to explore and encounter, besides, who plays and Elder Scrolls game for the story quests?
Sandboxes may be monstrous things to try and create, but they’re a world of fun that puts you fully in control of your actions. The concept is being pushed further and further until nothing is left out, and not even physics will be able to stand in the way of the play.
This concludes this weeks list. We’ve unwrapped all of the boxes we dared put into our list and we’ve laid the contents out. Perhaps you think we’ve been stuffed inside of a box too long ourselves with some of our choices and as always, we invite you to let us know what you thought of this weeks article in the comments below, over on Facebook and on Twitter. We love reading what you guys have to say and yes, we sometimes do make a change or at least an addendum based on what you all say. While you’re at it though, don’t forget to vote for next weeks’ Top 10!