It’s finally happened: now that 2015 is drawing to a close, the second Back to the Future movie is officially set in the past.
Not that we have any reason to be disappointed, of course. Sure, we don’t have self-tying shoes and flying cars, but we do have flat screen TVs, online video chatting, and 3D movies. Heck, we even have a version of the hoverboard, even if what we have is a bit different than what was seen in the film. It may be hard to believe, but the world we live in today is slowly becoming closer and closer to the futuristic worlds we see in TV shows and movies. In other words, as Bob Dylan once sang in the 60s, “the times, they are a-changin.”
To celebrate this unprecedented year as it draws to a close, we’ve chronicled 10 collectibles that will define 2015 for generations to come.
10: Subscription Boxes (and services)
Subscription box services such as Birchbox and Loot Crate have been around for upwards of five years or more, but 2015 was the year these monthly gift packs started to really take off.
As services such as Dollar Shave Club began to heavily advertise on TV and the internet, the general public finally warmed to the idea of paying a small fee to receive a surprise collection of toys and tools at the start of every month. In fact, the subscription model has become so popular that even Microsoft is offering its Microsoft Office programs for a monthly fee. Whether you love or hate subscriptions, 2015 proved that consumers are ready for unconventional services amid an ever-changing marketplace.
9: Unexpectedly Retro Funko Pop!
When we previously wrote about how Funko Pop figurines took the world of collectibles by storm, we cited the diverse spread of pop culture characters represented by the toys as a key element of their appeal. For 2015, Funko Pop dove into the most dormant of fandoms to broaden their appeal even further.
Among other figures released in 2015, we now have Funko Pops of characters from Friends, Top Gun, and even The Munsters. Combined with the other 100+ Funko Pop figures that debuted this year, we’re not sure if there’s any end to how prolific this series of collectibles will become.
We talked about this in our list of most gifted holiday gifts, but 2015 was the year the tablet changed from a luxury item to an actual collectible.
Even though technology keeps getting better and inflation has made everything more expensive, tablet computers have managed to become more affordable than ever. For instance, Amazon released a version of the Kindle Fire for only $50, and other tablets have been made available for as little as $30. Not only that, but tablets such as the Nvidia Shield that offer features unique from other devices have become prolific as well, which gives even the moderate tech enthusiast reason to collect these mini computers.
7: Back to the Future Inspired Products
Do you know how hard it is to avoid talking about Back to the Future when discussing 2015? Even though we knew we wanted to talk about the movie on this list, we still had to open by referencing Marty McFly’s time traveling adventures. Some may say it’s a curse, but the movie is so good that we honestly don’t mind gushing about it.
We could talk about how Back to the Future collectibles and memorabilia sold like hotcakes throughout this year, but all that really needs to be said is that the hoverboard not only exists, but was one of the hottest gifts during this holiday season.
6: John Cena
How does a WWE star break out of the world of wrestling and into the general pop culture space? One word: memes.
In short, 2015 inadvertently turned John Cena into the internet’s biggest troll. Video editors began splicing John Cena’s intro music into clips of TV shows and movies that otherwise had nothing to do with the WWE, which would eventually go on to be called “Unexpected John Cena” by denizens of the internet. As a result, Google searches for John Cena skyrocketed in the latter part of the year, and John Cena merchandise became a universal gag gift for the holiday season. We would love to conclude this one with an unexpected John Cena moment of our own, but ironically that would probably go over poorly due to being too expected.
2015 marked the one year anniversary of Amiibo toys, and the Nintendo collectibles have only grown in popularity in the past 365 days.
As the roster of Super Smash Bros continued to grow throughout the year, so too did corresponding Amiibo. In fact, Amiibo for non-Nintendo characters such as Street Fighter’s Ryu and Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud Strife are planned for release in the upcoming year. Though Amiibo shortages and scalpers haunted the collectibles throughout their early days, reprints of figures and an increasingly growing selection have helped this toy line become the gamer’s delight it was always meant to be. Just don’t go looking for the ultra rare unicorn figures, as those are still crazy expensive.
2010’s Despicable Me was a box office hit for Universal Pictures, but it wasn’t the movie’s villain protagonist who would rise to superstar status five years later. Rather, it was the movie’s “Minion” mascot characters who would be the face of toys, merchandise, and even promotional mobile apps.
In 2015, the Minions rose to the height of their popularity with the release of their own spinoff movie, appropriately titled Minions. Loved by children and grandparents alike, these silly yellow characters have become so popular that we can’t imagine anyone will forget them anytime soon. Or at the very least, we’ll look at Minions decades from now and think “oh my gosh, that is so 2015.”
3: Fallout 4
2015 saw the release of many high profile video games. Between The Witcher 3, Splatoon, and Metal Gear Solid V, it has certainly been a great year to be a gamer. However, if we’re talking about game franchises as collectibles, nothing can beat the impact had by Bethesda’s post apocalyptic RPG: Fallout 4.
Right out the gate, Fallout 4’s collector’s edition came with a replica of the in-game Pip -Boy device, which sold out within hours of the preorder becoming available. This collector’s edition was in fact so hard to obtain that tutorials for 3D printing a custom Pip-Boy replica were made to save gamers from spending upwards of $300 for the collectible on the second hand market. While collector’s editions of video games are nothing new, seeing one so rare and sought after is unusual to say the least. If you managed to get your hands on one of these, then you could very well have an exceedingly valuable item to hold onto for years to come!
As one of the new robots in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, BB-8 didn’t even need the movie to come out to become a runaway hit of 2015.
Not only was BB-8 made available as a plush and even a Funko Pop figure, the spherical robot dominated the holidays in the form of an app-controlled toy. That’s right, by using a companion app available on all smart devices, this drone version of BB-8 could be moved around and controlled in the same way that a remote control car would be. Combine this imaginative collectible with the overwhelming popularity of Star Wars, and it should be no surprise that BB-8 won the hearts and minds of fans across the world. Just remember to keep your BB-8 collectibles in good condition, as they could one day be as valuable as some of the rare Star Wars toys from the 80s.
1: Star Wars: Card Trader
In terms of popularity, we wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have not heard of the Topps’ Star Wars: Card Trader app. However, for anyone who realizes what Star Wars: Card Trader means for the world of collectibles, it should be no surprise that it sits at the top of this list.
In short, Star Wars: Card Trader takes the world of trading cards and makes it fully digital. Users can collect, buy, and trade in-app cards from the comfort of their smartphone, making the app a complete recreation of the trading card experience. Some may ask how digital pictures of Star Wars characters could possibly replicate the experience of collecting a physical card collection, but many who have tried the app have become instant fans of the experience. Just as the value of physical items are determined by their demand, so too do these laws apply to digital collectibles.
Collectibles have been around since the creation of stamps, and apps like Star Wars: Card Trader show that collecting as a hobby is actually continuing to evolve as time goes on. Even if the world isn’t as futuristic today as we thought it would be 20 years ago, we’ve yet to see what exciting innovations sprout up in 2016 and beyond.
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