The Joker Prank Shop (Basic Fun)

It baffles me why any company would pay for what I can only assume would be an expensive license, then proceed to develop, produce and (attempt to) sell a bunch of toys that most people are not going to buy. Such example is today's toys from Basic Fun.

Basic Fun isn't what I would call a "bad" company. In fact, quite the opposite. They're relatively well known for their mini arcade cabinets, I'm talking hand held. My favorite being the awesome original Mortal Kombat. While difficult to play, with its six buttons and multiple joystick motions needed to pull off moves, it's still fun, aesthetically. Let's just say they display nicer than they actually play.

But today's post is not about video games. Instead, it's about another license which Basic Fun acquired in 2020. That being, The Joker. Now, in and of itself, The Joker is a brand that has a strong following, and typically, it sells. However, I have to take a step back when I see the offerings from this company and ask, "Why?"

Why would you spend so much money on The Joker license, and then proceed to create novelty joke toys? I get it, The Joker, joke, yadda, yadda, yadda. But why invest so much money into a product that in all likelihood isn't going to sell?

The Joker Prank Shop was initially released with five different items, all of them being dime novelties. I dare say the toys cost pennies on the dollar to produce, and it shows. Further, none of them correlate to The Joker in any form or fashion. I don't recall the character running around Gotham with trick soda cans and rubber snakes.

I don't know, maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I'm not looking at these with the child like spirit that's needed to truly enjoy theses. Sorry, but I just see them as cheap garbage, inflated in uniqueness by slapping The Joker's name on them in an ill fated attempt that the name alone will get more sales than the actual products would on their own.

During its initial release, the company offered five toys in total, all of which were available through Walmart. These included, (1) Snake Chase Prank (2) Trick Soda Can (3) Mega Pranks Speaker (4) Bang! 2-In-1 Fake-Out Blaster (5) Ultimate Prank Kit. Ugh, just typing the names out induced an eye rolling effect from me. Cheap, cheap, cheap, is what keeps screaming in my head as I continue to write this post.

At the end of the day, I don't know why I'm so "offended" by these toys. It's not like I'm spending my money on them. I guess it's more so that Basic Fun would have the nerve to insult me so by even releasing these. Wow, I'm offended for the sake of being offended. So that's what it feels like to be a Millennial. I get it now.

These things tanked hard. While Wal-Mart is trying to get people to pay over ten dollars for them, you can actually find sellers on ebay listing them for less than half that price. I guess the joke was on the people who bought these.

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  1. My daughter is really into "pranks" and such which seems to be a phase that most kids go through (she's 7). It's also a really popular Youtube trend/ subgenre on many of the Youtube family channels so I can kind of see where someone may have thought this was a good idea. That being said, yeah, these just kind of warmed pegs until they were clearanced out from my experience. It's just one of those things where it seems companies tend to focus more on fad items and new properties rather than the main bread and butter line. Look at how many different scales of figures Hasbro pitches with each of their properties and yet the main action figure lines are often nowhere to be found. I really think these were targeted to kids who like Youtube pranks and giftbuying parents/ grandparents/ etc.

    Also, if I recall correctly these came out in late 2019 shortly after Todd Phillips' Joker film. I doubt they intended to be connected at all but it seemed like a really strange time to market Joker producst at kids.

    1. I mean, Joker is a psychopath, regardless of what era you take from the DC Universe. To me, marketing Joker to kids is the equivalence of marketing Pennywise to them.

      Joker has long been one of those properties that blurs the line of being appealing to kids, but at its core is a mature theme.

  2. Basic Fun used to be Bridge Direct Toys. They're the ones that screwed up The Hobbit line and license for which they will never be forgiven.