OXCGN Looks At Collector’s Editions
And The Madness That Ensues
©2011 Nicholas Laborde
Ever since I was a small child, I enjoyed collecting things.
Can I explain it? Not really. There’s just something about having valuable items, or things from the past, that makes me smile. It’s like keeping the past with me.
It all began with the Pokémon craze as a kid. One of the most peculiar things, now that I reminisce over it, was the whole card game.
Maybe three card battles were done by me in my entire life. I simply collected them, and didn’t care to battle (because that’s what the games were for!).
Normals, rares, semi-rares, holographic ones, holographic legendary cards, and even more rare: holographic foreign legendaries! It was a collector’s madness.
When I went through the transitional phase of “That’s stupid, I’m cool, I don’t need that stupid Pokémon stuff,” my house was remodeled. As a result, my book of cards got lost (easily over a thousand cards in it) and I never found it.
To add insult to injury, a few years later our hot water heater completely busted and I lost many things near and dear to me as a result.
After that happened, I started collecting “valuable” things, because I never wanted to lose my stuff again. Right around that time, I had picked up gaming (I didn’t consider myself a gamer when I only played Pokémon on my Gameboy), and the collector’s edition madness began its slow consummation of my soul.
And so it began…
The very first Collector’s Edition that I ever purchased was actually the Halo 3 Legendary Edition. (If you look to the right, you’ll see a display of SOME of my CEs that I own; many were bought after their respective release date.)
I’ll never forget that moment when I got home with the box and just looked at it. It was sleek, elegant, and altogether sexy.
As I unboxed it, I couldn’t stop smiling: this was a purchase I would never regret. The helmet was exquisite and a pristine collector’s item. Inside of it contained what I view as the standard for limited editions: a DVD case that had two discs.
First, the Limited Edition disc, which had gamer pics, themes, machinima shorts, and a few other random assortments.
Then, the real deal: the Legendary Edition disc. Hours of making-of videos, helpful videos on network and TV calibration, development videos, and every cinematic from the first two Halo titles redone in HD, with the option for hilarious Bungie commentary.
To this day, I still go back to it and rewatch it. There simply hasn’t been a CE like it since then, and my hope is that one day similar ones will be available.
Once I realized how euphoric these special versions of games were, I made a vow: every game that I seriously anticipate, I will buy the CE for. That led to my work ethic becoming refined, because those bastards sucked my wallet dry.
As a result of this, I made an effort to go back and rebuy the CE/LE of each game in my collection that I deeply cared for.
Where We Stand
Today, I am becoming severely disappointed with games. The developers/publishers are simply more concerned on getting new products out fast rather than pleasing their fanbase with these glorious collectibles.
The most recent good ones were the Assassin’s Creed 2 Master Assassin’s Edition, StarCraft 2 Collector’s Edition, Fallout 3 Survival Edition, Fallout New Vegas Collector’s Edition, Metal Gear Solid 4 Limited Edition and the LittleBigPlanet 2 Collector’s Edition.
All of these were extremely different or unique, and evoked many feelings of envy in gamers across the globe.
But these amazing gifts from the gaming gods are slowly disappearing.
Something that Electronic Arts is pushing forward is what I like to call the “not so limited” edition.
It all went back to the original Battlefield: Bad Company title. The CE detailed for the same price as the normal game, but was in actual limited quantities.
It contained the game in a nice case, and a max-level weapon for each multiplayer class at the beginning. In addition, it contained a making-of documentary and tutorial videos on each map.
Not too shabby for sixty bones!
…and then they took that business platform and kept it going.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 did the same thing, except every launch day copy was a Limited Edition, and there was no nice case or cool videos. Simply an unlocked item for each class available from the start.
It’s abysmal, to put it simply. These aren’t collector’s items; they’re poor attempts to assure more sales.
The Ideal Collector’s Item
Since we are discussing what is good and bad in a limited edition unit of a game, I’ll outline what I believe what would be the “ideal” collector’s edition.
- A pleasing exterior, usually in a box larger than a standard game case (but not too large).
- Art book. It’s been done to death, but if StarCraft 2 is an example, you most definitely can always give a nice big art book and still make it entertaining.
- Soundtrack. The FULL version, not an excerpt of three or four songs from the game. Obviously, in CD format, so it can be easily ripped and listened to.
- In-game visual changer. Halo Reach‘s Legendary Edition allowed owners to redeem a flaming helmet for online play, separating the boys from the men.
- DVD(s) with making-of videos, conceptual ideas, and developer commentary. It’s simply fascinating to look at the development process, and if you provide a decent amount, that alone makes the purchase warranted.
- Poster, similar to how Rockstar provides a map with their titles. This is optional, but is extremely awesome if added in. Everyone loves a good wall decoration!
- Access to future digital releases. For example, maybe allow CE purchasers to get the first DLC for free?
If all of this came together in one massive collector’s item, but only in limited quantities, it would be the epitome of OCD. While they may not be what they used to, there are several games that have cool limited editions you should take note of.
While the days of collecting cool editions of cool games are slowly coming to a corporate end, there are still a few notable ones out there. Listed below are a few of these this year that you should definitely be on the lookout for.
- Killzone 3: Helghast Edition
- Duke Nukem Forever: Balls of Steel Edition
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Augmented Edition
To Sum It All Up…
Collecting these oddities is something that not only comes from fascination with rare items, but from the simple acceptance that we like things that nobody else has. It’s human nature to desire things not everyone else can obtain.
Publishers need to put a stop to the corporate madness that is taking over these editions of games. We pay additional hard-earned cash for these things, and to find out they suck is just a kick to the groin.
These things are just treasure troves of cash! It doesn’t cost much to manufacture an extra DVD and a plastic figurine.
If only publishers would realize this, and realize that fans determine their fate, the industry would be a totally different place…
©2011 Nicholas Laborde
Filed under: 3rd Party Games, Console gaming, Editorial, GameBanter, New Xbox 360 Games, Oxcgn Special feature, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 3rd Party Games, Xbox 360 News Tagged: | Electronic Arts, Fallout New Vegas, Game, Game collections, Halo Legendary edition, Halo Reach Collectors Edition, Halo Reach reviews, Halo: Reach, Limited Edition Video Games collections, LittleBigPlanet 2, Shopping, Special Edition, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Video game, Visual Arts