Face it. Gamers love crap. Trinkets. Knickknacks. Crap. It's not our fault. We were conditioned in our younger years, to collect stuff. Action figures, trading cards, comics. You name it, we wanted it. Hell, we still love that stuff. Case in point, the little dude rockin' on my desk right now.
Now more than ever before, the video game industry is tapping into those childhood urges, by way of "collector's editions." It's become standard practice for developers to bundle their hot new games with added DLC, artbooks, toys, and other gimmicky kitch. In theory, it's a neat idea, especially if you're a die hard fan of a particular game. The only problem is, more and more collector's edition releases are ripping you off. Hard.
It wasn't always that way, though. If you look back earlier in this console generation, you'll find some collector's edition deals that absolutely ruled. Here are a couple examples.
Bioshock - Xbox 360 ($70)
For just dollars more than the full retail price, the Bioshock Collector's edition came stuffed with decent sized Big Daddy statue and a bonus dvd, highlighting the making of the game. Now that's value, son.
The same year, Fallout fans were blown away by this collector's edition offering...
Fallout 3 ($80)
The entire package came in a collectible tin lunch box. Included was the game, a "making of" dvd, a thin art book, and a "Vault Boy" bobble head. Hot damn!
Those were great deals! The "collector's editions" just mentioned were well priced and actually included things that were *worth* collecting. Oh, but times have changed. The success of earlier special edition releases have given way to a flood of immitators, bent on getting more of your cash and giving you less content. I've noticed there are some running themes here. For instance, one dirty move developers pull is to hype you up for a cool collectible statue or desk piece, only to shatter your hopes with some crappy plastic... thing. Let's take a look.
Tron - Evolution ($129)
This is one of the worst deals I could find. For the low, low price of ... one hundred and thirty frickin' dollars, you got the game, a coupon to see the movie in theaters and.... a plastic light cycle that goes in a plastic display. Really?!? I went on Amazon.com just for funzies and checked out how much a toy Tron lightcycle would run me. The answer? $10 - $19. All included, the package is probably worth 90 bucks, but some suckers out there shelled out an extra $40. Really lame.
This next one breaks my heart...
Batman - Arkham Asylum ($100)
Nooooooooooo!!!!!!! Not Arkham Asylum! It's *the* game to end all Batman games. It's got such awesome street cred! Don't tell me they screwed us on the collector's edition!!! Oh, but they did. To be fair, it comes with a neat little Arkham diary, but the real selling point was the batarang replica. That's right. A batarang replica. The dark knight's *defining* piece of gear, barring the batmobile. And guess what? It was plastic!
Blarg. It didn't even have any real weight to it. I'm sure plenty of gamers felt pissed about dropping that benjamin.
Dead Space 2 ($80)
Comes with a soundtrack (do you really care?) and... a genuine, certified plasma cutter. One thing, though....
Yeah, it's the size of your palm. It made for the ultimate "womp womp" moment.
The parade of suck continues. Saints Row II wanted an extra $20 for a money clip and 2 gig flash drive. Forza Motorsport 3's package comes with another 2 gig flash drive and a keychain. Seriously, how many 2 gig flash drives do I need? And what the hell do they have to do with racing cars and gang bangin'?
Can someone explain to me what the hell the dudes who made Mortal Kombat were thinking when they decided to include *bookends* in their "Kollector's" edition?
I mean, they're detailed, but it just feels like they were thrown in there for lack of a better idea. Oh, by the way, nothing impresses a lady more than a rich library of mentally stimulating novels neatly tucked between a depiction of Scorpion spearing Sub-Zero through the chest.
It's difficult to notice when you're in the store, but the prices have gone way up over the years. When Assassin's Creed : Brotherhood released, the special edition was a cool hundred clams. The real selling point was this weird jack-in-the-box. Yeah, you know, the lame toy you would have never wanted as a kid. But now, that it's packaged with a game... it's "awesome."
Yeah, seems like a great get. I nearly wet myself when I read an article by Kotaku's Mike Fahey detailing the release. He wrote,"I need an Assassin's Creed jack-in-the-box like I've never needed anything else, and $100 seems like a fair price to pay to secure one."
Really?!? You really really ***need*** that crap more than anything else? Fair? Someone should let Mikey know your average kid's crappy jack-in-the-box runs $15 - $20. Let me ask you. Have you been on toys-r-us.com lately looking for the best deals on jack-in-the-boxes? No? You mean to tell me you haven't been thinking on and off about pulling the trigger, throwing caution to the wind, and just splurging on that cute Curious George pop up doll stuffed in the tin box? I'm shocked. Snarkiness aside, those who spent $100 bucks on AssCreed Broho's "box" really got snookered.
Here's the kicker. Thus far, collector's edtion packages haven't increased in value. They've decreased. A lot. Sure, maybe 50 years from now, someone will want to pay you thousands of dollars for that mini statue of all the dudes from Halo Reach, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Take a look at this...
Halo Reach Legedary Edition - Was $150, Now $99
Alan Wake - Was $80, Now $50
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (with the AWESOME jack-in-the-box) - Was $100, Now $64
Street Fighter 4 - Was $80, Now $30
Resident Evil 5 - Was $90, Now $60
In all fairness, there are still some deals out there that give you the right bang for your buck. While researching for this story, I found games like Starcraft and The Witcher II really pack a lot of interesting stuff in their collector's editions for a fair price. But those deals are few and far between.
The bottom line is this. A good deal is really in the mind of the buyer. If you absolutely love a game, then spend some more. But don't be surprised when you don't get what you bargained for.