On tchotchkes

Today was a big day for me. Brand new titles in two of my favorite series, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops both slipped into brick and mortar shops this afternoon. Upon picking up my preorders, I was greeted with a bounty of crap the likes of which I haven’t seen since Working Designs still roamed this earth.

The PSP armor bonus for MGS:PO is pretty hip, if only for the fact that it makes the PSP bulkier and, therefore, easier to grip in my mutant-man hands. But the Portrait of Ruin bundle is truly where it’s at. High quality stuff. Inside every magical box, as you may have read, you get: a Castlevania-branded DS card case, a durable and no-nonsense extendo-stylus (again, a blessing for those with colossal meat-hooks like mine), a soundtrack CD, a series timeline on heavy cardstock, and an artbook. Talk about a haul.

My favorite bits in the Portrait of Ruin box are by far the stylus and the artbook; the stylus simply because it’s the rugged sort of product that ought to have been packaged with the DS Lite in the first place, and the artbook because it’s of such amazing quality that I’d buy it independent of the game. Its contents are littered with classic art design from early games in the series, box art, and almost every major piece of Ayami Kojima artwork. That, my friends, is the textbook definition of rad — and I haven’t even played the damn game yet!

Hear me, publishers: this is how you rock a pre-order. Just because Working Designs went belly-up doesn’t mean that the gaming public doesn’t go mad at the sight of a well-produced bonus package. Don’t think we need punching puppets every time (though that’d be nice). Just most of the time.

Aaron Linde