Spend big bucks for cheapass collectibles
This week’s question is brought to us by our own Chris Moyse. He brought it up after reporting on those awful vagina eggs Infinity Stones included with the collector’s edition of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and for the past several days I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of any special edition games or consoles I’ve actually purchased in my decades of gaming. I managed to pick up the complete copy of Fire Emblem Fates, nabbed the $100 Breath of the Wild special edition earlier this year and currently do all my portable gaming on a Majora’s Mask New Nintendo 3DS. Had I been able to get my hands on that $120 version of Breath with the sweet Master Sword statue, I’d be gushing about that right now.
I simply don’t buy many games that end up having amazing special editions I must have. Actually, that’s not true. There have been several special editions that did get me excited, only to have that anticipation crushed when I find I won’t be able to buy it. The scarf that came with Hyrule Warriors, the kickass Bayonetta 2 Book of Angels edition or the very recent legacy edition of Metroid: Samus Returns have all wet the appetite only to either skip release in the US altogether or only find availability at the Nintendo store in New York.
So my answer to this week’s question by default is that Fire Emblem Fates pack I managed to pick up by logging onto Best Buy’s website seconds after I found out it was announced.
Well, not by default actually as I really like the Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition. The pouch is pretty useless in that it’s pretty but useless, however, the included art book is a nice little treasure of its own. But what really made it worth it was getting all three stories of Fates on a single game card. There was no need to worry about downloading anything extra, it was all there and available from the start on that one card. So perhaps my favorite thing about this SE is its convenience.
Man CJ chose a good one — though “good” is debatable since Nintendo had the thing sell out instantly, leaving tons of Fire Emblem fans in the wind.
As for me, the Elder Scrolls Anthology will always have a special place in my heart, given that it immortalizes Morrowind and a few other great Elder Scrolls games in physical form. The Tamriel maps are a nice geeky touch, in that they’re practical but don’t skirt the line of useless plastic like a lot of other collectors editions.
But my love for Morrowind aside, the ability to tout Arena and Daggerfall around appeals to my old school PC sensibilities. I’m really big on game preservation, and since a lot of publishers skip out on legacy content for anthology releases like this, I appreciate Bethesda’s effort here.
It’s very, very rare that I buy a game at full price, let alone the more expensive special editions that come out. It’s partly because I’m a cheap shit, but mainly because the extras just don’t really appeal to me. It’s usually some cosmetic DLC, a soundtrack CD I won’t listen to, some extra in-game items they’ll likely sell as DLC later (or include in the GotY edition), or a plastic statue quickly slapped together that I don’t have any room to display, anyway. These things really just don’t speak to me. So, why did I include an image of the inFamous 2 Hero Edition above my little blurb here that contains literally everything I just listed out?
BECAUSE LOOK AT THAT BAG!
Really, that bag sold me on the entire package. So much, in fact, that now, some six years after the game released, I still use the bag almost every day. It’s durable and useful and is actually 100% exactly like it was shown pre-release (something some companies can’t seem to fucking get right these days).
The other shit that came with the game? I think I might have used those powers once or twice. I never used the skin. I don’t think I even downloaded the soundtrack. It came with a comic? And I never even took the statue out of its plastic mold; it’s still sitting in the box in the back of my closet. But that sling bag, man. That sling bag is great, and the fact that I’m still using it six years later more than justifies the price of the package.
Plus, the game was pretty fun, too.
The original release of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 on PS3 is as baller as possible, no doubt about it. Beyond the fact that this was the first official way of playing the updated Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts, the package the game came in was half of the experience. The game came with an art book… Inside the art book! A delightful hardcover book containing CGI, high-quality artwork and of course the Blu-Ray itself. Holding this book and knowing one of my favorite games is inside just gives me a special kind of feeling. A sort of guilty, nostalgic happiness?
To top it all off, at the beginning of the book there was this great message from Tetsuya Nomura to the players.
“The Kingdom Hearts series would not have lasted this long without the incredible support from you, the fans.”
And all that, while containing two remasters and a movie for a reasonable… I think it was 40$? It’s rare to see a publisher go the extra mile to celebrate a series for so little reward… Recent Kingdom Hearts collections aren’t nearly as impressive (unless you love pins) and the competition just doesn’t compete, mate. What’s up with Fire Emblem Fates’ “if you want to play the true ending before everyone else you need to buy every version at once” triple pack?
Occams Electric Toothbrush
Collector’s editions are a strange beast. A lot of the time it feels like an easy cash grab and the product you get doesn’t match the picture you saw when it was announced. Sometimes, however, they get it right. I would love to hear how the sausage is made but I feel like there’s an understood vanilla take where it’s a mini-art book, statue and some kind of print/poster. That’s why a unique collector’s edition is something special. It is worth applauding and pointing out as something that we, as collectors of video game ephemera would like to see more of. And my go-to example of a unique collector’s edition is Bioshock 2.
Ok, right out of the gate you have the record which has the double whammy of being unique as the anchor item and also being collectible as vinyl is the new CD is the new cassette is the new 8 track. It ties in well with the theme and setting of the game and it’s a great showpiece even if you don’t have a record player. Next up, you have the art book. BOOK. Not booklet, not pamphlet, but a legit, full-sized hardback book. 8.5” x 11” and 164 pages. As Black Jesus intended. Rounding out the package you have three advertisement prints (look at them under a black light) and a cd with selected parts of the score. It’s a great overall package with items I will be glad to have years down the road. That’s the best any of us can hope from a collector’s edition.
At this point, I have so many limited edition games in my collection that it’s hard to pick just one. From my 1/1 scale oppai mousemat edition of Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, to my Tales of Xillia collectors edition and Sonic Generations collectors edition all the way to my Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced with mini-figure for PS2.
But, when it all comes down to it, I think it’s probably best to simply go back to the start and pick one of my earliest collectibles and that would be the Japanese Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria Artifact box. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a standard limited edition collection you see from the bigger titles, but back then, this was a PACKED edition. You could say that it was one of the precursors to what we have today. It gave us a soundtrack, artbook, mini figure and special item and replaceable game cover, all in a very stylish box! Sure, the game didn’t stand up to the original and if this was released today, it wouldn’t really stand out from the rest but back then, it was a real eye-opener!
And as an aside, shoutouts to my limited edition gold “hyaku shiki” PS2 which was released as part of a bundle with Mobile Suit Gundam: AEUG vs Titans. The thing is still running all my PS2 games, even today!!
When it comes to buying extraneous crap and other whatnot, I’ve found that I can usually resist physical goods much more than, say, exclusive DLC or other content. I was shocked out of my toy-buying phase in high school after I spent over $100 – months of saving where I was from at the time – on Mechwarrior: Dark Age only to never actually play a match due to no one else I knew being so stupid as to spend $100 on little plastic robots. The smart money was on Magic The Gathering and basketball cards!
Anyway, as such, I tend to skew practical whenever I buy physical stuff, which means that collector’s editions that come with “useful” things like bags and containers are much more likely to catch my eye than tchotchkes or figurines and the like. Case in point, my two favorites so far are the Grand Theft Auto IV collector’s edition, and the “Take Your Heart” edition of Persona 5. Both come with bags that I actually used in real life. The GTAIV bag didn’t last long and didn’t look like much, but the lock box is the real deal, and I’ve kept it with me through multiple relocations. Even now it holds my passports, foreign currency, and various unused cards.
I’ll be honest, though the Persona 5 bag seems pretty flimsy as well (if this is what Shujin High students have to deal with, I’m not surprised they hate adults), the interior is the same plaid pattern as the uniform, and that’s a real nice touch.
At this point, I sort of wish I had shelled out for the absurd bag-including edition of Destiny 2. That thing looks ridiculous!
Despite actually owning quite a few collector’s editions, I’m not exactly big on them. I like the idea of getting extra goodies for a game series I enjoy, but I feel that publisher’s put way too much emphasis on unknown games to try and drum up interest in otherwise mediocre experiences. What immediately comes to mind is Assassin’s Creed. That isn’t to say the series didn’t eventually become good, but why would I want CE for a brand new IP in 2007? I don’t even know if I’ll like the game!
That being said, World of Warcraft was a different beast. Blizzard has a reputation for making instant classics and their collector’s packages for their games had been ridiculously in-depth. While I had been a fan of their work previously, I immediately fell in love with the beta for World of Warcraft back in 2004 and needed to get that prestige box.
Sadly, that game basically sold out on release. I had missed the boat and was super bummed out. What I didn’t expect was a distant friend to actually find one. While I won’t reveal her actual name, my friend Decarbed managed to snag a collector’s edition for the original WoW from a Best Buy in Jacksonville, Florida and immediately thought of me. We had been in a clan for Unreal Tournament 2004, so she knew I was eager to get my hands on the game.
She sent the game my way and even included a nice handwritten note to poke fun at me (one of the only other aliases I’ve used online was [email protected]$s|-|0Pper when not playing as KingSigy, hence the funny name). I still have that note and box to this day, if only because I don’t want to let go of the memory of a true friend. It doesn’t hurt that the contents are outstanding and it even led me to get the CEs for Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.
The collector’s edition is so nice, in fact, that I still contemplate nabbing the other expansions just to have those sexy boxes. I haven’t played WoW in roughly seven years, but that is how tempting these packages are.
This one took some thought in fact if Occams’ hadn’t beaten me to the punch I might have even gone with Bioshock 2. My choice of the many collector’s editions I’ve accrued over the years is a recent one, Resident Evil VII.
Resident Evil is one of my favorite series, definitely my favorite horror series. The latest installment in the series is a return to form and one of my favorite releases of recent note.
That replica of the Baker farmhouse still freaks me out. It sits proudly on a shelf above my desk. Whenever the music box plays it sends a chill down my spine, plus it makes a lovely conversation piece. I haven’t honestly found much use for the dummy finger flash drive, looks a bit too phallic if you ask me, but the grimy VHS is a pretty cool keepsake.
Pixie The Fairy
I’m not big into paying in extra for extra trinkets and doodads with my games. If something comes with the base launch game as a “thank you” for being a fan, I’ll take it, but otherwise, it has to be something I really, really like for me to pay extra.
I guess Metroid: Samus Returns would be an example, I got the special edition with the CD soundtrack, fancy box, and reversible cover art plus paying out $30 for the two amiibo. Metroid is hands-down my favorite series so I would want these things.
But I gotta say Cave Story+ and Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+were where I felt the “thank you.” I only paid $30 and $40 for those respectively and got cool stuff like stickers and keychains, CD soundtracks. It reminds me of Atlus before the Persona fans ruined everything and told Atlus they’d throw money at them for waifu pillows, DLC glasses and to see middle-aged teen idols in concert, sucking away Shoji Meguro’s talent in teen pop anthems forever.
Now I can’t even go to Etria or a post-apocalyptic Tokyo hellscape without the now-infamous Atlus “tax” being placed on the stuff I’d just get at launch at base retail price in the early 3DS and Vita days.
But here I am rambling, I haven’t even said what my favorite collector’s item is. It comes from the era of PS2’s twilight in the form of a nice plushie, Raiho from Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha XIV vs. King Abaddon.
From within his plastic case, he challenges you to find a special edition game with a longer title. In the mornings, he puts frost on your car’s windshield. By day he aspires to be a 1920s Japanese schoolboy. After school, he wants to be a demon-summoning, katana-wielding, gun-toting teen gumshoe that creates no mischief but ensures justice is done and all wrongs are put to right.
Even now he looks over my games and collectibles, smiling. The keychains like him, the amiibo (except Bayonetta, Corrin, and Samus) want to date him and the bonus stickers and art books from various games wish they, too, could be as three-dimensional and fluffy.
And as they look up at him in his glory, writhing in their modern gaming filth, they cry, “Save us.” He simply looks down and whispers, “Hee-ho.”
Now those are some nice ass special editions!