Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's 2015 - Do You Know Where Your Collector Editions Are?

I still remember buying my first ever collector's edition for a video game; Halo 2. I treasured that steel case, and as of today it still sits in my gaming library; a shiny reminder of the dedication to the franchise and willingness to shell out a few extra bucks for something more individualized.

As it stands, many of my collector editions remain, but mostly tucked away. Art books from a bunch of older games  sit on my coffee table, statues adorn a few shelves, and the steel game cases outshine the plastic of their adjoining brethren on my shelf.

I used to always try to pick up a collector's edition whenever I could: Dead Space 2, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3; I was creating a sort of gaming shrine to show off so that whenever anyone came to my apartment they would see more than just a simple library of titles, they would see the biggest and best games on display in all their glory. I also enjoyed looking through the art books or putting games away in a specialized case. It gave a sense of added enthusiasm for the title I possessed. 

Over time my interest in collector editions fell by the way side, even on franchises that I hold in a high regard. As it stands, Smash Brothers for the Wii-U was the last "collector's" edition I purchased, and that was mainly to get the GameCube controller adapter. The controller is nice, but no statue or art book was included, and I was perfectly okay with that.

So why did I have a sudden decline or disinterest in shelling out the extra cash for new statues and monuments to games I was generally excited about?

Batarang Sold Separately

I play far too many games to justify a collector's edition for every single purchase. Games in themselves are pricey, usually running about sixty-five bucks without including downloadable content. Tack on an additional forty or so for a statue and they get a little much for the average single salary to afford. Take Batman: Arkham Knight for example: the collector's edition for this game features a statue, art book, steel case, etc. It is a solid package, but it also runs at about one hundred dollars. The statue looks great and the goodies are enticing, but I will likely play this game for a month or two before moving onto the next big game, leaving the statue as a monument to my time spent in Gotham. Halo V? They are already discussing a two hundred and fifty dollar edition! It is not that I do not want the items offered (let's be honest that statue is pretty amazing), but a few months down the road I will want to play Witcher 3, and then the new Zelda, etc. I find myself asking the question: Would I rather the funds go toward different gaming experiences, or a piece of art to sit upon my bookcase?

Additionally, the quality of collector items are not always as impressive as they seem. I remember how excited I was for Dead Space 2 and upon picking up the collector's edition I noticed a small replica space cutter of questionable value and size. You pulled the trigger and it lit up, but the paint job and overall quality looked like something that could be purchased at the dollar bin at Target, not to mention the full model plasma cutter that Isaac Clarke totes in the game is substantially bigger than the miniature replica I held in the palm of my hand. That is not the only one to disappoint fans; Skyrim's incredible statue sat upon a crappy plastic base, Arkham Asylum's Batarang inclusion was welded to its base and could not be removed to throw at your siblings for fun, and Halo 3's steel case was a poorly made mess that became an issue when discs would pop out during shipping.[1] Quality overturns quantity, and for forty bucks, I felt like most collector items were cheap knock offs.

Not to mention that these things take up a lot of room. The majority of collector editions feature statues and those things can range in size. So much so, that I barely have the shelf room for much else. Games like Borderlands release loot crates that are about a foot long, and most statues have become so large that they warrant at least a one foot by one foot space to house them. My bookcase has no room left for anymore statues or replicas at this point, and in a single apartment is tough to accommodate the ever growing sizes of collector editions. Sure the steel cases and art books are small enough to be tucked away, but when you receive a gigantic box upon picking up your game, you have to ask where will this go?

$99 bucks!...and you get an arm!

It is not like these things are going anywhere anytime soon. As it stands, Metal Gear Solid V's Collector's Edition has already sold out in less than 24 hours. [2] Final Fantasy Type-0? Same story on Amazon. [3] In fact, it is not uncommon nowadays to be too late on a collector's edition, scouring websites and stores just for a shot at scoring a pre-order. Some past collector editions have become so rare they are going for insane prices on eBay, with Uncharted 2's sought after Fortune Hunter Edition currently sitting at a $2500 asking price due to their only being about two hundred lucky recipients in the world that ever got one. [4]

I do not mean to be cynical about the idea of collector editions, because as a staple I really hope they stick around. If you are a fan of Halo and purchase every collector's edition, chances are that game has had an impact on you. Something about that game becomes captivating, so much so, that you are willing to show that impact with your hard earned cash before you even lay your hands upon the game itself. If you wish to purchase every statue and every above average edition, more power to you.

Lately, as I look ahead at all the big games coming out, I just find myself completely satisfied when I walk out with just a plastic case and a receipt. That is not to say a collector's edition could come along that I feel enticed enough to lay down money for, and I am still a fan of steel game cases more than anything else; but I no longer slam down the extra amount without thinking first.  Even after great unboxings, putting in codes for exclusive armor, and marveling at the latest statue; one truth remains: in the end we all play the same game...except some of us are just more shiny at the earlier levels.

Which collector editions have you hung onto over the years? Has your interest in them died down or picked up?

[1] - Daily Tech - Early Halo 3 Limited Edition Owners Plagued By Scratched Discs - 
[2] -  Segment Next - MGS V Collector's Edition On Amazon Sold Out in Less Than 24 Hours -
[3] - Dual Shockers - Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Collector's Edition Sells Out at Amazon, Pre-orders Live at Best Buy -
[4] - eBay - Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Collector's Edition with Phurba Dagger for PS3 -

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