In recent times, companies have had to find new and unique ways to shill their properties. After all, no longer will a simple AAA release do for your average gamer. We want more, dammit! We live in an age of constant DLC, one-upmanship and Geek Chic. If we buy a game, we want something special for our buck!
This has given birth to the prevalence of Limited Editions, releases of a game which includes more than the disc itself. It comes in a tiered variety, which will go like so:
Your basic edition: Comes with the game in the basic cover. No more, no less.
Limited Edition: Hello Dolly. This comes with the game, the basic cover but with a little bit more zazz to it’s design, and some little pieces of DLC which may consist of skins, extra weapons, levels or things to boost your character.
Special Edition: Woah Daddy. This not only covers all of the above, but also comes with things such as art books, soundtracks, poster, figurines and other small trinkets. Perfect for your shelf and all in a limited edition box. Unless you get the…
Premium Edition: Holy Moley. You get the DLC, the stickers, the posters, the soundtrack, the art book, the tiny trinkets and, to really power home that gaming shelf of yours, some super-rare statue that will be the envy of all your nerdy pals. Verily, they will bow to your supreme gamer prowess.
Oh, and you’ll also get the game.
But of course you can’t have games simply being a “Limited Edition” anymore. No, you’ve got to spruce even that up. So you get the Zombie Bait Edition, the Ultimate Edition, Augmented Edition, Royal Edition, Collecters Edition, Epic Edition, Professional Edition, Skull Edition, Balls of Steel Edition, Ultra Edition, Prepare to Die Edition, Survival Edition, Hardened Edition, Legendary Edition, BFG Edition, Insane Edition, Bonus Edition, Enhanced Edition, Arcade Edition…
And so on and so forth.
I get it. I really do. Video game companies don’t like the trade-in market, or at least show a lot of disdain for it. Aside from the general rage at the moment over Always-On DRM for the next gens, which will mean tethering a game disc to your console, they offer these editions for the unique value they present. I remember playing a second-hand copy of Arkham City and being constantly chastised, as I flew around the rooftops, whenever I’d find a Riddler Trophy meant for Catwoman. It wasn’t just a “nope, not for you”, but a full-blown vibration of the controller and prompt to actually buy the add-on.
But it works. I’m tempted by the little treats that the games offer me upon release, as long as I buy it now and first-hand. Being an achievement hound, I also don’t like the idea of having a number of achievements locked out to me through opening day release DLC. I like the uniqueness of the covers and the boxes. And dammit, if I haven’t got addicted to the art books and soundtracks.
You heard me right. The art books and the soundtracks. Sure the figures and statues are cool, on occasion I have splurged out for their majestic beauty to sit upon my shelf. But they are also pricey and in need of negotiating budget. The art books and soundtracks, however, sit in the mid-range, doable region of purchasing. The slightly-more expensive than a normal release, and yet with so much more, level of purchasing. They appeal to my need for collectables, and usually I fall to their glittery flirtation.
Do I regret it? Rarely. The art books are a nice little creative thing to have, something to show the girlfriend or fellow geeks/nerds to see if it impresses. For me though, the soundtracks are brilliant. I should point out here as well that I mean the downloadable MP3 ones, not the on-disc ones that you can’t access anywhere else (Dante’s Inferno Death Edition, I’m looking at you). After all, one of the first things that impresses me in a game is it’s soundtrack. The right music can set the right mood, and a lot of modern games have great music to listen along to.
When you have the soundtrack, you feel the emotions you had when you first heard them whizz through you. Hearing songs like Compass from Red Dead Redemption, Ghost of Rattman from Portal 2, even Will The Circle Be Unbroken from Bioshock Infinite, all these stir up feelings that invoke thrilling memories. It’s great, it’s special, and it’s well worth the price at the end of the day.
However I will say, that some soundtracks don’t lend themselves to repeat listening. The Ocarina of Time soundtrack? Twee nonsense. Pah.
Now to start saving up for the various Special Editions this coming season. Mmm, art books…