Games Meet Metal: The Special Edition Era

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Special Edition Era

Written by Nathan Werp, aka Riff

Ah, the Special Edition. Or the Limited Edition. Or the Collector's Edition. Or The Limited Collector's Easter Basket Super Bowl Extra Special Super Rare Edition!! Fuck, there just everywhere nowadays, aren't they? All forms of media have their super special sets. Video games, DVD's, and CD's have all hopped on the bandwagon to give the money-making consumer a little extra for a few (or a hell of a lot) dollars more. DVD's and CD's have been doing this for awhile. At first, it was just some easy money. Now both forms of media need the extra loot just so the physical form of the product can still somewhat sell. You can thank the proliferation of digital distribution for that. Video games, on the other hand, don't have that problem just yet. Physical copies still sell well even as the online market for gaming continues to grow. So, their special editions end up being extra coke and hooker money for the publishers. That, and they can vary wildly in quality.

So today, let's look at some of these special editions,old and new, and find out what was good and bad about them. Let's start out with one of the best special editions to be released this holiday season: SKYRIM!!

Believe me when I say that this picture doesn't do that dragon model justice. It is by far the largest model I own, and it looks spectacular. Also included is a coffee table art book, which has hundreds of illustrations and was very well put together. The casing for the game itself came with a fold-out map and the usual requisite making-of dvd. Not to mention the game itself, which is pretty fantastic. At $149, it may have been a bit hard to swallow, but plenty of people sure seem to not mind, as over five million copies have been sold. That's what you get with a quality product.

Now, let's go to the other end of the spectrum, and look over a bad Special Edition. In this case, Street Fighter IV for the PS3.

This set was $80 on release, which didn't make it as grand as Skyrim's set, but there were some pretty bad things going on here, regardless of price. The Ryu figure pictured there is way off-sized, as the actual thing turned out to be very small. There was also a code for some downloadable costumes free of charge. The real big selling point was that it came with a Blu-Ray of the newest Street Fighter anime. Well, the anime was absolutely horrible, in that it was more of a commercial to introduce Crimson Viper to the world.  The whole set was a shame, and Capcom could of done so much better. Hell, Mortal Kombat got it right when it brought out it's special edition. Sweet bookends and a nice art book? Why yes, you can take my money for that, thank you very much!

So, what's a consumer gotta do to not get hornswaglled by crappy special editions? Well, become more informed, of course! Here's a few good rules:

1. Get exact dimensions on figurines. Not only did I get jipped on the Ryu figure, but Capcom double dipped me on a special edition of Resident Evil 5. What was a backpack turned out to be more of a purse. Once again, the dimensions tricked me. In those cases, I should of done a bit of research and got some exact size quotes. Now, don't bother with your typical Gamestop or Best Buy employee, as they're not gonna no diddely squat about the package's content. Instead, contact the publishers directly. Demand some answers.

2. Those DLC codes won't last forever. They do have expiration dates, so use them right away. While we're on the subject of all that bonus DLC, here's another note. All that DLC will become available to the regular populace eventually, they just have to pay for it. What you're getting is an advance taste. Consider that when you get to have access to a bunch of exclusive fighters or secret mover or super sexy bikini costume for a price.

3. PRE-ORDER!!!! I can't stress this one enough. Most special editions have a limited run. Usually the first shipment will have all the available special editions that a store is allotted, and they get that number for how many pre-ordres they have. Also, unless it's a AAA title, than you're gonna want to plop down that few dollars so you can enjoy that release that very day. Unless you like being overcharged on eBay, that is.

Read all that? Good! Now read it again and again until it is cemented into your brain.

Now, let's throw one bit of advice to the publishers:

Give the public more buying options. While the Skyrim set was balls awesome, what was lacking at retail was an in-between version for those who wanted some swag, but couldn't afford to own the big dragon guy. Maybe take the disc set from the special edition, keep the map, and add a mini-art book. There's a $79.99 set that can fulfill a lot of wish lists with not-as-deep pockets. Halo Reach and Gears of War 3 each had tweener sets, and it helped sales tremendously.

On that note, the buyer should always beware when it comes to the special editions. Look for dimensions on the goodies. Research prices and release dates. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You might just save some money in the end.


  1. I like the advice on checking the dimensions of stuff. Look what happened to Spinal Tap with their Stone Henge set piece. 18 feet, not inches!!