Alan Smithee

Special Edition Sucker

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P.T. Barnum is known for his excellent one-liners, my favorite being that “There’s a sucker born every minute.” I am one of these suckers and didn’t quite notice it until the other day.

I was looking through my game collection and I noticed that I have quite a few ‘Limited Editions’ and ‘Collector’s Editions’ sitting on my shelves. I started to think about the additional content that comes packed in with these games and immediately felt a twinge of regret…I have never touched any of the pack-ins, listened to any of the CDs, or watched the making of DVDs that usually define these special editions.

I feel like the collector in me has been duped into buying something I don’t need. Just something I want.

Like many of you out there I go out of my way to get the Collector’s and Limited Editions of games. I was even suckered into getting the ‘Cat-Helmet-Edition’ of Halo 3, but I attribute that to me buying into the hype. What really sucks is that now that I think about it rationally, that was $130 that I could have used a bit smarter.

Besides the instrument laden boxes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero: World Tour, I had never spent that much money on a game before. The saddest bit is that it will most likely not be the last time it will happen.

Why do I do this to myself? Is it simply because I want to have the most “valuable” version of the game? I honestly don’t know.

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It’s not like all limited editions are bad…there are some that are really awesome. Some of my favorite ones are Bioshock, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Fallout 3. But on the flip-side of the coin, you have games like Gears of War, Halo 2, or Perfect Dark: Zero that don’t really justify the cost. I know it’s only $10 more but you almost expect something better than a making of DVD and lame metal casing.

Why we continue to buy these extravagant pack-in editions? Personally, I think it’s the video game aficionados (whores) like me who never sell, trade, or lend out our games. It’s we few who perpetuate and fuel this market.

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I see myself as a very serious game collector. I still lament the day I sold my Sega Master System at a yard sale when I was 10. I don’t know why it’s so ingrained in me to hoard as many ‘precious-es’ as I possibly can. Maybe it’s just the geek version of dick measuring, or maybe trying to prove to people how much nerd-cred you have.

I don’t know so much anymore if extra money is well spent if there’s a chance that I could impress people I’ve never met and most likely never will. I’ve identified it as an unhealthy behavior in my mind, especially after thinking hard about slapping the money down for the aforementioned Halo 3 set.

There’s nothing special about the hard copy of the games that are included with the special editions, they’re the same disc that everyone else will be playing. I guess we can all start worrying more about what copy to get when they start selling games where you can only get special characters or good endings if you bought the collector’s edition of the game.

Let’s all hope that it never gets to that level.

What do you think? Are they worth the extra money to you? Is it really worth it for a different case and a documentary DVD? Should they really be considered all that special?

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