Collector’s editions are economic intelligence tests: very cheap if you pass, because you didn’t buy them. A collector’s edition means spending more money for the same game with a load of useless trinkets. You’re basically buying gifts for your favorite game characters, spending extra money in the hope it will make Master Chief love you more.
“Halo 3 Limited Edition” sold the exact same game in a fancier box. The only people who play with boxes are cats and infants, and if you gave either an extra twenty dollars they’d eat it. Which would still have been a better use of your money. Because this box tried to make things cool by combining Halo discs with Mission Impossible, because they self-destructed.
The Limited Editions disc-holding boxes were so useless they couldn’t even hold discs. Legions of players found their brand new game scratched worse than DJ Angry Cats. It was bad enough that they’d spent money for a shinier box when the disc was going to spend the next month inside their Xbox anyway, but now you’d swear the box was jealous. Either that or karma finally noticed that people were paying extra for video game boxes and decided to take action.
What’s the first thing you do with a Batarang? You’re now either imagining throwing it at the Riddler or wondering “What’s a Batarang?” Both options lead to fun answers, unlike the Arkham City Colllector’s Edition. Which advertised a 14” Batarang and then permanently attached it to a stand so you couldn’t hold it. The Joker isn’t that much of a dick about giving presents. We knew we wouldn’t be allowed to use a razor sharp chunk of awesome projectile – that’s why we play video games instead of reality in the first place – but this plastic trash couldn’t even be picked up.
The whole point of Batarangs is proving that Batman is so cool he can beat machine guns with a novelty boomerang. A Batarang on a stand is like a Unicorn on a hot dog’s ingredients list: they’ve taken something wonderful, removed the whole point, and then made it boring.
Perfect Dark Zero
If your new spouse started stabbing you on your honeymoon it wouldn’t turn love to hate as painfully as Perfect Dark Zero. It was a worst prequel than The Phantom Menace, and had similar effects on the intelligence and toughness of the main characters. Perfect Dark was one of the most beloved console shooters ever made, the sequel to GoldenEye, the game that taught the world that “console first person shooter” wasn’t an oxymoron. It was so good at shooting things for fun that when James Bond left, they realized they could do without him. And after 5 years of development, Perfect Dark Zero burst forth like an alien incubating inside your chest. But ruined things for more people.
Releasing a collector’s edition of PDZ was like blinding someone and offering them an autograph: insulting and they couldn’t enjoy it anyway. By far the worst bonus disc content was a “Development Team” feature, a painfully automatic musical slideshow featuring photographs of the development team. That would have been an awful extra for a good game, but in this it was like a dialysis machine flipping you the bird.
The Collector’s Edition was released in a special hardened metal box. We can only presume this was so that video evidence of those responsible for this travesty would survive a future apocalypse, so that humanity could send agents back in time to prevent it. Because if Perfect Dark Zero had been half as good as a Perfect Dark sequel should have been, humanity would have enjoyed world peace as everyone agreed the game was more fun than real fighting and the machine war would never have happened.
Call of Duty: World at War
World at War had a lot of problems. It was made by Treyarch back when Call of Duty games were alternately made by two companies and Treyarch was “the other one.” With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward had just redefined the meaning of shooting, finally dragging the series out of endless World War II sequels, bringing it into the modern age in terms of narrative, weapons technology, and game mechanics. Then Treyarch said “We’re just going to go back to World War II again.”
The collector’s edition included a “double experience” week, paid proof that people who gave Activision more money gained unfair advantages in the multiplayer game. But it also included a modern art masterpiece. They bundled an representation of the entire idea of collector’s edition crap into the collector’s edition, an gift of intellect so valuable no-one could quite believe Activision had been so generous. “I cannot believe this shit” were the exact words of many proud new owners, when they found that the edition included a special water canteen which couldn’t be used to hold water.
The canteen was glued shut. In a masterpiece of meta-mockery, the canteen came in a special foam-padded box with a label specifically stating that you can’t drink from it. “Look!” it laughed, “even the canteen’s own box can hold things properly, but the canteen can’t! ” That’s the sort of self-mocking riddle which would make the Sphinx commit suicide. Not only were you paying for something which didn’t work as part of the game, you were paying for something that didn’t work at all. It was just ballast to bulk up the price of the box. If couldn’t have been a more insulting cash grab if it was a note from Activision saying “How much do you love us? Plz write it as a number, between your credit card number and signature!”