Collector’s Editions: Does Buying One Make You a Sucker?

Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out tomorrow and I already have the collector’s edition preordered. I hate buying collector’s editions, as I always feel like a sucker when picking them up. Immediately, Gamestop employees think that I’m the kind of person that wants a warranty or who wants to be told the games I should be preordering. Collector’s editions are often total ripoffs, and many people are suckered into buying them without knowing the contents or, more importantly, the price. You see, internet, these collector’s editions can cost anywhere from ten dollars more than the original to over a hundred dollars more. However, what makes one a sucker or not for buying it isn’t how much any particular collector’s edition costs, but what the gamer wants from it. So, I’m going to take you, the reader, through an overview of the most common types of collector’s editions, and then talk about whether coveting them is an act of a sucker.

I’m going to try really hard to not call buyers of this a sucker in this article… really, really hard.

The most common type of collector’s edition is also the cheapest. These collector’s editions usually come with one or more of the following: DLC, an artbook, and a soundtrack. This generation, the most common item would probably be DLC. I am totally fine with collector’s edition DLC as long as it’s of a purely cosmetic nature. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, I hate breaking games, so I refuse to use DLC on my first playthrough (Or most subsequent playthroughs) if the DLC will ruin the balance of the game. Secondly, I hate it when one collection of players have access to really fun or interesting DLC and other gamers have to wait, upwards of a year to get it. There is a similar problem with pre-order DLC, but that would be the subject of another post. A soundtrack can be a great addition to a game provided, of course, that the game has a soundtrack worth listening to, and you are a player that will actually listen to it. Soundtracks are usually the best collector’s edition item. They very rarely jack the price up more than ten or twenty dollars, and are otherwise not easy to come by (Unless you use the magic of the internet, and you wouldn’t do that would you?). Finally there is the artbook. Artbooks range from excellent to total garbage. Most of the time you’ll just end up with a couple of pages of pictures and find yourself wondering why you paid money for it; however, occasionally it will be worth it. Some art books come with a commentary from the developers (This is gold for me), or are of a substantial length. Fortunately, like DLC, and soundtracks, art books rarely increase the price very much.

You see that artbook there? You know the one beside the functioning night vision goggles. No? Didn’t think so.

The other type of collector’s edition is one that comes with some sort of big prize, or a collection of unique loot. The first big one I remember was Halo 3’s Legendary Edition (Marketers love creative names for collector’s editions), which came with a large Master Chief helmet. Since then there has been no shortage of this kind of collector’s edition. The fun part is that they are all usually unique, and it is interesting to see what developers will include in their package (Not that kind of package). Batman: Arkham Asylum came with a batarang (As if we need more of a reason to want to be the Goddamn Batman), Uncharted 2 came with a replica dagger, Skyrim came with the above dragon statue, and Catherine came with… underwear. The downside to these fun collectables is that they often really jack the price up on the game. Skyrim’s collector’s edition retailed at $150, which was daunting even to fans. The other problem is that, while some games are very creative with their loot, others will simply put in a cheap statue, slap on an inflated price tag and call it a day.

At $79.99, this collector’s edition probably has the most bang for your buck ever.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, a gamer is only a sucker for buying these collector’s editions if they walk into it blind. As a general rule, gamers only buy collector’s editions for series that they like, or games that they are excited about. For a game that you know (Or have a good idea) that you’ll enjoy, you really can’t go wrong with DLC, sountracks, or artbooks. These are often very underwhelming, true, but the increase in price is rarely such that it can be considered a total ripoff (Ignoring whether or not the DLC should have been in the game to start with). The biggest ripoffs come from the statues. They are often really expensive and cheaply made. Despite this, as long as the gamer knows what they are paying for and what the item is, they aren’t a sucker for buying it. People express their fandom in a variety of ways (Look at cosplayers) and if a huge dragon statue is something you want in order to show your dedication to the Elder Scrolls series, then more power to you. Is it unnecessary? Sure, but we can’t start attacking people for buying unnecessary stuff now can we? 

This was totally worth the extra money.
When I buy collector’s editions, I’m primarily looking for soundtracks and artbooks, as I want something that gives me more context to the development process, and I like game music. The other reason I will buy a collector’s edition is far more vain: the game case. I display my games, and an ugly case of a game I really want is often enough for me to buy a collector’s edition if it gives a better case. This is the reason I have the Metal Gear Solid 4 collector’s edition. Sure, I’m vain, but at least I know what I want. As I said earlier, I hate buying collector’s editions because I always feel like a sucker; however, I’m always aware of what I’m getting into, so in a way I shouldn’t feel bad. Just be careful people, and find out how much these collector’s editions are before you put your money down for a $100 hunk of plastic.
*P.S. – In my article about the Resident Evil: Revelations demo I said in a caption that  “Jill’s butt is a prominent character in this game.” Here is a screen capture of my views in the past couple of days from google searches. Oh pervy internet, please never change.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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