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Default When Did Special Editions Stop Being Special? @ Destructoid

July 22nd, 2009, 01:21
A truly strange article at Destructoid argues that collector's editions should only be released for games that are proven classics. It gets a mention because they take aim at both Two Worlds and Dragon Age as examples:
Even worse than these, however, are the games that look like they could be excellent, but are still untested. Take, for example, Dragon Age: Origins. Its collector's edition includes a variety of cool stuff, including a tin case, bonus DVD, cloth map and in-game content. This is a game I'm really interested in, to the point of reading the prequel novel (which is surprisingly enjoyable, even as an independent fantasy novel), but I have no idea if I will like the game, and here is the conundrum.
I could play Dragon Age and find that it's a pile of dog shit. I could hate the game and never want to play it again. This would mean that my buying the collector's edition would be a waste of money and I'd feel terrible over spending so much money on something that is now useless to me. However, I could also buy the regular edition of the game, find that it's excellent and decide that Dragon Age is now my favorite franchise ever and that I want to own everything related to the franchise. In which case, I'd now be kicking myself over my own wise decision to remain prudent.
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July 22nd, 2009, 01:21
Is the author even familiar with the history of collectors editions? Strange is right.
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July 22nd, 2009, 02:03
Collectors edition's have always been released at the same time as the game. I know for the most part they were far better in the past but there are still some good ones released.

If it is a good collectors edition then even if the game is crap what comes with the collectors edition should help make up for it.
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July 22nd, 2009, 05:09
Well, you don't have to buy the 'collector's' version of a game. You can opt out and just buy the 'regular' version. That's what I do.

Only when a series becomes near and dear to my heart will I buy a collector's version of it.

As far as I see it, publishers can sell whatever they want. And I can choose to buy it or not.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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July 22nd, 2009, 10:51
I remember getting cloth maps for most of the Ultima series, coins/metal 'thingies' and unique packaging in infocom games (Remeber the plastic face in Suspended or the UFO shaped package for Starcross?). I remember getting a really cool pin on button that said 'Don't Panic' with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Planetfall, can't remember which one.

Point being, this stuff was in games 'as is' back in the day, now they tack on an extra 10 or 20 bucks and call it 'Special Edition' and usually the extras are not as good as the stuff that was given to you at regular price back in the day. <sigh>
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July 22nd, 2009, 11:08
As strange as it is, there is a good point buried in the mess.

It's about something that I personally don't get - which is the irrational choice of buying the collector's edition for a game you have yet to experience.

Well, not so irrational I suppose, because it's about faith - and that's essentially where I get confused. How on EARTH do people find it within themselves to have faith in an industry so saturated in greed and mass market focus - unless you celebrate that sort of thing. You can shrug it off, naturally, and it's only money (which is correct) - but you're actively supporting the mindset that is ruining gaming along with so many other expressions of art.

I used to get the occasional special edition, but that was when I felt the developers targeted gamers like myself - and it felt like they were trying to give you something SPECIAL, to really cater to their fans. As such it seemed like a reasonable deal.

Such is not the way any longer.
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July 22nd, 2009, 12:01
Originally Posted by Sir Markus View Post
I remember getting cloth maps for most of the Ultima series, coins/metal 'thingies' and unique packaging in infocom games (Remeber the plastic face in Suspended or the UFO shaped package for Starcross?). I remember getting a really cool pin on button that said 'Don't Panic' with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Planetfall, can't remember which one.

Point being, this stuff was in games 'as is' back in the day, now they tack on an extra 10 or 20 bucks and call it 'Special Edition' and usually the extras are not as good as the stuff that was given to you at regular price back in the day. <sigh>
Maybe my memory's hazy, but didn't games cost the same £30 or so at release back then as they do now? So in real terms the cost has fallen for non special editions, I'd expect the level of things included to have fallen

I'm more annoyed that I can't pick up a digital copy for less still (especially without any manual or boxes or anything).
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July 22nd, 2009, 12:26
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Maybe my memory's hazy, but didn't games cost the same £30 or so at release back then as they do now? So in real terms the cost has fallen for non special editions, I'd expect the level of things included to have fallen

I'm more annoyed that I can't pick up a digital copy for less still (especially without any manual or boxes or anything).
The whole point of my post is that, now, there are two price points; one for the 'regular' version and one for the 'special edition' whereas what we now consider the 'extras' used to come without any additional cost. Just an observation.
Last edited by Sir Markus; July 22nd, 2009 at 12:38.
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July 22nd, 2009, 12:26
My opinion is, that "collector's editions" and "collector's editions" have been mixed.

To understand what I mean one must be aware of the fact that traditionally there were two kinds of "collector's editions", whereas the one form has almost vanished.

Form 1 (currently popular) : The Collector's Edition which is published at the beginning of a game's live cycle. Like Divinity, Dragon Age, Drakensang …

Form 2 (almost vanished by now) : This is the Collector's Edition which is sometimes called a "Gold Edition" nowadays. This collector's edition contains all patches, bonus stuff, sometimes something more. This is published near the END of a game's life cycle. Drakensang Gold is such an example, or the "Ankh Trilogy" special edition, or the "Collector's Edition" of X2 which I have.

I believe that the author of the article might mix both as well, meanwhile meaning Form 2, which appears at the end of a game's life cycle to prove that it was a success.

Both forms will only be bought by true fans of a game or a series.

The differences might not be that clear, but I don't consider them trivial :

Form 1 is mainly bought by long-time fans and those gamers who are succumbed into the hype.

Form 2 is only bought by the long-time established fan base.

Therefore the risk might by less in Form 1, because there are more people likely to buy this collector's edition because of the hype (the game generates).
Whereas Form 2 is a bigger risk because the established fan-based cannot be determined that easily (other than in fan forums). And no-one knows who's still active of the fans.

From a business point of view, Form 1 has therefore less risks than Form 2.

Imho.

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July 22nd, 2009, 12:43
I once had an EPYX 'Temple of Apshai' t-shirt; that was pretty cool, but geeky as heck, IMO.
Last edited by Sir Markus; July 22nd, 2009 at 12:55.
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July 22nd, 2009, 14:29
I also think it is odd …

The one thing I *don't* like is what I saw with Dragon Age - not just silly rings, but actual quests held back for added $.

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July 22nd, 2009, 15:38
Originally Posted by Sir Markus View Post
The whole point of my post is that, now, there are two price points; one for the 'regular' version and one for the 'special edition' whereas what we now consider the 'extras' used to come without any additional cost. Just an observation.

Exactly! In the past you didn't have to buy a "collector's edition" just to get a damn map.
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July 22nd, 2009, 16:05
Well, let's be fair too. Making an Infocom game, specially after the first 2 or 3 were released was mainly one dude writing a story. One person could create a game in a couple of weeks. Nowadays any game will take a year or more for a team of developers, artists, sound and music people, cutscenes, etc. So paying $30 for Suspended doesn't compare with paying $40 for Drakensang… the extra trinkets, big manual, strange packaging, etc. had to go.
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Default Collector's editions…

July 22nd, 2009, 16:05
The last cool collector's edition that I bought (being a longtime fan of Ultima) was the UO collector's edition. It really was packed with cool, interesting stuff, obviously the wonderful, nerdy kinds of things devs thought to put in…which was par for the course back in the day.
Now, it's like they pack Burger King toys in there, and the collector's stuff is obviously put together by PR/Marketing with possibly just a smidge of input from the devs. I wouldn't say that the junk being added into the CEs these days is of much lower overall quality than the old days, but it's obvious it's soulless and meant for the masses.
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July 22nd, 2009, 16:27
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Well, let's be fair too. Making an Infocom game, specially after the first 2 or 3 were released was mainly one dude writing a story. One person could create a game in a couple of weeks. Nowadays any game will take a year or more for a team of developers, artists, sound and music people, cutscenes, etc. So paying $30 for Suspended doesn't compare with paying $40 for Drakensang… the extra trinkets, big manual, strange packaging, etc. had to go.
1. A couple of weeks? No. Around six months? Sure.
2. Market in the old days = TINY compared to today.

Old days = Enthusiasts made games for enthusiasts.
Today = Businessmen and casual gamers make games for casual gamers.

Greed drives this industry as it does any other and many of us here long for when it wasn't as much an industry as a passionate way of making a living.
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July 22nd, 2009, 18:41
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
1. A couple of weeks? No. Around six months? Sure.
2. Market in the old days = TINY compared to today.

Old days = Enthusiasts made games for enthusiasts.
Today = Businessmen and casual gamers make games for casual gamers.

Greed drives this industry as it does any other and many of us here long for when it wasn't as much an industry as a passionate way of making a living.
I'm not so sure, this is what Tim Anderson said about the time … "It was phenomenal—we had a basement that just printed money."
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July 22nd, 2009, 18:44
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I'm not so sure, this is what Tim Anderson said about the time … "It was phenomenal—we had a basement that just printed money."
There are exceptions to every rule, and my post was a simplification.

Naturally, not all was green and golden - but as a general rule the old days were the golden age for enthusiast gamers.
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July 22nd, 2009, 19:07
Originally Posted by Sir Markus View Post
The whole point of my post is that, now, there are two price points; one for the 'regular' version and one for the 'special edition' whereas what we now consider the 'extras' used to come without any additional cost. Just an observation.
I agree, I just thought it worth the additional observation that the standard price in the old days is similar in real terms to the special price now.
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July 22nd, 2009, 20:54
What a daft article. To be honest, I've only seen piles of shit coming from Destructoid. I wouldn't take them seriously as a trustworthy gaming site.
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July 24th, 2009, 17:22
For what it's worth: These are the last Collectors Editions I bought: Oblivion, Gothic 3, NWN 2, Guild Wars Nightfall and Dreamfall (got that in a bargain bin after buying the original, so it really doesn't count). I bought them because I liked the series, and I liked the extra things offered. Now, Gothic 3 wasn't too good (only played it for a short while, and I haven't got around to installing the latest patch), still the thingies in the CE was relevant for the series as a whole - I'm happy.

In general I will buy a collectors edition if I
1) will buy the game anyway
2) like the things added

Simple as that. That's why I bought the collector's edition of FO3.

As for things in regular edtions back then - most games didn't have any. And one might also turn the argument: Why should "regular" users have to pay for things like coins and cloth maps, when the only thing they wanted was to play the game? Isn't it better to release CE's for those who want the extra stuff?

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