After the emotional roller coaster that was E3 2015, I was left feeling exactly like a small child who had just consumed their weight in sugary treats at a theme park. Bloated, high on sucrose and energy draining rapidly it was time to come down from that sugary high and take stock of the upcoming releases and assess what I had seen. In my household, there were two specific titles stuck out. For myself that was Fallout 4 (Oh Bethesda, I think I love you...) and for my husband, Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
We both rushed to pre-order the special editions of the games we wanted and were surprised to see that both release dates fell around the time of our first wedding anniversary. Not ones to shun tradition, we were planning to gift one another a present made of paper (if you're not familiar with traditional wedding anniversary gifts, each year you buy each other gifts that start humble like paper, tin and wood, each year the gifts get exponentially more expensive and special, for example 30 years is pearl and 60 is ruby etc. - hmm, this is starting to sound a lot like Pokémon, but I digress).
Aaaanyway... We decided that on a minor technicality our anniversary gift to one another could be our special editions because we each had a piece of paper (AKA the pre-order receipt) which we would then keep for sentimental purposes...or something.
That means I now have a super shiny edition of Fallout 4 on the way along with an actual working Pip-Boy that can hold my phone, as well as a bobble head and exclusive t-shirt for being one of the first pre-orders. Thanks, husband! It's going to be one very happy anniversary!
|This exclusive Game edition featuring a t-shirt and bobble head will be mine come November and I can not wait!|
What strikes me as interesting is that we do display them and unlike other collectibles, video game collectibles are often not kept in their boxes all pristine and perfect. I have some Beatles figurines that I have never taken out of their packaging lest I decrease their value and we own several 1st edition comics that we have never read and are still in their plastic bags.
|Halo 3 Legendary Edition, Fallout 3 Survival Edition, Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller|
Yet, most video game special editions are not bought with the intent of keeping them in the same manner, most require unboxing to get to the game so that you can actually play it. I think that's why most gamers (the ones I know at least) display their various figurines, art books, special items and various trinkets out of the box.
With that in mind, here are some of my favourite special editions;
Halo 3 Legendary Edition
However, I have several friends who purchased it, despite it only being released in limited numbers. The helmet is a really lovely piece of....well, plastic. I don't mean that negatively of course, rather it was a very good quality plastic item and worth it's weight in gold paint.
It sat proudly on my friends shelves and made for a very interesting decorative item. Kudos to Bungie because the only real downside was that it wasn't human-sized.
Fallout 3 Survival Edition
|Not featured here is the awesome Pip-Boy alarm clock which wasn't available everywhere *sad face*|
I missed out on this edition but it proved to me that Bethesda know how to make them and I knew I couldn't miss another.
The next one they released was for Fallout New Vegas and it also included a lot of sought after loot including a very cool hardcover comic, replica cards so you could play your own game of Caravan and some poker chips because...well, Vegas;
|Fallout New Vegas Special Edition|
BioShock 2 Special Edition
While, the BioShock Infinite Songbird Edition statue is a sight to behold, I still think the BioShock 2 Special Edition remains one of my favourites.
I absolutely loved the box and the propaganda style prints that came with it glow in the dark, revealing hidden messages. My husband and I still have them framed in our lounge and hallway. This edition seemed to ooze that art deco feel that runs through the series and the addition of a vinyl soundtrack was a lovely touch. Perhaps it was the understated nature of this edition that appealed to me however, I will admit that a Big Daddy figurine would have been cool...luckily for me, we were bought one as a gift and it also lives on our shelf alongside our BioShock 2 special edition.
Gears Of War 3 Epic Edition
Admittedly, I never owned the epic edition however, I nabbed a copy of the limited edition that came with the very nice replica Octus Service medal which had a unique code on it in order to unlock special multiplayer features - I thought this was a nice touch given that a lot of companies think giving us codes on a bit of paper will do.
The Epic Edition also featured service medal plus a whole load of other cool things, the centrepiece being an 11 inch Marcus Fenix statue because who doesn't want a muscle-laden future space marine adorning their home?
But what really impresses me with this edition is the replica documents, photographs and letters - things normally reserved exclusively for an art book. This edition included these documents alongside a COG flag (again, bonus points for things that can be used as decor!) and an art book full of monsters with gnashing teeth and more muscles than a WWE pay-per-view event.
Batman Arkham City Collector's Edition
The sheer amount of things packed into this collector's edition makes up for it's awkward game case. The only thing I can criticise in this edition is the packaging because if you want to play the game you have to remove it from it's housing underneath the statue of Bats. It's not in a traditional case and as such taking it out and putting it away gets tiresome. Bonus marks for using the box as a diorama to display your figure though, an original move which I suppose is more environmentally friendly at the very least?
However, this edition has plenty to make up for the inconvenient casing included the DC original animated universe film, Batman: Arkham Knight, as well as an art book, soundtrack (the game has a damn good score!), collectible cards, some in-game extras and that awesome statue. Incidentally, what makes this figurine stick out is the fact it is very well made and that should come as no surprise to those of you familiar with toy makers, Kotobukiya who created this well-crafted version of the Dark Knight.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Limited Codex Edition
The beauty of this edition can be found in the crafted box which houses a secret compartment (which admittedly took us a while to figure out...because we didn't want to break it!). Within the hidden part of this renaissance style box is the game.
It also comes with a very detailed replica of the Codex book (a huge part of the games) which was not only beautifully embossed but included pages that revealed more about the in-game story.
Not only that but it features a really interesting DVD full of extras as well as cards featuring all the multiplayer characters, a map of Rome and even the soundtrack. Not only that but the Lineage DVD was included as well which is a 3 part series of short films set during the second game. Sure you can watch them for free on YouTube but there's nothing quite like a hardcopy!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Oh Bethesda, your special editions are part of your appeal, you know how to make them and other special editions ought to take note. Your 12 inch World Eater statue is a beauty! Alongside the beautiful tome that is the stunning art book packed full of illustrations, concept sketches and full colour illustrations, this is an edition where quality comes before quantity. The map is a welcome addition too and is perfect for framing and displaying within your home without facing scrutiny and judgement from your non-gaming friends and family because it looks so unassuming.
To be honest, the draw of this special edition is Alduin, his statue makes the extra price totally worth it. Just look it....LOOK AT IT'S TERRIFYING FACE!
Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Collector's Edition
I've never played any of the games from this series but I have to mention this purely because of how cool it looks. The Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Collector's Edition looks amazing, not only is there a statue but the packaging resembles one of the chests from the game and comes with a wearable replica of Drake's necklace and a belt buckle. Wearable loot is awesome and any game series I love that includes something practical that I can use as opposed to simply display in their special edition will guarantee a sale from me.
|It kind of makes me wish I'd have played the games...|
I just hope that more games companies realise that the gem of any special edition is the game itself so we like our special editions with plenty of out of game items.
The current trend of including in-game codes that unlock avatar items or outfits worries me. These downloadable extras do not justify spending more money on a special edition. They don't cut it, no matter how cool that special weapon looks. I'm going to buy your game anyway, so you could at least do me the courtesy of including cool stuff that isn't in-game. Give me more useless tat to put on my shelves please. Sure, I'm basically hoarding a load of plastic but that plastic stands as a testament to my fandom.
If you're going to call something a special edition, you need to make it special.
I'm sure there are plenty of good editions I've missed or simply lacked the monetary funds to purchase so make sure you let me know in the comments what editions you think are worth their 'special' title.