I felt inspired to talk about this a little after coming across the new "Solid Gold Premium Edition" of Persona 4: Gold for the PS Vita, and showing a bit of disappointment over the fact that it's basically $30 extra for a travel case (while everyone should have already had one to begin with), stickers, and screen covers, along with a few wallpapers. I personally don't feel it justifies the price tag, but maybe you do? That's fine if so; I'm not here to say that what's valuable to one has to be to another automatically.
So as you can see by the title, I've decided to do some looking back on the various special editions of games that we've seen over the years and talk briefly about some of the ones I felt were the best (and soon the worst) of their kind. I have created a top 5 countdown list of what I felt were the best of the best. Feel free to give me any of your thoughts on the best/worst yourselves as I write up these two posts. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this one! Note that this list does not comprise of anything that hasn't yet come out (as awesome as the Street Fighter IV: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition looks!). Let's start things off with the best of list. I'd also like to point out that what really makes the "best of" list shine is the creativity involved in some of these:
This one may not seem like much to someone who's never played these before, but the ability to get all 3 of these amazing games together in one bundle, especially with newly-designed Wii motion controls for the first two games is truly incredible. The updated graphics look great and the games came in a nice steel case with a plastic sleeve, and an artbook and very fancy looking instruction manual (think about the last really good-looking instruction manual you've seen in a game case and it's not hard to see why that's a big deal). Nintendo completely spoiled us with this one. It would have been one thing to simply port all the games over, but the overhaul done here was excellent.
This set is the perfect example of how a modern special edition of a game can deliver, even when the game itself isn't quite up to par with its original. In this edition, players were granted a fascinating-looking box made of matte paper, a 164-page hardcover art book, 3 vintage advertisement posters from Rapture, an orchestral soundtrack CD with music from the second game, and most interesting of all, a 180-gram vinyl LP of the orchestral soundtrack from the first game. The vinyl fits perfectly with the tone of the game and the time it's supposed to take place in. These are the kinds of items that make collector's editions so interesting and worthwhile in the first place in my opinion.
And here we have yet another creative set, fitting the mood of the game perfectly. In a stylish pizza box, you get an "Empty Hearts" t-shirt, a pillowcase with Catherine displayed on it, a pair of Vincent's boxers, and an art book and soundtrack to finish it all off. Bizarre, definitely. But that's what makes it so cool!
This thing was quite a beast, especially for its time. It included the 3-disc game, a soundtrack CD, a making-of disc, a hardcover instruction manual and art book, a cloth map, some pop-up cardboard characters, and if that wasn't enough, a replica pendant necklace. JRPG fans still have to spend a pretty penny for this one, and for good reason. This was pure love in a collector's edition set.
This is the cream of the crop here folks! This over-sized box contained a disc with all 8 of the Ultima games leading up to IX, a soundtrack CD, tarot cards, an ankh amulet, a poster, a journal and spell book with leatherbound covers, a cloth map, a mini-illustration of the famous "Tapestry of Ages" art piece, and last but not least, a certificate signed by by Richard Garriot (creator of the series!), thanking you for your purchase and giving some hints about his future plans.
And there you have it! That's my personal top 5 list for collector's editions over the years so far. Some honorable mentions include the Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Editions, The Collector's Editions of Starcraft II and Diablo III, The Alan Wake Limited Collector's Edition, The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition for Nintendo Gamecube (porting over Zelda I, Zelda II, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask, and a demo for Wind Waker all on one tiny disc, albeit an overall average job of porting the games), and the Duke Nukem: Balls of Steel Edition (ironic, considering how lackluster the game itself was of course). Stay tuned for the next exciting blog, where I go into some of the worst of the so-called "collector's editions" we've been force-fed over the years. Later!