Collector's editions are video game alchemy, turning cheap materials into free money with a few magic words and the idiocy of consumers. Limited editions are how developers have a yard sale without letting any fans obsessive enough to buy them know where they live. When people spend more on one advertising prop than five other fantastic games, we don't get to ask why gamers are treated like idiots anymore.
#6. Call Of Duty's Undrinkable Flask
Call Of Duty is the closest shooters have to a sports franchise, releasing new titles every year by updating the names of the people you want to destroy just because they come from somewhere else. The single-player mode has devolved into whack-a-mole with a reload function, interspersed with cutscenes which repeat if you don't press the occasional button. But the multiplayer is the first entirely simulated arms race. Players have to buy the latest version if they want to keep up their kill count with those of random people with usernames like Dong_MasterXXX420.
"I could only look saner if these vertical slashes were drawn in blood."
Their military realism now extends to blatantly padding the costs of their projects. And the worst example was when the World At War Collector's Edition came with a flask*, and that asterisk is an ASCII asshole shitting all over the meaning of words and the lives of anyone who bought it. The flask looked like a flask and was described as a flask, but was actually a fuck you. It was solid metal, and sealed shut. Even compared to most other collector's edition goodies, it was entirely useless.
The playable game disc and the exact opposite of that disc.
#5. The Halo Disc Destroyer
Halo! The game that proved you can skip developing a main character if you finally give us a separate button for grenades. You'd see more original character development with Nosferatu fighting Bruce Lee in a hall of mirrors. The closest they came to making Master Chief a believable guy was how his computer slowly filled with softcore pornography over time.
"UNSC IT wants to talk to you about having me on your computer."
The unlockable twist in the fourth game was that the main character had eyes. As opposed to any of the incredible Halo revelations they could have made. Despite this, people will buy fabulous, pointless John-117-related gifts for far too much money, and Microsoft milked those teats dry.
Halo 3 released with multiple collector's editions, and punished anyone who didn't buy the most expensive one. You think I'm joking. The Legendary Edition came with a miniature Master Chief helmet. A helmet you can't wear seems even crueler than the undrinkable flask, but a completely empty and faceless helmet was such an accurate representation of the character that it should be in a modern art gallery on a concrete plinth that can be used for cover. But the Limited Edition came in a box which destroyed the game disc.
A disaster wrapped in a brand inside a cash-in.
The steel disc case couldn't hold the disc, elevating "you had one job" to simulated-reality-destroying levels. The game disc would come loose in transit and scratch itself, as if it would rather die than be played. This was the disc sold especially to advance-ordering players, which means that many of them stayed up for the midnight launch and spent twice the normal price of the game for a self-destructing copy. And while they were busy yelling at customer support, sane players were enjoying the game.
It's not like the Limited Edition did anything else to justify the disaster. It wasn't a Rube Goldberg device which went wrong and accidentally dropped the disc instead of serving it on an automated plate capable of oral sex underneath a controller. The metal box's only job was "get far more money for holding the game," and it still concentrated so hard on the first part that it utterly forgot about everything else. So it might be a shitty box for a game, but it was an Ecto Containment Unit for the entire spirit of modern AAA development.
#4. The Gears Of War 3 Statuette
Gears Of War looks like what would happen if geeks finally trapped the star quarterback in TRON, and he still kicked their asses. This is a game with an invisible flying robot, and they still pick that nerd shit last so that the football players can sweatily back-slap each other through pounding everything they see. The world of Sera is what would happen if interstellar travel was discovered by a frat trying to find a way to escape sexual harassment suits.
"We've only got a week to raise a million bullets, or the Locust Dean will close Sera Delta Sera!"
The Epic Edition included an art book, a resigned sigh at the use of the word "Epic," and a Marcus Fenix doll. Sorry, not a doll -- a shitty doll. They called it a "statue," because then you don't have to include articulation or any ability to play with it.
"Alas, what ails me now not even the bro-iest back-slap could cure."
The Epic Edition cost $150. That's a full hundred dollars extra for a book and the world's worst toy. We've mocked the He-Man Ram-man toy for being a single solid lump, but at least it could be picked up and waved around. The Fenix figurine is attached to a massive solid base to make it absolutely clear that this isn't anything entertaining. It's a shrine to wasted money. It's an inverted anti-Thinker, a violent thug whose only purpose is to make its beholder wonder what they're doing with their lives.
"I lean my hands on a gun barrel and my crotch against a chainsaw because I'm THAT SMART."
There's nothing wrong with buying dolls. I'm writing this between an Optimus Prime and Thunderbird 2. But paying twice as much for few inches of plastic fictional character should only screw you if it's a sex toy.