Hello friends, and Happy New Year!! I hope that 2013 has been treating you all as well as it has been treating me so far. The year is full of promise and potential both in my personal life and in the geek sphere in general. There are things to look forward to in movies, comics, and of course gaming, For the hundreds if not thousands of you who keep careful watch over the course of my writings here, I’m sure you all know what game I’m anticipating most. And for you first timers, I’ll save you the research and just tell you that it is the new StarCraft II expansion.
One of my favorite things about being a geek is the level of enthusiasm that geeks bring to any excuse they can find to geek out. Midnight launches, comic/sci-fi/gaming Cons, and fan run wikis are all prime opportunities to see fans doing what they do best – celebrating the characters and creations that unite us as fans.
Like any large enough community, subgroups end up forming. Geeks have plenty to choose from – cosplayers, fan art creators, lore scholars, retro gamers, indie gamers, speed runners, message board trolls, achievement hoarders, leaderboard fanatics…
If I were to consider myself any one brand of geek, it would be The Collector. While I do enjoy all of the different breeds of geek (well, almost all of them – looking at you message board troll), my collection is my read pride. I have at least two to three times as many games for systems at least two generations old than I do for more modern games, with the largest number for my (working) Super Nintendo and going as far back as to my (working) Atari 2600 system and games.
Of course the game companies know that people like me are out there, and like any reasonable business they know how to supply things for us to collect. I have more posters from midnight launches and premiers than I have room on my walls for. Then there are items rewarded for preordering, won from contests, or just bought from vendors.
The epitome of exclusive fanboy (or fangirl) goodies comes in the form of the Collector’s Edition (CE). Now, I’ve had my share of CE’s in the past that have come with everything from physical figurines to in-game content to behind the scenes DVDs to gold game cartridges.
Most recently, my Collector’s Edition additions have been from Blizzard, makers of the StarCraft series along with many other very successful properties. And even though I’ve been a fan of their games since WarCraft II in elementary school, in recent years I’ve been particularly impressed by their Collector’s Editions. Like many other CE’s, the bundles I bought for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III included standard fare like soundtracks, art books and DVDs. Even though I am not an art or music buff I still appreciate these because they give me a chance to appreciate those parts of the game that I would have most likely overlooked when swept up in everything else going on in the game.
Like many other CE’s these two also offered exclusive in-game bonuses such as unit skins or player portraits. Although they do not add any in-game benefits that would simply give the advantage to the player willing to spend more money, the value of bragging points is not to be underestimated. Using my Diablo Marine portrait from the Wings of Liberty CE won’t make any of my units faster or more powerful, but wordlessly letting my opponent know that I have been playing the game since launch day can have a huge psychological effect. Not to mention the fun of occasionally inducing a jealous rage.
What really won me over with these two CE’s though were the physical trinkets that came with them. The Skyrim CE came with a sweet dragon statue and one of the Halo’s came with a replica of Master Chief’s helmet, and those are very nice in their own way. But the SCII: WoL and D3 CE’s came with a replica futuristic dog tag and a demon skull with soulstone respectively. What made them so special you ask? Both of these items were actually unique USB drives that had the entire content of earlier games preinstalled. The dog tag had both StarCraft and its expansion while the soulstone in the demon’s skull had the entirety of Diablo II and its expansion. The price of that software alone covers about half of the extra expense of the CE, not to mention everything else that comes with them.
So when March 12th finally rolls around in 2 months you can be sure that I’ll be there, at or near the front of the line for my midnight launch copy of Heart of the Swarm. And yes, I will be enjoying the in-game skins, art book, DVD and more offered from the Collector’s Edition. Sadly, there won’t be any fun USB goodies this time around, but Blizzard does offer a new innovation to the CE scene – the Deluxe Download option. For people who don’t want to (or can’t) go for the full CE but still want the digital bonuses like skins and portraits, the Deluxe Download is the way to go. Just one more way that modern technology is helping make it easier for us to let our geek flag fly.