The video game industry has ruined it. It’s all over. Pack it up. Move along. Leave everything non-essential behind and don’t look back. If I have to look at another ridiculously over-the-top, overblown, over-priced, self-congratulating, piece-of-shit “Collector’s Edition” of a game that don’t deserve it, I swear that I’m going to burn this mutha to the ground.

BURN THE INDUSTRY TO THE GROUND!

This age of decadence is reminiscent of the roaring 20’s. I saw a flapper the other day, wearing long strands of pearls, doing the Charleston into their local game store and buying Pip-Boy editions of “Fallout 4”. I saw it!

This used to be a nice neighborhood...

This used to be a nice neighborhood…

We know why they’re doing it: it’s easy cash. They can pump these cheap trinkets out as fast and easy as the neighbor’s bull mastiff, King Rex, cuts turds on your rose bushes. It’s nothing but pure profit for them. It’s better and more profitable than DLC.

And you want to know the dirty little secret that makes it so every single game gets one of these turds? Gamers – that’s us – are eating this shit up.

We’re scooping up King Rex’s soft serve, putting it into a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, whipping up a batch of brownies, and shoveling the entire piping-hot pan into our gullets before the kids get home from school. There’s no evidence left behind except for a lingering smell of poo. And, well, all of the statues. There are a lot of statues.

How has this become accepted and celebrated? Do we think this is a service? Are we being done a favor?

“Tell you what; I COULD sell you just the game. I could even throw that game in a steelbook, if you bought it the day of release. But, I think you’re going to like this more. See, I’ve got a version of this game that comes in a gigantic box. And we’ve filled it with all sorts of cra… cool stuff. We’ve got a statue of an iconic enemy from the game. We’ve also got a keychain you’ll never use, a CD you’ll never listen do, an art book you’ll thumb through once and never touch again, an art cell you can do nothing with, a 256 mb USB drive that has 4 exclusive remixed tracks that we didn’t bother to put on the CD, a mini-guide that will get you through the first hour of the game, a sticker celebrating the 2006 World Series Championship of the St. Louis Cardinals, and… but this is only if you buy this in the next 15 minutes… we’ll throw in a set of Cut ‘n’ Swish Knives.

This WHOLE package can be yours for only $250. Whaddya say?”

SOLD!

You buy your box full of someone else’s promotional trash, take it home, unpack everything from the box, examine it for a second, pack it all back in the box, and wonder where your life went wrong. It’s an unhealthy amount of consumption and there’s no real value to it, even if you like such things.

Now, you may be wondering, “Tyler, why do you give a flying fuckfart what other people spend their money on?”

Good question, and I’m glad you asked it. Here’s why I care:

You’re being an idiot.

You complain all day about being bent over by publishers and railed hard by Day-1 DLC, season passes, microtransactions, pay-to-win, broken games, nerfs, on-disc DLC, pre-order exclusive DLC, and whatever other fetish of the day boning publishers like to get down with.

But, they dangle a collector’s edition in front of your face and, suddenly, everything’s right with the world? You act like they’ve just done you a solid. How is upcharging you 2-3 times the amount of the game good? How can we be offering them positive reinforcement for this exploitative pandering?

Don’t tell me it’s because of the “stuff”. That stuff is largely valueless. And don’t tell me it’s because you want something that few others have. That isn’t true, either. They’ll increase production on these if demand is high enough. We saw that with the Pip-Boy Edition of “Fallout 4”. There is nothing that will stop them from spending a few extra dollars to make thousands of dollars more.

We, as gamers, are left with a feeling of specialness. At least, that’s what publishers want us to think. In reality, when tens of thousands of other people have purchased the same product you have, that “specialness” isn’t so special. There’s nothing “Special” about these special editions. They’re not collectible, they just collect dust. The only thing they’re limited in is how much time you’ll spend caring about them after you’ve bought it.

We’re a compulsive bunch, I get it. We’ve been trained for generations to think that all of this stuff is going to go up in price. But, if you’re actually a collector, you’d know just how much of this shit is worthless. There’s only an increase in value if there is a demand… and the demand for these things ends on the release date. In 20 years, you’re not going to see a massive spike in value for a molded plastic Pip-Boy that isn’t compatible with any current technology. You’re not going to be able to sell your “Assassin’s Creed” statue to pay off your car. Nobody is going to care… not even you.

In 20 years, you’re not going to see a massive spike in value for a molded plastic Pip-Boy that isn’t compatible with any current technology. You’re not going to be able to sell your “Assassin’s Creed” statue to pay off your car.

You want to know the funniest part about all of this? I’m actually FOR games being more expensive. I want games to have a higher base price, because if they do, maybe we can get away from everything else the publishers want to charge us for à la carte, and start getting full games again. Or, at least, start getting all of the post-release content for free. The only reason we’re being nickel, dimed, and Franklin’d is because they’ve been charging the same damn price for these things since the 80’s. That’s not a sustainable business model.

Prices haven’t even gone up with inflation, let alone to account for the increased production costs. That is insane.

A $50 NES game in 1984 is worth $114 today. A $60 N64 game in 1996 is worth $90 today. If you average that out, we should be paying about $100 for our new games.

ONE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS.

But, people would throw a fit. So, that’s why we have DLC, that’s why we have microtransactions, and that’s why we have these ludicrous collector’s editions that I’m tired of seeing announced and I’m sure game store employees are tired of trying to find the space in their tiny stores for when they’re left with copies nobody picked up.

I’ll go ahead and admit that I used to be swayed by the siren song of these products. I have “Lunar: Silver Star Story”, “Lunar: Eternal Blue”, “Arc the Lad Collection”, and “Growlanser Generations”. Working Designs OWNED the 90’s and early 00’s with their special boxes. I also bought the CE for “Street Fighter IV”… and then 3 other versions of the game later. I have the CE for “Catherine”, complete with a pizza box that everything comes in and a pair of boxer shorts.

Hopefully, senpai won't notice that you bought this.

Hopefully, senpai won’t notice that you bought this.

People, I bought UNDERWEAR, because it came with a video game. Shitty underwear, too. What am I going to do with it, seriously?

We’re telling publishers we don’t want to spend money on their bullshit, and then we buy their bullshit! We’re wasting our money, while telling them it’s okay to keep these shenanigans up. Stop it. Just fucking stop it.

I’ve stopped. When the game store clerk asked me if I wanted to reserve the special edition of “Street Fighter V”, I said , “NO!” When the game store clerk asked me if I wanted to reserve the special edition of “Dark Souls 3”, I said, “NO!” When the game store clerk asked me if I wanted to reserve the special edition of “Bravely Second”, I said, “Yes!” Wait, that’s wrong, because I said, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Put an end to the madness. Save your money and buy more actual games. If you want cool statues or merchandise, find a company that’s making cool custom stuff and give them your money. Find an artist that does commissions and get an awesome custom work of art. Don’t buy the same corporate rubbish that everybody else is.

Your shelves will thank you.