Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What should boomer shooters be called?
- Do you check how long games take to finish before you play them?
- Have you learned a real-world skill from a game?
It may be a little silly, forking over $150+ for a game you can get for half that, but I think we've all been tempted by the siren song of a videogame collector's edition, and upscale re-releases like the Knights of the Old Republic packages from LimitedRun (opens in new tab) gratify a primal part of my gamer brain. I wanted to hear about the tchotchkes our staff and community treasure, or else the buyer's remorse they'll never be able to forget.
What's the best (or worst) videogame collector's edition you've ever bought?
Here are our answers, as well as some from our forum (opens in new tab).
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: I still feel a bit annoyed about Black Ops a decade later. This is the last Call of Duty game I bought, and my interest in the series was already waning by this point. But my friends and I loved the Zombies co-op mode in Treyarch's previous game, World at War, and decided to buy Black Ops specifically to play more Zombies. The only problem: only the Hardened Edition came with the Zombies maps. And at launch, I believe there was no option to buy them separately, so it was either spring an extra $20 for the Hardened Edition, or miss out on the one mode we actually cared about.
So we paid up, and we played a lot of Zombies. That mode was definitely worth 20 bucks. As for the other $60 I spent... well, there's a reason I didn't buy another Call of Duty after that one. I was tired of the ridiculously quick TTK pace of the multiplayer, and Black Ops' campaign mostly just annoyed me. I'm not sure those great few weeks of Zombies co-op were worth having "THE NUMBERS, MASON" stuck in my head for the rest of time.
Phil Savage, UK Editor-in-Chief: I once moved houses three times in a year, and ever since I've avoided collector's editions. The acquisition of videogame tat is ultimately just a problem that one day I'll be forced to solve. The one thing I've kept is Anno 1404's collector's chest—a bizarre little package that, yes, includes the standard art book and a bonus DVD, but also some more outlandish items.
There's a compass, which admittedly I've never had a reason to use. There's also a little pouch containing six almond seeds, useful, I guess, in case I'm ever stranded on an island and need to produce goods to kickstart a new trade empire. Look, it's still full of junk, but it's interesting junk that's different from the norm. Admittedly I'm only picking this because I didn't buy the World in Conflict collector's edition, which came with an actual piece of the Berlin Wall.
Robin Valentine, Print Editor: I'm usually very anti-collector's editions - no one on earth needs a big plastic statue from a game they haven't even played yet. One of the few I've ever indulged in was the one for the classic, short-lived MMO Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. I've still got it on my shelf, and it's absolutely bursting with genuine quality—there's an exclusive Warhammer miniature of one of the main bad guys, a lovely graphic novel that sets up all the game's factions and their conflicts, an art book full of some of my favourite concept art ever, and... well, a mousemat, which is admittedly not quite as exciting. But not a stupid piece of plastic or pointless coin to be found. Even the box is a hefty, durable artifact in its own right. Shame it's lasted longer than the game did.
Rich Stanton, News Editor: My hype for Starcraft 2 was off the charts, and I played Wings of Liberty obsessively for about two years after release, so how could I ever resent this perfect big box that opens like a Terran self-building structure (not really but, y'know, the box has big industrial teeth that slide apart and back together again). Therein you'll find the usual suspects of an elaborate art book and soundtrack CD, but this came alongside a USB stick in the form of Jim Raynor's dog tag with the OG Starcraft on it, a fabulous behind-the-scenes 'making of' DVD, an absolutely terrible comic book, and various in-game downloadables including a must-have WoW pet of a miniature Thor.
Straight to my belly please Blizzard. I love this collector's edition mostly because I retain such fondness for this game, and recently a friend I used to play with visited me for a weekend. We did a bit of co-op gaming on our laptops one night, and it wasn't too long before I'd fetched the WoL Collector's Edition so we could re-examine it. At this point I remembered / realised it also included three sticker sheets: one for each of the game's factions. Obviously we threw the Protoss and Zerg ones aside, then re-affirmed our unbreakable manly bond by tastefully and carefully decorating our laptops in the Terran stickers. Still delivering value a dozen years later: now that's what I call a collector's edition.
Andy Chalk, News Lead: Tough to pick just one "best" but I think I'd have to give it to Neverwinter Nights. Absolutely massive box, with a gorgeous (and also massive) art book, full-size poster, full manual, game discs, soundtrack disc, mousepad map, and even a long-sleeve shirt for some reason. It's a glorious thing, and it holds a special place in my heart because I got it through the last real interaction with an EB Games employee I ever had. Shame the game itself was so mediocre.
The worst collector's edition, off the top of my head, is probably Half-Life 2. Big-ass box, nothing of note inside. Like I need a Prima Game Guide for Half-Life 2? We're not playing Myst here, guys.
By the way Phil, I think I have that World in Conflict Collector's Edition. It's pretty sweet.
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: I love filling the shelves of my home office/gamer hole with plastic crap, simple as. If we're talking about a game I'm excited enough for (would have hit Elden Ring, but its special version was only on consoles), or a re-release of an old favorite (you better believe I snagged those LimitedRun KotORs) I'll do it, damn the consequences. And I'd do absolutely evil things for Andy's NwN collector's edition.
But I will never forgive BioWare for what it did to me with the Dragon Age: Inquisition "Inquisitor's Edition."
Lockpick set, war table pieces, ink and quill, all looks decent right? When I call them plastic pieces of crap, I want to stress that half of these things were broken out of the box, just impossibly low quality. The cloth map, possibly the thing I was most excited for? A blurry, low-res jpeg of Thedas, the same one (opens in new tab) that's been up on the Dragon Age Wiki since 2009. The only halfway decent thing was the tarot card deck, and guess what I lost first and most definitively, somewhere between college moves and my parents' basement having a minor flood? I know that last one isn't BioWare's fault, but cut me some slack, I'm emotional and irrational here!
From the forum (opens in new tab)
DXCHASE: My Skyrim collectors edition is pretty great. I love the dragon statue and I still have the original box with its books and everything on display. that would be my favorite.
Brian Boru: "I think we've all been tempted by the siren song of a videogame collector's edition?" Oh no we haven't!
I've never bought what you're talking about, but I have bought Collector's Editions of game franchises—best undoubtedly being the 17-game Command and Conquer Ultimate Collection.
In the casual game world, Collector's Edition does not include anything physical but rather extra files like a strategy guide and art book, and then also extras in the game—i.e. a different version of the game—like collectibles and extra levels. I haven't bought many of those, with the best being the CEs of the excellent Royal Envoy series which provided ~50% more levels.
Zloth: I got a version of City of Villans that had a tiny, plastic Ghost Widow figure. That's the closest I've ever gotten to a Collector's Edition style statue. I do still have the plastic figure, so I guess it's a win.
The KotOR2 stuff doesn't appeal to me at all... except the poster that has HK-47 in the background. I would pay maybe a dollar for that. [Editor's note: I paid a lot more for it than that, bucko!]
Krud: Probably the best one I ever bought was the Warcraft III Collector's Edition, as it came with a TON of cool physical stuff (though nothing like a helmet or canvas bag, just art books and a guide and posters and cinematic DVD's and whatnot, I don't remember the specifics, as it's been a while), and I got it for dirt cheap from a store that apparently didn't know it was worth far more than the $25 I paid. (This wasn't that long after The Frozen Throne had come out. I think the regular base game was going for $19.99 at the time.)
Honorable mention goes to The Roberta Williams Anthology, which was less a "collector's edition" and more of a... well, collection in general, showing off her legacy in Sierra (while also plugging Phantasmagoria, which only came as a demo on it, IIRC.)
Having said that, I don't know that I've bought any "collector's editions" since I went digital downloads only. Except for maybe some GoG offerings that are labeled "collector's editions" despite it all just being digital swag. I think the term generally means something different nowadays, usually referring to a more complete version of the game. Though if the only difference is the Advanced Deluxe Legendary Edition comes with hi-res wallpaper and the soundtrack in FLAC format, I'll probably not spring the additional ten bucks or whatever they're asking.
mainer: I've purchased quite a few collectors' editions over the years for games or game series that I really enjoy. But I'm a bit picky about those that I do purchase, as I look at what type of physical "loot" is included, more so than just the digital "rewards" for paying extra. PC gaming is my number one hobby, and being a kid at heart, I love those things like cloth maps, statues, unique card decks, hard cover art books, replica coins, and all the other little physical items that might be included. I am not, however, interested in those collectors' editions that offer only digital rewards, such as in-game weapons, armor, pets, or in digital art books or soundtracks.
Naming my favorite collector's edition is a bit tougher, but it would have to go to the original Pip-boy collector's edition for Fallout 4. The original CE sold out in less than 48 hours, and you got an actual Pip-boy (in a Vault 111 crate) that you could actually wear, plus you could insert your smart phone (though not all makes/models) into the Pip-boy, download the Pip-boy App, which connected to your game so that you could access all stats, maps, and quests, just like you would in the game. In theory at least. The App was notoriously buggy and only worked about 75% of the time, I don't think it's available any longer. But it remains the only interactive CE that I've ever owned. In addition, you also got the Season Pass so that you got all future DLC for free.
Without doubt, the worst collector's edition I've ever purchased was Ultima 9 Ascension. A huge game box that was hard to fit on shelves, and entirely unneeded for what little it contained. A cloth map, a poster, a few unique tarot cards, and a certificate signed by "Lord British". Disappointing to say the least, and what made it worse, was that the game was terrible & buggy and a poor reflection on such a great RPG series. A very sad end.