The Five Worst Collector’s Editions

The Five Worst Collector’s Editions
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When the world’s video game marketers shuffle off this mortal coil, they will be judged for their sins. We like to think there will be a separate inquiry devoted just to superfluous special editions, where the worst offenders are cast into the ninth circle of hell.

While some special editions come bundled with useful in-game content, most are festooned with low-quality paraphernalia designed to fleece hardcore fans dry. Without further ado, here are five of the worst offenders.

Awesome (Psygnosis, 1990)

Image: Psygnosis

The rubbishly named Awesome was a science fiction action RPG released for Amiga and Atari ST back in 1990. It was kind of the Mass Effect of its era, except without the interesting characters or gameplay.

In addition to the regular version, Psygnosis released a marked-up ‘deluxe’ edition that came in a truly enormous box – even by the standards of the era. (Seriously, you could comfortably house a small puppy farm in this thing.) The only ‘extra’ was a T-shirt. Outrageously, the art on the shirt wasn’t even designed by Psygnosis’ usual fantasy artist Roger Dean.

To add insult to injury, the low-quality transfer flaked away into nothing after the first wash. It was the worst purchasing decision of my life – and I bought the Golden Axe reboot on Xbox 360.

Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, 2005)

Image: YouTube

Admittedly, the idea behind this one is pretty cool. To celebrate the release of Resident Evil 4 on PS2, Capcom released a special edition with a chainsaw-shaped controller (the same one designed by Nubytech for GameCube). Needless to say, it handled like arse. As Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett complained: “the thing is completely impractical, buttons in not just the wrong spot, but uncomfortable spots.”

Alongside the H.R Giger Alien Joystick, it’s probably the most ill-conceived peripheral ever. Which begs the question – why not just package the game with a cool chainsaw replica without the functionality? It would have been much cheaper to produce and they probably would have sold more.

Remembering The Alien 3 Joystick: The Best/Worst Game Controller In Existence

In the summer of 1992, UK joystick manufacturer Cheetah released the Alien 3 JoyStick for a range of 8-bit and 16-bit microcomputers. It was basically a big plastic xenomorph that you could sort of control games with. As an Alien-obsessed 13 year old, I was determined to save up and buy one for my Commodore Amiga. To this day, it remains the worst financial decision of my life.

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Dead Island (Riptide, 2013)

Image: Deep Silver

Oh dear. In the simpler, more innocent time of five years ago, someone thought it would be okay to package a game with the gore-spattered, dismembered corpse of a woman clad in a micro bikini. Curiously, the horrific body damage that covers most of the statuette did not extend to its breasts. Following a storm of online anger, Deep Silver was forced to issue an apology for “any offence caused”.

Yes, we get that this is a zombie FPS in which dismembering the undead – including women – is a gameplay feature. Nevertheless, sexualised depictions of violence against women should never be the centerpiece of a collector’s edition.

Dying Light (Warner Bros. Interactive, 2015)

Image: Techland Publishing

What is it with zombie games and crappy collector’s editions? Dying Light deserves a special place on this list for the hilariously overpriced My Apocalypse Collectors Edition. It came with “free” real-life parkour lessons, a custom zombie shelter, night vision goggles, two pairs of Razer Tiamat headphones and a trip to Poland – for £250,000 (around $AU437,796.)

While clearly a publicity stunt (the edition was limited to one copy), it helped foment the idea of ridiculously pricey special editions in gaming. But the worst thing about the My Apocalypse Collectors Edition? It didn’t even come with a season pass. Speaking of…

Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box (Rockstar Games, 2018)

Image: Take-Two Interactive

Why buy the game when you can own a bunch of plastic tat and cardboard instead? In a move that has raised more than a few eyebrows, Rockstar has opted to release a collector’s edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 that doesn’t include the game. For your 160 dollarydoos, you get a treasure map,
an old-timey catalogue, a pin set, some playing cards, a bandana, a fake coin, 12 collector cards and a puzzle – plus a box with a lock and key in the unlikely event anyone would want to steal this crap.

The actual game, meanwhile, will cost you the same as everybody else. Tch.

What’s the worst collector’s edition you’ve ever parted with your hard-earned cash for? Conversely, what’s the best collector’s edition you’ve ever bought? Have at it in the comments!

Extravagant Collector's Editions Are Overwhelming Video Game Collectors

If you thought spending $US149.99 for a massive collector's edition is too much, what about folks like commenter Gemini-Phoenix, who feel compelled to purchase every limited collector's edition that comes out. Let's hear his desperate please to publishers in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.

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  • You know, i kinda get the “not including the game” bit.

    I’ve imported collector’s editions before, and it can be tough to wait for it to turn up after the game has been released.

    I’m not proud, but on more than one occasion I’ve bought the game separately too.

    • I kinda like the way Blizzard handles this for WoW. If you buy the digital expansion now, then get the collector’s edition later, they’ll detach the original digital licence from the account so you can use it on a different one. It’s not a refund, sure, but it’s still pretty nice.

      • @zombiejesus thankfully that’s changing with battle for azeroth and you get a full refund to your blizzard account balance once registering the physical key

    • That plus if the game is classified or censored in certain countries it still leaves the collector’s pack a global product as well as not being tied to a particular system.

      • Except it wouldn’t be hard to include a digital version of the game (ie: a steam code). Buy the collectors edition, submit your email get an appropriate code in the mail.

        On the Dead Island front, I wonder whether the backlash would have been the same if they’d made multiple different special editions. Sure keep the bikini torso, but create a dude version and a couple other variants. They could at least claim equality then.

          • Quoted from Microsoft;

            Every single Xbox One game on the market can be bought from the comfort of your couch and installed on to your console without the need for a disc.

            Doesn’t matter whether it’s PC or console. They all have online digital marketplaces these days.

  • No mention of Marvel vs Capcoms terrible Infinity Stone collectors edition that looked nothing like the advetised product and look like poorly coloured easter eggs.

  • sexualised depictions of violence against womenNot quite understanding this one. Sounds like the author tacked on modern terminology on the original complaint; which was the micro bikini statue in the first place. It was the sexual nature of the piece that caused issue since the world still treats video games as a children’s pastime. It was never about the sexualisation of violence against women. Stop misleading the readers with your single focus narratives please and keep to the facts.

    • Sex sells or at least gets people talking, although I don’t view a woman in a bikini as being sexualized a lot of people probably do.
      They could have done a male version of the torso as well would have gone done a bit better.
      In saying that the statuette does fit in withe the game, it’s a tropical beach setting so the attire suits and it’s about zombies so dismemberment also fits.
      It’s not necessarily a violent sexualized depiction of a woman in my eyes more a dismembered zombie corpse. Still I can see another point of view on it

    • I had friends who were buying Dead Island at the time and were trying to convince me to get it as well. I played a demo and didn’t feel very good about the gory dismemberment of the bikini women zombies but was willing to cringe through it as part of the tropical exploitation setting, even if that aspect didn’t work for me at all.

      When I saw the collectors edition ‘sexy dismembered female corpse’ it 100% sealed the decision for me. I know sexualised depictions of violence against women are typical of exploitation horror but it definitely makes my skin crawl and was 100% the reason why this collectors edition turned me off the game. It says, this is the aspect of the game we are willing to put out there as core to our marketing. It’s literally a women reduce to the sexy parts only, covered in gore. A sexy zombie statue I would understand, or a straightforward bikini babe statue, but a sexy victim of violence? Not for me, and not for a lot of other people as well.

      If you’ve been paying attention, ‘sexualised violence against women’ is something people have found upsetting for a long time, this is not a uniquely 2018 complaint, and was certainly not new in 2013. I understand that some people enjoy it and are fine with it. That’s fine, people have different lines for what they are able to enjoy. Not everyone enjoys depictions like that, and pretending like it’s new or trendy to be uncomfortable with sexualised violence depicted is shockingly ignorant to how a lot of people feel. (Consider: You’re a woman, you know victims of abuse, you have personal experiences that make you feel like this is inappropriate and upsetting as a marketing gimmick).

      Also if it’s the terminology that’s tripping you up, the exact phrase “sexualized violence against women” appears in this paper from 2005, for example.

      • Would it of made a difference if there was a male version of the same Statue, like a dude in speedos?

        • Made a difference to who? For me, personally, that wouldn’t have turned me back onto the game. To some people, maybe it would have. The thing with these kind of situations is that they’re subjective. There’s no clear right or wrong way to approach depicting sexy corpses, maybe making it equal across genders would make it feel ok to some individuals but not others. Honestly for me? I think giving the statue a head would have made it a lot less viscerally unpleasant, but that’s obviously a very personal reaction.

          My main point was more directed at Mase, that it’s absurd to claim this complaint was tacking on 2018 attitudes to a 2013 controversy – I just wanted to make clear that many people have been put off by sexualised violent imagery for a long time, and assuming it’s new and trendy shows a narrow worldview.

          • You right about it being subjective, for me I don’t see a bikini as “sexy” maybe because I grew up close to the beach it was just normal swimwear to me.

            I think the over the top gore is pretty bad, still I see a zombie torso in a (not sexy IMO) bikini. But I can understand and see the other point of view.

        • I’d find that equally as awkward as the female torso, to be honest. I’d have had no issue if it was just a severed hand or foot or something though.

          • Ya see, why didn’t they do something vaguely practical like that? You know those ‘artist dummy’ hands you can buy that people can hang things from/put jewellery (i.e. rings) on and stuff – give us a dismembered zombie hand that you can do that with.

            Not just a statuette, give us something to DO with it and I’ll be more likely to shell out.

            Plus, that avoids the whole controversy because it could be anybodies hand, not specifically a zombified woman’s torso in a teeny-tiny bikini

          • As dead island is set at a resort with bikini and board short clad people. I feel a severed hand or foot would be to generic. It could be any zombie game then.
            Not saying the torso is a good idea but you still need something people recognise as being dead island.

      • I suppose I can’t interest you in the films ‘Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!’ featuring notorious pimp Johnny Backhand? His best lines include ‘Hey baby, don’t be jealous because my baby gonna have my baby’.

        There’s also the film ‘Zombie Strippers’ featuring Jenna Jameson, including such notable exchanges as ‘But what about the girls?’ ‘They’re zombies.’ ‘No, they’re strippers.’ ‘They’re zombie strippers.’ *pumps shotgun*


          • I don’t think it’s wrong. I got a big laugh at a couple scenes in Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse. One with a sexy female cop zombie and one with a male zombie on a trampoline. Both oh so wrong, but of so funny.

          • Whoops forgot to say, I think it comes down to how well people can differentiate fiction from reality. Maybe this is over-generalising but it seems like the people I know who get most offended by movies/games/other fiction are the ones who struggle to separate fact from fiction the most. They’re the ones who get suckered in online scams, or “fifty likes on facebook will save this kid” or believing Obama is a Muslim who wanted to destroy America BS.

      • There’s nothing sexualized about it, if there is then every beach and pool in the world is sexualized. Fictional violence is simply fictional violence, and just like the real world, what people are wearing has nothing to do with it.

    • Looking at the Wikipedia page, I found a few contemporary responses to that statue: (Deep Silver’s response on Twitter)

      It seems pretty clear that a lot of people were repulsed by the combination of the gore and the sexualised imagery. Claiming that they were only concerned about boobs is a bit disingenuous.

    • Except it was always at least partially about sexualised violence, as you would know if you remember when it came out or you’d bothered to click the first result in google after searching for “dead island special edition controversy.”

      This piece the first and last people interviewed refer to the idea of it being sexualised violence:

      A tech news site that twice makes mention that everything except the boobs are torn up:

      I stopped bothering to look at more articles, but there are plenty that make mention of it. The original Dead Island release also had a character skill named “Feminist Whore” in the code, so it’s not like this was the first time Dead Island had been in the news for being shitty to women.

      Just sticking to the facts.

    • That’s not quite accurate, is it? There are multiple pieces about this statue, with multiple discussion threads, all dated early 2013 that discuss sexualised depictions of violence against women as a core concern.

      You’re not wrong that the sexual nature of the piece was a concern, but you’re swinging in the dark if you believe (or remember without first checking) the depiction of a decapitated and dismembered torso of a sexualised woman had nothing to do with discussions about sexualised depictions of violence against women.

      So to you, please stop misleading readers with your single focus narratives and please keep to the facts.

    • “modern terminology”? It was five years ago. We were using the phrase ‘sexualised depictions of violence against women’ back then.

      And that was exactly the problem with it. Heck, when you look up the game on wikipedia, it goes into that very issue.

    • Actually, sexualised depictions of violence against women is a hot button issue for both consumers and, more importantly, for censors. Censory boards in Australia have restricted games being released here more than once due to this occurance, so the author absolutely has his finger on the pulse with this one. Wasn’t there an article about this on here recently…?

  • I’ve still got the ninty Resi 4 chainsaw controller and yep, it sucks. You have to hold it at a 45 degree angle (so the blade points up/left because what is considered “up” for the right hand analogue stick is “left” for the left analogue and d-pad. Confused yet? Although the ability to reload by tilting the saw up then back (like a chopping motion) was cool. When it worked. The ripcord start button on the PS version had me jealous mine didn’t have it, but I’d rather have the GC version of RE4 and live without it. About once a year I fire that game up again, using the saw controller, then switch back to regular controller about 10 mins in…

  • I rarely get Collector’s Editions (mostly thanks to EB always getting exclusive rights and asking four times as much as they are worth) and of the ones I have (mostly via import as sometimes they aren’t even released here) I’ve been happy.

    But I do think (based on what I’ve read) there are two others that should make the list.

    The first BioShock game had a figurine of the Big Daddy which was soon discovered to be very cheaply made and often fell part.

    The second is the collector’s edition of Fallout 4. I don’t think I need to say more, the quality fell very short of the hype with the item even arriving in a broken state to some customers.

    • I actually liked the pipboy, mine has never broken since I’ve had it on the shelf since say one.

      • You must be one of the few with a lot of luck.

        For some, one or more of the items broke shortly after the first use.

        But others, sometimes the case holding the PipBoy would arrive in a battered state (e.g.: a damaged hinge) or worse.

        While a good portion of the blame is on the courier/agent shipping the item, Bethesda should have made the product more durable. Not for every day use, but at least so it would survive long enough to be a collector’s piece.

        • Mine sits on the shelf only because my phone wont fit into it, its a 6+ and for some idiotic reason most people use stupidly small phones that fall easily into the toilet when they go and take a shit

      • Same here. I actually used mine to play the game (with a ZTE T815 installed) and I left the phone in there after I’d finished as a sort of “living” model PipBoy. Looks great on my shelf.
        That and the Aloy CE are my favourites, I think.

    • Yeah, I recall that Big Daddy with Bioshock…big, heavy hunk of metal with a awful paint job. Good door stop but!

  • I scored all of the preorder figures for RE5 from JB but usually I don’t buy collector editions.

    I do love me a map though, one day in going to frame my collection to hang up somewhere.

  • I wish instead of collector’s editions and all that chaff they’d start merchandising a lot more. I’d be more than happy to purchase shirts or statues from my favourite games.

    • I’ve got a few quite decent quality Warcraft ones from back in the day.
      There are certainly some games that could make a killing of merchandise, look to Minecraft for example.

  • Picked up a few Collector’s editions in my time.
    Halo 2 with the limited edition steel case. Ooooh!!!!
    Halo 3 with Master Chief’s helmet – Doesn’t fit on my head!!!
    Black Ops 3 Juggernog edition that comes with a fridge. Fits 4 redbulls and is noisy as hell.
    Shamefully, Destiny 2 edition with the messenger bag/solar charging battery bollocks.

  • Destiny collectors edition with Dinkle-Bot. Not only did the game suck, but it didn’t come with the season pass that made it suck less.

  • I always wished I’d got the original Mirror’s Edge edition with the runner bag. Sigh…

    Best collector’s editions would include Borderlands 2 with the loot chest and bobble-head, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst with awesome Faith statue and Persona 4 Dancing All Night with the Teddie pouch and key chain.

  • Bought the dead island riptide statue loved it and so did my husband. Now sits nicely next to my TF2 statues. Some people are offended for the sake of being offended.

  • LOL @ Dying Light.

    The only thing I wish I ever bought was the PUBG early collectors edition or whaever it was with the trenchcoat etc, only because it sold for over $1000 dollars on the Steam marketplace.

  • Aliens colonial marines…the model of the marine fighting an alien while operating a power-loader was better than the game.
    Horizon Zero Dawn: Thunderjaw edition. Very nice.
    Pipboy edition of fallout 4, mine was fine.

    You just have to be picky and buy the ones that interest you. Not everybody will love it, but not everyone has to.

    • I absolutely love my A:CM powerloader figure.

      Such a high quality figure for such a shitty game, i suppose the writing was on the wall.

  • The worst CE game i bought was Max Payne 3, the statue was made from cheap injection molded plastic which after some hot weather buckled.

    I am a sucker for collector edition games though, off the top of my mind i bought, Duke Nukem
    Forever, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Watch Dogs, Gran Turismo 5*, Fallout 4 Pipboy and Doom 2016.

    * I would like to say that the Gran Turismo 5 CE i bought was a clearance from Game back when they were a thing and i got for $100, no way i would have paid full price for it, btw that wallet lasted me 3 years with 4 re-gluing’s.

  • My fiancee is a huge Dragon Age fan so when D.A 3 announced the collector’s edition, I jumped on it (one of the few times I’ve even bothered). What arrived was the tackiest, most flimsy oversized plastic box lined with fake felt and a crappy “dragon scale” covering.

    Inside it had all manner of cheaply made plastic crap including “lockpicks” that opened a hidden section of the box, (literally just another flap in the bottom) it had a map and map markers that broke within an hour. I’d wager the cost price of all the additons would have been around $2 only because it came with a real feather and cloth map.

    Since then I’ve been very cautious about preordering any kind of physical collector’s editions because it almost always comes as very poor quality.

    Sure as hell will be ignoring Red Dead’s joke of a deal.

    Don’t pay $200 for crap that you’d find at a cheap shop just because it’s got your favorite game’s stamp on it.

  • Half Life 2 CE, the shirt was like a tent. They only came in something like XXXL size. And I couldn’t even play the game because it gave me horrible simulator sickness within 20 minutes. Oh and it was the first game to come with Steam… dammit steam! Grumble grumble.

    • I too had the Half Life 2 CE version, box the size of a Board game, gigantic T-Shirt that I had to give to my dad (who wore it proudly lol) and Game Guide.

      10/10 will buy again (cause HL2).

      • The irony is I loved what I could play and really wanted to play the game through. I kept trying to play the game in 10-15 minute snippets, stopping when the urge to vomit became too strong. But eventually I had to give up.

    • You know, when steam first appeared way back when, i was stuck on dialup at 28k connection. It wouldnt let me update counter strike becuase the connection was so slow it would get a timeout error, thus i could never play cs again.
      I have hated steam ever since then ????

  • I’m super, super selective on any Collectors Edition, but a sucker for a decent statue or action figure. Last couple were the Terror Billy retro styled figure that came the Wolverstein II CE, picked it up for like $55 at an EB sale & The Horizon Zero Dawn CE that came with the Alloy statue by Gentle Giant…that thing is sweeeeet.

    I remember JB used throw random free stuff at you when picked up a releases day game; got a twisted Condemned 2 T shirt once with the creepy toy doll print.

  • Worst for my was probably Arkham Asylum. Was supposed to come with a full-size Batarang & stand – it was just a bit of black hollow plastic glued to a plain plastic stand. On top of that it had scratches on it (I assume it was supposed to look battle-damaged/worn?) that just looked like someone had gone at it with a knife for 5 minutes… Great game but rubbish CE.

    Also not sure if it would count but I’d say the Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition was pretty bad simply for the fact it was never actually released, getting cancelled just before release (and after other special editions were mostly sold out).

    Not sure I could pick one as my favourite though. I haven’t got any of the most crazy ones over the years but I have been happy with most of what I have got; from Bioshock Infinite with the amazing Songbird statue to Blizzard games with all the art books and music, even Assassin’s Creed 3 with the statue and notebook – though I do regret buying that game in general…

    • Considering how good the games were, both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City had disappointing CEs. Asylum for the mentioned awful cheap, scratched Batarang, and the flimsy bit of cardboard it called a game case, and City for the box being an absolute pain to put back together once opened, and just chucking all the special CDs and fluff in a cardboard drawer at the bottom.

      • I actually don’t mind the Arkham City one. It does have the problems you mentioned but the boxed statue fits right on the shelf with my other games and looks great.

        Far from a great CE, but not horrible.

  • I preordered the Watch Dogs Limited Edition.

    The worst thing about it was that it came with Watch Dogs (the game).

  • Last Collector’s Edition I bought was Mass Effect 3. Pretty meh. Came with a fabric N7 patch, a tiny little 16 page comic, a steelbook, and a mini artbook. The only redeeming thing was that it included the From the Ashes DLC on Day 1, which gave the Promethean crew member, so really it paid for itself. Still, Collector’s Editions are a sad fare these days. Even when they go on sale, I feel like ‘why would I want this tat?’

  • The deer skull that came with the horribly overpriced Farcry 5 edition is pretty rad. It sits very comfortably on my wall. Disappointed with the game though.

    The laser pistol that Gametraders did for Fallout 4 was a piece of shit. Shame. Broke when I dropped it from half a foot.

  • The original release of Final Fantasy XIV had a pretty awful CE in Japan and Europe. In addition to early access to a game that at the time was hot garbage, you got a map and a weird tin cup thing, which for many people came scratched up or filled with mould. And the kicker was that this cup came with a warning label saying not to use it for hot liquids, milk, fruit juice or carbonated beverages.

  • Have to take issue with what you say about Awesome‘s box.

    First – several Psygnosis games came in the larger box with a t-shirt in the UK as the standard release. I had the Shadow Of The Beast t-shirt boxes, Awesome andk Obtus too. Wore my Beast 1 one for years. People thought it was a metal band they hadn’t heard of, mostly. Wasn’t really a “Collector’s edition”.

    Second: It wasn’t THAT large (I’m going to pull a couple of those boxes out of the shed and take a comparison photo with some more recent collector’s edition boxes…)

    Third: sure, no Roger Dean but it was John Harris who’s done many sci-fi covers (UK editions of John Scalzi, Asimov, Clarke, Orson Scott Card…) and is right up there with Michael Whelan and Chris Foss as a legend in sf book covers. OK, John Harris may not have done album art for Yes but you can’t do everything… 🙂

  • Based on all the comments and the actual article, it seems it would be more sensible to purchase a statue or model from a 3rd party that has some quality to it!

  • Saints Row 2 Gun Pack. Yeah, I get you couldn’t really include a replica of a gun (Though I do have my Scarborough Fair replica from Bayonetta), but the flimsy printed carboard was a joke, and the included bullet USB stick had minimal space, even back then. At least the EB exclusive Initiation Edition, while also have the gun box, packaged it all up in a Freckle Bitches Pizza Box and included a basketball singlet so you could forget about the awful gun.

    Assassins Creed: Revolution, just because who the shit thought that putting the box at an angle so it couldn’t stand on its own was a good idea?

    Street Fighter IV. The Ryu and C. Viper figures included in the display diorama were abysmal, cheap 8th party looking wastes of space.

  • I found myself wanting some physical totem for my love of Horizon Zero Dawn but couldn’t bring myself to shell out hundreds of dollars on the Thunderjaw statue. I found this awesome guy who makes Lego versions of HZD beasts. I paid him like 10 euro for his Sawtooth design, and then I’ll eventually buy the parts direct from Lego. So eventually I’ll have a rad HZD statue that I can repurpose as general Lego later if I like.

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