As gamers, we like to complain about the practices of big business. Every time a small but pricey piece of DLC appears, we're up in arms. Every time we're offered a crap trade-in price for a game, we reach for the pitchforks and light up the flaming torches.
But the fact is, there are much worse practices around, and we ourselves promote them. They're the sly hype-spreading, sales-boosting tricks that turn a simple game into a full-blown event, and worst of all, they exist only because we make them happen, either by buying into them over and over, or even by actually accepting them into our gaming culture.
Watch out folks. This is the marketing crap that we are responsible for.
Those video games, eh? With their cool dudes on their madcap adventures and their bright colours and their crazy critters and their big robots that go "BOOM!". Oh boy they're awesome. Yessir, they're pretteee awesome. And with all that awesome happening in all those pixels, it's understandable that you'd think it'd be cool to bring some of it into the real world, right? Big robots! They go "BOOM!"
Above: And are worth $130, without doubt
And look! That new game you thought looked quite kind of okay just became 300% more soul-haemorrhagingly transcendent by including a FRIKKIN' PLASTIC TOY OF ONE OF ITS LESSER MONSTERS IN THE BOX!!! AND AN UNUSED DRAWING! Buy that shit and you'll spontaneously evolve! And even better than that, you'll prove what a death-defyingly loyal, cast-iron hardcore bastard you are to that faceless, unfeeling corporation that doesn't even know your name.
Perhaps we're cynical though. Age of Conan's special edition did at least come with free beer. Free, fake, digital in-game beer. No, we're not being cynical at all, are we?
Let's face it. This is the same marketing model as putting toys in cereal boxes to make sugar-rabid 3 year olds choose one shape of reconsitituted corn shaving over another. Except that you're paying an extra £15 for the toy.
See above, except that you're paying for the toy a year before you even know what the cereal tastes like.