The price is wrong
If the name wasn't indication enough, collector's editions are aimed at those with money to burn. It's not enough to buy a game itself--no, no. You need the soundtrack, an art book, a hand-molded figurine, a behind-the-scenes DVD, and a to-scale map of the in-game terrain that you'll never use as a reference. The quality of video game collector's editions does vary, but nine times out of ten, you're paying a premium for paraphernalia that you will promptly forget about two months later.
But hey--publishers keep making them, and we keep buying them. And if you thought a collector's edition was hard to find on launch day, just wait till you try starting your search years after the fact. After seeing how much the rarest current-gen games and limited edition consoles go for, it doesn't shock us to see collector's editions garner well over $100. Still, no matter how much you love the following games, paying the kind of prices they currently demand is nothing short of uneconomical insanity.
Fallout 3: Amazon.com Exclusive Survival Edition
Sealed - $700
Open - $210
In your face, GameStop! Amazon gut-punched all those brick-and-mortar game stores with this exclusive bundle for Bethesda's apocalyptic open-world RPG. And, as collector's editions go, this was probably one of the most generous. Besides the game disc, you got an art booklet, a making-of DVD, a classy lunchbox to store your rations, and a bobblehead of Fallout's de facto mascot, Vault Boy. But the piece de resistance was a life-size Pip-Boy 3000, the arm-mounted computer that acts as your savior through much of the game. Only, in the real world, it's a boring old alarm clock that won't fit comfortably on your arm or help you nail headshots. Dang.
Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition
Sealed - $1,000
Open - $750
For that kind of money, you'd expect a life-sized Necromorph statue to come with this Ultra Limited Edition II Turbo. But, given the box-set-sized package, you might be in for a disappointment. If you've always wanted a full view of Isaac Clarke's severed hand without all the clutter, this is the version of the original Dead Space for you. Packed in with the sci-fi survival horror game are a 160-page graphic novel, the Downfall animated movie on DVD, two signed lithographs, an art book, and a USG Ishimura patch that you can stitch onto your ratty laptop bag. With only 1,000 made, it's no wonder they'll cost you an arm and a limb.
The Last of Us Post-Pandemic Edition
Sealed - $390
Open - $340
It's like they say: the early bird gets the statuette of Joel and Ellie. That's the main draw of this post-apocalyptic special edition, crafted by the talented folks at Project Triforce (who you might know from their Gears of War and Arkham City replicas). According to the packaging, the statue alone is a $200 value, which might explain how this collector's edition currently costs more than the PS3 itself. Thrown into the mix are some DLC vouchers, the first issue of The Last of Us comic, a steel case, and some stickers.
The Beatles: Rock Band Limited Edition Premium Bundle
Sealed - $360
Open - $181
Granted, we expect to pay a bit extra for a set of plastic instruments packed in with our game. But despite the fact that peripheral-driven rhythm games has dried up as of late, this Beatles-themed bundle continues to accrue value. It's all in the branding: instead of the plain old plastic guitar, you get a Hfner bass modeled after the one famously used by Sir Paul McCartney, plus drums emblazoned with The Beatles logo on a fake kick drum. You also get a microphone (plus a stand) to facilitate vocal harmonies, plus some DLC. Just whatever you do, don't pay the lunatic that listed the Wii version for $689 on Amazon.
Assassin's Creed II Master Assassin Edition
Sealed - $400
Open - $160
Ezio Auditore made quite the entrance in the Assassin's Creed sequel, and much like the game, his collector's edition outshined Altair's in almost every regard. Instead the dinky, 3-inch Altair figurine included in the previous limited edition, Ezio was immortalized as an 8.5-inch statuette in an irrefutably badass, wrist-blades-at-the-ready pose. Joining him was an art book, a behind-the-scenes DVD, the soundtrack, and two exclusive maps that would later become DLC. It set the precedent for a series of sweet Assassin Brotherhood statues, though the Edward Kenway one set to come with the Black Flag limited edition kinda looks like he's doing a merry jig.
Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Gameindustri Savior Set
Sealed - $230
Open - $152
This goofy JRPG is already a bit of a rarity, chronicling the adventures of moe anime girls who just happen to be allegories for the trials and tribulations of console wars in the games industry. The collector's edition comes packed with even more adolescent girl-adorned goodness, including an artbook, the soundtrack, and a deck of playing cards. Here's a fun activity: invite all your non-hardcore-gamer friends over for dinner and a night of high-stakes poker. Deal out cards from the Hyperdimension Neptunia deck, each decorated with an image of a barely clothed, prepubescent anime girl. Watch with glee as your guests' smiles morph into uncomfortable grimaces.
SOCOM 4 U.S. Navy SEALs Full Deployment Edition
Sealed - $150
Open - $59
If you're a member of the Navy SEALs, we sincerely hope that you're deployed onto war-torn battlefields with more than a plastic peripheral and a PlayStation Move controller to protect yourself. We can only imagine that this was Sony's push to get hardcore shooter fans onboard with motion controls, and the results couldn't have been pretty. Along with the SOCOM 4 disc, the bundle gives you the PlayStation Move, the accompanying nunchu--uh, "navigation controller," a PlayStation Eye, and the plastic Sharp Shooter peripheral which the Move slots right into. Our bet is that everyone who bought this bundle used the controller to play The House of the Dead: Overkill instead.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition
Sealed - $210
Open - $95
This is one of the most recognizable collector's editions out there, thanks in part to the pro bono modeling work done by rapper Ice-T. The Prestige Edition's headliner is a pair of fully functioning night vision goggles, as well as a creepy plastic mannequin head to mount them on (dubbed "the collector's stand"). You'll also get the game in steel case, an art book (because Modern Warfare 2 fans also appreciate professional illustrations), and a download code for the first Call of Duty--because who doesn't want to play a WWII shooter from 2003? If all you want is the spiffy goggles, make sure you buy the PS3 version of the bundle--as of now, it's $80 cheaper than its 360 counterpart.
Bayonetta Climax Edition (w/ Scarborough Fair)
Sealed - ???
Open - $246
Do us a favor. Fly us to the moon and let us play among the stars, if that's not too much to ask. In typical Bayonetta fashion, this collector's edition goes straight for the innuendo, befitting of the foxy leading witch. The extras here are undoubtedly sexy, with a big incentive for pre-orders: a replica of one of Bayonetta's Scarborough Fair pistols (even if the paintjob is reportedly subpar). The other pack-ins include an art book and the soundtrack, with a magical lock of jet black hair sadly omitted. Versions with the prop pistol were only available in Australia and New Zealand, essentially making them the collector's edition of a collector's edition.