The Joy of the Video Game Collector’s Edition

Most major video game releases tend to also get a collector’s edition alongside the standard game.

Typically, you can expect a fancy box, an art book, and a figure included in it. Some gamers shun these editions, mainly due to the price increase – which can be massive – but these collector’s editions serve a valuable purpose. Hear me out.

What these collections offer is something tangible and “real”. Whether you see gaming as competition, as a social activity, or as escapism, all good games must come to an end. Either you win, lose, complete it, or simply put the controller down for the night. Either way, your experience with the game is over.

Now, putting down a game may not be the worst thing to ever happen (unless you just conceded a last minute goal on FIFA… we’ve all been there). But it means your time with the game is over, and the joy it brought you has come to an end. Whatever your reason is for playing a game in the first place, if you’re enjoying it, there’s no denying that it’s disappointing when it’s over.

That’s where collector’s editions come in. They’re permanent; unlike the games they’re related to, they’ll last forever (providing you look after them, of course). It means you can enjoy your favourite franchise, video game or character for longer, even when your controller has been placed down and your console is switched off.

This is something that was brought up in the documentary The Toys That Made Us (2017), which is available on Netflix. Within the documentary, sociology professor John Tenuto is interviewed to give his expertise on toys and the relationship that we have with them. He states that toys and collectables are a “tangible symbol” of a “love for something that isn’t real.” Therefore, collectables are the closest gamers can get to that real moment and feeling that their favourite game created.

Tenuto went on to state that “it’s a very human experience to need to touch, and to feel, and to see a thing in order for it to have meaning.”

All games are fantasy. No matter the genre, a video game is a created simulation. What collector’s editions offer are items outside of this simulation; something that is part of the real world that can represent the enjoyment the game itself brings to you.

Collecting pricey collectables may seem like a waste of time (and money) to some people. But for others, they can expand their love of a video game beyond the television screen. It might just be a plastic model, or a flimsy art book, but if it belongs to a game or franchise that means something to you, that collector’s edition can represent so much more than just a bit of tat.