What we get these days are thin, bare bones manuals and questionable downloadable content if we choose to pre-order at one place versus another. What would that have been like in video gaming's earlier days?
[ABOVE PICTURE] Pre-order The Adventure of Link from K-Mart and you get access to “pink tunic link” via a special code...
Just last October I sprung for Dark Souls – Collector’s Edition. Why? Because it boasted a map, walkthrough, art book and music CD. “At last”, I thought, a proper throwback to when people actually seemed to care and were creative with extra content that complimented a game. But things were too good to be true, and as drop day approached, all extra content except a delicately bound art book got digitized and was made available only via download. Lame. I mean, I got the stuff, which was excellent, especially the map, but there’s something great in getting something tangible, that I can physically manipulate and use to connect with the game.
Some new games have it, but many more memorable older games had it too... and they had it standard.
Star Tropics for the Nes actually came with a letter that when you were prompted to (via an in game hint), you had to dunk in water to get a secret code to advance in the game.
Final fantasy III for the Snes came with a map and a poster
Earthbound for SNES came in a bigger box which included a very well thought out strategy guide, and some scratch and sniff cards.
What happened? Don’t be fooled by unboxing events on YouTube. More often than not these days unboxing a game for content is as uninteresting as unboxing a blu-ray disc from the store. It’s not really even unboxing. It mostly doesn’t even matter. The content is ON the disc.
It’s not enough to say that money is better spent on the game itself and digitizing is all too often a cop out.
People ought to get back to being creative about what you might package with a game. I say it really adds to the experience. What interesting extras do you remember?