The free market is premised upon the fundamental building blocks of supply and demand: if people want something, then the market must seek to cater for that want. This implacable capitalist logic comes undone, however, when you see a product that no-one in the entire universe could conceivably want. If, for example, you see a Kate Middleton commemorative porcelain bride doll for sale online, then the horror of witnessing such an atrocity is compounded when you realize its very existence is testament to the fact that somebody, somewhere, must be prepared to buy it. With videogame special editions, you can understand why a fervent acolyte of a particular franchise might shell out a little more for some extra bits of artwork or a figurine of the game’s main character. Sometimes, though, a special edition of a game is so perplexing that you can’t imagine even the most dedicated fanboy paying money (usually lots of it) for such lunacy.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops Prestige Editions
Regular readers (all three of you) will know that I hate to paint gamers as acne-ridden, socially backward troglodyte virgins, one hand on the controller and one hand scrolling through eight tabs of pornography on Chrome. But when you see that the Prestige Edition of dizzyingly popular multi-national bullet disco Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 comes with a fully-functional pair of night vision goggles, you have to wonder what exactly a gamer is going to want them for. The series’ next installment – the gritty Cold War-em-up Black Ops – included an RC spy car equipped with camera and microphone in its Prestige Edition, and I’m starting to wonder if Activision are trying to kit out an army of teenage voyeurs. Showering teenage girls everywhere beware; anyone who has ever played a Modern Warfare multiplayer deathmatch with the headphones equipped will know that Call of Duty diehards are not the kinds of people you want with scarily proficient surveillance gear. God knows what the next entry in the franchise will ship with. Probably a lock pick and a tranquillizer gun.
Dead Island Survival Kit CE
This one is only available in Poland (I don’t know, maybe an undead plague is much more of a pressing threat in Eastern Europe), so I couldn’t personally verify the exact contents of this special edition for last year’s tropical zombie carvery Dead Island. The name, however, says it all – this box set includes a comprehensive itinerary of items necessary to survive an actual zombie apocalypse, including a satchel, canteen, binoculars, flashlight, glow sticks, and Swiss army knife. It’s so exhaustive I’m surprised it didn’t come with a baseball bat and some nails. I’m not entirely sure how the DLC items or game artwork would help fend off the legions of the undead, but then again I wasn’t thinking of Dead Island as a zombie apocalypse training simulator like the creators of this special edition clearly were.
Catherine “Love Is Over” Deluxe Edition
The mind-bending libido negotiator Catherine is a pretty barmy game in and of itself, what with it being one part sexual fidelity simulator and one part demented block puzzler. But the “Love is Over” (cheer up, emu kid) deluxe edition of the game comes with a bunch of goodies so unashamedly kooky I wonder whether the whole thing is an elaborate joke. Included here are a pair of polka-dot boxer shorts as worn by main protagonist Vincent, a pillowcase featuring the titular vixen Catherine in lingerie, and a pizza box from the Stray Sheep bar featured in the game (pizza not included). Coincidentally, these are also the sole items I’m usually left with after a drunken night out.
Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition
The bulk of what’s included in this special bundle for the infinitely-delayed 90s comeback romp Duke Nukem Forever is pretty familiar fare: the usual collectible comic book, card deck, postcards and concept art that limited editions tend to carry. But what makes the Balls of Steel edition (stay classy, San Diego) so odd – apart from the bust of Duke himself – is the inclusion of a numbered certificate of authenticity, proudly proclaiming the bearer in possession of a bona fide Duke Nukem collectible. Perhaps this certificate is more necessary than it at first seems; I can imagine, years from now, art historians violently quarrelling over the authenticity of Duke Nukem games, in much the same way genuine Cézannes or Rembrandts are meticulously verified. I can see the dashed dreams of hopeful collectors when antiques experts tell them that, I’m sorry, but there’s no certificate of authenticity, your Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition is not genuine, just an imitation. Oh wait, no I can’t.
Resident Evil 6 Premium Edition
Ok, so this is cheating a bit because the game hasn’t come out yet, but I still think it’s worthy of inclusion, mainly because it costs £820. For that princely sum you get a copy of the game (you would bloody well hope so), a selection of tablet covers, and a replica of series regular Leon Kennedy’s leather jacket. What kind of leather is that jacket made from? Does it come from genetically modified cows reared in space on unicorn tears? Even if you’re one of the eight people in the world who finds Leon so irresistibly badass you would dress like him, for that amount of money I would want the jacket to be made out of a goddamn dragon.