AndrewP / Member

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Bonuses in-box: Where to draw the line?

If you hadn't seen, publisher Electronic Arts has sworn off paper manuals for all of its games going forward. I'm sure some of us (like me) will have an immediately averse, kneejerk reaction to hearing this news, along the lines of what an evil, greedy corporation EA is for screwing us out of something we should already have coming to us since we paid for it: a nice printed manual. But let's think about this for at least a second.

Falcon 4.0's original manual. Oh, baby.

Now THIS. THIS was a manual!

Aside from the fact that human beings waste tons of paper each year,most printed game manuals these days are barely worthwhile (sometimes not much other than a couple of glossy pages with a few controller or keyboard maps). They're a far, far cry from the thick tomes that used to come with the games, to say nothing of some of the outstanding extras that used to come standard.

Also, even though EA's adoption of this practice seems like big news, it's not like this is the beginning of the end. Game packaging has drastically been reduced in size over the years and with the exception of pre-order special edition versions, the most you'll get in the way of special packaging is a DVD case. Unless, of course, you pre-ordered the game, in which case, you may get a giant combat helmet. In exchange for the $70, $80, $90+ publishers are now charging for that kind of thing. To say nothing of how digital distribution portals like Steam have done away with physical media altogether and give you nothing (no disc, no box, no collectible mousepad) except a numerical key to copy-paste into the system and download your game.

Pre-ordering Halo 3's Legendary Edition got you this bad boy. Yeah, I know.
I like getting bonuses with my pre-order, but is this just a little excessive?

When I was younger, I felt a lot more strongly about bonus items being packaged along with games, but that's probably because 10-15+ years ago, getting a bunch of cool stuff inside a great, big game box was common. I'd say I miss the old collectible items, especially big, thick manuals, that used to come with games way back when, but these days, I'm just not as sure, especially considering how sorry most game manuals are. And as much as I love little velvet bags full of 20-sided dice, much of that sort of collectible junk could just as easily end up in a landfill. Part of me definitely wants to praise EA for this bold move and hopes to see other companies follow suit. But part of me secretly resents this news. Where do you stand on this?