What is it that prompted me to buy the Collector's Edition of World of Warcraft, as opposed to the regular old, ho-hum, no-frills release that any gamer in his right mind would have purchased? Was it the soundtrack, maybe, or even the 250-odd pages of "rare" art found within the sturdy box? Was it the fact that the game comes on both DVD and CD, so that I can give the game and a guest pass to a friend, perhaps? No, I imagine not. After all, the true value of these things is hard to determine, and most of my game soundtracks get frequent play for a week or so, never to make their way into a CD player again. I still have my Warcraft 3 figurine sitting on my computer desk, but I rarely notice it, and the art book that came with that title is stowed somewhere in the closet. My Neverwinter Nights t-shirt shrunk and the cloth map is rolled into a ball. My Jedi Knight game tin made its way into the trash at some point.
Why, then, do I insist on buying these editions, with their questionable value and high price point? Well, because the box is so pretty, of course! That, and because there is some implicit self-perception of "hardcore-ness" that gamers love to hold onto. "I am not the casual, everyday WoW player," we say. "I am going to spend an extra $30 on extra goodies like action figures and hardcover manuals because I can then put out a neon sign on my front porch that says 'I'm a hardcore gamer!' " Of course, the neon sign itself is available in some exclusive package that includes a set of Ginsu knives and a Tae-Bo exercise video, which we then gobble up, because gamers slice a lot of tomatoes, and our pecs are definitely in need of attention. I can also impress the salesperson at EBGames with such small talk as "man, I heard orcs were majorly twinked" and "I am so l33t, I gibbed 25 n00b's in Halo 2 Slayer last night." After all, if I can walk out of the game store (or, as Rich prefers to call it, "Nerd Haven") with a chance that the clerk or random customers have an elevated perception of me, then I can hold my head high! Not to mention, I can pretend that the value of the items will exponentially increase, because that faux-pewter figurine could fetch upwards of $3.50 on Antiques Roadshow in 50 years, making me a rich man, should I move to Guatamala.
Even worse, the entire reason I bought World of Warcraft was for purposes of reviewing for Inside Gamer Online, a few days after purchasing Everquest 2. Now a year ago, I may have been able to stomach two MMO's at once, but with my current plate already overflowing with Viewtiful Joe 2, Counter-Strike, Halo 2, and plenty of upcoming reviews (like Mario Party 5 - what was I thinking???), I might as well just cancel life and do nothing but game all day. Sadly, my Qeynosian Wood Elf will have to wait patiently in his stark apartment for a while. Also somewhat worrisome is the fact that all of these games are sequels. Now granted, I adore Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Otogi 2, and Final Fantasy MCMLXVIII, but I would love to see a few more high-quality original games than we have seen lately. Katamari Damacys and Beyond Good & Evils are few and far between, and while I can appreciate a great sequel, I'm ready for some fresh blood - or a fresh genre.
Thanks, by the way, to those of you that seem to enjoy my journal. Per popular request, I will try to respond to your replies more often, and in the upcoming second installment of "A Day In Cub's Life," I will include a picture of myself and Rich, and maybe even the kids, too. Sorry today's entry is short - but a long day at work has required efficiency. Bear in mind, too, that if you order the Special Edition Fiddlecub, you will get, free, a colorful sense of humor, an emotional soul, a gentle heart, and an unlimited supply of Hot Pockets. Call now: operators are standing by.