THAT SWEET LITTLE WORD “EXTRAS”!!
I would like to discuss the difference between the Standard Games and the Collector’s Editions. I realise that by having these Categories, the Game producers are allowing a marketing niche for Games that are produced as ‘Basic’ – with no added extras, just a story (ranging from sketchy to complex) giving definition to a series of Hidden Object searches, Mini-Games, and Puzzles to be solved – that may otherwise not receive a marketing venue, as they are surpassed by EXTRAS within the more innovative, complex games.
This is a form of discrimination in order to solve a discrimination, if you see what I mean. It is a clever way to resolve the situation, and to give the smaller games a chance to be seen and sold. And quite a few of the Standard games are genuinely stand-alone games. The problem arises when games that first come out as Collector’s Editions are then released as Standards.
An example of this is my recent playing of MYTHS OF THE WORLD: THE HEART OF DESOLATION, followed by AMARANTHINE VOYAGE: THE OBSIDIAN BOOK, both as Collector’s Editions. What wonderful, absorbing, addictive, festive experiences, with their Extras collectibles and Morphing Items that you can continue to collect upon completion of both Main and Bonus Stories, plus the added bonus of the Souvenir Room that lets you do another dash around the game scenes to find cleverly hidden miscellaneous items, some in view, some requiring additional actions – such fun!
I then played the Standard version of PHANTASMAT: THE ENDLESS NIGHT – an earlier game of this series that I discovered I hadn’t purchased – which left me feeling underwhelmed. This was wholly due to the ‘lack of stuff’! The Main Menu was so empty, with a Link to ‘Go To Purchase Strategy Guide’ very evident in place of Extras, which meant of course there wasn’t an overflowing Extras Menu to go to. However, there were still the Facebook and Twitter links; and the Game Modes still had a Custom Version.
But this Menu lack paled in comparison to what it meant within the game itself. The DeskTop was the most immediate evidence that something was missing. Tasks, Map, HOP/Match 3 were on the Left; Inventory/Lists in the Centre; and Menu, Hint on the Right. And that’s how it stayed, with no little added Extras. There were no Collections to find; no Morphing Objects in the HOPs to try to spot changing; no Strategy Guide to dive into as a last resort when you’re loath to ruin your record by using a Hint; no promise of the coming Prequel or Sequel Bonus Chapter to work towards; and though the Interactive Map and the Match 3 alternative to the HOP were still there, there was a strange emptiness to the experience. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it – I’m sure there were more things missing than that – it certainly felt like it.
I shut it down and thought perhaps I should download the Collector’s Edition and see what that was like. But it’s so costly to buy Collector’s Editions all the time. If only they cost less – perhaps halfway between the Standard price and their existing price would be okay. This is of course another question for me to ask Big Fish Games – it is not an EIPIX problem.
It is a question for all the Publishers of Collector’s or Premium Editions.
Jud House 4/05/2015
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