I’ve been playing games for a long, long time. There’s a trend that started somewhere with the PS3/360 days where they just gave up trying to win you over with a product. They don’t try and grab you anymore with goodies that come with the game or even the luxury of a manual.

I know, this is a familiar story but, hear me out. Recently, I bought Mass Effect Andromeda for PC and upon opening it, I let out a big laugh. The thing didn’t even come with a disc for PC. It’s an empty box with a code on a card. They couldn’t even be bothered with a disc this time.

Cut back a few years to Mass Effect 2 and on PC, for 60 bucks I got the collectors edition with is covered in fun stuff. A metal case, soundtrack, artbook and comic. Heck, the way it opened and folded out was neat as heck.

But, even with this glorious package, it’s still the special edition. But just a few years earlier you’d still often get at least a manual and better yet, a color one filled with artwork and fun stuff.


Now? They don’t care. Zelda: Twilight Princess on Wii came with a shiny foil cover and a full color book with awesome artwork. WiiU version? Same price, but no manual. More comical:  Bayonetta 2 on the WiiU came with both Bayo1 and 2 on two discs and it was $60 bucks. Know what? Not a bad deal, new game and the original game together! I like it! Cut to a few years later and Bayonetta 2 on the Switch! Comes with the first ga- wait no it doesn’t. It comes with Bayo-2 on cartridge and the first game is a download…and it’s $60, again. It’s the same collection but worse for the same price.

They know people will buy this stuff anyway, it’s to the point where they’re cutting out stuff and making it DLC or microtransactions and what’s becoming more and more common these days…They don’t even finish the damned game before launch. You get the game and you’ll be downloading anywhere from a 500MB to 10GB+ patch. They seriously do not put any effort into selling games anymore, the boxes, what you’re taking home. They’ll do the commercials, they’ll spam out ads online but they don’t care what you’re being handed.

Cut to today and with my X-Meh gift card cash I decided to buy a game, it’ll be out soon and it’s Wonder Boy on the Switch. I like my games physical even if it costs a bit more. ($20 on the eShop vs $40 physical, but, with a lovely discount it’s at $30~) I wasn’t expecting to see extras with it. This is by an indie company let me remind you:

Box, mini-soundtrack, keychain and a full color manual. An indie company is putting out a proper full box release with all the trimmings. It’s $40 bucks vs the $20 e-shop version but you’re getting the full deal here. I don’t wanna hear “but it’s 2D” it’s a beautiful game that rivals even the AAA developed platformers of Rayman and the 2D Marios, from a presentation aspect anyway.

Similar deal I got with Ys VIII on PS4, it came with a mini-artbook and a soundtrack sampler. But then Resident Evil Revelations on Switch, Revelations comes on a cart but Revelations 2 is a download? …A download that is literally too BIG for the Switch’s internal memory? Final Fantasy X & X2, same deal on the Vita. The second game is a download. So, these smaller companies can put in the effort, but big ol’ publishers can’t manage to TRY to entice buyers but the smaller ones can?

(You could argue that part of the problem is that in the case of the Switch, Nintendo only has up to a 32GB card and 64 aren’t available yet. Mmm, still not a good case considering, again, look at Bayonetta 2)

These AAA publishers put millions and millions into marketing their game in so many ways but they can’t put anything into …making the game worth a damn to people when they buy it? This isn’t asking for anything crazy, just what they used to do.

Demos, remember them? Sometimes you’d get a disc full of them and you’d get to try a game before buying it? Bought Brave Fencer Mushashi? Get the demo to Final Fantasy 8. Now? I’m not sure I can remember the last AAA demo I got. DOOM2016 was praised for it’s LIMITED TIME demo. Get the fuck out of here. Limited time? What the hell is this? Nintendo’s 3DS demos freakin’ have a limited number of times you can launch them. That is, if there is even is a demo.

Gaming is getting really tiresome. I’ve really found it hard to buy a game and get excited for it when half the time they’re nickle and diming you. Nevermind the microtransactions and lootbox bullshit. They can’t even be bothered to sell you a working game unless you’re paying a consistent drip feed to enjoy the game you bought. So, not only are you looking up reviews of the game, you gotta make sure you know what’s coming with it and if they’re trying to rip you off with these micro transactions after the fact. Great.

Look at Bethesda, Skyrim just got re-released for the 3rd time on Switch after PS4 and XB1 got their remastered versions and it STILL has the same bugs from the final PC release! Game breaking bugs, bugs that modders fixed years ago. They will tart a game up and make it look pretty but not implement basic freaking fixes?? Ah, right, they have that mod store to implement instead. Where, somehow a set of armor is valued at like ..what, 1/12th the cost of an entire game? Game is $60, armor is $5…no, wait, you can’t actually buy the armor directly. You have to buy points like the old Microsoft points. Where 800pts=$10 bucks. So, you’re not even able to drop $5, you gotta get probably $10 in points first. ….I got sidetracked. Anyway.

Despite all my problems with publishers not trying to sell you on the item these days….Physical is still the way to buy games, you can find so many stores now that do some preorder deal that’ll take 20% off and with the case of Best Buy they seem to last over a month after a release is out. You get your game, a box and it’s cheaper. It’s not the full package it used to be but, still better than the digital shops on console charging full price months later.

Call me nostalgic, but, back when I recall getting a game, being in the back of my grandma’s car as she drove us back home and I rip the plastic off my game. Opening the manual and looking over the game I’m about to embark on. Getting inspired by the artwork inside or at least getting to refer to it when I don’t get a mechanic.

“But Mike, just pull out your phone an-” It’s not about that, it’s about getting your bloody money’s worth. And it seems like the Indie scene are the only one making a damned effort to make you want to buy the game.

LOOK at this glorious bundle. A box, stickers, a coin, a leather pouch with a game related item, a FULL SOUNDTRACK, a wallet! Steam code and DRM free? FFFFFreaking BEAUTIFUL! Indie Box and Galaxy Trail nailing it out of the park …oh, and a FULL COLOR MANUAL.

Publishers used to put out packages, stacking reasons for you to buy their latest release. Now they just shove it out the door, unfinished and hold their hand out “pay up” then after you get the unfinished mess, their hand stays out as you play the game.