posted by Paul "Mordecai" Brown
My Skyrim Collector’s Edition Story & Review
Ever been swiftly walking through a big area of crowded people that seem to despise the ground you walk on? Glaring intentionally (but “innocuously”) at the giant flashing sign that floats just above your head, pointing down at you, screaming “SCUM!” or “DORK WITH NO LIFE!” for some reason or another? Yeah, that was me on Friday as I was lugging my gigantic box of Skyrim through a busy shopping centre. I was slanted on one side, as I carried the heavy beast of a box through the masses of general public who judged me so harshly. Only a little slanted though, to show I’m at least semi-strong. So, was straining my shoulder and risking tomatoes and cabbage thrown at me, not to mention the price, worth it for some extra content with my copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?
My Personal Story
Firstly, yes that’s me, I’m the type of guy that pays £130 to carry an enormous (understatement of the year) box that just shouts “please hate me, thanks”. – Hello! My name’s Paul. – Still, never have I been so proud to show off my dork life in such a fantastical manner. Wind whistled through my chin-cheeks it was held that high! (Yes, I have an arse chin…)
Here’s the reason I decided to go for the Collector’s Edition of this game, despite the mumblings online that it was overpriced, dull in content, and misleadingly expensive also due to the difference between American and European prices. (They were both £/$129.99, meaning we were paying more for it.) However, as I am such a huge Elder Scrolls fan, I jumped right on board from the word go… well, technically not the case, since it took them forever to announce there was even going to be a Collector’s Edition but once it was announced! …well, actually, I didn’t go for it then either, due to lack of funds, but I did desperately want it!
However, as I had such a good year (getting highers, a placement job, successfully planning my future, etc.), I asked the family if they’d mind buying me the extras as part of my Christmas, which was met with a very immediate, “Yeah, sure!” …Wait, what? My family are actually going to buy me this stuff? They’re going to pay for my most anticipated game of the last five years!? Oh mah gad! Yarhg! Yeah! Holy shit man! (insert over-excited girly squeal) – yeah, you get the picture of how it went down, in my head anyway. On the outside, I was more: “Cool, thanks…”
All I had to do was pay the £40 for the game. So with that deal, I finally was on board with it. Once I was on, however, I did go and read several articles about it and the comments thereafter, and although my state of excitement never went away (still hasn’t), I was met with some trepidation. Maybe even guilt at being able to buy something that these people were all seemingly not willing to pay for, in the slightest. It’s one thing to think you’ll be thought of deprecatingly by the passing public, but also by the fellow gamers too? That was a new one.
It was in this moment a bit of gaming and social snobbery began to kick in for me. Call it a defence mechanism, call it justifying my reason to be buying the thing, but I personally call it ‘me being a bit of an arsehole’. I didn’t talk to any of these commenters about it, try to ask “why” or anything, no, I just read the comments that belittled the idea of buying the Collector’s Edition and jumped to the conclusion, “Well, you’re obviously not buying it because you just can’t afford it! You smelly poor person, you!” Of course, I understand I was wrong but it comforted me at the time. I’m not enough of an arse to actually say that to anyone but I know I’m not exactly correct in that assessment regardless.
By the by, for an excellent little piece on gaming snobbery, I would like to direct to this article on our site by the wonderful and beautiful Mattharrier (Dorktunes), that goes over such thoughts better than I can. Go here. NAOW!
In any case, on Friday morning (Fridas, the 11th of Sun’s Dusk) I was in my local Game shelling out much of my and my family’s money over the counter. Even chatting to the young girl at the counter about how her boyfriend ‘jokingly’ commented that it was “inconsiderate” that they had an engagement party on Saturday. I empathised. Re-appearing from the back room, she struggled with this humongous box that overwhelmed her in size. So big was this box, she couldn’t even get the console bags around it. I thought I was getting a few extra things, not the entire world of Skyrim in a box. Another staff member ingeniously came up with the idea to tear the bags in half and tape them end-on-end. Fantastic jobs I told them, and ‘tis true, they did this simply because I didn’t want to get the box wet or ruined in any way shape or form (Snobbery again, maybe?).
I lugged the box through the big shopping centre of Silverburn, wary of eyes which were definitely on me. I’m sure of it. Hell, even my neighbour was in on the action as I passed her; despite not even seeing her for about ten or so years, she picks today to exist again, just so she can judge me! Proud though, I remained. Just not proud enough to wait for the bus again, I jumped in a taxi instead.
Once home, I immediately took to seeking out my camera and lead to get some nice quality photos for this article. Alas, it has gone missing, so I am relying on random ones (KARMA!?). I could have taken some with my 3DS but the quality was that poor I just left it. In annoyance, I decided to test my ‘shouting’ skills by shouting “FUS RO DAH!” at my chair; however, it continued to sit as still as it was but – in my mind – with a blank emotionless expression as if to say, “What the fuck?”… Stupid chair. A quick jab to the seat soon sorted that bitch out, oh yeah!
I opened the box, finally, and revealed to me was the 203 page tabletop artbook by the artists and designers of Skyrim, followed swiftly by the next layer in the box, the Collector’s Edition-style cover for the game itself. Deciding to look in the game box later, I moved on to the last piece. I lifted the cardboard which was holding the game and revealed the party piece of the whole lot. Before I could see what it was like, my eyelids spread apart in pure excitement! Though I knew what it was, or at least I thought I knew what I was about to see… I gasped in excitement as I lifted it off to reveal ALDU-… Another box? MEH!
Well, after about two or three minutes of faffing about with this new box, trying to get it out of the bigger box, I got it and opened it slowly to reveal… a spread of polystyrene with the word “Skyrim” engraved on it. Riveted but still mobile, I lifted out the squeaky sheet and there he was, in all his plastic but fairly sharp glory: Alduin the dragon. I was expecting a little small thing I could place on the far end of my desk to look at every so often. Not the case. This thing was massive! (I feel as if I’m missing out on a fair few “That’s what she said!” jokes…) I took him and his perch wall out, and I ended up placing him on my game tower block, the highest point in the room, due to there being no room for him anywhere else! Amazing work!
So, to get back on the original question, was all this worth it? Well, here’s what I’ll tell you:
The Contents Review
The experience of carrying the box like a giant metaphor of woes at ‘being a gamer’ surrounded by haters and judgmental types is a strange one. I compare it simply to Kratos climbing down his tower with his gigantic Pandora’s Box. The journey there myself was interesting and, to be honest, eye opening on some levels. For me – my personal journey – worth it.
The artbook is absolutely amazing: beautiful and comes with a lovely foreword and credit sequence at the beginning and end of the book. It’s filled with models, early ideas from back in 2008 and even the very first Skyrim screenshot. – worth it, without a doubt.
Alduin the dragon, perched on his wall of dragon language, giant and fearful, watching over everything in my room with his crimson eyes, is a constant reminder as I traverse the lands of Skyrim that danger and death are never too far away. For me, again – worth it. However, understandable that many will see it as “A plastic toy thing”. (That’s what she said! …Ah feck!)
Inside the game box: opening it up, I was greeted by two discs, one on top of the other on the right side of the pocket and a map and generic game print manual on the left in a little sleeve. The map is made from a brilliant texture material that lets it seem as if it is really an old map that I’ve stumbled across of Skyrim.
The DVD is a behind the scenes, or “Behind the Wall” of Skyrim, showing off the developers’ story of how the ideas turned to actions, turned to a world filled with beautiful sights, and then filled with life. The DVD gives no real story spoilers, none which weren’t leaked before the game was out in any case. The only spoilers are the showing of certain locations and creatures which you might not otherwise encounter until much later in the game.
Lastly there is the game itself… which is just… AMAZING! I won’t go into anything about it here but simply say that even if you buy just the game alone, WORTH IT!
All in all, for me, the slight adventure I went through to getting the Collector’s Edition (even if just emotionally), was good enough. It set up a nice little story for this article and built my excitement to finally sitting down and playing the game with Alduin watching over me too. The thing is, you might not be able to afford it, you might not want it anyway, and you would rather just sit and play the game without the hoo-har surrounding the big old box, and I say, good for you. Enjoy it. For me, that extra little personal adventure just made it that extra bit special for me, so for me and you, if you want to have that and can afford it, it’s worth it. (I think I’ve seen two too many L’Oréal ads)