In my recent moving I realized that I had quite a collection of computer game boxes which most people would find useless. These are mostly empty boxes (although a few of them have collections of odds and ends from computer games) but you can’t find them anymore. Stores were complaining that they weren’t easy to keep on the shelves, especially places like wal-mart, so eventually they were replaced with jewel cases and quasi dvd cases. Now as digital downloads take over, the days of having any boxes seem to be over.
It’s too bad, because some of these boxes are real works of art. One of my favorites I still have is for Shogun: Total War collectors edition. Not only does the box have raised graphics, but it was a flap that would open up to a huge battle scene. It wasn’t long after that the new DVD style boxes for games started coming in. Box Art used to be impressive and well thought out, at least if you hoped to grab someone’s attention. Now most of it is too small to really tell what is going on, while the title is huge in comparison.
Also the newer boxes don’t have the room for some of the goodies older games used to have. I still have technology chart and reference chart posters from all my Civilization games. I still have the map from Europa Universalis of the in game world. I think I spent more time reading the supplemental stuff to Alice then I did actually playing Alice. The thought and the effort that people would put into some games was huge, these were labors of love. You felt like you were truly getting into a new world.
And now? Now you are lucky if you even get an actual printed manual because “printing costs are too high”. Forget about getting a world map, or a poster of the game. Hell they don’t even have promotional material for upcoming games in the boxes anymore. For the longest time one of my favorite posters was a Red Alert 2 promo poster I got from a game and put on the wall. While it may be saving companies pennies, it might be costing them dollars.
As games become more expensive, as expansions and DLC become more and more must buys, the least a company could do is give a little more back. Maps, charts and posters were nice back in the day. It gave you something tangible that might even outlast the game. It wasn’t just computer games that used to do this either, I remember my copy of Liberty Or Death for the SNES having a poster of the box art inside.
In the day and age in which piracy is so high, games drop in prices in a month or two, maybe it’s time to start giving back to the fans that purchase games close to release. But in the end, I don’t know anything. I’m just an idiot bitching on a blog about something that really doesn’t bother me at the end of the day anyway. Sometimes your just desperate for content.