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sabrage
28-11-2011, 04:19 PM
I'm not sure why I did it... The digital copy was $10 cheaper. But I paid the difference for a physical copy of Battlefield 3, shipped to my door. I could've had the game days earlier, for 80% of the price, but I decided to get a physical copy to sit on my shelf. I'm not against digital distro, as my Steam compulsion will attest to, but I bought it anyways. And what did I get for my dedication to physical media? A cheap DVD pack and 4-5 inserts with EA promotions. No manual in sight.

It's not like I hadn't been burned before. Left 4 Dead 2, Amnesia, STALKER... I should really know better by now. There's still something to be said about a properly done, old-fashioned boxed release though. The last good one I bought was Starcraft 2, well over a year ago. Proper cardboard box, with a nice fold-out panel on the front and a random notepad with Jim Raynor all over it. I know we've all heard fables of ancient Ultima maps and Lucasarts goodies, but what games are worth having a copy kicking around? And for that matter, which ones are better left in the cloud?

CuriousOrange
28-11-2011, 04:22 PM
I buy the ones that are cheaper. Funnily enough, Left 4 Dead 2, Amnesia and STALKER are all on my shelf as they were so much cheaper boxed. Most recently though was The Witcher 2. Which came with a huge amount of pointless crap in the box no one wants, but also managed to be cheaper! Score!

Vexing Vision
28-11-2011, 05:42 PM
I like the map in Skyrim. But Batman does not even have a manual. :(

Edawan
28-11-2011, 05:42 PM
The WoW boxes are pretty, but I did buy the last expansion digitally to be sure to have it ready on release.

The GTAs also had nice and very well stuffed boxes.

Not recent releases, though.

sabrage
28-11-2011, 06:11 PM
I guess I put "recent" where I should've said "available" - I just wanted to avoid reminiscences about the glory days of boxes made of pure Unobtainium.

Hensler
28-11-2011, 08:48 PM
I heard Sword of the Stars II had a good box package, with a good map and materials. But I bought the digital version, which was a mistake for multiple reasons.

Flint
28-11-2011, 10:07 PM
Blizzard seem to be the only devs these days who consistently bring out good game boxes (with actual manuals).

Estel
28-11-2011, 11:24 PM
Total War games always have a decent manual, as (I think) did Civ5.

But I have a weakness for collector's editions when they flesh the box out in a weighty way; so it's worth mentioning Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2 too.

Taidan
28-11-2011, 11:30 PM
How recent is recent? The only boxes I treasure of late (relatively speaking) are The Witcher - Enhanced Edition, my Civ V Deluxe box, and my Collector's Edition of Mass Effect on the Xbox.

sabrage
28-11-2011, 11:38 PM
The original intent of this thread was to explore the lost art form of video game packaging in its current incarnation. PC games used to come in gigantic boxes with small hordes of goodies, but thanks to the dual-pronged sword of digital distribution and the "green" movement boxes have become rather anemic.

Somewhat fitting is that the cases have become flimsier to reflect this change as well: http://xbox360media.ign.com/xbox360/image/article/105/1050097/microsoft-goes-green-with-new-xbox-360-cases-20091127091917336.jpg

There's no cutoff date for how far back we can go, but the trend for the past several years has leaned towards giving the consumer less and charging them more for it.

psyk
28-11-2011, 11:38 PM
Best case for awhile has been DX:HR (aug) makes a change from the dvd cases.

Lambchops
28-11-2011, 11:54 PM
I miss big chunky cardboard boxes. The last game I bought with one (not in terms of game release date but when I actually bought it, it was an eBay purchase of a classic) was Freespace 2.

Granted they took up loads of space but I miss the ritual of box opening and manual reading that used to accompany getting a new game. It's perhaps the lack of this that has meant I've embraced digital distribution with games but not music (still like pretty cases and liner notes). Well that and the fact indie games don't often get physical releases.

Drake Sigar
29-11-2011, 12:00 AM
There's no cutoff date for how far back we can go, but the trend for the past several years has leaned towards giving the consumer less and charging them more for it.
Yeah, you used to get that shit for free, now they stick it in a Collector's Edition and charge 130. Genius.

karandraz
29-11-2011, 12:02 AM
Like vexing I do enjoy a good map!

Quick scanning my shelf id say the witcher 2 game with a lovely case and lots of nice gubbins for a standard edition, i think the collectors was pretty decent too. Heard it had dice poker and everything.

Honorable mention to my copy of anno 1404 though as it came in an actual chest!

Check it out http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anno-1404-Collectors-PC-DVD/dp/B002DWAZQ2

Flint
29-11-2011, 12:03 AM
The ever-worsening box situation is one of the reasons I've more or less gone full-digital with PC gaming despite being a huge fan of owning things physically.

Edawan
29-11-2011, 12:44 AM
I miss big chunky cardboard boxes.
They're nice when the content justifies the size, but for a standard disc+manual a DVD case is perfectly fine.

psyk
29-11-2011, 09:30 AM
I like the map in Skyrim.

The bit of wallpaper with a map printed on it :( the one you get with the guide is so much better (wanting to five finger it so bad but my mate stuck it to his walll) maybe got a bit to much info printed on it.

metalangel
29-11-2011, 10:44 AM
I bought the Forza 4 (yes, not PC) Limited Edition. It comes with a nice hardback Top Gear book... but the game's manual is still a folding piece of card with more warranty info than actual instructions on how I play. Considering a decade ago Gran Turismo "normal edition" (that's all there was) came in a smaller double-CD case with TWO books - one on the game, the other on driving techniques - I feel a bit fed up and sad.

hamster
29-11-2011, 10:53 AM
Yes it's ridiculous - absolutely ridiculous. My first encounter was with the Half Life 2 box. Literally a cardboard enclosing and a white sleeve containing the disk as well as, I think, a cd key and some promotional material. No manual. The sleeve didn't even fit into the enclosing (there was no alcove) so if you turned the box upside down the sleeve would free-fall within the box until it hit the enclosing.

Prior to that, we still had manuals but at some point in time, the manuals became a heck of a lot thinner and gradually, colorless.

No wonder people pirate shit. They don't even have the decency to add something tangible.

There are exceptions of course. Starcraft 2 was nice. Unreal Tournament 2004 had a colored manual. Guild Wars had a really nice box with a flapped cover (complete with velcro patch to stick it shut).

Yeah...somewhere around the year 2000, I think, things went downhill.

For new AAA releases though, I still prefer having the game in my hands. That means retail.

Jams O'Donnell
29-11-2011, 11:22 AM
The US version of The Witcher had a nice box with a glossy (maybe glittery) cover and foldout bit and a good manual. Not sure what the UK box was like. Last time I bought games in the US it seemed like cardboard boxes about the thickness of two DVD cases was the norm, unlike the awful DVD boxes we get in the UK.

My biggest games box disappointment was Half Life 2, whose box was empty save for the disc and a one-sided sheet with install instructions.

Taidan
29-11-2011, 11:39 AM
The US version of The Witcher had a nice box with a glossy (maybe glittery) cover and foldout bit and a good manual. Not sure what the UK box was like.

This is the box I got with my version: http://vnmedia.ign.com/witchervault.ign.com/images/witcher%20box.jpg

That wasn't a "Collector's Edition" either, that was that standard form the re-release came in. Pretty sure the RRP was lower than the average game, too.

I recall that CD Projekt were giving lots of interviews around the time stating that the key to fighting piracy was in increasing the perceived value of the boxed edition, to the point that it really was a better product than any digital download could be.

metalangel
29-11-2011, 11:43 AM
My biggest games box disappointment was Half Life 2, whose box was empty save for the disc and a one-sided sheet with install instructions.

That may have been deliberate, they wanted you to go into the game and be confused and not know what was happening or why (apart from what the controls were). Indeed, being able to go into HL2 having played the original but without having seen any previews of HL2 would probably be an amazing experience. You'd step off that train and be boggled.

Jams O'Donnell
29-11-2011, 11:54 AM
That may have been deliberate, they wanted you to go into the game and be confused and not know what was happening or why (apart from what the controls were). Indeed, being able to go into HL2 having played the original but without having seen any previews of HL2 would probably be an amazing experience. You'd step off that train and be boggled.
I suppose this could be true, though my suspicion was more that they didn't want people to percieve that there was more value in the physical version than in the Steam version. I just didn't like that this game I'd been looking forward to for years had such piss-poor presentation. I couldn't enjoy warm embrace of a beloved new purchase.

Also, I am jealous of Taidan's Witcher box, though I guess that's the Enhanced Edition. I just got the first edition.

sabrage
29-11-2011, 11:54 AM
I recall that CD Projekt were giving lots of interviews around the time stating that the key to fighting piracy was in increasing the perceived value of the boxed edition, to the point that it really was a better product than any digital download could be.

Don't forget that CD Projekt is also behind Good Old Games; bar none the best digital releases of any site I've used. PDF manuals, concept art, HD wallpapers, comic books... CD Projekt earns a lot of respect in my eyes for the attention to detail and appreciation of value that they clearly hold.

agentorange
29-11-2011, 11:56 AM
GalCiv 2 came in a cardboard sleeve and a nice none-flimsy plastic case; the manual was written with care-lots of Star Trek references-it also had the soundtrack on a separate disc and a double sided poster featuring the 4 tech trees (2 on each side).

It's definitely the smaller developers/publishers who are putting effort into their boxes. They seem to understand that if you want someone to buy a physical copy of your game, you should give them tangible elements that expand the experience over those who will simply download it. I wish there was a Criterion Collection of games, that would re-release certain, quality games and give them a box with nice artwork and loads of extras.

metalangel
29-11-2011, 12:54 PM
I think the last boxed PC game I remember coming with a proper, glossy manual filled with info about the game and stuff therein was Space Colony.