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  • Results from the Game Design Challenge: Collector's Edition

    - Manveer Heir and staff
  •  The most recent Game Design Challenge asked you to come up with the goodies for a collector's edition for an upcoming game based on the movie Terminator: Salvation.

    This challenge came about from a discussion I recently had with Pete Hines, vice president of PR and marketing at Bethesda Software, developer of Fallout 3. Fallout 3 has an excellent collector's edition that comes with a Vault-Tec lunchbox for a container, a Pip-Boy bobblehead, a making-of DVD that is set to look like a holotape from the game, and an art book.

    Hines said coming up with the collector's edition swag was by far the most fun he's ever had generating ideas and thus was the inspiration for this challenge.

    Some people find special editions to be a waste of money, but there are plenty of others who enjoy these collectible toys with their favorite games. But, collector's editions serve another purpose: They make the 60 bucks spent on the regular version of a game seem reasonable in comparison. When the collector's edition is $70 or $80, suddenly $59.95 doesn't sound so bad. Believe it. Collector's edition theoretically help people rationalize a $60 purchase of a game more easily -- tricky marketing types!

    The keys to solving this challenge were coming up with items that fit the established universe of Terminator, beyond the typical making-of DVD, and giving consumers items that they wouldn't find in other collector's edition of different franchises, things that are affixed specifically to the Terminator brand.

    There were some really interesting ideas on how to give players unique things, from exclusive in-game content, to interesting packaging concepts, to skins for game controllers. One of the honorable mention entries even went as far as trying to integrate everything into an alternate reality game (such as ILoveBees or Superstruct).

    Here are the best entries of the week.

    Best Entries
    Christopher Abeel, The Soldier
    (see page 2)
    Buy Christopher Abeel's Collector's Edition and you'll get a creepy "flesh sample," a map of futuristic Los Angeles (who doesn't love maps?), and a highly pragmatic journal. The items in a Collector's Edition need to be stuff a consumer would actually want to own, not just branded junk, and everything in this package hits the mark.

    Kara Tanek, game art and design student at Westwood College Online, Comics and Quotes
    (see page 3)
    Some of the details of Kara Tanek's submission that made it stand out were her specific list of quotes from the movies that she would use in the Collector's Edition materials, as well as a decent description of the content of the comic books, based on the films, that she would include, too.

    Rick Kolesar,, Semacode (see page 4)
    Issuing a Semacode is a pretty cool idea and fits beautifully with the Terminator world. For the extra 20 bucks you'll be paying for a Collector's Edition, Rick Kolesar also will give you a Kidrobot figurine (very cool to be specific with the maker -- Kidrobot rocks) and mp3s of theme songs from the Terminator films and game.

    Honorable Mention
    E McNeill, Dartmouth College, The ARG
    (see page 5)
    Using the collector's edition to give players another game to play, an alternate-reality game, is a great idea, but highly unrealistic, which is why E McNeill's submission gets an honorable mention. The major concern we have is the vast amount of work (and hence mney) that it takes to develop an ARG. These are not simple structures, even ones used for marketing -- ask Jane McGonigal, who was on the ILoveBees team, which was a marketing tool for Halo 2, and specializes in ARG development. They are massive undertakings that would likely drive costs too high to warrant being just a part of the collector's edition. However, the development costs for an ARG could potentially be integrated with marketing costs, and is a very intriguing way of tying a game together.


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