Character Design

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The use of special editions for franchises that aren't established is actually a classical marketing trick.

Back in the 1950s, a company in America released a bread making machine. The machine was selling poorly so they hired a marketing firm. The marketing firm then made the company release a bigger, more expensive bread maker. The more expensive machine was sent out to retailers and sold poorly.

However, this caused the sales of original bread maker to jump. How you ask? Because it was no longer just a bread maker, it was a smaller and less expensive bread maker.

Special Editions function on the same principle that humans instinctively measure value relative to something else. The regular edition of the game is no longer a game but a game that's $30 less than the special edition.

This trick also exploits the fact that the human brain instinctively breaks down decisions into binary choices. "Would you like to reserve Beyonetta or not?" turns into "Would you like to reserve the special edition or the less expensive regular edition?"

And that's marketing in a nutshell: learning how to exploit people's unconscious thoughts to squeeze more money out of them.

In terms of collectors/limited/special/game of the year additions of games, I only get the ones with extra content, (making ofs, character design information) and only for games I actually liked. (Mass Effect springs to mind)

And I have never once gotten one of those little figurine things. I draw the line at collecting toys again now I'm an adult.

Mad World:


Mad World:
I don't mind figurines and artwork being included in special editions. It's the exclusive game content that really gets on my nerves.

It would be nice if... you know... one could simply get the entire game when paying for it - no matter what "edition" is purchased.

How about extended special edition DVDs? Isn't that the same?

Probably. I'd say so. Although, I'm not too familiar with "special edition" DVDs, but I'll take your word for it.

Personally, it annoys me more when it happens with games (exclusive in-game content for only certain editions), but DVDs can definitely experience it, too.

Yeah I meant to say the director's cut DVD, like how the Lord of the Rings special edition is 3 hours longer than the original =p

Yeah I meant to say the director's cut DVD, like how the Lord of the Rings special edition is 3 hours longer than the original =p

Ah. Okay.

Yeah - just another way for them to get money out of us.

The "Directors Cut DVD" usually comes out a little after the normal edition of a movie, right? I don't dislike it that much, but it's still clearly a way for them to milk the movie for all of its worth.

There's something about releasing multiple "editions" at the same time that really gets me. At least if it's gradual, you know that initially, everyone else had the same thing that you had. xD

Dear Yahtzee,

As a resident of Texas I object to your narrow-minded idea that all Texans masturbate over guns, and tactfully ask you to retract this statement before I shoot you with one of the eleventy billion guns I have around the house.


I liked the Left 4 dead special edition. Although, it only seemed to include the crash course campaign and survival mode (both of which are DLC anyway), in the end it looked more like an update instead of something people would actually pay more money for and be happy with.

I don't know if anyone mentioned this already, but the Game Overthinker (our very own MovieBob in another life) did a recent video about Bayonetta's character design where he postulated the interesting theory that Bayonetta is the first female character GENUINELY empowered by her sexuality. It's a fascinating idea and you should watch it, even if you don't entirely agree.

Agreed on the glut of "special editions" coming out for every game in the universe, but are there really that many of them that come with character models? I haven't noticed too many, but I guess I don't really pay attention to that kind of stuff.

RE: Character design.

I'd have to say that Mario's character design is more ironic than anything. On that note the characters of Tim Schafer's various universes have always impressed upon me a similar sense of irony (come on, a plumber during a day on the job gets sucked down a drain and has to rescue a human Princess overseeing a kingdom of mushroom people from evil turtles that fly, throw hammers and breathe fire? That has Schafer written all over it); but Mario I think was designed based on limitations of the platform at the time... they needed unique identifiable features that they could convey in 8-bit pixels and that's what they came up with. I am however glad that they had a landlord named Mario else we'd all be talking about JumpMan to this day (shudders).

Mario's design was a victim of his own popularity. You can't really redesign a character once he becomes the foundation of all that it means to be a video game. So I give Mario a pass because he has never been truly in control of his own destiny and is only as clever as we let him be as a gaming society. He's kind of like the Elvis or Michael Jackson of video gaming, we're never going to let him be anything other than "Mario" so how much can you really do?

I'd make the same argument for Sonic though he's more indicative of a Britney Spears in that they keep whoring him out over and over and trying to change his design in new and different ways (even though we're overall not really that interested anymore) in hopes that we'll find him sexy enough to buy his next album... err game (I have an idea! Let's make him a werewolf!) That being said I actually have hopes for Sonic 4.

I'd actually have to say that Princess Toadstool, err Peach... Peach Toadstool? Is that really her name? Toadstool Peach? Anyway, "The Princess" (as I call her, as in unless you tack on a last name, anytime you say "The Princess" that is who you'd better be referring to) has brilliant character design. She is indefinitly recognizable and actually looks like a Princess. You can also change the clothes on her at any point and as long as she retains the color scheme and hairstyle (and maybe her little crown) she is still clearly herself, which in my opinion is a testament to good character design. Take Agent 47 and put him in a black dress and he ceases to be Agent 47 and becomes the creepy bald cross-dressing guy. Not to mention, The Princess has been given several differently depicted "faces" over the years (think Super Princess Peach vs. Paper Mario) and can still retain her identity with nearly zero exposition. That shows either good design or overall character "burn in" over the years.


I was given the Morrowind GOTY Edition, which came out after it won Game of the Year and a couple of other awards. That to me was fully functional as a special edition: it had both expansion packs, the CD for the constructor set (which might have come with the vanilla version, I don't know) and a map of Morrowind itself, which was useful because it meant I could find out the locations of various places without getting too lost. This was fine.

Then maaaaaaany years later I bought the Far Cry 2 special edition the day the game hit the shelves. It was a few quid more expensive than the normal version and it came with a load of stuff which didn't really do much for me- artwork book etc. But it did have a T-shirt and that is something worthwhile- you can go out into the streets and it will proclaim "here is someone who likes to shoot stuff in a virtual world- back the f*ck up or you will receive the same treatment in his head"

Special editions should be justified through merit though, otherwise it just becomes a pissing contest as to who has the most money to waste and we don't need any more of that sort of thing in our hypercapitalist Western lives do we?

As far as i know, and to be honest that ain't much, game of the year editions are normally the same game but with all the dlc's for that particular game, Sometimes cheaper (e.g Fallout 3).

I'm sure this was covered on twitter, which I don't use, but how does Yahtzee feel about the main character from one of his favourite series? Gordon Freeman isn't really shown off as much as most characters, so maybe his looks aren't important. I'd say he's still pretty well designed though; he looks pretty much like an intellectual (tidiness of hair, glasses) normal guy. In a hazard suit. I would say that's a pretty good depiction of who Freeman is.

Of course, knowing "who freeman is" isn't really possible. Mostly I'm basing it on his looks, so yeah I imagine they would reflect it...

One thing you have to remember about Freeman is that you don't really see him.

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