Fuck “additional content.” Just like with DVDs and CDs, when I buy a game, I want to buy it ONCE. I don’t want another version of the game to come out shortly thereafter (or on a different platform) that’s the same damn game, but with extra shit that makes other versions of the game completely useless. “Special Edition” this, “Director’s Cut” that…it’s all different terms for the same thing: anal rape.
Take Namco’s highly anticipated Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube. On a system where good RPGs are few and far between, a new Tales game would’ve brought plenty of attention to Nintendo’s current system. However…Namco decided to go the money route (not that I could blame them), and release a PS2 port as well, with plenty of additional content not found in the GC version. So why the hell would anyone buy the GC version now?! Granted, if you don’t own a PS2, that’s a reason, but GC sales of ToS are going to sink because of this. That pisses me off both as an RPG fan and a GC fan; I love my PS2, and all the fantastic RPGs found on that system, but the GC really needs some strong RPGs in order to survive. (The GC needs a lot of things, but RPGs are definitely a big one.)
The same thing happened with Metal Gear Solid 2. That game came out, and later, we got Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance, with plenty of extras. And again with the upcoming PS2 port of Viewtiful Joe; that even features a new playable character, Dante (from Devil May Cry).
Now, if a decent timespan passes between releases, that’s different. A perfect example of this is anthology collections. When you rerelease a game from many years past, there had better be some extra content, otherwise it’s worthless to buy, especially at an inflated price. Luckily, most companies not only do this, but cram an obscene amount of games onto one disc or cart, like the Activision Anthology. Over fifty classic Atari 2600 games. Can’t beat that.
Somewhere in the middle ground is a game like Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. Sure, there’s revamped graphics and added content, but the original PS1 game really didn’t come out all that long ago. The same could almost be said about the Super Mario Advance series, but that’s more a case of Nintendo screwing the consumer; all of those games could easily have fit on a single GBA cart. Instead, Nintendo’s adding tiny bits of extras, releasing them separately, and charging full price. Insane. The only one really worth getting is Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, due to the e-Reader support; that means 32 extra levels, not to mention all of the other options you can unlock. If the games ever drop to $9.99 a pop (which I highly doubt), then they might be worth it. In the meantime, if you MUST have them, trade cheap stuff for them.
I could also go on and on about games that are rehashed and released under a different name (like Grand Theft Auto III to Vice City), but I’ll save that for another column. Since they just announced GTA: San Andreas, that’s a prime target for my rage.