The Way Of The Preorder

September 22, 2011

Let me just say I have nothing against Gamestop; as a retail store they’ve always treated me fairly and the employees at my local branches are always friendly and chipper. Yet I don’t find myself shopping there often, only because as a cheap ass gamer chick I always seem to find better deals offered elsewhere.

So, when I preordered Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns for the 3DS at Gamestop, my friend asked me why, and I got all embarrassed and made him promise not to laugh at me if I told him the reason:

This damn thing.

I don’t normally allow myself to be baited by physical, tangible bonus items because God knows there’s already a big box full of my video game memorabilia collecting dust somewhere. But frivolous and mundane as it is, there’s just something about this stupid, infernal Alpaca Plushie. Its beady black stare compels me.

It also made me realize something about myself — I’ve never really gotten into this whole business of preordering stuff. I average at about one game preorder a year, if even that.

But I see a lot of gamers do it all the time, and I just wonder why do you do it? I used to think it was kinda pointless, because I only buy special editions like once in a blue moon, and I know that even if I wanted something bad enough I’d just show up at the store bright and early on the day of release and pick it up then anyway, preorder be damned.

Okay, so clearly there are exceptions. Suffice to say the areas of game marketing and publicity are ever evolving, but at least for me, these are still the only three reasons why I would ever preorder games nowadays:

  • Money credit or bonus. I don’t think anyone can argue with a sale or a good deal, which is why if I do preorder I always go with Amazon because they seem to be throwing those $10 and $20 credit offers like candy.
  • MMOs. Sometimes it’s for early beta access, but more often it’s for the in-game items. This only makes sense to me because MMOs are multiplayer games where pixelated goodies can actually be displayed and appreciated by an audience other than myself. On the other hand, I don’t usually go out of my way to preorder single-player games for their in-game exclusives. Be it character skins or special weapons, it’s just not as much fun when you can’t show off your swag.
  • Stuffed domesticated camelids.


  1. It’s strange for me… I’m waiting on three pre-orders: Lord of the Rings Online’s expansion of Rise of Isengard, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and a book I’m interested in called “The Fall of Our Stars”.

    I do remember ordering a WETA statue of a Templar in Hellgate: London a few years back. When you ordered the statue, you got a free beta code to try out HG:L. It helped me determine if I needed a new computer or not. Yes, I needed one. Plus, the statue is cool.

    • I am only now getting into preorders. I put one in for Arkham City because it gives me a $10 credit for my next purchase, and I used my $20 credit I got for preordering Gears of War 3 to do it so I’m getting the game for 40 bucks. Getting a good deal makes me feel so much happier than any in-game bonus or exclusive, LOL 😛

  2. I preordered the WotLK (loved it) and Cata(regret it) CEs, and Rift, for the swag. When SWTOR gets a release date, I’ll preorder that, but not the CE; wouldn’t mind a color-change crystal.

    • I didn’t preorder WotLK CE, just showed up at Best Buy at midnight and they had it. I’m still pleased with my Cata CE because of the artbook and soundtrack, but I didn’t really have to preorder that either, my local BB still has about a dozen CE boxes on the shelf.

      My SWTOR preorder is a bit different. Early beta access is nice, and good in-game items. Also, being a big fan I can see why some would get it for the memories/emotional investment, as Jaramukhti pointed out.

  3. For us old folks, we were trained to pre-order by constant supply shortages. If you didn’t pre-order you might not get a game on Day 1.

    I finally shook the habit and now just do it for the $$ deals or to get free stuff. 🙂

    • Hey, not too old, I remember the days of supply shortages too! When I was like 11 or something and me and my brother were really into pokemon I remember my mother having such a hard time finding a copy of the game in the stores around us. Could have really done with preordering and online shipping then, but my parents were still wary about online transactions at the time!

  4. My SWTOR pre-order (CE) is mostly a souvenir to remind me of the emotional investment I put into a game not even released for more than 3 years. It’s a nostalgia buy, in all honesty. I just want to say I waited for this game with rabid anticipation, and I bought the best of the best package available for it when it came out.

    I can say, however, that I have not – nor can I ever see myself doing it – purchase a pre-order solely for a stuffed animal. But cheers to you and your soon-to-be new stuffed lamb-camel-thingy. 😛

    • Our household will have one SWTOR CE as well, and as much as the cost pained me, I am now coming to terms with it, because you’re right, it will have emotional and nostalgic value and it’s hard to place a price on that!

      And quiet, you! I WILL enjoy my plush alpaca, thank you very much 😛

  5. Pets really are your kryptonite. 🙂

    As for preordering, I mostly do it for the convenience. I can go on Amazon and order Arkham City when I see a video that gets me excited to play the game and then I don’t have to track when the game is launched, it just appears on my front porch. Same for Steam games with the added bonus that I can usually preload them so there’s less time to wait before playing once they’re released.

    Besides convenience, I do preorder quite a few MMOs and that’s usually for beta access, but it’s (nearly) always been for IPs that I was a huge fan of a and guaranteed to enjoy anyway.

    • Well, they are for me, too, but I’m not interested in Japanese games.

      GC, will you play Sims 3 Pets? I’ve been waiting for that game since the Sims 3 game came out. 🙂

      Too bad the Create-A-Pet demo borks your game (thanks EA!) otherwise I’d be on it now.

      • I’m tempted by the Sims 3 Pets thing. It’s totally up my alley, but it’s also been a while since I fired up Sims 3, and with this crazy game schedule I don’t even know if I’ll have time for it. Definitely on my mind though.

    • Yeah, I know I know. The alpaca can join the other members of my geeky plush collection, like my stuffed goomba, stuffed pikachu and plush tribble.

      I get the convenience thing too, but I’ve never really gotten a chance to take advantage of it. When I’m excited about a game, it’s on my mind, so I never have the satisfaction of just being able to just forget about it until it appears on my front porch 😛

  6. I’ve never been a pre-order person, but 2011 seems to be Year of the Pre-Order for me. I’ve even given in and pre-ordered the SWTOR Collector’s Edition. It’s just so unlike me. And, I don’t even get an alpaca! Ridiculous.

    • It’s the year of the preorder for me too (or, fall/winter of the preorder?) but it’s mostly because the next few months will be crazy in terms of the games I’m interested in and I’m doing it for the $$ deals!

  7. It’s so cuuuute! And it has sown on eyes which means it is ferret friendly. I bet the terror twins would love it. ^.^

    • Glad you think so too! Though I wouldn’t let my own twin terror Cavaliers anywhere near my plush alpaca. If I ever feel like getting rid of it one day, these Harvest Moon plushes are selling up to $30-$40 on ebay!

  8. Pre-ordering is something I have never engaged in. OK that is a lie, I folded like a house of cards when they announced the pre-order for Dragon Age. But I didn’t pre-order for the bonus items or anything else. I pre-ordered because I wanted it pre-installed through my Steam account, so I could play it the moment it went live.

    But other than that, no never!

    • Hey, it’s Dragon Age. Totally understandable. I myself folded for DA2, if I recall correctly, because it meant I could get the signature edition and the game soundtrack for free. Knowing that it’s Inon Zur responsible for the music I knew it would be worth it.

  9. I am a sucker for in game bonus items. I pre-ordered the most expensive version of Isenguard, the bits of which I’ll actually play I could quite easily afford with all the free Turbine Points I’ve saved up, so that I could get all three colors of bonus horses and cosmetic outfits for all of my characters. I think I have some kind of damage…

    • No, I think you’re fine 😛

      I’m the same way, with all sorts of vanity items, especially pets. Like I said, MMOs are a special case because it’s a massively multiplayer game and there are actually other real people in the game world to appreciate your in-game items. I see it as just another part of the social aspect. On the other hand, I don’t have an interest in in-game bonus items for single player games at all.

  10. This thread treads 2 different spectrum, but i’ll tap into them anyway. When pokemon was huge, if i could’ve pre-ordered and got a special Mew or etc, and an official Ash Ketchum hat, or the time King of Fighters 3D dropped and a Pre-Order came with a Red Fatal Fury cap? I’ll spring for nerdy fashion if it comes with the pre-order.

    Anything Zelda, Gold Cardridge’d and all, but alternate costumes, and maps, and weapons, and things like that…….those are going by the wayside imo since people are more and more waiting for the DLC to come out.

    Collector’s editions are another story, i tend to get everything CE since there’s always digital goodies *mmo wise* Living through Vanilla WoW without a Mini Diablo taught me the valuable lesson of SECURING that Netherwhelp via the CE. I’ll probably miss out on SWTOR’s CE though, simply because having the game is good enough for me, something pre-ordered like a head-start, or a special store, or even triple XP wouldn’t sway me, simply because the game is going to go so fed, WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR CE GOODNESS!? I feel like i’m going to play this game a good 5 years…there’ll be plenty of special goodies for me to collect that i’m….technically already paying for, why pay more?

    • I usually pass on CEs unless the game has special meaning, like SWTOR, an MMO I’ve looked forward to and followed and written about for a long time. Our household is going to end up with one copy of the CE, and now I don’t feel so bad about it because of the emotional value. The other reason why I would spring for a CE is if I like what’s in it and the numbers add up for it to be worth it. It’s the reason I picked up the last two WoW CEs, because they included the soundtrack and the artbook. Both those items were must buys for me, even if they didn’t come with the game, and together I felt they were worth the price of the CE.

      And damn, Ash Ketchum hat? If there was a preorder bonus like that I would have been so all over that.

  11. I’ve had awful experience with GameStop but… that thing… I want it 😡

    • I know! Gamestop seems to be the only seller around that has that preorder bonus. I was sort of hoping Amazon would update their page to include it too, but looks like it’s not going to happen.

  12. OMG I want an Alpaca plushie 0.0

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one!

  13. I have to admit, that alpaca looks pretty awesome. I would pay whatever it takes to secure a GW2 preorder if it came with a plushie.

    • Yeah, seriously, me too. Speaking of which, where is the Asura plushie!? Screw the Charr plushie! 😡

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