Siliconera Speaks Up: About Swag

By Louise Yang . July 12, 2009 . 8:02am


What is the coolest video game swag/pre-order bonus you’ve gotten?


Jenni: I think the Raiho plush that came with Devil Summoner 2 was pretty nifty. I also specifically preordered the GBA Harvest Moon games because I wanted to get the stuffed dog and cat animals that were preorder bonuses. Stuffed toys are always my favorite.


Soundtracks and art books are a nice addition as well. The Knights in the Nightmare art book was almost like an additional instruction manual, since it offered information on every single unit and the Yggdra Union connection.


Louise: I didn’t get it as a pre-order bonus, but I really liked the swag which came with Persona 3. The art book was a nice addition and a great way to enjoy the game without actually playing it. Looking through the book now that I’ve finished the game makes me nostalgic for it.


Speaking of swag, I really like the idea of Atlus Spoils. It’s a smart way to say thank you to people who buy the games as well as discourage piracy.


Spencer: The Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest bonus disc was an awesome gift. It came with the Wind Waker, if you pre-ordered it, and had remixed Master Quest dungeons. The Knights in the Nightmare art book really complemented the game too.


Swag has gotten much better since Atlus started spoiling their fans. Posters used to be the standard gift, now we’re getting art books and soundtracks. We’re getting better swag than Japan for most niche games now.


Ishaan: My vote is going to have to go to the Okami Official Complete Works art book from Udon. It’s not a pre-order bonus or even swag, but that is easily the most gorgeous game art book I’ve ever seen. It’s filled with tons of concept sketches of the characters and enemies and has tons of designer notes and plot elements. And it’s nice and thick, too!


That’s probably the only impulse buy I’ve made in the past 3 years and I don’t regret it one bit. There’s also a Shadow of the Colossus art book that a friend of mine pointed me to that looks gorgeous. In general, I think art books are the best kind of game-related swag because they’re often filled with a ton of interesting information and you never get bored of reading them again and again.

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  • This may or may not count but, Dragon Warrior for ordering Nintendo power, hands down.

    • Doc

      Yes. That was a great one.

    • Yeah that’s swag for sure! That was a great gift and perhaps the gateway into console RPGs for many gamers in North America.

  • I’ve got that Okami book. Also the only real splurge art book buy I’ve ever done (apart from the Warcraft Art of the Trading Cards coffee table book).

    I can’t remember too many pre-order things I’ve gotten… I guess the Harvest Moon stuffed animals have always been a favorite. The only other one I can remember is Lunar with the cloth map and that hardbound manual.

    Ah, I do remember getting a few art books for Guild Wars and Tales of Symphonia (I do love me some art books, anyone know a good somewhat affordable online shop specifically for video game art/books?).

    • Amazon tends to have the best prices as far as I can tell…

  • Lunar 2: Eternal Blue as released by Working Designs. You got a soundtrack, Lucia’s pendant (neat, but wtf?), a bunch of cardboard thingies of each character for some odd reason, a thick leather-bound instruction manual, maybe a cloth map of the world… or was that the first Lunar… uh… well, just a ton of crap. Working Designs will always hold the scepter of swag in my book. Atlus’ push is nice, but seriously. Those Lunar games were chock full of senseless goodies. And I still have my Lucia pendant. Because it’s badass.

    • Was just about to post this. People may not have liked how WD localized games, but you can’t deny that they came with some pretty neat extras.

    • Rennith

      Still got a Ghaleon punching hand puppet from a preorder. Their swag was indeed amazing.

    • Working Designs always bundled awesome extra like stickers and I think Arc of the Lad had a bunch of cardboard stuff. The Growlansers watch sticks in my mind as the most over the top goody they gave out.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    I still remember with Growlanser PS2 when Sony made WD do a non-swag version and NOBODY bought it…..the only peeps who bought such niche stuff wanted the goodies.

    I’d have to second the idea that when WD did bonuses they were the best. I’ve got all 3 of their PS1 releases and they released those wonderful hard bound and in house produced strat guides too.

    Kind of disappoints me that given how successful Atlus has been with their Spoils, few US companies outside this niche have stepped up improving their own CE ‘bonuses’. At best now you get some cheat code ‘unlocking’ some whatnot, an ‘exclusive’ code that turns up on Gamefaqs even before the title is released. The making of vids never get watched, because that special had already been brodcast on G4, gametrailers, or posted on the dev blog. That being said, the Batman LE with the full size replica batarang looks kinda rad and you would suspect Bioshock2 will eventually get a ‘big daddy 2’ figure pak announced.

    • doubleO7

      I watch the “making of” videos…

    • Oh yeah, I forgot about Big Daddy. I liked the figurine that came with my Bioshock Big Daddy edition or whatever it was called. It feels SO solid. But it’s a shame so many broke during transit though.

    • QBasic

      Somehow I get the feeling it’ll be a Big Sister figurine this time instead. :P

  • QBasic

    I’m shocked no one mentioned the BlazBlue LE. That’s a whole lot of cool goodies for a whole lot of…well, nada.

  • Fonic

    Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin had a pretty nice batch of stuff that came with it. But I’m happy with pretty much anything with an artbook. Soundtracks are almost always incomplete (understandably, but still…) so I’m not real big on those usually.
    Lunar 2 was pretty amazing. I still have my Ghaleon punching puppet somewhere.

  • Simon

    Shadow Hearts 2 preorder where u get Shadow Hearts 1.. awesomeness

    • Oh sweet! That’s a great bundle for an underrated series.

  • Love the artbooks. This counts for the Persona games, Okami, Monster Hunter 3, Guilty Gear, and a number of other things. Not really swag, since I bought them separately…

    As for things that came with the game, I agree with previous comments that Lunar games take the cake. As well as that Growlanser and Mana Khemia box… Yeesh. So much stuff…

    Yeah, games are coming out with more and more nowadays. Mini-artbooks, music CDs, plushies, keychains, you name it. Seems that the companies have figured out that people will specially preorder or buy something just for these extras, lol.

  • Saturnus

    I really like art books, especially if I the style is appealing. Persona 3 and Knights in the Nightmare (just to named a few) are good examples.

    I might be a guy, but I enjoy getting plushies designed after characters that you can’t just buy anywhere. Raiho was the latest one and it was so cool!

    • Judging from the comments you’re not the only guy who loves your Raiho. :)

  • malek86

    Here in Europe, we almost never get bonuses, aside from LE stuff. And i don’t really like LE’s because they usually drive the price up. Anyway, my favorite swag probably comes from my first press edition of Little Busters!, which contains a big book with artworks and sketches, and a very good remix soundtrack not available in stores. The strangest swag instead might be from Myst 4: it had a set of poker cards (?).

    Also, this may be completely off topic, but that picture reminds me I’m still waiting for DS2 to come out here. Though we’ll never get that plushie…

  • Harvest. Moon. Cow.

  • Zefiro Torna

    I love my R-Type Final and Metal Slug 7 dog tags, there’s some swag I can wear without hesitation. So many franchise possibilities for crafting dog tags around…

    I’ve also been taking more of a liking recently (/again) to posters, laser cells, wall scrolls, and just about anything that I can hang on my wall – perhaps due to nostalgia. I remember an era where posters almost seemed like standard inclusions, due to opening a game package and being “surprised” time and again. I’ve also fond memories of the local arcade manager handing me free spare posters back in those days (patronage rewards are great), if only I hadn’t lost them due to all the moving and such.

  • Aoshi00

    Despite being a grown male, I have a soft spot for plush, so the Devil Summoner Raiho pack was pretty cool. I love the “making of” videos, even for DVD movies I mostly buy the 2-disc version just to check out the behind the scene footages, I find them to be informative, ironic thing is many new Blu-ray releases choose to not include them despite their infinite capacity.

    Japan does have good swags like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 or RE 5, but they charge an arm and a leg for the premium, so they aren’t so much give aways.

    My favorite is artbook, that’s like another part of the “making of”. I don’t even need physical books if they could just include a gallery mode (like Street Fighter 4) that can display design arts in high quality. If only they don’t need to be unlocked because I hate spending all my time on any single game just to unlock goodies.

    Oh, I forgot, interview w/ seiyuu or voice actors, like Mass Effect (Seth Green as the Normandy pilot) or Gears of War (Wakka FFX / Bender Futurama as Marcus Fenix), it’s fun to see the actors talk about the roles they play. They should include more stuff like that.

  • ElTopo

    Some of my favorite LEs and CEs are the ones that came with artbooks. For now though, I’ve learned that CEs arent really worth buying, they tend to get produced in mass and end up in stores for the same price or less then the regular edition of the game. (Looking at you GTA4 CE/Fallout 3 CE).
    Soul Caliber 2 on gamecube pre-order bonus came with a full size 8×10 artbook at around 100 pages, with great high quality art for the entire cast.

    The DevilS2 plushie was nice, as well as the Dewys Adventure plush! I don’t have that game anymore but I kept the plush.

    The Blazblue LE was great, for the same price as the regular game you got a bonus 42 song soundtrack, and a dvd containing strategies and advice from pro players. Came in a nice box, and is already rare a week after it came out, going for minimum 20$ more then the initial price!

    While not necessarily pre order swag, for buying Okami full price (40$) at the Capcom booth at comic-con ’07 they gave out a limited Okami water board. Its a small tablet, came in a capcom slip case, that you can use the included brush to paint with water on the little board. Water drys and the board clears. Its a simple but cool little bonus for buying a great game.

  • EvilAkito

    Ditto on the Raihou plush! That thing is just awesome.

  • kashi

    I never really got pre-order swag until recently because I could never afford it when I was younger (my parents would never dole out the cash for more “toys” haha). But I do appreciate the extras publishers/developpers are offering now such as plushies (Raihou, Slime), mini-artbooks, cups and huge guy t-shirts. I always go out now to buy artbooks for games I love now, even if they’re in Japanese. If I could buy the swag now, I would do it.

    Though I’ll have to disagree about the Persona 3 artbook. Compared to the Official Design Works, it really pales in comparison since it looks like a half-arsed job of scans put together. I appreciate the bonus though and I’m glad it’s a free and more like a preview of the Design Works.

    The Okami artbook was gorgeous… when I finally got it. After announcing it and placing an order on Amazon, I must have waited at least a year (two?) or something for it to arrive? It got delayed for so long, and I never could find an update as to what happened with it. I didn’t even order it from a store in the end; ended up having to buy it used from someone from the States. But the art and production notes was amazing.

    I hope more developers get into releasing translated artbooks and bonuses into the Western market (I’m referring mostly to JRPGs). Also, I hope they realize that their fans are really interested to see the kind of work and thought that goes into a game.

  • thebanditking

    I second Ishaan’s statements, the Okami book is simply amazing. My favorite bonus though is the one that came with Castlevania Portrait of Ruin it was GameStop exclusive and came with Castlevania themed Stylus, 2 pack DS cart holder, Music sampler CD covering the entire series and a Simon Blemont 8bit style figure from Simon’s Quest, All in a Jet black box with a cool velcro wax stamp style seal. Though artbooks/figures/plushies are always nice as is music.

  • cj_iwakura

    For such a mediocre game, Growlanser: Heritage of War came with a beautiful artbook. It was better than anything in Working Designs’ deluxe Generations set(though I happily bought that anyway).

  • The Prinny plushie I got together with Prinny – Can I really be the Hero? and the artbook that came with Ar Tonelico 2.

    Wondering what spoils Rosenqueen will have in store for Sakura Wars and Mana Khemia 2? A free figure of Jess that came with Mana Khemia wasn´t that bad either.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      You would hope they announce the MK2 goodies soon…that title’s just right around the corner now.

      Not sure what the delay is on a SKU for Sakura Taisen, not even Amazon has it up yet and they’re usually WAY ahead of everyone else. I know gamefly had a November date posted.

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