When you’re paying $92.45 for a video game in a fancy collectors’ package, your expectations probably run pretty high. It’s a stupid amount to pay for a non-essential item, but it’s easy to get excited about cool stuff. Enter : Limited Run Games.
[Please know that this has zero to do with LRG’s controversial firing of an employee, allegedly for political reasons. This is a totally separate ball of rage.]
I’ve long been a massive fan of Wazmo Nariz, the humble post-punk/new wave/beyond-genre musician I stumbled across in a thrift store. And if you dig deep enough into his existence, you’ll find that he’s embraced a diversity of things before becoming a luthier. One of those things was starring in a SegaCD game called Kids on Site. It’s an FMV game in which young gamers direct construction projects on a simulated construction site, and it’s kind of just a side note in the very interesting world of FMV games. As an avid collector of all things even tangentially Wazmo, I picked up an original copy of the SegaCD game, and I thought that was it, until an April Fool’s Day announcement by Limited Run Games in 2022 that they would be releasing a special collectors edition of the game for PS4.
The set was scheduled to include the game itself, an original coloring book, a poster, some crayons, and a sticker, all packaged in a large collector’s box. The price was $80. And because I’m a dope, and I was addled by pandemic isolation, I leapt on it. It arrived in March 2023, almost a year later, presumably due to an incredibly long lead time it would take to make this thing as awesome as it deserved to be.
It is not awesome.
The first surprise was the large cardboard box, which is tragically flimsy for being a “collectible”. It’s impossible to open it without bending something beyond repair, which is counter to the goals of this box. It’s thin; it’s not one of the hulking big boxes you’d find on the enchanting shelves of Babbage’s back in the day. But the inside is worse.
The coloring book is a slap in the face. It’s much smaller than a real coloring book, but the expectation existed that they’d create some artwork related to the game, or the protagonists Dizzy and Nuts, or anything custom made for this special release. Instead, it’s the cheapest possible licensable clip art that could quickly get together, all in different styles, and totally unrelated to anything but the vague idea of construction as imagined by an alien who also didn’t want to do the barest amount of research on human beings. A few of these guys are handymen, which are not construction workers. If you show a kindergartener a picture of a construction worker and a handyman, they’d be able to tell the difference. It’s negligent treatment of a very simple theme that LRG weren’t even smart enough to grasp. Whoever did this should feel bad.
This is accompanied by a generic 4-pack of crayons in cellophane. Some quick Googling reveals that these are the third result for “generic crayon four pack“. For over $90, you are not getting crayons with a Kids on Site label.
Then there’s a large, pixelated poster that depicts the box art. It’s pretty lazy stuff.
The final piece in the puzzle is a garbage sticker. It’s not well-designed or die cut; it’s just a square slab with the game logo printed on some clear plastic. Overall, this gives off just the impression that someone just didn’t care about you as a human being. They would step on your corpse if it would help them reach a filthy dollar bill. This is Limited Run Games. Just pure dollar store generic waste.
And then there’s one final nail in the coffin that Limited Run has built for you, probably out of balsa wood and then charged you a premium for.
The extra-large box art (which has been folded crooked), for reasons that Limited Run declined to explain to me when asked, is covered with large watermarks. These watermarks are for a completely unrelated ‘Gimme VR’ golf game, and seem to feature some logos and parts of what might be an instruction sheet. I just cannot fathom the connection here. Did a designer leave a semi-transparent file open accidentally when he was putting this ugly garbage together? There’s absolutely no connection I can find between this golf game, Limited Run, Flash Film Works, or Screaming Villains. Mine seems to be the only copy with this problem, at least.
Limited Gun Games is garbage and they don’t respect you. This video explains it in greater detail.
The simple, unadorned game cost $30, which isn’t unreasonable for a remastered and upscaled game. The deluxe edition upcharged by $50 plus tax. What did these things actually cost? Bear in mind that price per item generally decreases as quantity produced increases. I’m assuming a limited run of 100, but it was likely more.
Crayons are 100 packs for $14. So, .14 cents or less worth of generic crayons.
100 square, clear stickers of about this size cost about $109, and of course, the cost goes down per item as you make more. Let’s say that each sticker cost $1.09.
A folded poster is probably under $5, based on estimates from typical printers using this size and finish. Limited Run probably has a deal with a printer as a repeat customer to get these things for pretty cheap. We’re running about $6.23 of poorly-made extras now.
Coloring book printing would be $1.35 each, or less, based on another standard estimate. Buying the stock art is another issue. Here are some of the images they used; they cost between $15 and $30. They’re not great illustrations; they’re just cheap and easy to find on stock image sites without much effort.
Let’s pretend that they spent $300 on stock images, which would make $3 per book if you break it down. We’re now at $9.58, plus whatever pennies the box cost, and that’s a very generous estimate for what we were charged $50 for, leaving us to believe that we paid $40 per item just to have someone Google ‘cheap crayons’ and hit the buy button.
The final final nail in this crucifix of shame is the fact that they couldn’t even get out of the way of their own typos.
The original box text is fine; LRG managed to somehow insinuate themselves into this and just get it wrong. That makes you an asshole, LRG. One gigantic collective asshole.
The returns process was objectively stupid. I was forced to pay return shipping on their defective product, and had to debate against paying their 15% restocking fee. Eventually, they refunded me the full purchase amount, still leaving me at a loss for my shipping fees. They offered no explanation for their errors and admitted no fault or apology.
It’s not hard to make something cool. It’s not hard to source good materials, customized parts, and put care into what you do. As an incredibly small creator with no industry connections, this is something I manage to do on a tiny budget and with greater skill and authenticity than this whole weaselly organization. It is not difficult to be good. It is not difficult to be fair. It is not difficult to care. Limited Run Games fails at all three.
C. David is a writer and artist living in the Hudson Valley, NY. He loves pinball, Wazmo Nariz, Rem Lezar, MODOK, pogs, Ultra Monsters, 80s horror, and is secretly very enthusiastic about everything else not listed here.