Video game swag is one of our favorite things. It's not enough for you to purchase the biggest AAA titles and see them through to completion? Need a little more? Something tangible? You're not alone. You've gotta show your love somehow, preferably through throwing money at the manufacturers handling the distribution of the games' almighty swag. Whether it's a trinket such as a keychain you lose between your sofa cushions or a limited edition statue, there are plenty of options out there to nerd out.
We've got you covered with some of the most droolworthy fan swag available for three of this year's biggest releases. No matter if you're a gamer with a “casual” budget and think a novelization is pushing it, or a “normal” fan who represents with jewelry and T-shirts, or a “hardcore” fan with nothing better to do than spend money, we've got you covered. No matter if you're just saving the lunch money Mom gave you or if you're hacking away at that college fund, there's something here for you. Get ready to support your favorite game in style!
Gears of War 3
Release: September 20, 2011
Casual: COG Tags $10-$12
If you've been itching to join Delta Squad since its inception, these weighty metal COG tags are for you. Distributed by NECA, these beauties are the real deal – distressed pewter COG tags read “PROPERTY OF THE COALITION OF ORDERED GOVERNMENTS” and are adorned with realistic-looking wear to give the impression that even though you're standing in line at Starbucks waiting on some overpriced coffee, you're actually a hardened soldier and lived to tell the tale of the war between the Locust, Lambent, and humanity. Plus, it's a pretty necklace you can show all your friends. As a proud owner of a set of these babies, I can wholeheartedly recommend them as a cheapie purchase to share your love for all things shaped like gears. Or Fenix and the gang. Whichever.
So the COG tags are great and all, but you're really in it for the love of the game. As such, you need something to have and to hold while actually chainsawing through that downed armored Kantus to show the world how much you care about your beloved Gears. This slick-looking special edition controller'll match your bloodstained hands as you trudge through a sea of those wretched Lambent, hurdling your own dead and crying for your mother. So you can't get it dirty, that's a plus. It's adorned with the iconic Crimson Omen, and if you're too much of a collector to take it out of the plastic, it's even packaged to display. Isn't that a nice little show of your appreciation?
If you can't hear the Locust sneaking up behind you AND feel their stinking breath on your neck, then you're obviously not gaming hard enough, or with the right equipment. If you decided to pass on the Xbox 360 controller and the COG tags in favor of this headset (complete with mic in case you decide you need to spit some mad insults), then be prepared to shell out a little bit more cash for this special edition headset via MadCatz and GameStop. It's...red with the Crimson Omen! Creative, right? Hey, at least you'll be gaming in style with this stylish headset. And you won't have to deal with those ridiculous-looking throat mics.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Release: November 1, 2011
If you weren't into motion comics or the comic mini series, now you can take Nathan Drake with you on the go in the “official novel” of the Uncharted series. Just in time for the third game's release, you can treasure hunt in the middle of class or on your way to work, all for about the same price as dinner. There are no trophies, but you can deal. If you're itching for a little more time with your favorite Uncharted characters then this is a great way to support the series.
Normal: The Art of Uncharted 2 ($40)
While you're preparing to dive into Uncharted 3, you can take time to reflect on the previous game and just how jaw-droppingly beautiful some of those environments were. This classy hardcover would look great on a coffee table or on the bathroom counter for excellent business time reading material, and I'm absolutely okay with that. Luscious full-color art, paintings, concept drawings, and plenty of other goodness awaits between the pages of The Art of Uncharted 2, so if a stand-alone adventure isn't enough immersion for you, opt for this instead.
Hardcore: Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition – Priceless – only available through eBay finds, promotions, contests
This one might be a little unfair, as the Fortune Hunter edition of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the most coveted pieces of Uncharted fandom out there. Those lucky enough to have snagged a copy of this elusive collectible receive not only the game, but a Phurba dagger replica, art book, signed case, and tons of extras. You could, presumably, pick one up, but only at a high price if you're fortunate enough (see what I did there?) to find someone willing to part with it. You could always spring for the $99 Collector's Edition of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception in the meantime, though. It comes with a lot of cool swag, and is definitely worth your while. Plus, it's a hell of a lot easier to find.
Batman: Arkham City
Release: October 18, 2011
Casual: Batman: Arkham Asylum Graphic Novel ($10)
If you haven't yet taken the time to read one of Batman's finest adventures yet (and the inspiration behind the first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum) now's just as good of a time as ever. This affordably-priced edition sports gorgeous art AND a story. I just don't know how you can beat that these days with your Ken Dolls and your iPoos.
If you can't actually live in Gotham City and roam with some of your favorite heroes and villains, why not buy the next best thing – their action figures? Choose from Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batman, Joker, Bane, and more – all ripped straight from the pages of your favorite comics – Harley's of course in her game costume, which I didn't particularly care for, but these great little pieces are excellent additions to any Batman fan's collection, especially at $20 apiece. You can forgo that iTunes card for one of these, surely.
This statue is indeed breaking the bank a bit and technically isn't related to Arkham City, but it's a fine piece of art that you absolutely need to wake up to guarding your bed every single morning. That might just be me, but this official collectible is certainly something to covet, especially if you're just an all-around Bat fan and could care less about the games themselves. Get it and take him with you to the launch so you can use it as a blunt object should someone try to steal your copy of Arkham City. We won't tell.
These are only but a few suggestions for you swag-seekers out there. With more and more huge releases on the horizon, we look to the future for more ideas, but you're always welcome to suggest some better buys and gift ideas here. What triple-A swag can't you live without? Tell us in the comments , but try not to brag.
Brittany Vincent is a freelance writer who routinely eviscerates virtual opponents and tempts fate by approaching wayward Zoloms. A connoisseur of all things bloody and bizarre, she's available to chat via Twitter @MolotovCupcake, and is always ready to take on new projects. You can peruse her archived work at PfhortheWin.com