Five Games That Need a Criterion-Style Special Edition

Music fans and movie fans have it easy. Did you love ‘Lord of the Rings‘? Well good, how would you like to watch four different commentaries and a day or two worth of bonus features? You’ve got it. Love Neil Young? You can pick up an absolutely ridiculous 10-disc Blu-ray set that cover the man’s career from 1963 to 1972. But love ‘Final Fantasy VI’? You can buy the game. I guess there’s a strategy guide too. One of the most frustrating things about being a fan of videogames is the lack of really competent special editions. Sure, you’ll get some collections and the occasional commentary track on remakes, but that’s only a fraction of the content that games could include. So here are five games that I really feel deserve the full treatment for one reason or another.

Final Fantasy VII

The seventh installment in the ‘Final Fantasy’ series is by no means my favorite, but it’s certainly the most celebrated. It swept up the U.S. into an RPG frenzy. The genre that was once the domain of only the nerdiest of gamers took root in the minds of the general populace. ‘Final Fantasy VII’ also started Square’s pattern of amazing videos that are so often imitated but rarely matched.

In true special edition fashion, a “Making of the Game” feature would need to be included. Perhaps even more important would be video of the hype leading up to and then following the game’s release. Some commercials would be great, as would a montage of some of the crazy licensed products that have gotten out there. Optional commentary over important scenes would be great too, though it’d be interesting to see who recorded it for a U.S. release.

This would also have to include the best possible version of the game. Gameplay could stay as is, but load times for battles would have to be cut down significantly. If it’s not a full high-definition reworking, it should at least have some sort of option for widescreen televisions. A lossless soundtrack couldn’t hurt either.

World of Warcraft

There are few outright successes that compare to ‘World of Warcraft.’ It’s one of the most popular – and profitable – games of all time. It brought millions of people into their first MMORPG and hooked them. There’s no questioning its significance in the gaming realm.

‘World of Warcraft’ is so much more than just a standard retail game. There are regular patches, free content updates, in-game moderators, and a massive technical team. Going behind the scenes of the most popular MMO of all time would be fascinating.

The latest expansion, ‘Cataclysm,’ gives Blizzard the perfect opportunity. The company could add commentary for zones that the player has already completed – or an out-of-game CD featuring commentary that could be played along with the game. It’d be great to hear why a zone was crafted in a particular way, or the challenges in balancing enemy encounters. Let’s even throw in ‘Warcraft Adventures‘ for good measure.


If you’ve only played one videogame in your entire life, you’ve probably played ‘Tetris.’ If you’ve got a cell phone, chances are you own it. If you’ve got any videogame system, or even a PC, you have easy access to one of the simplest and yet most challenging games of all time.

So why make a special edition? For starters, the story behind the game is absolutely bonkers. The licensing deals were all over the place, and different versions of the game came out at the same time. It was chronicled brilliantly in David Scheff’s ‘Game Over‘ and a number of other books, magazines, podcasts and websites.

A nice documentary alone would be enough. But it would be absolutely stellar to see the different ‘Tetris’ versions and iterations all on one disc.


If there’s one story that really needs to be told by the people who lived it, it’s that of the ill-fated ‘Daikatana.’ Never heard of it? I’ll elaborate.

John Romero was the hugely successful designer of ‘Doom,’ and ‘Quake.’ His name was synonymous with PC shooters in the mid ’90s. Everything he touched turned to gold. Romero was unsinkable, or so they said. Like the Titanic, all it took was one iceberg to bring him down. This iceberg was named ‘Daikatana.’

After ads proclaiming that “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch” made the rounds, people expected a lot. What they got was a few years worth of delay, followed by a mediocre end result. To get some commentary on the levels and some insight on the development and the controversy would be fantastic.

It’d also give me a reason to finally play the game I waited on for years.

StarCraft Ghost

This would be one of the coolest special editions to come out, but also one of the most unlikely. If you’re not familiar, ‘StarCraft Ghost’ was intended to be a console spinoff of the wildly successful RTS. It was a hotly anticipated game that would have sold incredibly well, but it just never came out.

Blizzard commissioned a developer named Nihilistic Software to make the project back in 2001, but it was scrapped three years later. Blizzard then picked up Swingin’ Ape Studios as a developer for the game. That’s where the story ends. ‘Ghost’ just isn’t happening.

If Blizzard wanted to, it could make some dreams come true by releasing both versions of the game in a semi-playable format. Maybe even just a level or two. It could also include a documentary detailing the process of making and eventually canceling the game. That would be like the ‘Lost in La Mancha‘ of videogames.


  1. Well, if you are going to argue for Starcraft Ghost, I have to argue for Duke Nukem Forever. For ten years, we have been seeing videos of playable levels, rendered in different engines.

    As for the Final Fantasy series, yes, an HD rework of FF7 would be great. Sadly, it would almost have to be completely redone from the ground up, as Square had the shortsightedness of making all characters and backgrounds Bitmapped artwork instead of 3D models. This started changing in FF8, and by FF9, the entire game was 3D. Shoot, put the thing in the computer with a good PSX emulator, and render the game in OpenGL at an HD resolution! Gorgeous!

    Not saying that Square can’t do it. The first six Final Fantasy games, as well as Chrono Trigger, saw a port to the PSX. In fact, Final Fantasy 1 sported a whole rework – making it look like it was a 16 bit console game rather than an 8 bit.

    If we are talking about HD reworkings, I would love to maybe see Final Fantasy 4-6 redone. And Kingdom Hearts come out with HD graphics (hey, it worked for God of War).

    • Oooh, a Duke Nukem set would be great. Little snippets of game, some videos, interviews, design documents… I’d love to know what was really going on.

      I love the idea of HD reworkings, and I’m glad to see more companies getting on the bandwagon. The God of War set that came out before the third game was absolutely beautiful.

      Final Fantasy VI is my favorite game of the series, and an HD remake would be amazing. I think that it should stay sprite based though, instead of going all weirdly 3D like those DS ports.

  2. Prayformojo

    Valve does add commentary tracks to some of its games, i.e. Left 4 Dead / Orange Box and the collector’s edition of Alan Wake did the same. Recently the new ipad release of Monkey Island 2 is sort of like a Criterion edition in that you can switch between the old graphics and the updated graphics as well as listen to commentaries.

    • Loved the Orange Box commentary stuff – getting insight into Portal was amazing. Monkey Island though is a bit lacking since apparently the old school version doesn’t work properly.

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