There’s nothing quite like owning physical goods, but they can be expensive and shelf space can come at a premium. Every month, Hardcore Gamer picks a premium collectible from our cavernous swag vaults and tells you whether it’s worth a spot in your Collector’s Cabinet.
Clannad is one of the most well-known visual novels of all time – and with good reason! Despite a rather formulaic premise of high school student surrounded by interested young women, this title took players on an emotional journey which sticks with many of them to this day. Despite a Japanese launch back in 2004, English-speaking fans were left without an official version to play until 2015. How did this come to be? Publisher Sekai Project ran a Kickstarter campaign for it in late 2014. The one year turnaround time for the Steam version was well worth it, as fans had already waited over a decade for an official release. One of the most exciting bits of the crowdfunding campaign to me was the ability to nab a physical copy of the game. This took a bit longer to make its way out, but finally shipped out recently.
With the Kickstarter limited edition now in my hands, I can say the edition was well worth the $40 I paid. Honestly, it seems to be worth far more than that. This is likely due to adding content as the campaign became more successful without an equivalent change in the price. For one, this box is huge and sturdy. The quality of the print work on the outside is just perfect as well. Even the inside of the box appears to have been incredibly well designed. Softer folded pieces of cardboard are situated within to keep items snug and secure while inside this box. But, that’s enough about boxes – what really matters is what is inside.
Within the Clannad Kickstarter Limited Edition you’ll find first the lovely Official Guidebook as well as Mabinogi Clannad Arrange Album and, of course, a copy of the game itself. Although it’s called a guidebook, really, the included booklet is much more akin to a typical artbook. Inside you’ll find profiles on each character, sketches of them as well as background artwork. A tiny hint section is included but it doesn’t really do much to explain how to get on the paths of different characters. You’ll also find all backer names listed in the middle of the book. They’re not in alphabetical order, unfortunately, but I finally found myself on the very last page!
Then there’s the Mabinogi Clannad Arrange Album. The case it came in was nice, featuring a white and blue pattern evoking clouds, and a bit unique when compared with other limited edition soundtracks. The case is a mix of cardboard cover with plastic jewel case disc holder. The disc itself felt a bit sparse in decoration (simply having printing on top of it rather than a full color image) but hey, it’s just a CD. The only hard part was actually getting the disc out of the entirely too tight plastic holder. There are just eight tracks included on the soundtrack here, but it’s a nice little bonus all the same.
The Clannad game disc features some iconic artwork but the casing it came housed within completely confused me. It’s a plastic DVD-sized case with rounded edges all around. At first, it honestly felt like a PlayStation 3 box but those don’t have as heavily rounded corners on all four edges. Also, the plastic here felt really strong and thick rather than flimsy. That’s a great thing for keeping the game disc safe, but I’m curious as to why it was placed in such a high quality case in general. The only problem with this disc is the fact that it is a DRM-free copy without an obvious way to update. This physical release was delayed until the game was updated on Steam, but that’s not to say any more updates may never arrive. Also, the Kickstarter Limited Edition simply came without a Steam key in any way (printed or emailed) but this was never promised to backers.
For the price, the Clannad Kickstarter Limited Edition was a steal for backers who managed to snag it at either $40 or $50. The contents may not be the most inspired in the world, but they are a great collectible for Clannad fans. Finally, I can’t help but suspect at some point Sekai Project will release a non-Kickstarter edition of their game. After all, if you’re going to produce more copies of any visual novel, Clannad is probably at the top of the list. I just expect that any future edition will not include all these fabulous bonuses, but you never know! I’d suggest folks looking for a physical copy of Clannad wait for that possibility as the eBay sales on this set are not pretty.
Want to look through the rest of our Collector’s Cabinet? Head right here.