Compilation video game
Compilation video games occur when multiple video games are sold in a single transaction. This used to be done by selling a single package with multiple video games in it, but, now, compilations are sold entirely as digital packages. Compilation video games have been sold in a variety of forms, and it's worth distinguishing between them.
I've always loved compilation games, and have bought a large number of them over the years. I tend to be pretty frugal with my video game purchasing, and wait to buy games until they're being sold at a major discount. While this means I'm usually far behind the times of the video game buzz, it also means, when I do buy games, I get the latest bug fixes and all the DLC included. The only thing I don't like about buying compilations is that they rarely come with the original documentation.
Forms of Compilation
Most compilation video games are re-releases of older games which were previously released individually. These titles are frequently from a series of games, or several games with a similar theme or genre. When games are released in this nature, the packaging typically suffers. Multiple manuals may be consolidated into a single book or replaced with a reference card, maps and posters are often replaced with black and white photocopies, and trinkets are usually left out entirely. However, for someone who wants to dive into a new video game series, this is often a very affordable way to do so.
When a compilation consists mostly of as-of-yet unreleased games, it's typically because the games aren't impressive enough to be sold individually. The publisher crams several games together hoping quantity will offset quality, and, occasionally, this is the case. This form of compilation has been unaffectionately referred to as shovelware.
Cartridges have always been far more expensive to manufacture than magnetic or optical disks, so, while a home computer compilation could ship with all the original game disks intact, selling a compilation consisting of several cartridges would greatly reduce a publisher's bottom line. To avoid this problem, cartridge manufacturers would use larger ROM chips and a technique called bank switching to fit multiple games into a single cartridge, and let the player select between them with a simple menu system. However, the overhead of programming a new menu system and using more expensive ROM chips will still expensive, so there weren't nearly as many multicarts sold as disk-based compilations.
Ever since the video game industry moved primarily into a digital distribution, the number of compilation video games that have been released has grown considerably. Since a publisher no longer has to compile disks and documentation into a box that must be shipped, they don't have to risk nearly as much on the compilation. The advent of emulation has really helped as well because the hundreds of thousands of games made for hardware that is no longer sold can be resold in compilations. Also, as downloadable content has slowly become the norm, compilations often build themselves as the game nears the end of its lifecycle.
Although compilations are usually viewed as inferior products to most gamers, over the years, companies have sprung up which exist almost entirely as compilation publishers. The goal of a compilation publisher is pretty much the same as any other publisher, but, instead of finding big new games to publish individually, compilation publishers focus on securing the rights to games that could never be marketable by themselves. Publishers often buy up entire gaming catalogs from failing companies in order to sell their old titles as compilations. Sometimes publishers will publish compilations of their old works in-house, while others will out-source the drudgery of compilation publishing to companies who specialize in them. The following are companies which focus on compilations:
The following compilations are important to me. For all compilation games, see the category.
|Challenge Math||1982-??-??||Simple educational math games.|
|Convoy||1987-07-15||Basic industry-themed simulations.|
|Expeditions||1983-??-??||Primitive explorer-themed simulations.|
|FunPack||1993-??-??||An assortment of games for Windows 3. Mostly clones of existing games.|
|King's Quest: Collector's Edition||1994-??-??||King's Quest 1-6, several related games, and behind-the-scenes videos.|
|Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows||1990-??-??||An assortment of games for Windows 3.|
|Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2||1991-??-??||More Windows 3 games.|
|Microsoft Entertainment Pack 3||1991-??-??||More Windows 3 games.|
|Microsoft Entertainment Pack 4||1992-??-??||More Windows 3 games.|
|Moraff Collection||1994-??-??||All of Steve Moraff's software at the time.|
|Myth: The Total Codex||1999-??-??||Myth 1, 2, Chimera, strategy guides, and map editors.|
|Space Games||1986-07-08||A variety of primitive sci-fi games for DOS.|
|Super Mario All-Stars||1993-07-14||Four Mario games on the NES remastered for the SNES.|
|Super Mario Bros. multicarts||1988-11-??||Super Mario Bros. with additional titles.|
|Swords and Sorcery||1987-06-10||Four primitive fantasy-themed games for DOS.|
|Ultima Collection||1997-??-??||All core Ultima titles from 1-8, and all the add-ons.|
|The Ultimate Might and Magic Archives||1998-??-??||The first five Might and Magic games.|
|The Ultimate RPG Archives||1998-??-??||12 older AAA DOS RPGs.|
|Ultimate Sci-Fi Series||2000-??-??||Blade Runner, Dune 2000, and Wing Commander: Prophecy.|
|WarCraft: Battle Chest||1996-11-11||WarCraft 1, 2, and Tides of Darkness.|