I am absolutely obsessed with VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. I’m sure I gushed enough about the sleek indie visual novel when I reviewed the Nintendo Switch port last year, but allow me to gush a bit further. Sukeban Games’ debut title is flooded with style and unique charm, mixing together the all-too-familiar pastiche of cyberpunk and flashy anime girls with the all-too-personal stories of dystopian life in Venezuela, the country VA-11 Hall-A was developed in. Telling these personal stories through the lens of a fictionalized cyberpunk utopia creates one of the most unique visual novel experiences I’ve ever played.
I jump at the opportunity to get my hands on VA-11 Hall-A merchandise, so I was over the moon to get my hands on this Collector’s Edition run of the Nintendo Switch version of the game from Limited Run Games.
Right out of the gate. this collector’s edition blew me away with how gorgeous the box itself is. Front to back, it’s adorned with sharp new artwork of bartending protagonist Julianne Stingray. The front flap on the box snaps open to reveal a double-panel illustration of the main cast. As a cute bonus, if you get your hands on both this and the collector’s edition run of 2064: Random Access Memories from Limited Run Games, the two boxes and gatefold illustrations can be displayed next to each other as a seamless, crossover art piece.
There’s plenty of great stuff inside the box as well. As soon as you open up the collector’s edition of VA-11 Hall-A, you’re greeted by an adorable enamel magnet depicting everyone’s favorite android sex worker Dorothy Haze. I expected this to be an enamel pin, so I was surprised to find out that it was actually a magnet instead. Honestly, I have a massive bag of pins and nowhere to even put them, but I rarely get magnets and have plenty of space on my fridge, so this enamel mini-Dorothy was a nice surprise.
As is standard for just about every collector’s edition under the sun, this special production of VA-11 Hall-A also includes a soundtrack CD. This game is packed with some of the most wonderful atmospheric music I’ve ever heard in a game, and it would be a crime not to include any of it in a collector’s edition of the game. There’s plenty of music in VA-11 Hall-A, and this collector’s edition CD gives you 19 of the most iconic tracks from the game. I’m in love with the cover art for the CD jacket, which was also used as the jacket art on the vinyl run of the game soundtrack.
But wait, there’s more! Packed into this Limited Run Games production of VA-11 Hall-A is also a gorgeous, double-sided poster with two different illustrations of Julianne Stingray to adorn your walls with. This isn’t some tiny ant-sized poster, either. Clocking in at 18″ by 24″, it’s a massive thing that would look jaw-droppingly beautiful in a proper frame. The blue artwork adorning the front side of the poster is actually the cover art of the Japanese edition of VA-11 Hall-A on Nintendo Switch, which came out last year.
For me, the most exciting thing in this box has got to be the official artbook of VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. This was originally printed as a pre-order bonus for the aforementioned Japanese physical run of the game, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on an English version for ages. The reason for that is because, well, this isn’t exactly a typical art book. You won’t find pages of in-game illustrations or design sketches. Instead, half of the book is made up of really intriguing stuff like brand new character bios and interviews with the developers that shed some interesting new light on the world of the game. There’s plenty of cute art in it, too, but for fans of the game, these new bits of translated writing are a massive treat.
It all comes together with a standard physical copy of the game. The standard cover art is brand new, as is the adorable special reverse cover illustration. It’s obvious just how much love was put into this collector’s edition release by Limited Run Games, and as a big fan of the game, it’s incredibly appreciated. Limited Run Games could have simply cobbled together the things they produced for its PlayStation Vita collector’s edition and called it a day, but instead, the company went out of its way to produce a swath of beautiful new artwork and collectables that any fan would be a fool not to get their hands on.