As the niche pass time of video games has seen a rise in popularity over the years, merchandise to accompany the scores of games that release each year have also gained traction. In days past, the shelves of game stores were littered with a sea of video game boxes, yet the emergence of the Toys to Life genre as well as pre-order bonuses and the like, mean your weekly trip to the video game store is more akin to Santa's workshop, where toys line the walls that games once occupied.
Some products are a welcome addition to the ever-growing games room, and do a wonderful job to demonstrate a deep love for the medium, yet others are rather more puzzling. Strategy guides are always useful and Amiibo are cute, so the market for such items is ever-present.
However, this doesn't mean that all video game products are exempt from scrutiny, as there are more than a handful of underwhelming offerings from publishers attempting to cash-in on the newest craze.
Fewer still are the game products that go a step further and are downright insulting. Merchandise should complement the gaming experience, yet these ten video game products only serve to offend their audience.
10. Inflatable Omni Blade - Mass Effect 3
The sprawling space epic that is the Mass Effect series rivals that of any sci-fi story in recent memory. Commander Shepard's epic quest to stop the Reapers from achieving galactic destruction drew players in with its enticing story and brought them to their knees with gut-wrenching moments that still hit hard a mere 8 years later.
The themes that Mass Effect explores, from planetary xenophobia to galactic unity are undoubtedly for mature audiences, and while gore is kept to a minimum, the complex tale that the trilogy presents is clearly for those of us above the age of 16.
It was insulting, then, that select preorders for the concluding chapter, Mass Effect 3, offered a free inflatable Omni Blade with a copy of the game. This product only functions under the assumption that Mass Effect is suitable for younger audiences, or that the target audience would benefit from an inflatable toy.
Its inclusion in the preorder does nothing to combat the notion that video games are nothing more than a lazy kid's pass-time. Anyone who would be easily occupied from an inflatable toy is far too immature to enjoy the game its bundled with.