I’m calling this meeting of Collector’s Edition Anonymous to order. Now, would anyone like to share?

I will. I’ve tried to kick my habit. But I’ve failed and I’m turning in my commemorative poker chip. I’ve been weak, but I have a Borderlands 2 Ultimate Loot Chest, so I’m ok with starting over.

It all started back in May when Gearbox announced that they’d be doubling down on special editions for one of my most anticipated games of 2012. At that point, I had already previewed the game twice and knew that I was ready to return to Pandora. Sure, the Vault Hunter version looked good, but I knew that the replica gun chest, steelbook case and that cute little home for my Marcus bobblehead just had to be mine.

It's big and beautiful... and it had to be mine.

Of course, I went to pre-order immediately. Unfortunately, Amazon (my retailer of choice) didn’t have them ready quite as quickly as I was to drop my cash. For two weeks, I forgot about it. I was a fool. The day I remembered, it was too late. One day too late, in fact.

I called every GameStop in my area. I found out that I had been a mere 24 hours too slow. The Best Buy closest to my home yielded more promising news. The person I spoke with assured me that I’d be able to reserve it. I confirmed to be sure, hurriedly gathered the kids into the car, broke the speed limit and rushed into the store.

I won’t recount the unfavorable words I used when I found out that I had been misled and that the clerk responsible never even checked. Suffice it to say that I will not be shopping there any time soon… but I digress. My last hope gone, I left a tab open in my browser for four months, refreshing the Amazon product page dozens of times a day in hope that someone had canceled or that more units became available.

I watched the prices start to climb as scalpers realized they were sitting on a gold mine. Of course, I made sure that I had a Vault Hunter edition pre-ordered, but I never gave up hope. Release day came and went, and I started calling GameStop locations after a couple of days based on the company’s website. It was easy to see who had units on hand, but the stock reports didn’t account for pre-orders.

I started widening the search after the closest location holding a Loot Chest for a customer told me that it was fully paid off. I tried further south in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and finally New York. Finally, yesterday, I struck gold in Poughkeepsie.

Buried treasure awaits!

I was incredulous and giddy. I hung up the phone, jumped in the shower and took the goofy photo below… and then I called again one more time to be sure. If I was going to drive 90 minutes in each direction, I didn’t want any room for error. Confident, I had one more person to speak with.

Was I crazy to drive three hours for a Loot Chest? Maybe.

“Hey honey, I’m going to Poughkeepsie!”

“What?”

“I found an Ultimate Loot Chest.”

“(sigh) Fine. Just make sure the garbage is out and the laundry is started.”

I loaded up my son and drove up. Even as I pulled in, I was nervous. What if I had gotten it wrong? What if they had gotten it wrong?

Thankfully, it all worked out. The store was busy, and as my son ran over to play on the communal 3DS, I chatted up the clerk I spoke to on the phone. The result?

This is Joe. He was very happy to sell me this Loot Chest. Very. Happy.

There it was. My loot chest. With a smile on my face, I began the long trip home and back to Pandora. My quest was finally over, and this little piece of memorabilia (a truly limited edition) was going to live in my new office. I may have been crazy for trying so hard to find one, especially since it delayed playing the game, but it was something I really wanted to have.

But I imagine you are wondering why. Why would I go through the effort to get a small plastic box? What makes this collector’s edition so special that it warranted a three-hour car ride right before a week of travel and eviction from our house for floor refinishing. The answer is pretty simple actually.

Borderlands means a lot to me.

The first game came out just a month after my move out of Western NY. I was glad to be coming home to New Jersey, but I left behind two good friends who were my gaming companions. These were the guys who reintroduced me to Magic: the Gathering. Our Left 4 Dead sessions were fantastic bonding moments. I was going to miss our weekly pizza and game nights. But we always had Xbox Live.

The first game we played together after my move was Borderlands. It kept us together. This weekend I’ll be headed up to be in the wedding of one of these friends.

So, this Ultimate Loot Chest, the one I worked so hard to get? It’s much more than a plastic box filled with fan service. For me, it’s a reminder that our little hobby is about so much more than the games. Every time I’ll look at this piece in my collection, I’ll remember those moments fighting Skagzilla and learning all about Scooter’s mama’s girl parts. My friends were by my side even though we were miles and miles away. That’s what gaming means to me, and that’s why I worked so hard to get this loot chest.