eldavojohn writes: You might be used to the idea that game reviewers receive games free and ahead of time but Ars opens up a darker side to the mystery box. Like a $200 check from Dante's Inferno reading 'by cashing this check you succumb to avarice by hoarding filthy lucre, but by not cashing it, you waste it, and thereby surrender to prodigality.' Or how about a huge ass sword from Dark Siders. Or brass knuckles (illegal in some states) from the makers of Mafia II. Or rancid rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags from Bulletstorm. NCSoft gave out flight suits and trips to weightlessness. Nintendo apparently likes to send all manner of food including elaborate cakes shaped as their consoles and games. Squeeballs sent a crate of stuffed animals. iPods from Activision and Zunes from Microsoft seem to be pretty tame bait for reviewers
... but there's one reason why this continues to happen: more news-starved review sites and blogs report on the extras and the publisher's game gets spread around just a wee bit more. Even if it is as freakish as bracelets from an insane asylum spattered with blood.