How did they make cardboard feel like leather? (And why?)

prince_of_persia08_le360boxart_160wChristmas is officially over, and this year my video game collection increased in size by one game: Prince of Persia (Limited Edition) for the XBOX 360. My initial assessment: great game, cool visual style, engaging gameplay, nice re-imagining of the series. I look forward to playing it more.

One thing I do not look forward to more of is touching the box. The Limited Edition version of the game comes packaged in a special outer box, which is designed to look like an antique leather-bound book. Artistically it is very well-done, but what is profoundly disturbing about it is the feel of it. There is some sort of coating on the cardboard that makes it feel eerily like real, well-worn leather. But not exactly. It mostly just feels like there’s some kind of weird fuzzy/sticky/highly unnatural (and probably toxic) film smeared all over the box. Yuck.

Luckily, inside the box is a regular plastic game case (featuring the standard cover art), which is what I’ll be keeping on the shelf. And I’ll store the cardboard box away in a secure location where it cannot contaminate my life further.