May Require Instructions

instructionsIs there anything better than opening a new video game? OK, well maybe a few things, but seriously, purchasing and unwrapping a new game is for real a cool feeling. Something about the anticipation, the smell, and most of all… the instructions.

I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. One of my favorite things about buying a new video game is to take out the instruction booklet and give them a good read-through before I even put the game in. Call me a dork, but it’s part of my ritual before I play. However, lately, I’m noticing a downward trend in the effort that people seem to put into instruction manuals.

Whereas old games used to have fun art, bios and worlds of information regarding the game, nowadays it seems that all we get are black and white cheapo prints that any five year old could make. Heck, the Modern Warfare 2 instruction manual ranks among the worst I’ve ever seen. Granted, the game is fun, so in the long run it’s all good, but I seriously love me some good instructering.

So am I the only crazy guy who cares about this kind of thing?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

21 thoughts on “May Require Instructions”

  1. Yeah I do that too so your not the only crazy one. Getting a new game and reading the instruction booklet gives me the same feeling that getting a new fiction novel does, an overwhelming smell of unexplored culture and mythology. oblivion had an awesome instruction booklet like most good old rpg’s.

  2. I remember opening up the instructions to say, Quake 2, or Mechwarrior 3, and having a fun time reading them. But now, I open something like Halo 3:ODST or Call of Duty:WaW, and I feel like it’s all more Multiplayer stuff and how to buy some Gold to play online, with just a picture of the controller and arrows to what they do…
    I still have all my old instruction books, and I read them before I replay the games after a long time of them collecting dust

  3. Instruction manual for Halo: CE was amazing.
    Other than that, I don’t really care, because most of the games I buy are either to install on Steam or bought through Steam, so no manual…
    But instruction manual easter eggs are pretty awesome.

  4. Man, instruction manuals used to be my favorite toilet read. Every game back when I was a kid had a giant (or so it seemed) manual. I love reading in every form, so I soaked it up like a sponge.

    It’s really kind of sad that games that should have a big instruction manual (Dragon Age) have a tiny black and white rush job. I mean, MW2 doesn’t really need a lot of instructions, it’s just “go there, shoot guys.” The Halo games are the only titles to have good manuals in recent memory.

  5. Same ritual Eddy. We’re all crazy here! : P
    My favourite manuals are those that give a little back story, bios or some info on weapons and the like. Oblivion’s was absolutely fantastic. It allowed me, an Elder Scrolls noob, to get a backstory and info on the races (I chose a Dunmer first time). Hitman: Blood Money also had a great manual. It gave a comprehensive guide on all the moves and tactics on offer. Haze also had a good manual. That was easily the best part of it.

  6. MAN I think we’re all a little guilty of this. I remember back in the SNES days when you needed to read the instruction manual because most games didn’t come with any kind of tutorial or anything. Sometimes we buy games for SNES now, which ofcourse, come as lose cartridges, and have a hard time figuring out exactly what we’re doing.

    Manuals totally rule.

  7. Fallout 3 also had a great manual with the Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide.

    I wonder how much of it has to do with used games/ rentals. Knowing that people aren’t going to pick up your instruction manual might influence you to stick your tutorials in game rather than committing them to paper.

  8. I miss the great manuals of old. They didn’t NEED to do much, but they DID. I remember the CoD: Finest Hour manual had quick facts about WWII. And the Civilization manuals (I’m looking at you Civ 3) alwas made interesting reading material whilist I’m on the crapper. But I took a look at the MW2 manual and thought, “Man, good thing I have this concept art to look at!”

    Hardened Edition FTW!

  9. As someone said, I’m sure we all do this. But since I get most of my games on Steam, I either don’t feel like looking through my /steamapps folder for the manual or the game doesn’t come with a manual (I usually discover the latter when I actually need to read the manual).

    However, these “short n’ sweet” manuals serve their purpose. They tell you what to do. However, since they tell you how to play the game in the first few levels of the game (or directly in the multiplayer, as is the case with Battlefield), I don’t see why they’d need to include it. For the PC now, the only purpose of the manual is to look on the back when the game asks you for the CD key.

  10. I think we an exception. How many times have you been on a message board and someone asks something that was right in the manual?

    Most people don’t read them.

  11. I never read instruction manuals ever. So yeah, maybe that makes ‘me’ the weird one around here.
    I love to start up a brand new game, not knowing what is coming. I love to figure out how things work, what all the controls are, etc etc. The less I know up front, the better. And if I do happen to hit a wall, I might take a little look into that instruction book. But definitely not before I’ve frustrated myself a good and solid 2 hours, trying to figure something out. (which in the end, had a really easy solution.) hehe.

  12. [quote comment=”9080″]OH! And I TOTALLY forgot the Mechwarrior manuals! Those are a fun read! If only I could find the disc…[/quote]
    haha, yeah, if only I could have a Joy Stick right now…
    and, it would be better if Mechwarrior 2 would work on the newer Windows, like 7 and Vista…

  13. WOW!! thanks for posting this, havent really made a post in a while but this topic is golden. i agree 100%. reading the manual is just part of the game experience, hell its what really got me into halo and so many other great games. there was a huge dissapointment (cant spell, w/e) when i opened up MW2 and didn’t even see one picture! it was not cool at all and really detracted from the experience, sad to see that gaming is going that way.

  14. Don’t worry Eddy I do the same thing I always loved reading Instruction manuals it’s always great but I have seen lately that they’be been getting smaller and smaller. Though I do agree Fallout 3 had a superb instruction manual my favorite is still the MGS manual.

  15. Does anyone else remember back in the day when you had to look up some word or symbol on a certain page in the manual to play pc games? #thegoodoledays

  16. @Nick

    How about playing MGS 1 when over the com someone tells you to “look on the back of the CD Case” for the code to contact someone… I searched through my inventory for a long time before realizing they meant the CD Case IN REAL LIFE.

    This is probably one of earliest anti-piracy things that was WAY ahead of its time, considering that now a quick Google search could solve the problem.

    I’ll never forget that. Totally awesome.

  17. I got addicted to the manuals because when I was younger and wasn’t driving myself to Gamestop I could always read the manual on the way back home.

  18. I always read the manuals as well.

    It’s like a post-buy ritual. You get the game and the first thing you do (while you’re still on your way home) is read the manual.

    As I recall, the C+C series always had good manuals, especially Red Alert 2 and Tiberian Sun. 🙂

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