-by Dylan DiBona
I don’t hunt for retro games as much as I used to; I’ve become quite comfortable with my PlayStation 4 as of late. When I do browse the online shops for an older games, it’s like a gamble in terms of the shape of the game. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a very affordable copy of Tales of Symphonia for cheap. It’s what inspired me to write my GameCube Retrospective. I played the game on the Wii once (never beaten) and sold my copy to GameStop. One thing I received in the box that I don’t think I did last time was a thick game manual. That little packet of pages sent me further down a route of nostalgic appreciation.
It’s perfectly reasonable and understandable as to why physical game manuals aren’t really made anymore. Releasing manuals online keeps company costs down and most importantly, saves paper. Physical game manuals were a product of the time, before the internet could give you infinite tips on everything. I remember coming home on a long car trip reading the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon manual for twenty to thirty minutes, my dad said “You’ll know everything about the game before you play it!” or something like that. That was the sign of a really good game manual.
Having character bios, enemy names, a story summary- it was almost like a guaranteed sign of quality. It built hype for that moment you could finally grasp the controller after a long day of school.
I open up my steelbook copy of Persona 5 and see nothing but a small thin piece of paper advertising some useless game, and warranty stuff on the back. I open up my copies of Persona 3 and 4 and think back to the simpler times. It’s not really feasible to make game manuals anymore, but when a company like Yacht Club Games produced an old-school manual for Shovel Knight, it was a little heartwarming.
Like anything else I’m sure there are bad game manuals out there, but when you got a good one reading it was a genuine joy. A good game manual gives the player knowledge of the gameplay and virtual world, it truly is a lost art form.
Anybody else miss physical game manuals? Which was your favorite? What modern games have you picked up that came with game manuals? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.