In: Articles by Dave "Holy Goalie" Gardner28 Jul 2010
It started off slowly, almost silenty. One page at a time, one URL link at a time. But eventually our video game manuals started to get thinner and thinner, with the end goal for many companies to not have a manual at all and instead to have it all online.
For many of us it is a sad, sad day. As much as I use the internet for research, there is still nothing like a newspaper or magazine in your hand while you have your morning coffee or kick back on the deck with a Pabst Blue Ribbon. The Digital Age has arrived, and it’s not without its casualties.
Since I was a kid buying games for the Atari 2600 and the Mattel Intellivision, I used to love to read the game manuals. They brought the game to life with pages of the game background and story. It showed you how to play the game, had great artwork, and even offered a page for notes. (Has anyone ever written anything in the notes section?)
Slowly and methodically with everything going online, page by page of the game manuals started to vanish, with only URL links left in the ashes. First it was the game story going from two pages to two paragraphs, then to barely a few sentences. Next the instructions on how to play turned into a tutorial section at the beginning of each game. Character artwork got the pink slip, too.
Then they came for the notes page. After that there wasn’t much left to take away.
I will miss reading the short stories and backdrops that enhanced the game and looking at the character or weapon illustrations. I will still instinctively reach for the game manual to freshen up on the controls if I haven’t played that game in a while, only to find it not there.
The game booklet to me was the prize at the bottom of the cereal box, now it’s all just a click away.