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So Prima guides have become the new manuals?
November 7th 2004, 07:32 CET by McBain

VE - Silly question, but there are some rumors floating around German HL 2 forums that Half-Life 2 won't ship with a manual of any sort.

    Doug Lombardi - That's correct. There is a quick reference card included to guide folks through installation and set up. And Prima will be releasing the official strategy guide.

Okay, that's fine, because in game tutorials have generally taken the place of manuals.  But I really hate the idea of being obligated to buy a guide to learn how to play a game.  I appreciate a manual that will tell me about early things that might bewilder me about the game.  Some games have shitty tutorials though or skip it altogether.  At the same time, I understand the money to be made on guides.  Is this a good or bad thing?
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Home » Topic: So Prima guides have become the new manuals?

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#1 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-07 07:33:01
First!

Children are the future. Thatís why they must be stopped today.
#2 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-07 07:33:19
My vote pushed it in, so I had to do a Firsties!

Children are the future. Thatís why they must be stopped today.
#3 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-11-07 07:33:24
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
second!

"The people against Bush are REALLY against Bush." - G-Man on Creole Ned
#4 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-11-07 07:33:33
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
hulka you son of a bitch

"The people against Bush are REALLY against Bush." - G-Man on Creole Ned
#5 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-07 07:33:35
Oh, and Prima sucks.

Children are the future. Thatís why they must be stopped today.
#6 by Qmanol
2004-11-07 07:35:59
Agreed.

"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live."
#7 by Qmanol
2004-11-07 07:39:26
I have a Diablo II Prima strategy guide that I got with the battle chest. Absolute joke. The game changes so much each patch that a paper strategy guide is doomed anyway, but their guide isn't even accurate for the initial versions.

I really like manuals. Well-bound, thick, informative and stylish manuals. Especially for TBS, and RPGs. For a FPS though, who really cares?

"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live."
#8 by McBain
2004-11-07 07:48:20
I still regret buying the GTA:VC guide because EB was "only selling the package" on the street date.  Lousy bastards.  But I really hope that they don't totally replace manuals.

www.dailyhowler.com is the single most important website that Americans should read every day.
"The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."
#9 by Squeaky
2004-11-07 07:55:12
The only strategy guide I've ever bought was for Riven and only because of that stupid marble puzzle.

#10 by Eyegore
2004-11-07 09:14:03
http://home.cfl.rr.com/eyegore/gallery.htm
Prima sucks.  Manuals suck.  Even tutorials are often too long and boring, but I'd be happy if they continued the trend of including a tutorial and an in-game manual/glossary type thing in all games.

I remember when just about any game you bought had a gigantic novel-like manual.  I used to read them until i realized it was a huge waste of time better spent just playing and figuring it out.  With the in-game help it's even easier.
#11 by Shadarr
2004-11-07 09:42:26
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I've never bought a strategy guide, but I got one for Alpha Centauri with Alien Crossfire.  It was pretty helpful, but AC is a complex game.  I've also got strategy guides for some RTS games that I barely even looked at once.

I'm not a big manual fan, but there should be something.  Ideally, filling in whatever the tutorial doesn't cover.

UAC! Fuck yeah!
#12 by Dethstryk
2004-11-07 09:45:11
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I'm buying a game for the game, so I can't really whine about a book not being included.
#13 by Ashiran
2004-11-07 10:51:26
Spending time reading manuals isn't a waste of time imho.

Nihil nequeo.
#14 by LordDrucifer
2004-11-07 12:35:04
Yasta11@hotmail.com
only pussies need the manual.

UAcomic.com
It's like that all male flinestone episode where Barney fucks the shower.
#15 by zimbardo_ugly
2004-11-07 13:59:43
zimbardo_ugly@hotmail.com
And it's seconded.

Rot-corpse Sumatran art amuses proctor.
#16 by m0nty
2004-11-07 14:05:53
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Pussies need manuals, I agree.
#17 by Percy Kittenz
2004-11-07 14:18:41
blakcat9@planetquake.com http://www.livejournal.com/users/percykittenz
The only time I've bought a strategy guide is when Gamestop held onto a box of UT2004 SE and would only sell them with the strategy guide with a 200% markup. I even passed up on buying Hulka's "Deathmatch Manifesto" at the used bookstore for a dollar.

I agree that I miss big manuals. They give you something to do while the game installs. It's practically a ritual. I really actually enjoy reading all the character descriptions and backstory, as pointless as it may be in a game like, say, Quake 3. Hey, at least it shows some effort on id's part.

I'm not terribly upset that Half-Life 2 will be shipping without a lengthy manual. For one thing, I bought the game through Steam anyway and reading .pdf documents aren't as fun. Also, I expect that, like Half-Life 1, there'll be a neat tutorial to familiarize players wiith all the fun new physics stuff that we'll have to master in order to beat some pointless puzzle in the middle of the game that involves constructing a bridge out of crates using the physics gun and a crowbar.

I also found it interesting when I saw somewhere, perhaps in a Q&A, that the Prima "making of" Half-Life 2 book deal was signed on August 30, 2003. No conspiracy or anything. Just interesting.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Because your philosophy sucks." - Lore Fitzgerald SjŲberg
#18 by Caryn
2004-11-07 14:48:22
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
The only game I've ever needed a manual for was Civ III, and that manual was huge. But it was really informative. For every other game, I tend to wish they wouldn't come with large manuals because then I feel guilty throwing them away when I barely read them, if at all.

Spiritual life can be regarded as a course of gradual recovery from the addiction to the peculiar type of awareness that splits everything into subject and object. - George Feuerstein
#19 by Marsh Davies
2004-11-07 15:29:52
www.verbalchilli.com
Civ III's manual was certainly a necessity. As are those that come with flight simulators (the first one I think I had was Stealth F117A).

But I quite like frivolous bits of graphic design, so even with games like Doom 3 I was quite pleased to find a pamphlet attached. It's not what I consider a deal-breaker, though.

I think the non-essential manual I enjoyed most was for Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption. Great backstory, lovely illustrations, nicely put together.

#20 by jjohnsen
2004-11-07 15:47:36
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Pussies need manuals, I agree.

No doubt, all that time wasted swirling to the left when I should have been swirling to the right.
...sigh.

Anyway, I haven't touched a manual in years, a training level should tell me everything I need to know.

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP
#21 by Hugin
2004-11-07 15:53:30
lmccain@nber.org
I can't imagine buying a 3rd party manual when there's Gamefaqs and crappers I can bug.  And that should be for "I don't understand this particular feature or I can't find this particular secret or I can't tell if this is a bug or not."  The actual basic "How to play this game" stuff should be built into the game itself.  A good game teaches you how to play it.
#22 by ...an ethereal being...
2004-11-07 17:04:12
The downside to Gamefaqs is that many times the solution/hint/secret is easy to show with a picture, but tough with text only.  For example, in the GTA games it would be nice to have a picture of each vehicle and it's name for the 'steal every car on this list' missions.  ASCII maps are a joke as well.

I have never bought a game guide but I'm not one for getting 100% of the secrets, side quests, etc. in a game.

"PlanetCrap, your #1 source of handy tips on how to use household detritus and Barbie analogues to make you completely unattractive to the opposite sex." - m0nty
#23 by "Terata"
2004-11-07 21:15:44
Is there anything keeping the Gamefaqs writers from using PDF or something similar?
#24 by Jibble
2004-11-07 21:28:09
Last time I bought a game the girl behind the counter tried to sell me a strategy guide.  I said "no", and she made up some story about how all their hardcore players came back for a strategy guide after a day or two of playing the game.

I hate upselling.  If I walk into your store, come up to the counter, and ask for something, you need to give it to me and let me leave.  I haven't wasted any of your time or money.  It's ridiculous to try and upsell a for-sure purchase.

#25 by Hugin
2004-11-07 22:02:03
lmccain@nber.org
I don't mind a single attempt at the counter.  Aske me if I want the strategy guide.  Once.  Fine.  And when I say no, don't argue with me about it.  Don't wheedle, don't ask me a second time, don't try to extol the virtues of the thing, don't warn me of dire consequences if I don't get it.
#26 by Dumdeedum
2004-11-07 22:03:06
http://www.dumdeedum.com
I'm with Percy, I enjoy reading the manual while the game installs, it whets the appetite and is often a good place to pick up tips and tricks that you'd otherwise miss.  Plus if it's done well it can add to the atmosphere*, the obvious examples being Fallout 1 & 2 but lots of other games have done the same thing.  Hell, even Doom 3's little "Doom Lore" snippets were kinda cool.  I will also miss the HL2 manual, the manual for HL1 had a cool job acceptance letter from the Administrator** and production sketches in the background.

I'd never pay for a manual though, that shit's wack.

* 'sup Bob.

** Who ended up being referred to as the "G-Man" for no good reason.

#27 by Hugin
2004-11-07 22:06:33
lmccain@nber.org
#23 by "Terata"

Is there anything keeping the Gamefaqs writers from using PDF or something similar?


I hope Gamefaqs doesn't switch to PDF.

 I read Gamfaqs documents online, I rarely print them.  PDF is a great way to maintain consistent documents when printed out.  But I find PDFs, especially long PDFs quite unpleasant to read online, and Gamefaqs switching to that format would cripple the site for me.
#28 by Squeaky
2004-11-07 23:00:01
Since this thread is somewhat book related-ish:

I just found an email in thunderbird that gets me $10 off a $50 purchase at Chapters/Indigo. So what are some books you peeps recommend? I'm pretty open to genres/styles/whatever.

#29 by Hieronymus
2004-11-07 23:12:26

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
#30 by yotsuya
2004-11-07 23:13:08
I have 2 strat guides for Daikatana. One I bought, the other I won in a contest. It's autographed by John Romero.

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes"
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#31 by eggbert
2004-11-07 23:22:38
http://www.stuffresearch.com
I don't mind a single attempt at the counter.  Aske me if I want the strategy guide.  Once.  Fine.  And when I say no, don't argue with me about it.  Don't wheedle, don't ask me a second time, don't try to extol the virtues of the thing, don't warn me of dire consequences if I don't get it.

Exactly. Once is fine, I understand they have to do their job. But if I have to stop being polite in order to get you to stop talking there's something wrong with your customer relations model.

** Who ended up being referred to as the "G-Man" for no good reason.

I think it was because that was the name of the player model in the SDK.
#32 by ...an ethereal being...
2004-11-07 23:45:22
I wonder if a PDF filled with screen shots could be forced offline due to copyright issues?  If movie companies can take down fan sites due to use of their images then I would suspect that a game publisher could do the same.

"PlanetCrap, your #1 source of handy tips on how to use household detritus and Barbie analogues to make you completely unattractive to the opposite sex." - m0nty
#33 by G-Man
2004-11-08 00:06:00
The first manual that I really enjoyed reading and that opened my eyes to the joy of the medium was the instruction booklet for the original Legend of Zelda. Everything about Zelda was amazing when it was released. Back then Nintendo was still relatively below the radar (Nintendo Power and the Mario Fan Club hadn't even been launched yet), so to suddenly have this amazing game appear out of nowhere was a BIG deal. The game was, of course, like nothing we had seen before. A monumental achievement on part with Super Mario Brothers. And the presentation was flawless: a gold cartridge and an equally amazing manual.  Up until this point manuals (at least for console games) were written, well, like manuals. They were relatively dry and boring. You were lucky if they devoted a page or two to the backstory and applying some screenshots of the characters to the borders or other page elements was about as inspired as the designs got. Mostly they just gave the standard rundown of what the buttons do, how the interface on the screen functions, and maybe a description of the enemies and whatever other items or doodads there are in the game.

[snip]

I originally fagged up this post with my gushing childhood memories of delight and wonderment, but I think it'd be better if I just linked the manual and let it speak for itself. Compare it to these manuals if you still aren't convinced.

I like manuals. A lot. Even further, I think they are a medium worth preserving. I used to read them on the way home from the store with my Mom. Now I read them on the subway. What else would give me the same pleasure as opening up a box of ten year old games, lovingly packed away, than reading through the musty old manuals on a Sunday?

Crap I fagged it up again.

And Gamefaqs should switch to HTML so I don't bust my scrollwheel when I read through CLouD187's latest 900K masterpiece. Also that way they can include images. They need to stop pretending they are a BBS already. I really wonder what has prevented them from making the leap (Copyright issues? Abuse issues? Server load?).

And Jared Diamond is old and busted.
#34 by Squeaky
2004-11-08 00:20:24
I agree with g-man re: manuals.

#35 by Squeaky
2004-11-08 00:24:42
I've still got the manuals for every game I've ever owned. Even games that I've long since lost the diskettes for.

#36 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-08 01:09:58
When I wrote strategy guides, between 93-96, I remember my first PC guide was for DOOM.  At the time, there were very few guides and those were for console titles. PC gaming had not really taken off yet.  As my books proved to be a viable product, it was quickly copied by many different publishers and saturated the market.  Not only did the influx of pc guides occur, but the publisher were signing deals with the game companies for exclusive rights, which meant $$$ paid to the game company which had to be recouped on sales of the book.  The real catch-22 in strategy guides now is that they are often written based off betas and come out the same day with the game, but due to the amount of time it takes to print, warehouse and ship the books out, they almost always ship with mistakes.

My early books didn't have mistakes because I took my time writing them properly, and when the publishers started taking away royalties and only offering a flat fee, and insane deadlines to write them, I quit doing it.  It just wasn't worth my time anymore.

Percy, you didn't miss much by not purchashing my Deathmatch Manifesto, that thing was outdated a month after publication, although it does have a groovy foreward by my pal Bruce Campbell.

Children are the future. Thatís why they must be stopped today.
#37 by Squeaky
2004-11-08 01:58:51
So we can blame hulka for the 'would you like a strategy guide with that' fucktards at eb?

#38 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-08 02:10:04
No, they only started doing that when the pressure built to recoup their "exclusive rights" fees paid to the game companies.  They publishers used to have a buy back program on unsold books, but that's all changed, so they have to push books strong, or don't carry them at all.

When my books were hitting the shelf, I shared the space with maybe 12-15 other guides..  It's way more crowded now, and not every game needs a book.

Children are the future. Thatís why they must be stopped today.
#39 by Your Friend
2004-11-08 02:50:46
We can blame Hulka for just about anything we want.

Sorry, world.  I voted for Kerry...
#40 by Squeaky
2004-11-08 02:52:00
I thought that was jibble.

#41 by Neale
2004-11-08 10:40:54
neale@pimurho.co.uk www.pimurho.co.uk
Dumdeedum:
the manual for HL1 had a cool job acceptance letter from the Administrator** and production sketches in the background.

** Who ended up being referred to as the "G-Man" for no good reason.


The G-man is not the Administrator.

I have a hard time accepting that anyone could achieve this miraculously high level of stupidity. - Caryn
#42 by bago
2004-11-08 12:49:33
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Thanks Game!

Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time.
#43 by Marsh Davies
2004-11-08 12:55:33
www.verbalchilli.com
According to a recent HL2 review in Gamesmaster magazine, the Black Mesa administrator was some beardy baldy chap who is now in charge of the city.

#44 by McBain
2004-11-08 15:19:28
That Zelda manual sure brings back memories.  Wow.

www.dailyhowler.com is the single most important website that Americans should read every day.
"The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."
#45 by Jibble
2004-11-08 15:26:31
In the age of the upsell, I fear that custom manuals like that will pretty much die off completely.

#46 by Squeaky
2004-11-08 20:22:28
And with the new tiny boxes, it's kinda hard to get cram a civ3 style manual into the packaging.

#47 by Jibble
2004-11-08 20:27:01
Even a PDF manual with sufficient depth would be acceptable.

#48 by Shadarr
2004-11-08 20:33:40
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
STFU Jibble.  PDF is a plague on humanity.

UAC! Fuck yeah!
#49 by Jibble
2004-11-08 20:35:37
I don't see what's wrong with it.

#50 by ProStyle
2004-11-08 20:36:06
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
PDF2WIN

Fabricated like the word absurditive
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