The Death of Game Manuals

There are many ways to learn how to play a game.

You can play through the tutorials (if they are in the game).

You can turn it on and jump in, hoping to become familiar with a new set of control functions.

You can even come to NoobTubeTV.com and learn how to play your favorite games through our videos.

There is one place that you can rarely learn how to play your game – In Print.

Gears of War 1 (Left) and Gears of War 3 (Right) are great examples of the shrinking presence of manuals in gaming. GoW1's manual has 27+ pages while GoW3's has one page folded in half. At least it has the basic controls, unlike Madden NFL which has none.

It has become a funny thing to say you miss the good old days of gaming when you could take out the manual on your way home and read through the crisp pages that would let you in on the nuances of the game you were excited to play.  If you have had an XBox 360 since it was released (or close to that amount of time) you have no doubt noticed the shrinking or outright disappearance of paper manuals for your benefit.

Many reasons have been given for this development and the number one reason is to cut costs and increase profit margins for these games as many publishers feel that gamers don’t use the manuals past the first week anyway.

While this might be and probably is true to a point; it does beg a very important question…

“What is more fluid?  Pressing start, navigating poorly created menus and looking for a control diagram OR opening the manual to page 10 and seeing for yourself in print (and quickly)?

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One thought on “The Death of Game Manuals

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  1. You know, I was just thinking about this. I wanted to look at a control setting in ME 3 and went straight to the box only to realize there was no manual. Honestly, clicking start and going through the menu probably would have been fast if I just could have remembered to do it first.

    Also, I was looking at your Mass Effect article and I was wondering if you enjoyed ME 3 multiplayer at all. I started playing it on a lark last weekend and pretty much quit the campaign. Probably because I accidentally killed all the Quarians and I was still feeling a little rough about it, but I have yet to beat the game.

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