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Default Game Manuals - A New Standard

October 12th, 2011, 00:32
I meant to post this here a few weeks ago but, well, I'm both busy and lazy - not a good combination.

This poor, malnourished, little guy was hiding behind a page of stickers. Behold, fellow Watchers, the game manual of the mighty Gears of War 3. Also note the upper left hand corner, under the heading "Hope, Survival, Brotherhood." That is the "story" section of the manual. In case you are wondering, yes, those two pages are the manual in its entirety.
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October 12th, 2011, 00:46
It foes give you a link to the full manual to be honest

I still think my 300-page Caesar III manual is the best
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October 12th, 2011, 00:58
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
It foes give you a link to the full manual to be honest

I still think my 300-page Caesar III manual is the best
I kind of like my 300 page Dark Omen manual. I've never seen a many so poorly translated before or since I got this thing. They did manage to translate Spider right, but failed at Goblin. And elf. And Treeman. And Orc. And Ghoul (they managed to name them after the Swedish word for cute…). And the page detailing the names for the different skeleton based units is a mess. Their translation for greatswords might nearly have worked, if they had been named greatfencers. They also failed to translate the word mercenary repeatedly, and most of the spells have odd names and descriptions as well.


Needless to say, I do miss the good old days when we got good manuals
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October 12th, 2011, 02:34
Yeah, it's true that there is more info to be found online but it isn't really in any document form. It's just a clumsy website.
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October 12th, 2011, 05:56
I had three games in a row, Alice 2, FEAR 3 and Dungeon Siege 3, that had no manual what-so-ever in the box. All three just had a single page telling you where to download the manual and containing the license agreement.

That pretty much ended my box collecting days. I went fully digital right after.
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October 12th, 2011, 06:12
That's definitely a flimsy little page of information that one…

For me…well, let's see…my last three purchased games, all physical boxes:

Metro 2033: - manual? Yes!
Drakensang: River of Time - manual? Yes!
Witcher 2 Premium Edition - manual? Yes!

I think I'll stick to these physical boxes for a little bit longer yet. Maybe I've just lucked out with good game developers/publishers who think more about their customers and less about cost cutting? Something like that.

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Last edited by Pessimeister; October 12th, 2011 at 08:19.
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October 12th, 2011, 07:45
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Manuals? That would mean we expect people to, you know, read! Everyone knows no one wants to actually read anything. It's not nearly awesome enough.

I do miss nice, big manuals. Not that most games need them these days. "Remember the last big name game you played? It's just like that."
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October 12th, 2011, 13:19
They even dared to throw out money out of the window by actually printing this leaflet ???

I've seen similar "wannabe-handbooks". But only in budget release games.

This could also be a hint - if I take it rather cynically - that the ones who did Gears Of War

- didn't have writers in their team
- and especially not handbook writers/authors
- were focussing too much on the technological aspect of the game
- forgot everything else

I read in an review that the game appears to have basically no story. Not "no real story", but none at all. This fits very much into this display of complete lack of authirs.

It reminds me of what I wrote elsewhere : technology is favoured / has a much, much better reputation than everything art-related - yes, I think I could even go so far as saying that technology is favoured much more over emotions. (Emotions in "real" stories ! Handbooks normally don't transport emotions !)

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October 12th, 2011, 13:26
Falcon 4.0 manual….

Enough said.

However, I actually think digital manuals should be the norm - as it doesn't require much in the way of natural resources. With the viral infection of Tablets/Pads - it's only a matter of time before it's a universal gadget. Ideal for bathroom reading

But I definitely prefer something more… bookish than we're getting at the moment.

I don't think an in-game tutorial is enough.

Some games, though, have enough compensation - like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. I loved the Codex in those games, and they represent much of what I enjoyed about the manuals of old.
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October 12th, 2011, 18:07
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Drakensang: River of Time - manual? Yes!
The new Drakensang complete boxed version in the US did not come with any manuals at all. For that matter, my US region digital download of TRoT didn't even come with the PDF of the manual. I had to hunt for that elsewhere.

I don't even think it's safe to assume that boxed copies will come with manuals anymore.
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October 12th, 2011, 18:48
I agree with DArtagnan, in particular as so many games really don't need a manual, they have such a strong in game tutorial that you will know the ins and outs of the game after you are done with that. So all you would end up with is something that eats resources and which most people won't even use.

The above mentioned Falcon 4.0 is one of the exceptions though. That game needs its manual

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October 13th, 2011, 01:31
For the most part I agree that manuals aren't a necessity of today's games. Years ago, most graphics were ambiguous enough that a bestiary was helpful in knowing if you were battling a spaceship or an orc. Today that usually isn't a problem. Also, with fairly standardized interfaces and input methods, people have an idea of how to play most modern games. I could reason against manuals all day long but the fact is that I enjoy them. If we don't get a physical one, I'd at the very least like to get one in pdf or some ebook format.

Alrik brings up an interesting point. Why would they waste money on that GoW3 manual? It seems like it is more designed to express legal matters but I wonder if it is necessary to include that in physical writing with every game. Maybe they could just put a blurb on the case that refers to a website for the legal info.

I assume that having an electronic manual is cheaper but I wonder if that really is the case. At what point does it become more expensive to host the GoW3 manual on a website than to have printed it? A few years? A decade? On a somewhat comparable note, I read an article that estimates that a person would need to read over 100 books on a Kindle to have a positive impact on the environment. It's only an estimate because Amazon doesn't specify every component, so it could be closer to 15 or 20 books but 100 is a safer assumption.
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October 13th, 2011, 14:55
Manuals aren't necessary today only because everything is so damn simplistic. For instance, it would take an extreme amount of in-game tooltips to even begin replacing the BG2 manual.

Or what about the level progression for feats, BAB, & saving throws intrinsic to the robust character customization of D&D 3.5?

of course, neither of these deal with the fact that a good manual can actually -add- to the game regardless of its technical content. I still have my Fallout 1 manual because it left such an impression on me as I opened the box.

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October 13th, 2011, 16:51
Redguard had a really good manual, too. It was a lovely, propaganda-filled history of the Empire with dissenting opinions scrawled in the margins. I'd love to see that kind of thing make a comeback. I miss my feelies, dammit!
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