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#51 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

I like the way that the Assassin's Creed games and Mass Effect 3 did it. I like paper manuals just as I like paper books but if they are going away anyway having a nice text manual in a submenu is a decent tradeoff.

#52 Posted by TekZero (2659 posts) -

Game manuals. I used to make an effort to read through the entire manual before even popping the game into the system. I can't do that anymore. I never thought that gaming in 2012 would devolve into the same experience I had as a kid renting games from Blockbuster.

You know, you spend the first hour figuring out the controls.

#53 Posted by mtcantor (947 posts) -

@Ghost_Cat said:

I liked when manuals had a lot of back-story content not found in the game, so that's the part I would like to bring back to physical copies. Other than that, brief in-game tutorials are good to get your hands a little dirty before taking on the game itself.

But this comes from a time when storytelling opportunities in games were limited by technology. These days, getting a manual full of backstory in a game would be like asking someone to read a packet before watching a television series or a movie.

#54 Posted by mosespippy (3984 posts) -

Paper. Always paper. It's often (back in the day) got great tips that in game tutorials don't mention.

#55 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1379 posts) -

@mtcantor said:

@Ghost_Cat said:

I liked when manuals had a lot of back-story content not found in the game, so that's the part I would like to bring back to physical copies. Other than that, brief in-game tutorials are good to get your hands a little dirty before taking on the game itself.

But this comes from a time when storytelling opportunities in games were limited by technology. These days, getting a manual full of backstory in a game would be like asking someone to read a packet before watching a television series or a movie.

That was one of my favorite things to do while I waited for a game to install, which got me even more pumped to play the game.

#56 Posted by mtcantor (947 posts) -

@Ghost_Cat said:

@mtcantor said:

@Ghost_Cat said:

I liked when manuals had a lot of back-story content not found in the game, so that's the part I would like to bring back to physical copies. Other than that, brief in-game tutorials are good to get your hands a little dirty before taking on the game itself.

But this comes from a time when storytelling opportunities in games were limited by technology. These days, getting a manual full of backstory in a game would be like asking someone to read a packet before watching a television series or a movie.

That was one of my favorite things to do while I waited for a game to install, which got me even more pumped to play the game.

Yeah yeah, also food tasted better when I was 13 and Christmas was full of magic.

#57 Posted by Rebel_Scum (623 posts) -

With the Mass Effect series there was a funny correalation between my favourite game and the manuals.

1) Mass Effect - Full Colour Manual :D

2) Mass Effect 2 - Black & White Manual :|

3) Mass Effect 3 - No Manual :(

#58 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -

Every see Sequelitis? I rather games try to convey things in a more subtle manner through clever design. Of course not every game is that simple, but hell, it would be nice if games were as hand holdy but still got the message across.

That said, I like having manuals, I just wish they would be more interesting. Like remember In the back of the persona 3 and 4 manuals. They told you a little about Japanese honorifics, it was interesting, they didn't have to do it, but it was cool.

#59 Posted by Jimbo (9769 posts) -

I don't necessarily consider one a replacement for the other tbh. The game manuals I miss are the ones that tried to flesh out the world and add flavour. There's a lot to be said for going into a game already knowing things your character ought to know, rather than having to have it explained to you in a way that makes no sense at all.

In game tutorials are fine, buthe game shouldn't just feel like one long tutorial (which many, many games are guilty of nowadays).

#60 Posted by tourgen (4427 posts) -

@Morbid_Coffee said:

A big full color manual is the best thing to see when opening up a game box and every game that doesn't have one should be ashamed.

I'm also super bummed when a game comes with a huge manual but it's only 15 pages repeated in English, French, and Spanish.

100% agree

#61 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2535 posts) -

To be honest I would rather have apps for iOS and Android. The most logical way to do game manuals and other ephemera for games would be apps. You could have full instructions, interactive maps, character creation guides, full guides for online or co-op play, art, etc...and it would have no printing costs and probably would cost less to make then even slipping those worthless four-page manuals.

If I had a few hundred thousand for a start up company, I would start a software company that did contract-work for app-based manuals for everyone else. Toasters, coffee makers, camera, game systems, tvs, phones, etc. Everything is electronic these days and everything needs a manual, but nobody want to spend the money to print good manuals...there is a HUGE market for "interactive-useful-colorful" device manuals.

#62 Posted by DougQuaid (1271 posts) -

@tourgen said:

@Morbid_Coffee said:

A big full color manual is the best thing to see when opening up a game box and every game that doesn't have one should be ashamed.

I'm also super bummed when a game comes with a huge manual but it's only 15 pages repeated in English, French, and Spanish.

100% agree

Amen!

The rise of eco-friendly packaging is total bullshit; it's all about cutting costs.

When I opened my new copy of Forza Horizon a few days ago I was blown away by what I saw. Not only did the game not come with manual, but the safety information was printed on the back of the cover art slip. Are you fucking kidding me, Microsoft? Though to be fair, they still did manage to include a leaflet about a sweepstakes or some shit.

#63 Posted by Milkman (16486 posts) -

Absolutely not. Why would I want to read a manual when the game can just teach me how to play through actually playing it?

#64 Posted by believer258 (11569 posts) -

I would much rather have a full-fledged manual that I can access from anytime, in-game.

True, like any other person who started gaming in the '90's, I lament the loss of manuals, but the only advantage of a physical manual is that you can read it while on the crapper. If you can pause and look at any and all of the hints and tutorials given to you thus far, it's a much more efficient way of learning what you need to do without having to get away from the game.

#65 Posted by Rebel_Scum (623 posts) -

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

To be honest I would rather have apps for iOS and Android. The most logical way to do game manuals and other ephemera for games would be apps. You could have full instructions, interactive maps, character creation guides, full guides for online or co-op play, art, etc...and it would have no printing costs and probably would cost less to make then even slipping those worthless four-page manuals.

If I had a few hundred thousand for a start up company, I would start a software company that did contract-work for app-based manuals for everyone else. Toasters, coffee makers, camera, game systems, tvs, phones, etc. Everything is electronic these days and everything needs a manual, but nobody want to spend the money to print good manuals...there is a HUGE market for "interactive-useful-colorful" device manuals.

Whilst I think your business idea is really good, my god it would be boring to work for. Making manuals, even as an app is so dull.

#66 Posted by Fearbeard (823 posts) -

I like in game tutorials that can be skipped and accessed from the menu.

Nothing is worse then coming back to a game after a long absence and having no idea how to play it and having no access to the tutorial except starting over. Also long tutorials really discourage me from replaying a game if I can't skip them.

#67 Posted by ZombiePie (5562 posts) -

I like to "do it" rather than "read it."

Yes, you can apply that to everything in life.

Moderator Online
#68 Posted by Rebel_Scum (623 posts) -

@ZombiePie said:

I like to "do it" rather than "read it."

Yes, you can apply that to everything in life.

I don't know, I read 120 days of sodom two years ago and there is nothing in that book I'd want to do.

#69 Posted by BaconGames (3285 posts) -

The last time I read manuals was to dig into the weapons and items and enemies and stuff as a kid. I remember doing that for my N64 games and Jedi Knight II. As far as information goes, sure I read through them but I also was not quite yet confident in my abilities to just pick up and know exactly what's going. At this point, I take the attitude that if the game is good enough, I should either be able to pick it up naturally, they feel the need to show me, or I go to the internet. Basically I roll with it until I need outside information.

Maybe it's the games I play or the fact that I watch QL's beforehand (probably both) but I haven't felt the tedium of tutorial sections like others. For some reason, I actually find tutorial sections from older games like Deus Ex or Half-Life really fun to go back and play because it sort of acts like a condensed nostalgia hit. Besides, what teh game chooses to tutorialize is a fascinating retroactive piece of gaming design and history ultimately. Hell that would be a hell of a content analysis, to go through tutorial sequences throughout gaming history to see what the patterns are and how that matches up with gaming over time.

#70 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

@Animasta said:

a paper manual is nice but trees are better.

#71 Posted by Branthog (7340 posts) -

I don't need more physical shit in my way and a physical manual would just be something I have to worry about getting dirty, bent, dinged, etc (I'm a bit OCD about my stuff). I'd rather all in-game tutorials (especially the basic stuff) be "optional" and have a full-fledged high quality old-school-style game manual built into the game and viewable from an option in the menu. You could even go all out and include videos, audio, links, etc.

#72 Posted by ZombiePie (5562 posts) -

@Rebel_Scum said:

@ZombiePie said:

I like to "do it" rather than "read it."

Yes, you can apply that to everything in life.

I don't know, I read 120 days of sodom two years ago and there is nothing in that book I'd want to do.

Aw man you need to see Salo. Pier Pasolini died to have to that film published...honestly. As John Waters says Pasolini died for your sins:

Moderator Online
#73 Posted by Hizang (8534 posts) -

Paper manuals are a thing of the past, such a waste of paper because most people don't read them. I'm fine with in game tutorials.

#74 Posted by Rox360 (1045 posts) -

Since I bought Battlefield 3 Premium for the sake of getting the expansions for cheaper, I one day also decided to look at some of the premium exclusive content in the form of "strategy guides" for two of the expansions. Those things are exactly what manuals once were, with clumsy maps, lists of what vehicle is featured in what level and on what mode and moderately descriptive blocks of text that sometimes weren't even correct because the game was updated after they were, um... "printed". That made me nostalgic. Although completely useless from a content standpoint, they were long enough that I wish I could have physical copies of them. Maybe throw one on the night stand and another in the bathroom for emergency reading. If I could, I would have printed them out to do just that, no joke.
 
So clearly I miss the days of manuals. I appreciate games that don't need written instructions (I recently played Halo 4 for the first time and found it does a good job contextualizing everything you need to do, and has its own little mini instruction booklet in the form of the Back button which pops up a window succinctly describing the current weapon and armor ability you're wielding), but a manual in itself can be a valuable piece of content. I vividly remember finding Nox for cheap at the local convenience store one lunch break at school and spending the remaining time between classes paging through the manual and trying to memorize the many different spells and abilities in the game. There were pages of them, each spell listed with a little icon and a brief instruction on how it works, everything from harpoons to summoning traps to teleportation, magic missiles, calling down giant fists from the sky (why does that sound familiar?) and creating magic walls. And I imagined, and I longed. I sincerely think that such of out-of-game content for referring to when you can't actually sit down with the game can be valuable, and perhaps even important, for learning to understand and appreciate a game. Even if it's really not doing anything but whetting your appetite. Still, this is all wishful thinking, manuals aren't practical and never will be practical again. The world will be a better place without them... But one can dream.
 
"Oh boy, remote bomb launcher with a built-in motion sensor? That sounds freaking rad! I hope it's featured in the campaign... Surely it must be, if it's in the game at all. I can't wait to get up early tomorrow so I can try it...!"

#75 Posted by Sinusoidal (1264 posts) -

I do miss getting a big ol' fat glossy paper manual with my games, but am willing to give them up for the greater good. Now if only they'd stop replacing the manuals with ads for the publisher's other games essentially wasting just as much paper as if they'd given me a manual to begin with...

#76 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2535 posts) -

@Rebel_Scum said:

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

To be honest I would rather have apps for iOS and Android. The most logical way to do game manuals and other ephemera for games would be apps. You could have full instructions, interactive maps, character creation guides, full guides for online or co-op play, art, etc...and it would have no printing costs and probably would cost less to make then even slipping those worthless four-page manuals.

If I had a few hundred thousand for a start up company, I would start a software company that did contract-work for app-based manuals for everyone else. Toasters, coffee makers, camera, game systems, tvs, phones, etc. Everything is electronic these days and everything needs a manual, but nobody want to spend the money to print good manuals...there is a HUGE market for "interactive-useful-colorful" device manuals.

Whilst I think your business idea is really good, my god it would be boring to work for. Making manuals, even as an app is so dull.

Probably, it would be slightly tedious, rough work, and hard deadlines. It would probably be very technical work too, but there would be fun things about it as well. A good manual could have thing you just cannot do on paper, and I think the KEY to success it making manuals that had stuff you just would not find on a website either. Manuals that update... manuals they have simulations of the products in them... speech/talking...exploding diagrams...etc. Us e the power of a smart device use the sensors, use the ability to speak you questions, and use the/v capabilities.

#77 Posted by Bane122 (783 posts) -

Manuals are a relic of the past hat just aren't needed anymore. I used to love reading through them back in he old days as they'd often have story bits that may not be in the game itself or some neat art but those days are long gone. Waste of paper at this point.

And yeah, all tutorials should be skippable.

#78 Posted by fox01313 (5061 posts) -

For most games, a manual now is a bit overkill though I would like most games to at least put in a card that has the general control layout similar to what some games did with the back or interior of the game manual. After a long break of not playing a game, having the controls right there is better than having to play through a chunk of the early game trying to remember the controls or constantly checking the control layout. For giant RPGs like Skyrim, where a tutorial just can't quite explain it all, a manual will be helpful so you don't have to get the game guide to figure out the details on how to play the game.

#79 Posted by AlexW00d (6168 posts) -

How do you download paper from Steam?

#80 Posted by mtcantor (947 posts) -

@AlexW00d said:

How do you download paper from Steam?

It's a beta feature.

#81 Posted by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

Most games today have a pretty comprehensive tutorial and intuitive enough controls that I don't really find myself needing to reference the manual. A lot of games show the controls in the option menu in case you do forget so I don't mind that much. If it's a game with a lot of different mechanic then a manual is good for reference but I usually don't find myself needing them.

#82 Posted by jmood88 (392 posts) -

I much prefer the current system most games use with an in-game tutorial and in-game manual. Paper manuals were a waste of time for me.

#83 Posted by baldgye (756 posts) -

@Gamer_152 said:

In this day and age they're not really made to be directly interchangeable; manuals are more for reference, while tutorials are actually more like a lesson in the game. I think tutorials have the potential to be much better than a manual at teaching you things, but even a lot of today's games have surprisingly bad tutorials. All in all though, people printing less paper manuals is good for the environment, and phasing them out means there's more pressure on developers than ever to actually make sure their tutorials are up to scratch.

really agree with this, a manual is a refrence point where as a tutorial is designed to help you play the game. I really think the Metal Gear manuals are really great becasue there is so much more too them than simple disclaimers and controler button layouts

#84 Posted by Kadayi (185 posts) -

Albeit I like picking up the odd special edition (generally for the art books) I really don't care that much for physical copies any more. Tutorials are kind of a transitional thing in many ways. Every game has its own 'language' presently, but as technology improves I think we'll start to see the distinctions disappear between genres as the possibility space grows, to the extent that you won't need a tutorial to show you how to play because that 'language' of interaction with be universal.

#85 Posted by hawkinson76 (354 posts) -

Absolutely not. 1) I don't want anything physical (I'm with Vinny), and PDF manuals are the WORST. 2) I only ever read the manuals for backstory, I do not want a reference of buttons/keys.

I do agree with your sentiment about over tutorializing. Tutorials should always be optional, and they should be accessible at any time. I often stop playing a game for months, returning when I am out of other games to play or because a sequel is coming, in those cases I may have forgotten how to play. I like how assassin's creed revelations lets you jump into a tutorial from a loading screen (on PC the loading times are too fast, but it is a nice idea).

#86 Posted by GalacticGravy (544 posts) -

I, personally, love a big fat manual, but I understand the reason for the shift away from them.

#87 Posted by Clonedzero (4056 posts) -

a good tutorial is fantastic and super helpful a bad one is tedious.

a manual is just words on paper, can't really contextually communicate some game mechanics.