Avatar image for nodima
#1 Edited by Nodima (2598 posts) -

For the sake of ease, I'll allow super important GameFAQs pages in this thread as well.

For some people, especially of a certain generation, I'm sure game guides were considered - if not heretical to the entire concept of gaming - a form of cheating, but I feel like a lot of kids in the 90s were indoctrinated into guide culture via the early days of the internet and the constant bundling of guides into pre-orders as an upsell that parents felt pressured to get lest their kid have been expecting the guide as well. And now, of course, Youtube has won. Whether you want to grow the biggest beard Arthur Morgan is capable of growing or hit Turn 3 on Laguna Seca exactly right, someone somewhere has you covered.

But game guides used to mean something, damn it, and these guides meant something to me.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: No lie, I'd read this thing like it was a YA novella as a kid. It was a bit of a hard guide to read when you were actually trying to get advice (and were only ten years old) because of its gimmick, but it was a cool gimmick: the entire thing was written in the past-tense and third person, rather than present and second person. Other guides have done this but the imagination that game filled you with was only enhanced, IMO, by the way the guide treated it as a real story.

Final Fantasy VIII: I rarely break games, but when I do, I do it because the guide meticulously breaks down just how certain magics are going to affect certain stats, points out all the areas littered with hidden draw points and gives you locations for all the materials needed for the endgame equipment and most obscure GFs. I also liked the character profiles, if I remember correctly.

Final Fantasy IX: Two (actually, one) word: PlayOnline. Six more words: The Worst Strategy Guide Ever Made

Sheamon's Xenogears Perfect Works Translation: I was fifteen/sixteen when this was finished, and it was nearly my bible

The Full Throttle and The Dig User Manuals: Both contained hints for the first puzzles to get you going in the game, and I was an eight year old idiot during the time I got ahold of these games so I really needed the help. I'd then write clues for later puzzles all over the margins of those things, to the point I wish I'd kept ahold of them so I could see what I left behind and figure out if they'd still jar my memory today.

Avatar image for otacon
#2 Posted by Otacon (2337 posts) -

Final Fantasy VII through IX were big ones for me too, just spent hours going through the bestiarys they put in them looking at all the monsters. I remember having a knock off guide for crash bandicoot 3 too that was just a paperback but I would just read it sometimes...

Avatar image for bongchilla
#3 Posted by BongChilla (358 posts) -

I wish I could remember the name of this guide but when I was young and playing FF 3 (6) I had a guide that was not official and it was written in a way that was completely different from normal game guides. I remember it would comment on story beats much like internet guides do today but this was when the internet was in its infancy.

Avatar image for sammo21
#4 Posted by sammo21 (5968 posts) -

For Christmas that year my mom got me Ocarina of Time that came with a t-shirt, the gold cartridge, and the strategy guide that came with a tear out ocarina music sheet. I read through that thing 5 or 6 times. That was also the same year I got an unofficial Metal Gear Solid strategy guide that came with a section of real world comparison with stuff in the game with its real world counterpart. I read that thing all the time for some reason.

Avatar image for captain_insano
#5 Posted by Captain_Insano (3495 posts) -

The only guide I ever remember having/using for a game (other than occasionally checking out GameFaqs guides for more completionist stuff) was for Wind Waker. That guide was pretty great from what I remember.

Avatar image for theht
#6 Posted by TheHT (15833 posts) -

The only guide I remember owning is for Super Mario 64, but then there were the game guides at the end of GamePro magazine. I remember looking at the MK Mythologies: Sub Zero guide a lot. Also guides for SF Alpha 3 and Pocket Fighters, mostly for the art. I'm sure at some point I read a guide for Zelda 64 cause I distinctly remember reading about how to get the arrows by shooting the sun, but I definitely don't remember actually owning the Ocarina guide book.

Read that Mario 64 guide a ton though. Such a delightful game.

Avatar image for alias
#7 Posted by Alias (47 posts) -

I think the only guide I bought was for MGS 4 so I could play the game with a guide at my Mums when she didn't have internet. I remember using the mini-guides that came included in video game magazines somewhat during the PS1 / PS2 generations. I think one was for Splinter Cell. The one for GTA Vice City was a map of hidden packages, stunt jumps and an overview of the vehicle stats and things like that.

Avatar image for nutter
#8 Posted by nutter (2102 posts) -

I had whatever that first run of Nintendo Power would send you...

The only guide I can recall buying was Diablo 2. That was before the game came out and more a symptom of hype and planning out my build.

I miss harsh attributes and skill trees in games...I always liked planning out my builds. I guess with all the rebalancing that happens these days, it’s easier to be less harsh and have the flexibility to change balance without REALLY angering a player-base...

Avatar image for gazoinks
#9 Posted by Gazoinks (64 posts) -

Even more than OoT, I read the Majora's Mask guide A LOT. That game was too arcane for me to play at the time, but I was fascinated by how strange it is. I also got two different Luigi's Mansion guides before the game came out and read through them a lot. A bit later, I'd read through guides for the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games because of how dense they were. I also had The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, though the NES itself was a bit before my time.