Video Game Instruction Booklets…Just Awful These Days

What the heck is up with these things lately? I have a lot of strong opinions about video games. Namely that they all suck pretty bad these days. Sports games and games designed to be multiplayer are still really fun, however, solo adventure games, just suck now. What happened? 3 fucking D happened. With very bad 4 channel synthesizer music, 8 bits of graphics, and very little space, Nintendo Entertainment System somehow is arguably the greatest system in history. It is a system that can be looked upon as a trend-setter that pushed console systems around that corner … that one last little push needed to blow home console gaming into a dynamite explosion. Now I could go on and on about how much games tend to SUCK that just happen to have good graphics, but that’s a whole other story. This is about the instruction books.
What can be wrong with the instruction booklets? Simple, someone stopped trying. When I was kid, these books were amazing and fun. You wanted to read them. You wanted to know about the game. In a lot of cases the instructions were part of the experience. Why was this? The games weren’t especially big. There were no 4 hour intros explaining what you had to do and who all the characters were. You had to read. You know what else? They made it fun. Super Mario Brothers…a classic that all know. This book had a story. The game itself wasn’t that big. All games weren’t that big back then, so they had to pad the books with some story embelishment. Mario got a small bio. The enemies all had explanations. Did a lot of you Mario fans who never made it back that far to days of Super Mario Brothers know that goombas are actually mushrooms that betrayed the mushroom kingdom?
Know what other game I’m going to bring into this? The Legend of Zelda. This game was Mario’s tag team partner. These two games are synonymous with Nintendo. Zelda had it all, a story, depictions of what the characters were supposed to look like. 8-bit may have done some injustices to the art and creativity of the programmers, but they made sure you knew what they wanted you to invision when playing. Look at the awesomeness…


Tell me that isn’t beautiful. There was a long intro….a claymation model of the land the game took place in (Hyrule)…a MAP which was separate from the instruction book. Every enemy had an explanation…and an illustration. Every friggin’ item had the same. There were random illustrations too. Since games were pretty basic back then, all the controlls were accounted for. They dropped subtle hits of what to do at certain times in there as well. Like Mikey said, you were sad when you got to the last page.
Now let’s talk about the present. You open up your game….and there lies and instruction book. You open it up…and this fuckin thing has about a thousand different jumbles of what looks like a rejected connect-the-dots over a controller. There are so many buttons…and I know 99.9% of you do the same thing. You look at the page for a moment and say, “Who the fuck is gonna remember all this, I’ll just play and figure it out. No longer do the books have any character…literally, no characters really displayed or mentioned. It gives you a basic overview of the dumbest shit. Tells you things like the options menu. Who the fuck needs to pre-ordain what the options do? Example: “Options- BGM – Toggle background music on or off.” Don’t believe me? Have a look:


What fucking balls. On its own it’s not so ballsy, but relatively speaking it is. Why, relative to what you ask? Here we go…the reason why these books suck…THEY LEAVE THINGS OUT! Already we have removed intros and overviews because of the 4 hours uninteractive yelping polygons performing a soap opera on the screen. Now when you start playing the game, you discover that controlls have been left out. Functions of things you may wanna know have been left out. Let’s go to the evidence…

1986 2002

Doesn’t seem that the game on the right has any problems, however, there’s stuff missing….notice how the X button seems to have NO function? Well, it DOES! It’s the button that allows you to balance for grinds…which is a big big help in the game. This game isn’t that hard to play (control-wise at least) yet they are too lazy or too stupid to add one more line to indicate the basic function of one last button.It’s fucking absurd. No, not every game does this, but a lot do now. There’s something they leave out. With a multitude of all the controlls and buttons comes resposibility…which is to at least explain. Sorry if it takes up an extra page and costs another 4 cents to print, but knowing what a certain button does in a different situation than default stances could be a bit important. I don’t know what else to say. Formulate your own opinions, but bare in mind, I’m always right.



Leave a Reply