Video Game Tuesday: Game Manuals

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.


This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m taking a look at one of my favorite things about older games! It’s all about Game Manuals!

Game Manuals?: Well for those who didn’t grow up in the 90’s or earlier, we used to have actual manuals on how to play games ranging from 10-100 pages long. Most weren’t much more than 20 pages, but even those were still filled with useful information. But I really miss the bigger gaming manuals because they didn’t just explain how to start playing and controlling the game, but they included the lore of the game as well.

Really?: Yea really, in fact the entire backstory of Starcraft was all in the game manual, and to a lesser extent Warcraft III had it’s backstory in the game manual as well.

You’re kidding me: Nope, I’m totally serious, in fact of all the game manuals I’ve read, Starcraft’s game manual is probably my favorite, because it explains how the Terran, Zerg and Protoss got to the star systems they were in. It also gave unit information for most of the video game units explaining how they worked and why they existed. If you actually read the manual you’d learn about stuff like Firebats and Marines working in pairs to deal with all sorts of enemies, something not explicitly explained in the game.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! What were some of your favorite gaming manuals? Leave a comment below!

3 thoughts on “Video Game Tuesday: Game Manuals”

  1. I miss manuals as well. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel & there was an actual good old fashioned manual in the box! I wish they’d make a come back, but I know I’m dreaming!

  2. Pretty cool look back at game manuals. A few games still come with them, mostly deep strategy titles like Hearts of Iron and things like that. But with Steam and Gog and all the digital distribution services, its kind of gone by the wayside. Wasteland most recently had a pretty thick game manual for the PC version anyway, but it was a PDF that you had to print out if you wanted something to hold, otherwise it was all screen reading.

  3. I just bought a bunch of PS2 games as a birthday present for myself recently and it felt so good having all those manuals come with them. I’m willing to shell out a little more cash when buying older games if the manual is still included.

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