Cold Coffee: Video Game Manuals

This is going to sound pretty crazy, but there was once a time when video games came with these big, colorful, vibrant manuals. It was just the way things were, and we thought nothing special of it. When you bought a game at your local retailer, you’d get the video game in a case with an instruction manual. I can even remember renting a game and reading the manual front to back as an appetizer on the way back home. These manuals used to be thick, containing all the info you could need on how to play the game. The pages were really colorful and always written in a voice that reflected the type of game you were playing. Lighthearted games held a humorous tone while FPS stealth games such as Splinter Cell made you feel like you were reading the orders for your next secret mission, not to mention all the great screenshots and drawings you’d find scattered throughout the manual. It really gave you something to get you excited to play.

Yes, those were the good old days. Alas, our world began to fall apart; people became more concerned with the state of the Earth and the sudden realization that we’re lacking in natural resources. Check out any of the manuals included with the next game you purchase, I dare you. If your game even comes with a manual, it’ll be more of a pamphlet than anything else; a dismal paper printed in grayscale that gives only the utmost basic commands of the game itself. Today’s world is all about conserving and being ‘green’. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of wanting to be more environmentally friendly but the video game industry still was given the shit end of the stick.

You may be thinking that developers had all the right reasons for screwing over the video game manual but, unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Yes, it’s more environmentally friendly but their real concern is simply how much cash they’re forking out to make these games. Back in the day, video games came on some form of cartridge, which cost much more to produce, while modern video games come on the MUCH more inexpensive form of a CD. The change from cartridge to CD is just natural progress but their choice to suddenly cut out any real content and color from the included manual is mainly a ploy to earn them more profit, because that’s what it always boils down to: profit.

With a large portion of games being purchased as online titles, the days of having a physical game on your shelf will soon become a thing of the past. Today’s gamers get their games without getting off their couch or cluttering their shelves and the video game developers get a big rise in profits. Everyone’s happy except the large portion of gamers who actually care about having something physical to show for the crazy amount of money they just spent on their new game.

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