Manual Appreciation

Video game manuals are somewhat of a dying art form. Before the days of being bombarded with infinite information, people had to rely on word of mouth, official strategy guides, and video game manuals. I enjoy taking a look at these snapshots of history from time to time. I’ve decided to make a comprehensive piece that I’ll update as I continue along my Manual Appreciation journey.

Metal Gear Solid

Throughout #MetalGearSolid 1, characters were referencing events before the game. I assumed that these would be covered in-game at some point, but never were. After finishing the game, I realized the summary of events lies within the game manual:

The manual also includes art for each character along with a quick bio on them.

Originally tweeted by Benji (@Benji2361) on July 20, 2020.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Highlights from the #SuperstarSaga game Manual.

We get character profiles, some unique art for a few of the “Bros. Actions,” and a summary of some items you’ll find out and about in the Beanbean Kingdom.

Unfortunately the manual for 3DS remake of this game is disappointing.

There is a Gameboy Player advertisement right in the middle of the manual. It might seem out of place, but right before this page there is a small mention in the controls section about the game featuring rumble functiality if you play on the Gameboy Player.

Originally tweeted by Benji (@Benji2361) on August 6, 2020.

Pokemon Red & Blue

Pokemon Red/Blue – Trainer’s Guide

The cover stylizes the manual as a leatherbound notebook. I appreciate the small details that the artists included within this document to make it feel used, like something you might find tucked away in your own backpack.

We have our usual inclusions, a brief story explanation, and a map of the whole game. Past that is something uncommon, the manual includes a detailed guide that walks the player from the start of the game, all the way until you reach the first gym leader, Brock.

Also included: Key locations, a type match-up chart, item & moveset list, and last but not least, an unfinished Pokedex. If you had some pokemon stickers, you could fill in the ‘Dex as you made your Kanto conquest.

The “hand-drawn” arrows and paper-clipped notes help sell the idea that this is a real Pokemon Trainer’s journal. This 60-page booklet was something I carried with me to read when I couldn’t play the game. Undoubtedly, this is one of my favorite game manuals of all time.

Originally tweeted by Benji (@Benji2361) on October 6, 2020.

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