[Level 10: Lobster Milkshake]
I just read an interesting article at Penny Arcade Report talking about the business behind strategy guides. It got me thinking of some of the old strategy guides that I still own for some of my older games. Do you have any favorite or least favorite video game strategy guides?
Oh, and in the article, they used an anonymous source that used to work at Prima Games, which made me remember how much I hated their guides. I still have the Legend of Dragoon guide that they published, and it has so many errors and typos in it that it's funny. It did, however, help me find all the Stardust in the game. But when you compare it to a Brady Games guide for one of the Final Fantasy games (or any Brady guide, really), it becomes pretty obvious where the better books came from. The one exception being for Final Fantasy IX, when they tried to go the interactive route and forced you to go to Square's website to look up a bunch of the stuff instead of just printing it in the book (and yet I still did it).
[Level 3: Humanoid]
I wrote Prima Guides for two of the games I designed : Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and Godzilla: Save the Earth. I thought they were pretty awesome.
But if you assume that all of the Prima guides were written as a collaboration between a developer and a staff writer, I would suspect that their quality would be all over the place...
[Level 10: Lobster Milkshake]
I never saw those, so I couldn't tell you. It just seems that whenever I looked at a Prima guide versus a Brady guide, the Brady guides just seemed, I don't know...more professional. Not to say that Prima's weren't professional, but Brady just always seemed to have a lot more stuff in theirs and they always looked a lot better.
Originally Posted by Simon Strange
When I was a kid, I wondered how somebody could know that much about a videogame, especially right after its release. Of course, I didn't take into consideration that the developers were actually providing the information or writing the guides themselves.
I've only ever gotten guides if they come with more art for a game I particularly love. Like I have the Fable II guide because it came with a really nice art book. Or last year I bought an old Link's Awakening guide off eBay for the art within the guide itself. My favorite guide ever is the Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars one that Nintendo put out. So many pretty images of that game's graphics.
Originally Posted by Dexter345
I had one for Dino Crisis 2 and I think one for FF9, as a kid, they were both pretty awesome.
Oh, and one for Code Veronica!
[Level 7: Sentinel]
Game cartography is one of my favorite things in guides.
I read the cover of the Resident Evil 2 guide from cover to cover (had to flip it over since Leon and Claire's games were upside down and starting from opposite covers) a dozen times. The notes and letters left behind were all documented, the maps and pictures showed every area in great detail, characters had biographical info and concept art. It might have been my favorite thing to read in middle school. (screw 20,000 leagues under the sea, despite it being my favorite book report).
That same year, I also bought every single strategy guide for Ocarina of Time, and every magazine with it on the cover, just to see the maps and read information about the bosses. I think I beat game half a dozen times before using it for its purpose of helping me find the skulltullas, heart pieces, and bean locations.
I wish I bought a MGS strategy guide, because that was my equally as amazing as the RE2/OoT. I bet the maps would have been beautiful.
More recently, I bought the Dark Souls guide hoping to find a hand drawn, artistic map representation of the gorgeous world, but it only had computer-rendered shapes representing the zones. That was a bummer, but it's still interesting to look at, which is a testament to its level design.
I just remembered that I had a strategy guide for Oddworld Munch's Oddysee. I ruined it within a month because I loved going through all the pages for the art. I probably have some of the pages somewhere.
[Level 10: Lobster Milkshake]
I still have my FF9 guide. The actual walkthrough is great but the stuff for all the side missions and extras is super annoying. I think Squaresoft wanted more people to go onto their website, so instead of printing out how to get the best chocobo or to get to the battle with Ozma, all they printed was a brief summary of what the mission is and a code to put into Square's site so that you could view the walkthrough there. The guide itself sure was pretty, though.
Originally Posted by Panzadolphin56
[Level 5: Mech]
I remember getting a free guide for resident evil 2 and Dino Crisis from a magazine when I was a kid, for a free guide it was very helpful and had some cool artwork in it. I might have to look for it in the Attic, I don't remember ever throwing it away.
[Level 8: Skynet]
I rarely get them. Internet wiki's have basically made strategy guides obsolete, especially stat-heavy games where a single patch could make the entire guide useless.
[Level 5: Mech]
I have so many guides that I don't know what the hell to do with them, I have mountains of them including some awfully rare ones.
I love guides, they're personal to me than a faq, they're loaded with art work and are usually somewhat decent, depends on the publisher and I guess the author, some just don't seem to give a shit like the Battle Network 6 guide that shipped with the entire map segment missing and the pictures of when to counter bosses for full synchro, their FF9 guide was also trash since it was basically go to playonline.com for all the info.
But I still buy guides, hell I bought the Borderlands 2 guide a few days ago.
[Level 2: Human]
My favourite strategy guide is probably "Fallout 2 Official Strategies and Secrets" which, while text-heavy, provides a tonne of useful information and recommendation for the best course of action depending on your character build, in addition to general tips for combat and exploration gameplay. In a game like Fallout 2 where small detail and hidden items are easy to pass, even in multiple playthroughs, a heavily detail guides proves useful. The weapon and armour description sections are handy for quick reference, particularly in a game that relies heavily on crunching tabletop RPG numbers for battle. A 'behind the scenes' short essay was included in the back of the book as an extra for players to read. The guide was mostly written in a conversational or informal tone, which makes for more enjoyable reading than the more clinical textbooks some other guides tend to be.
When I was younger, I'd save up for and buy CUBE and (Unofficial) Nintendo Gamer Australia, both of which would feature issue-divided strategy guides. I used them to vicariously 'play' Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Resident Evil [REmake], and Skies of Arcadia: Legends, none of which I would actually get until this year. These days though, it is more a case of a quick google for a specific issue I'm having.
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