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First post, by Einherje

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I unboxed a copy of "Warlords: Darklords Rising" yesterday and it suddenly hit me how wholesome buying a new game could feel back then. Don't get me wrong, GoG and Steam etc. are great platforms for convenience - I just miss the touch printed assets bring to the experience of owning a game.

I love having the opportunity to read a manual back to back and get an understanding of why the game was made as well as an in-depth description of its systems.

warlords_manual_001.jpg

What's your favorite manual?

Reply 1 of 15, by Namrok

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I used to take all the manuals for old Blizzard games to middle school with me, and read them over and over during class when I couldn't actually be playing the games. It's amazing how much world building happened in those manuals. Aside from the explicit backstory laid out, there were bits of history in all the unit, ability or spell descriptions. And I'll never forget that the picture of the Rogue in the Diablo manual had an amazing ass. What do you even call it when you can see a bit of underbutt through the thigh gap? That was exactly the imagery I needed as a 13 year old boy.

I do miss that older style of Heavy Metal/Frank Frazetta style archetypal, primal, sometimes erotic, artwork.

And then there were the manuals that were written as in universe journals, training manuals, newsletters, etc. Sure, the page of instructions at the front about how to install the game, or make a DOS boot disk broke the illusion somewhat. But it was still appreciated.

I think my favorite part about the manuals is that they let the game focus on being a game more. The manual was for exposition dumps and instruction. The game was for actually playing. Now we get treated to hour long tutorials and massive, meandering, voice acted exposition dumps randomly right in the middle of the game. Some games are still tutorializing at you 30 hours in!

Reply 2 of 15, by cyclone3d

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Don't forget the huge maps that came with some games.

As for the in-game tutorializing... games have gotten a whole lot more complex since back then. Imagine how huge of a manual you would have to have for some of these modern games.

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Reply 3 of 15, by Anders-

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Einherje wrote on 2021-10-07, 11:00:
I unboxed a copy of "Warlords: Darklords Rising" yesterday and it suddenly hit me how wholesome buying a new game could feel bac […]
Show full quote

I unboxed a copy of "Warlords: Darklords Rising" yesterday and it suddenly hit me how wholesome buying a new game could feel back then. Don't get me wrong, GoG and Steam etc. are great platforms for convenience - I just miss the touch printed assets bring to the experience of owning a game.

I love having the opportunity to read a manual back to back and get an understanding of why the game was made as well as an in-depth description of its systems.

warlords_manual_001.jpg

What's your favorite manual?

Yep, have to admit I've opened a few old manuals during the years - instant nostalgia trip 😀 (even without actually playing the game)

I like the Lemmings booklet, partly because of the nice colour printing.

Måttfull och balanserad.

Reply 4 of 15, by RandomStranger

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It's not just the manuals. It's the experience in general starting from the cover art, down to the contents of the box. Just look at Morrowind for example:

the-elder-scrolls-iii-morrowind-pc.jpg

Or for example the box of Manhunt is like a VHS cassette:

Details

MANHUNT-PC-CD-ROM-ROCKSTAR-Games-57.jpg MANHUNT-PC-CD-ROM-ROCKSTAR-Games-58.jpg

Max Payne 2 is also a nice one.

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Reply 5 of 15, by Anders-

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-10-07, 16:35:
It's not just the manuals. It's the experience in general starting from the cover art, down to the contents of the box. Just loo […]
Show full quote

It's not just the manuals. It's the experience in general starting from the cover art, down to the contents of the box. Just look at Morrowind for example:

the-elder-scrolls-iii-morrowind-pc.jpg

Or for example the box of Manhunt is like a VHS cassette:

Details

MANHUNT-PC-CD-ROM-ROCKSTAR-Games-57.jpg MANHUNT-PC-CD-ROM-ROCKSTAR-Games-58.jpg

Max Payne 2 is also a nice one.

If you want to be nitpicking, it's not just the cover art and the contents of the box either. It's about the box itself!
Browsing in the shop, flipping over the cardboard boxes and looking at them from all different angles, checking system requirements (and sighing, sometimes) and reading the synopsis.

The DooM trilogy is particularly nice with the embossed artwork on the front, large size (A4 with a depth of about 6cm). It's almost empty inside, but that's another story 😁

Måttfull och balanserad.

Reply 6 of 15, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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How about printing your own manuals?

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 7 of 15, by DaveJustDave

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I love the cloth maps that ship with Ultima games.

ALso some flightsims had HEFTY manuals. remember Falcon 3 and 4?

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Reply 8 of 15, by gerry

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Einherje wrote on 2021-10-07, 11:00:

I unboxed a copy of "Warlords: Darklords Rising" yesterday and it suddenly hit me how wholesome buying a new game could feel back then. Don't get me wrong, GoG and Steam etc. are great platforms for convenience - I just miss the touch printed assets bring to the experience of owning a game.

I love having the opportunity to read a manual back to back and get an understanding of why the game was made as well as an in-depth description of its systems.

good manuals are indeed a pleasure - although some game manuals could 'over promise' in its description of the game, leading to relative disappointment comparing expectation with actual experience

Reply 9 of 15, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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The problem with game manuals that come out of the box is that they're not always spiral-bound. Blue Max: Aces of the Great War manual, for example, is paperback, which requires you to bend the paper to read them.

game-manuals-genuine.jpg
Paperback (left) isn't really comfortable to read.

And that's the reason I prefer to print my own manuals. In fact, I'm always feel compelled and obsessed to print my own game manuals, that I do it for relaxation.

game-manuals-self-printed.jpg
PDF manuals from GOG.com, which I have printed and ring-bound for maximum reading comfort.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 10 of 15, by svfn

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I love manuals, they are my fav part of a big box PC game, maps a close second. But sadly they are a lost art with everything going digital and manuals becoming only a troubleshooting/setup guide or having only a wiki. A well made manual just makes everything more "finished" and shows some developer pride. I love manuals where there is a developer foreword or extra making-of tidbits, and you can look through for any familiar names in the dev credits section. It just makes the whole experience more complete if possible.

I don't think manuals should just be a setup steps and beginner guide, I love these manuals with game world lore, bestiary, skill / unit descriptions, concept art, appendix etc. RPGs and flight sims have the most badass ring bound thick tomes you can find.

A few of my favs: Guild Wars 1 Manuscripts, POD hardcover small manual, Diablo 1/2 manuals, Dungeon Keeper, and any of the Forgotten Realms cRPG tomes.

Last edited by svfn on 2021-10-10, 07:00. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 11 of 15, by dr_st

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Yep, I love manuals, maps and physical extras. Buying a digital game just doesn't feel the same. I still buy from GOG from time to time, mostly to support them, and they do a great job of scanning and OCRing old manuals and extra stuff, and including it in their packages. In parallel, I occasionally obtain second-hand physical copies of games, even those that I have owned / played before. Just for collection's sake.

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Reply 12 of 15, by svfn

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Yeah GOG does a better job with including goodies and extras, so for some games I do prefer GOG releases over Steam. I found a sealed STALKER Clear Sky box locally and redeemed the key on GOG, to find that they added a ton of goodies for Clear Sky.

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Also like for Stronghold HD it even includes the Super Castle Attack mini game, which is super nostalgic 😁 Steam is kinda behind on this and only have manuals in most cases, making GOG releases preferable. It is nice to have these extras archived and not take up space on your hard drive until you need them, like FLAC soundtracks and making-of videos. The manual scans are usually pretty good, they often also include most of the reference cards like their big box releases.

Any other worthy GOG release?

dr_st wrote on 2021-10-09, 13:01:

Yep, I love manuals, maps and physical extras. Buying a digital game just doesn't feel the same. I still buy from GOG from time to time, mostly to support them, and they do a great job of scanning and OCRing old manuals and extra stuff, and including it in their packages. In parallel, I occasionally obtain second-hand physical copies of games, even those that I have owned / played before. Just for collection's sake.

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Reply 13 of 15, by RandomStranger

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svfn wrote on 2021-10-13, 11:59:

Yeah GOG does a better job with including goodies and extras, so for some games I do prefer GOG releases over Steam. I found a sealed STALKER Clear Sky box locally and redeemed the key on GOG, to find that they added a ton of goodies for Clear Sky.

stalker.jpg

You can redeem the steam key too if you have it there. Call of Pripyat too. Doesn't work with the first game.

sreq.png

Reply 14 of 15, by svfn

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Steam keys does not work for me, tried Pripyat. I think it is only for retail keys, it does say in the FAQ that it does not include Steam keys.

RandomStranger wrote on 2021-10-13, 12:07:
svfn wrote on 2021-10-13, 11:59:

Yeah GOG does a better job with including goodies and extras, so for some games I do prefer GOG releases over Steam. I found a sealed STALKER Clear Sky box locally and redeemed the key on GOG, to find that they added a ton of goodies for Clear Sky.

stalker.jpg

You can redeem the steam key too if you have it there. Call of Pripyat too. Doesn't work with the first game.

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Reply 15 of 15, by RandomStranger

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svfn wrote on 2021-10-13, 12:18:

Steam keys does not work for me, tried Pripyat. I think it is only for retail keys, it does say in the FAQ that it does not include Steam keys.

They did at some point. I got both Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat on GoG by redeeming the Steam key.

sreq.png