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Digital distribution is obviously on the way and there’s some who believe it is already here. But with new games releasing in the non-tangible and many classic games being re-released in downloadable forms, we aren’t only getting rid of the disks. I’m not talking about the packaging, I’m thinking of the manual.

 

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I recently bought Final Fantasy 7 on PSN for the chance to play it on my PSP and because the version I got from a friend didn’t work. The one thing about the game that I was disappointed about was that I wouldn’t have a game manual. You see, I’ve always had a love for game manuals. Whenever I would rent a game I was that guy who would conveniently forget to put the manual back in the box. But would you imagine my surprise when Final Fantasy 7 actually had a digital version of its original manual.

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Why do I think that a games manual is so important to have? Well in the first place, every time I play a game that has an awful tutorial I feel that it could have been avoided by simply explaining the games mechanics away in a manual. Also, manuals are just nice. Some times they’re so packed with illustrations that they are almost like mini art books. I’ll thumb threw them at times just looking at the art. I mainly like the things though, because sometimes they really do have useful information that wouldn’t of necessarily fit into any games tutorial.

 

An example of this is the Resident Evil 1 manual. In this booklet one priceless piece of advice always stood out to me, and it kept me from getting my ass chewed to ass-bits by zombies: When you can RUN DON’T SHOOT. Imagine if in the game you faced the first zombie and on the screen the ‘RUN’ popped up. It would be a little weird, wouldn’t it?

 

Any way, I was glad there was a manual for FF7.

 

There’s only one other online game that I thought did an online manual pretty well, and that is actually Fat Princess. This game has a very cute, and fun to look at explanation of all the classes.

 

One of my only real fears of digital distribution is that things like this, digital manuals, aren’t going to catch on. The last thing I want is for them to be left behind, seen as useless, unneeded, and unwanted.

So, am I the only one who cares about game manuals, or does any body else share my fears out there?                                          

 

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