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Last week I came across this interesting Gamasutra article on videogame instruction manuals. It got me thinking about how my gaming habits have changed in regards to instructions. When I was younger, manuals were pretty important and often a valuable resource. Nowadays, I’m irritated if I have to open the box and pop out the manual. Heck, I haven’t even touched the manuals for the vast majority of games I’ve bought over the last three console generations.
There are two reasons why I rarely read videogame instruction manuals these days. The explosive growth of the Internet has made it so easy to find quality information on a game — info that’s almost always better than anything in the manual. More recently, in-game tutorials have gotten so good that I usually don’t need the Internet or a manual to figure things out.
As gaming moves towards digital distribution, manuals will become even less important (unless you love printing out PDFs) and eventually extinct. They’re still here today, so I want to ask for your views on instructions. Do you read them? Do you ignore them? Are they a last resort for you? Do you think in-game tutorials are the instruction manuals of today? I instruct you to leave your opinions on instructions! (Okay, I’m really just asking you and hoping you share.)