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Socoder -> Question of the Day -> QOTD - The end of games physical reality?

Thu, 17 May 2007, 07:46
Years ago, manuals were massive. Companies would use them as copy protection because you'd have to spend loads copying 100's of pages of text (although I memorized the answers to Civilization 1's copy protection). Then PC boxes have begun to shrunk and became standardized with DVD boxes (as did console games), no doubt to lower costs. It seems manuals are the next target. They seem smaller then ever, and sometimes non-existent.

A few years ago I rang up the Game helpline when I received my copy of Half Life 2, as the manual was a single piece of paper giving brief installation instructions. Thinking it had been incorrectly packaged, only to find out it just didn't have a manual. I was so disappointed.

Even then, I consider myself lucky. I have a box for Half Life 2, many people don't (although of their choosing). Gone are the days of high stacks of enormous PC boxes, filled with it's game bible almost crushing the tiny CD or floppy disk inside.

So, do people miss manuals? do people miss old style PC boxes? and is this a good or a bad thing?

Thu, 17 May 2007, 07:53
LOL... When I was a kid, games were distributed on cassette tapes.
Thu, 17 May 2007, 07:57
Taking Half Life 2 as an example. It didn't need anything more.
Sure it'd be nice to include a 100 page story with it, but Half Life 1 had a great story in the game, and I guess they figured the story in HL2 was enough that they needn't bother.

The best stuff was always Text Adventure games. God knows how much garbage I've collected from them over the years! Anything to immerse you that little bit further into the story.

But they were the exception. Most of the time you got a big-ass box with a couple of Floppies, or a CD in. It really wasn't worth it. But to lose the option to give away all that stuff. That's not a good thing.
If someone, nowadays, wanted to give away piles of stuff with a game, there'd be no shelf-space.
And that's a shame.

''Load, Next List!''
Thu, 17 May 2007, 08:19
I miss the big manuals. I agree that for action games they arent really necessary, but for games like strategy games or RPGs manuals can be quite important. Nowadays companies tend to whack em in a PDF which kind of irritates me as unless you have 2 monitors you can't refer to them when you need to in game.
Thu, 17 May 2007, 08:39
I miss the old manuals as well, gave me something to read on the toilet

One life - live it
Thu, 17 May 2007, 16:26
When I was a kid, games were distributed on cassette tapes.

Same here, although carts were becoming more popular with the NES and Master System. Plenty of C64 games came in large boxes with manuals.

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Thu, 17 May 2007, 16:34
When I was a kid, I only ever got budget games! They were on cassette, cost between £1.99 and £3.99 (depending on the game/year!) and only ever arrived in a standard no-frills cassette case.


(Although, when I did get the odd non-budget game around Xmas time, they usually weren't worth it, and I'd have been better off with a dozen or so more budget games!)

''Load, Next List!''
Thu, 17 May 2007, 17:47
I don't mind the lack of manuals. All I ever do is lose them anyway. If they're online, I can look them up and read them without having to even look away from the computer screen.

As long as copy protection is not an issue, I don't see why games can't purely be downloaded from the internet. The Wii has a game download service now too!

It's going to be a good thing for the industry to get rid of the boxes. There won't be any wastage of packaging, and with all this environment stuff nowadays, every bit matters. Also, and more importantly, the indie developers can have the same look and feel to their packaging (i.e. nothing much at all) as the major developers. Which means more games, more variety, and more fun!
Sat, 19 May 2007, 07:39
power mousey

and steve,
and everybody,

before the cassette tapes...games and apps
were loaded in and run thru punch cards, and then thru
paper tapes and mag tape reels too. And remember the vaccuum tubes and the magnetic o donut cores too??

Creator of the first video game is accredited
to Ralph Baer. Creator of the Magnavox Odyssey
and father of the first copyrighted video game.


however the precursor to Ralph Baer and some argue that he is the father of the video and computer game is Willie Higinbotham. Although, he did not copyright his ideas and designs. He is still considered the grandfather of both video and computer games.


Sat, 19 May 2007, 16:39
There is enough memory and room on storage devices to make manuals unneeded as usually games have heaps of help actually programmed into them, be it as tutorial levels or onscreen equivalent of a manual.

I never used to read manuals and still don't, even with things like FFXII I haven't even unclipped the manual from the inside of the DVD case.

Half the fun of a game is working it out as you go along, I like a big of mystery to a game.

I liked the Ultimate Play The Game cassette inlays that basically told you nothing but in an entertaining fashion.