The poor strategy guide business. Not only are they all online and free now, but games barely need them anymore. Games are easy now.
Yeah, I was instantly enraged. First of all, this person is basically saying I suck, and anyone who uses strategy guides suck, as a gamer because “games are easy” now. I beg to differ. I’d like to argue that games come more easily to some people than they do others. And while many modern games hold the hands of the players with lengthy tutorials, quick-time events, and linear progression, it is possible to be completely stumped as to what to do next. Or how to beat a certain difficult boss. Or what about those who are completionists and just have to find every single collectible?
For these people, games aren’t exactly “easy.” Sure, if you want to just burn through a game as fast as you can, collectibles be damned, you can put a game on the lowest difficulty setting and have a grand ol’ time. I’m sure several people do just that instead of trying to unearth everything a game can offer. With how many top games release in a single month, many just don’t have the time to spend combing every inch of a game.
And there’s people like me who don’t have the time to spend but want to do anyway as efficiently as possible. Hence the need for a strategy guide.
So what about the first part of this person’s tweet–“not only are they all online and free now…”?
Saying that all games are online is not entirely correct to begin with. For example, The Wonderful 101 has been out since September, as I got stumped yesterday during a boss fight, I had to search through four different online strategy guide sites before I found one that had a complete walkthrough. A few Vita games still don’t have online strategy guides. Since IGN has left doing the strategy guides themselves and turned them into wikis, you can’t even count on information being up and available on day one of the game’s release. If you need that free info, you have to wait at least a week or two.
While many online strategy guides are free, you have to remember that you get what you pay for. If you use GameFAQs, you will never, never get a map of anything. IGN’s wikis will only have maps if a user takes his or her time to create one. Print strategy guides however, have maps right there, with the collectibles clearly marked (if it’s a good guide).
Even if a map is found online, it’s so much easier to look at a printed map than it is a digital one, even if I use my iPad, which I have done in the past. There’s just something about holding physical print in your hands when looking up information to help you out in a game that’s easier (so far) than finding the information online. Many online resources don’t have a way for you to search exactly what you’re looking for, unless you use GameFAQs and are willing to deal with the poor writing, lack of maps, and lack of screenshots. IGN, for example, has everything segregated like a book’s table of contents, but it’s not half as easy to flip through an IGN wiki as it is a print book.
Prima Games has started to offer free digital copies of their strategy guides with the print versions, and that’s mainly to accommodate those who prefer digital to print or those who want to watch quick videos of the strategies. Future Press has always offered free access to their gameplay videos if you buy the guide (for those who may need a little extra help in pulling off a particular strategy).
So yes, when something is online and free, it may seem silly to bother paying for a print strategy guide. However, you get what you pay for, and using a free, online guide requires waiting for extra time for the information, often badly written information, and zero maps. With a print guide, you get it right away, you get maps, you get better writers (usually), and you get a nice physical collector’s item for your video game as well. As anyone who has gotten a print strategy guide in the last couple of years can tell you, they’ve become gorgeous art books, something you definitely can’t get for free or online.
I probably shouldn’t take offense to the comment that games are easy now. I know I suck at games and have very little patience when it comes to figuring some aspects out.