There was a time when a game manual wasn't just a place to print out what each button did. Manuals were, at one point, the first step of the journey into a intricate fantasy world.
Manuals explained the interface, but that was the least important thing they did. Much more importantly they served as the ferryman to a new world. They explained the reason for your existence, the history of your new life and kicked off what would become a grand adventure.
My old gaming manuals aren't around anymore, not because I threw them out, but because I wore them out. Days, months spent worrying over the minor details of their printed words left them in tatters.
Fortunately, I'm not the only one who understands their power and value. Website Replacementdocs.com has collected and scanned nearly 9,000 gaming manuals with the help of 465 enthusiasts. The manuals come from an amazingly diverse selection of platforms including the 3DO, Amiga, Jaguar, CD-i and PC. Though it appears there are no TRS-80 manuals.
Most recent scans include Gauntlet Legends, Tekken 3, and Pokemon Yellow.
Did I mention this was entirely free and voluntary? Pretty amazing stuff.