One of the last reliable supporters for the concept that video games should have instruction manuals appears to be backing off. Nintendo has released its first games on its new console without instruction manuals: nothing on paper and not even a digital manual.
Nintendo’s 1 2 Switch party game has no paper manual inside it, just a visual menu of the mini-games contained on the game cart:
The inside of the box for the company’s flagship Switch game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild simply depicts an illustration of protagonist Link climbing a cliff.
The closest we’ve seen to a printed manual for a Nintendo Switch game is the inside of Konami’s Super Bomberman R box:
Nintendo had backed off creating printed instruction manuals during the lifespan of its Wii U console. But the company had consistently offered digital manuals, which players could access by pausing a game and clicking an option to page through a virtual manual. Games on Nintendo’s 3DS system also all had the digital manual option.
The digital manuals for Wii U and 3DS games weren’t always great, but they were there if you needed them on Nintendo and third-party games. For a time, it seemed Nintendo was even making an effort to make their digital manuals look good.