A Celebration Of Some Amazing Video Game Manuals

Illustration for article titled A Celebration Of Some Amazing Video Game Manuals

As Ubisoft today bids farewell to the printed instruction manual, other publishers will surely follow suit. I, for one, am a little saddened by this, as some of my best memories in gaming involve...reading the manual.


Sounds weird when you type it out like that, I know, but don't you judge me! Just like few things on Earth beat the smell of a new book, few things in gaming beat the thrill of thumbing through a book that served not just as a guide on how to play a game, but at their best, on how to experience a universe.

Sure, these days manuals are a joke, a few pieces of paper, written in 19 languages, crudely telling you which button does what and what laws you're breaking if you sit a cup of coffee on the cover.

But once, they were wonderful.

To mark the occasion, then, here are some of my favourite instruction manuals, from the days when companies actually bothered to put a little work (and a little money!) into them.

What are yours? Keep in mind this is just a snapshot, not a comprehensive "top XX" list, but if I've missed something totally glaring, I'll add it to the collection.


Forgive me if this is too obvious, but Civilization games, at least the old ones. Haven't bought IV yet. I can't remember what the first was like, but II and III's were more like small books than manuals. They went to pretty extensive detail to make sure a player could learn mostly everything about how to play the game. It's how manuals, at least for deep strategic games, should be.