Younger readers will just take things like YouTube walkthroughs, or even sites like GameFAQs, for granted, but old heads will remember days when finding their way through a video game was hard work. Which could, in rare instances like this, also be beautiful work.
Reddit user vadermeer was visiting a Salvation Army in the Seattle area the other day when they stumbled upon a boxed copy of the adventure game Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, perhaps best known for the fact it starred Tim Curry as Dr. Frankenstein.
Buying it and bringing it home, they discovered that inside the box there wasn’t just a copy of the game, but some exquisite hand-written notes guiding the player through the puzzles, mostly penned with text but with some accompanying diagrams as well.
It’s funny how something written in the mid-’90s can look almost like a sacred religious text in 2021, but such has been the transformation in the way we find this stuff (and how our handwriting has collectively devolved) that calling this a sacred text isn’t too far from the truth. If you’re trying to finish Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, at least.
And while it may seem a bit tedious to have a visual game described in such laboriously text-heavy terms, again, this is just how it was at the time! I remember me and my friends trying to play LucasArts adventure games as kids, and the only way we’d ever be able to finish them would be to call other people on the phone and have them sit there and tell you, “OK, then you use the thing on that thing, then you have to go here, then do that thing,” all the while I’m sitting there furiously writing down notes.