Beautiful Hand-Written Walkthrough Found In Old PC Game Box

Dating back to around 1995, there are even hand-drawn maps

Illustration for article titled Beautiful Hand-Written Walkthrough Found In Old PC Game Box
Photo: vadermeer

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.

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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.

Illustration for article titled Beautiful Hand-Written Walkthrough Found In Old PC Game Box
Photo: vadermeer

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.

vadermeer was kind enough to scan and upload the entire walkthrough on archive.org, so you can either read it below or, if the embed isn’t working, head here instead.

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Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

ibesushi
ibesushi

This is amazing! While it may seem strange to do so I am glad it is being preserved. Does an archive of handwritten guides/notes to retro games exist anywhere?

It reminded me of a friend drawing out the FF7 map and how to get a gold chocobo in the back of one of my English school books.

Someone mentioned is this where we are now when a handwritten guide from the 90s is now newsworthy.

As terrible as it is... how rare is it to handwrite something as an adult now? I might scribble a ‘to do list’/messy notes that I then throw away, but everything else I write is on my laptop or phone now.