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JRPG manuals, 1989 vs. 2017. (Left: Wanderers From Ys for PC-88; right: I Am Setsuna, for Switch.)


Features Editor, Kotaku. Japanese curry aficionado. Author of the books Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life and Final Fantasy V from Boss Fight Books.

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I remember bringing home Dragon Warrior for the NES—and Final Fantasy—and spending the entire car ride home (I was eight or nine when the first FF dropped) reading the manual.


Well, now we have a TL;DR: attitude that implies we’d rather have our hands held through interminable tutorials (that we will invariably complain about) than read the flipping manual.

...yes, manuals were probably cut out almost entirely to save on production costs (and materials would be entirely secondary to paying the folks who put together the manual, the artwork, the editing department, etc), but the angry old man side of me enjoys blaming the “TL;DR” folks for the loss of one of the neat parts of owning a game.

Excuse me—I need to go yell at some kids on my lawn.