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Strategy Guide Company Prima Games Is Shutting Down

Illustration for article titled Strategy Guide Company Prima Games Is Shutting Down

Prima Games, the publishing company that has printed video game strategy guides since it was founded in 1990, is shutting down, parent company DK said yesterday. The label will no longer publish new guides starting now, and it will officially shutter in the spring.

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Thanks to the rise of sites like GameFAQs—and major gaming publications like IGN commissioning their own online guides, which bring in monstrous amounts of traffic—print strategy guides have struggled for years now. In 2015, Prima purchased and swallowed its biggest competitor, BradyGames, and has been consistently churning out guides for both print and the web, but it wasn’t enough to survive what the company called “a significant decline” in the world of print video game guides.

Anyone who grew up devouring old strategy guides will no doubt feel bummed out about this. But in a world where video games are changing constantly, through patches and updates, print guides can be out-of-date before they even hit the shelves. At least we’ll always have Final Fantasy IX.

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The linked article is prescient. My folks picked up Final Fantasy IX, along with that god-awful PlayOnline guide—the aged copy of which is sitting in the bookcase to my immediate left at this very moment—for me for Christmas the year it came out.

I still love FF IX, and I play it probably once every couple of years.

...I still look at that guide to remind myself BradyGames essentially shat out 1/5 of a guide and then said, “Hey, know that Internet thing everyone’s talking about? Get yourself online, and enter this code if you want to read information we should clearly have printed within the pages of this guide you bought specifically for the purpose of having an at-hand reference while playing your game.”

Tangentially-Related, Over-Long Rant Follows (feel free to skip this entirely if you’re not interested in hearing an aging geek grumble about the death of print media):

Interestingly enough, college textbooks are currently undergoing the same issue with print editions.  I’ve been working with Pearson for years in terms of textbooks for both my Rhet/Comp and Literature courses.

Between the Spring and Fall terms of 2018, they moved a significant chunk of their print texts (including the ones I’ve been using) to an online platform called “Revel,” insisting that Gen Z is more comfortable online, and more likely to read assignments given in electronic format than they are in a paper-and-ink textbook.

Skipping the environmental arguments (which have merit, don’t get me wrong), for a textbook publisher to behave as if though Gen Z is the only generation worth giving a damn about in higher education (and as if every member of a given generation shares the same predilections and preferences—this is the Millennial fallacy all over again) is short-sighted and myopic in the extreme—and the Pearson rep absolutely discounted my concerns regarding returning learners and even traditional freshmen who prefer to have a physical text in-hand (to be fair to Pearson, students can purchase a “print chit” that allows them to print out—on their own, mind—copies of the readings for an additional cost over and above the Revel edition of the text).

I discontinued my relationship with Pearson, and took up with a different publisher who continues to print textbooks that can be actively used in the classroom environment, because god damn it, while my 18, 19, and 20 year old students are generally fairly tech-savvy (though the shit they don’t know is frightening, too—attaching a document to an e-mail mystifies some of them), the 40, 50, and 60 year old returning learners I work with generally aren’t, and prefer physical editions.

TL;DR: I understand why print media’s going out of vogue, but there are some areas where it absolutely should remain—and when I’m sprawled out on my couch playing a game, I don’t want to have to grab my phone and navigate to a website just to get a hint, when I could as easily grab the guide sitting right next to me and flip to the appropriate page (because indexes are, evidently, fucking rocket science).

This getting old thing sucks. Time will move on with or without my blessing, but I’m going to continue to fight the death of print media—at least in my capacity as an educator—for as long as I can.

/rant