The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual

Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Collector F. M. da Costa has an amazing Flickr page where he opens up his games, showing everything that came in the box. It’s very pretty just to look at, but it’s also a timelapse, showing the slow and steady decline in the number of pieces of paper that shipped alongside a video game.

This piece originally appeared 6/26/14.

Some of the older games came with all kinds of stuff. Fast-forward to the Vita and you wonder why they bother putting it in a case at all.

Advertisement

You can see Costa’s complete collection at his Flickr page.

Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
Illustration for article titled The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual

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.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I've been on a retro game kick lately and I keep running into bizarre usability brick walls in old (mostly PC, from GOG) games that assume you'd want to read a big old manual before you can even interact with the game at all in any meaningful way. I think there's a place for that, but I'm actually glad in a way that games tend to teach you how to play themselves nowadays.

On the other hand I miss all the weird printed trappings too. I think we have a pretty good compromise with collector editions for a lot of games though. The only games packaging and manuals that I remember being really great were the ones that deviated from the norm.. Like the old Ultima games with their nice maps and weird gemstones and junk.. Or the huge psygnosis boxes, etc.