When I was kid back in the day, picking up a new game was a big thing for me. The game cassette would be packed in hard behind a concertinaed pamphlet that would expand to reveal the game manual. It the days before, actual video game graphics, when a vampire would simply be represented by a pair of quotation marks, the manual was an invaluable catalyst for the players imagination. Without reading the game’s back story and plot the player was simple chasing pound-signs around the screen with an asterisk. After reading the obligatory prose on page one of the manual, the player understood that the asterisk-knight was, in fact chasing down pound-sign-snakes.
Even now, when I pick up game, the first thing that I do (if I can’t immediately put on and play it) is open the manual and take a look at the gaming delights that await me.
One of the problems with getting review copies of new games is the lack of a manual. Sure, most games these days are intuitive enough to just pick up and play. In fact, judging my some of the dopey mandatory tutorials modes at the beginning of some games (like the fucking stupid firing range sessions at the beginning of Call of Duty-types “now point your weapon at the target and fire. Well done soldier”) I’d go as fair as to say that developers don’t really believe anyone actually reads manuals anyway. I still think that it’s nice to find out what on earth all the shooting, stabbing and maiming is about before I set out and add to the virtual carnage. Oh yeah, it’s also nice to know what fucking buttons to press.
I’m staring at what I believe to be an ANZ retail copy of Gears of War 3. Whilst the powers that be has deemed fit to include a swanky-looking set of Gears of War 3 stickers, there’s no actual game manual, only a bit of folded paper with a paragraph of hyperbole, the game controls, warranty info and a URL to visit and view that actual manual proper. The URL doesn’t work at the moment, probably ‘cos the game isn’t out yet. But when it is out, on the 20th September, you can probably view the Gears of War 3 manual by clicking here.
*RTFM= Read the Fucking Manual
Get all excited about Gears of War 3 by checking out the game’s intro cinematic, below!