Things we'll miss if game manuals are done away with

Ubisoft is officially doing away with printed game manuals. It makes sense from a certain perspective, but just think of all the brilliant things we'll miss if everyone else follows suit. Whether you read them or not, manuals are a seriously important part of the gaming experience, and here's why.

Without them, we'd miss out on:

The smell...

...of a fresh new, box-fresh manual. Everyone knows that new-game-smell is a fundamental part of the exciting ritual of game-buying, and that delicious scent that pops out of the box when you open it is around 50% made up of paper, ink, staples and gloss.

The journey...

...back from the game shop, during which you find it impossible to resist unpacking the game and reading the manual cover-to-cover on the bus so that you can sit down and immediately start playing like a pro the instant you get home. And pretend it's just because you're that awesome.

The relief...

...of realising that the 300 page manual you've just slid from the box, as if a vet birthing an overly fat calf, is actually half-filled with the French translation, meaning that you only need to dedicate a fraction of the lifetime you'd designated to reading it.

The creativity...

...that some publishers put into making the manual-reading experience a tangible, real-world extension of the game experience.

The smugness...

...of reading the hideously convoluted and arcane loading instructions for rival platforms in old multi-format computer game manuals. Invoking Satan on a Sunday was easier than loading a game on some of them.

The hand-drawn art...

...that some companies use to bring a game to life long before you even fire it up.


  • xDxP - April 22, 2010 3:18 a.m.

    I remember reading some old PC reviews and the reviewers would specifically talk about the game's manual... not anymore I guess
  • Tomsta666 - April 22, 2010 2:09 a.m.

    The old skool nintendo manuals were awesome, especially the mario games
  • kernzy10 - April 21, 2010 6:47 p.m.

    Brilliant points, the smell is a huge part of the unboxing process lol and yea reading the manual on the way home is something ive done every time ive purchased a new game without fail for over 10 years also the creativity is good, like the way GTA set theres up to be like a touist booklet :D
  • Clovin64 - April 21, 2010 6:24 p.m.

    My friends think I'm weird for loving the new game smell. Screw them. The new smell rocks.
  • FreekinIdiot - April 21, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    Does anyone remember the original PS1 GranTurismo manual smelling 'like a pit-stop'? I'd love a scratch and sniff manual from Dead or Alive Paradise...ewww
  • rxb - April 21, 2010 1:29 p.m.

    Back in the ps1 days when I started imported Japanese games I realised that Japanese manuals were amazing. Ok I couldnt read them but the art was amazing. I hardly read them anymore these days.
  • philipshaw - April 21, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    I will miss the smell and reading them on the bus or car ride home
  • bongzilla - April 21, 2010 5:44 a.m.

    man i love taking a shit and reading a new manual..
  • DeadHELLKNIGHT - April 21, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    As a kid i used to draw the more detailed snes charecters from rpg game manual ,i will miss that.but maybe in the future they will bring them back when they come up with paper thin moving pictures technology.
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - April 21, 2010 4:31 a.m.

    Gotta love that smell...I use my manuals from time to time too, especially with games that have the-story-so-far and character descriptions.
  • cheezitmonster - April 21, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    the thing I'll probably miss the most is how the manuel added some weight to the box so that it made you feel that the box ha stuff inside of it.
  • lovinmyps3 - April 21, 2010 3:07 a.m.

    God I love game manuals. Even if I don't read all of them I always like having a nice thick manual to go along with my game. That's why I don't usually buy used games, they tend to lack the oh-so-slightly-essential manual.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 21, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    Manuals. Are. Awesome. That is all.
  • skynetiscoming - April 21, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    I always loved the smell of CD's, maybe that was a gateway into the realm of videogame manual huffing.
  • BigJerd - April 21, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    Does anyone else here think this is just an excuse for Ubisoft to save money?
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - April 20, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    I always read the manual on the way home from the video game store after i bought the game. I also remember that the Starcraft manual had cheats in it.
  • xSTARMANx - April 20, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    i think im the only one that wont miss the manuals.....except the GTA ones
  • blitzpoisonpunk - April 20, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    Thank god someone agrees about the smell!
  • Strangleme - April 20, 2010 9:37 p.m.

    That would truly suck if all games did away with manuals. I love those booklets. Especially the GTA ones. They have all the cool ads for their bogus products and businesses.
  • SwirlerMcCoy - April 20, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    yeah, i think the only place ive evar read a game manual is on a bus...

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