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:
...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.
...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.
...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.
...that some publishers put into making the manual-reading experience a tangible, real-world extension of the game experience.
...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.
...that some companies use to bring a game to life long before you even fire it up.