The days of idly flipping through a beautifully-illustrated, perfectly-written game manual are gone. The published pamphlet is no longer the thing of beauty that it once was – as much a part of the experience as the characters themselves.
Today, manuals are typically bare-bones affairs, explaining which buttons to push, which direction to move in, and how to navigate convoluted menu systems.
…and even those are becoming a thing of the past.
Last April, Ubisoft announced that the company would no longer publish manual booklets for its PS3 and Xbox 360 titles. Now, EA Sports have announced that it is doing the same thing, starting with Fight Night Champion.
EA Sports spokesperson Rob Semsey explains that the decision isn’t primarily to deprive gamers from another tactile experience, instead it will make game production more environmentally friendly (and, um, cheaper).
Instead of publishing the instructions on paper like some sort of neanderthal, EA and Ubisoft are instead including a digital version of the manual on the disk – or, more frequently, including the information via in-game tutorial.
While this is a win for the environment, it’s a resounding loss for gamers around the globe. With two companies now scrapping paper, many others are expected to follow suit. When that happens, what will be this generation’s equivalent to Leather Goddesses of Phobos, which included (among other things) a scratch-n-sniff card with the game instructions?
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