It’s funny. I was raised on these games, so there was definitely a time when I was a dutiful manual reader. I remember excitedly yanking the manuals out of the game boxes on the way home from the computer store. It was a big part of building anticipation for me. And I didn’t even lose the habit that long ago! As late as Dragon Age: Origins, I pored through the manual to decide on my character build before I even started the game.
But now I just straight up hate the idea of reading a manual. This must have happened in recent years. Some part of it may be the shift to digital in my buying habits; Dragon Age: Origins was probably one of the last games I bought in a box from a store. Reading PDFs is somehow much more offensive to me than reading a little paper thing I can pile up on my computer desk. And then there’s my increased orientation away from big blockbuster games to short altgames. I’ve come to be very fond of the experience of starting up a game that I know nothing about, have no expectations about, am not prepared for. Somewhere in that process, I’ve gotten more impatient with preparing myself for an experience in advance, and my tolerance for manuals has suffered for it.
This does make it hard to successfully play games of this era. With King’s Quest IV‘s elaborate opening cutscene, it’s already starting to make that shift towards accommodating a player who doesn’t read the manual. But there are still a few pieces that don’t quite fit the new model.
Go read Line on King’s Quest IV and bask in the best longform series about games.
it is sometimes funny to read them