The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual

The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual

Collector F. M. da Costa has an amazing Flickr page where he opens up his games, showing everything that came in the box. It's very pretty just to look at, but it's also a timelapse, showing the slow and steady decline in the number of pieces of paper that shipped alongside a video game.

Some of the older games came with all kinds of stuff. Fast-forward to the Vita and you wonder why they bother putting it in a case at all.

You can see Costa's complete collection at his Flickr page.

The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual
The Slow Disappearance Of The Video Game Manual


    Only Rockstar manuals are worthwhile now. If GTA V for next-gen does not contain their usual manual and map/poster in the box, it will be officially over.

    Last edited 28/06/14 4:12 pm

      Metal Gear always had fantastic manuals.

      I feel sorry for the kids these days. They'll never get the enjoyment of opening a game on the car ride home and reading a nice detailed manual and being able to get right into when you got home. Now they'll open the game see a slip of paper with legal crap on it get home have to wait 10 hours for the 10GB day one patch then finally get to play the game and be forced through an hour long tutorial mission that could have been explained in 3 pages of text in a manual that would take 5 minutes to read.

        I remember the days when you brief through the manual and get straight into a game, only to accidentally pull off a move you've never seen before 5 hours into it, then scramble back to the manual and kick yourself for missing it earlier. Haha good times

    I think I subconsciously buy collectors editions just so I get stuff in the box now. I miss reading through colour instruction books with character bios, the story so far, world maps (Baldurs Gate anyone?) etc. Especially now where if you are installing something you have some time to burn an instruction booklet would be king.

    On a side note, my uncle keeps a stack of instruction booklets in his car to read when bored waiting for stuff

      I completely agree with you, I brought the Halo 4 limited edition because the standard edition did not include a manual (and I always loved the manuals in Halo games with information about the species and weapons).

      PC games had some of the most amazing manuals ever. Of personal particular note, the ones from blizzard, AOE2, and Zeus master of Olympus. So much lore and was able to actually learn so much history from the latter two.

    Fallout 1&2, Baldur's Gate 1&2, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri... Now those were real game manuals.

    The cool stuff that used to come with the old Infocom text adventures...

    I love collecting ganeworld maps and are more likely to put them up on the wall than posters. Cracking open Civ boxes though and finding a book inside...those were the days. Metal Gear Solid put a smegging comic in the manual that kept me occupied on the walk home. Now if I buy a game in the city, I crack it open on the train/bus and get disappointed when what's inside is a sheet of gloss paper with controls on it and that's it. Games are an artform and this used to extend to the box and the manual inside.

    I never thought about it before reading this, but yeah, games have lost that bit of interaction

    Fallout 2's manual is so good its on my bookshelf

    My pre-game ritual used to involve (among other things...) reading the manual, back to front before even putting the game in. Now with updates and installs I would do that while reading the manual then sometimes reset the game when ready to play. Sadly the last few games have been nothing more than a quick reference control guide. I miss chunky manuals.

    From Kotaku's own archives, some of the best manuals ever.

    in my opinion, one of the best manuals ever:

    I was annoyed with this the other day, Bought 2 games on the way home from work, I was on the train and was excited to checkout the manuals. Opened both cases to find QR codes to view digital manuals. So bummed.

    Physical copies are cheaper than ever to produce these days.

    The boxes are economically built complicated to the old Master System style boxes which had very thick, hard plastic and complicated clips, CDs are much cheaper to produce than cartridges ever were and the manual is now more likely to be a single paged flyer for another title.

    Hell, even PC games ditched those boxes that were 1000% larger than they ever needed to be several years back.

    Still doesn’t explain why a downloadable copy Sniper Elite III is $25 more on my already paid for Xbox Live service than it is in a retail store though…..

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