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Strategy Guides: Who Buys Them?

by on July 8, 2015
 

The strategy guide has long been a staple of the video game community; people wanted to know where everything was, and so there were guides. People loved them. It was a way to get everything and go everywhere. It made sure you didn’t miss out on any part of the game. That has changed over the last decade.

The strategy guide used to come from everywhere. The instruction manuals used to have small guides to a specific area, or sometimes an entire guide. Eventually, the guides became separate entities, where we got official and unofficial strategy guides, the difference being the official guides worked either with the company or received the green light from the company to make the guide for them.

Companies like Nintendo and Sony had their magazines, Nintendo Power and PlayStation Underground, which had tips and tricks to games. Sometimes they included full guides, while giving news of new games, interviews with developers, and content exclusive to those that subscribed. The magazines were a staple for the gaming community, but then people started to collect strategy guides, with some today fetching for a large price, others being dirt cheap.

Nintendo Power was one of the biggest gaming magazines out there.

Nintendo Power was one of the biggest gaming magazines out there.

There is now only one competitor to the printed strategy guides of today: the internet. There are websites now like GameFAQS, CheatCC, IGN, and others that give players everything they need to know about a game. Want to know how to get all trophies or achievements? Google it. Do you want to know where that little Easter egg is that everyone has been talking about? There’s a forum thread that describes where it is in detail. So what is the point of still making video game strategy guides?

For many, it’s about collecting everything for a game, making it a set. Others do genuinely enjoy the physical copy of a strategy guide. There is also the option to have the official strategy guides in the form of an eGuide. Many other people get strategy guides because they may have some form of in game DLC that you can get from the strategy guide, typically a collector’s edition version.

There are other people, such as myself, that collect strategy guides in general. For myself, today, I have received the Collector’s Edition set of Final Fantasy guides for Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. I have the original guides as well, but the new editions are receiving new high-resolution screenshots, as well as more content.

The newly released Final Fantasy strategy guides give players new information on classics form the Final Fantasy franchise.

The newly released Final Fantasy strategy guides give players new information on classics form the Final Fantasy franchise.

The question is: why do people want to collect strategy guides if they aren’t going to use them? Well, they look great, sometimes they come with really cool screenshots and artwork that you may not get physically, and the Collector’s Edition guides tend to be hardback versions of the guides, so they’re more durable, and may be worth some money one day.

For those that buy strategy guides for the bonus content, typically the DLC is more what they want, but sometimes you can get limited edition maps, lithographs, and even physical items from the game. They don’t tend to buy many, as the Collector’s Edition strategy guides don’t have too much extra to offer for it to seem worth it.

The people that buy the strategy guides to use them are the people that buy them second most often. These people usually beat up their guides, searching every corner of the game for all the secrets and extras they want to receive. Their guides are almost always worn from being held open on certain pages. However, they are the ones who enjoy their guides the most. They pore over the pages, every weakness of the maps in the book, the pictures that show the world in ways they may not get to see otherwise. They cherish the guide, and they get every cent out of that guide. They love the books for their usefulness. Strategy guides are a gamers’ best friend, not only because they offer tips, but because it gives the players more time with their favorite game on and off the screen.

The Legend of Zelda strategy guides were a huge deal with the box set Nintendo released.

The Legend of Zelda strategy guides were a huge deal with the box set Nintendo released.

The last group of gamers, the collectors, are the ones who probably spend the most money on guides. They are the ones who pre-order strategy guides, who scour the internet for the rarest guides. They try to find guides to games that are so obscure or so old that the original strategy guide was probably the instruction manual. Collecting strategy guides can fall into the same field as collecting trading cards. Everyone wants the rare ones, but there are also ones that you want just because you like them.

Strategy guides can seem like a dying breed, but the more that companies put extras into the guides, and as long as the companies writing the guides get everything right, then strategy guides will continue to live through the gaming world, connecting gamers to books in a way that only strategy guides can.

What do you think of strategy guides? Do you collect them? Do you think they’re a waste of paper? (I personally have 18 strategy guides, and the collection just keeps growing.) Let us know in the comments!


By: Cody Dunmire

Edited by: Emily Deaton

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