I used to read the Vanilla world to Warcraft one as entertainment up till I actually got to play the game. Was awesome for me as a kid to plan out what class I was going to pick, what their weaknesses and strengths were, and lore behind zones.
"What's the fifth word of the fourth paragraph on page 174?"
I blame the manual from the first Age Of Empires for my interest in history. As a young lad I read the whole thing waiting for the game to install and for every loading screen.
I got zoo tycoon 2 when it came out but I could not run it on my family's PC. So while I was waiting for us to save up to get a new one I would read the manual cover to cover over and over again.
I think the best manual in recent memory was *Mario Maker*'s "Idea Book" which was a hefty little booklet showing off various different combinations you could try, design tips, and even scans of the old graph-paper designs for the original game. Second place goes to *Shovel Knight*.
Game used to take hours to install. You needed something to do.
It was part of the ritual of buying a game for me as a kid. I'd save the money for a game, go to town to buy the game, then get all giddy on the bus home and read the manual. Then I would run from the bus stop home and throw the game in my computer. I can't help but feel like we've lost a little something now with Pre-order pre downloads that start to work at midnight.
I had a well worn diablo 2 manual. I just loved the writing style and reading about the creatures in my favorite game. I must have read it a few dozen times.
The biggest reason why game manuals are a thing of the past isn't because developers got lazy, but because design philosophy has heavily gravitated toward on screen prompts and self explanatory systems, while stuff like the exact stats of weapons and what not are easier to look up on a wiki than in a manual.
I mean, game manuals are sort of cool, and were a huge part of gaming back in the day, but in all honesty if anyone made a game that actually needed a manual today they would catch so much hate.
Ahh.. the early form of 'copy protection'. I remember games where they used to say 'type in the 3rd word on the second line of page 8'.
Had a few games on 3.5" floppies like that :D
As much as I liked reading them in the car on the way home, I'd rather not have them and keep the cost of games down tbh.
As a kid i was always super excited to get a new video game. so I would open it up on the way home from the store and read the manual and box completely, because the 15 minute ride home felt like an eternity with a new game in my hands. I think the last time I felt that way was when super Mario galaxy came out and it's all been downhill from there.