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Chances are, you haven’t used a video game strategy guide in years. I, too, am guilty of a strategy guide dry spell. I haven’t bought a strategy guide in years until recently—during my Pokémon sessions, I found myself needing a Pokédex that I can easily flip through.
Thanks to the internet, gamers won’t waste the time or money on strategy guides anymore. However, does that mean strategy guides aren’t worth buying at all?
The Decline of Strategy Guides
Just in 2018, one of the largest strategy guide publishers, Prima Games, announced that it would no longer produce physical strategy guides. The company has now transitioned to creating digital strategy guides and game news. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as a surprise for most gamers, who no longer user physical books as a reference while gaming.
Back in the days when famous cheat codes and video game secrets were around, it was handy to have a game guide. Back then, you didn’t have a smartphone or laptop at your fingertips, so you couldn’t just look something up when you got stuck.
In addition to providing you with detailed game instructions and tips, game guides let you in on exciting Easter eggs and gave you amazing artwork to gawk at. Wouldn’t you think gamers would miss that experience?
It actually doesn’t seem like gamers miss strategy guides all that much. Sites like GameFAQs, GamePressure, StrategyWiki, and IGN Wikis, have taken over physical strategy guides. These strategy sites typically have answers to all of your gaming woes. If that isn’t enough, you can even turn to YouTube for visual walkthroughs.
All of this leaves video game strategy guides in the dust. While you might have a few game guides lying around, you probably won’t touch them anytime soon.
When Strategy Guides Are Still Worth It
Strategy guides have their fair share of disadvantages—they’re expensive, they take up space on your bookshelf, they have dozens of pages you have to flip through, and they might not have the answers you’re looking for—but that doesn’t mean they’re completely worthless. In fact, some people still opt to buy strategy guides.
A physical strategy guide suits someone who prefers books over screens. There’s a completely different feeling that comes along with reading an actual guide, versus text on a website.
If that still doesn’t convince you to head down to your local GameStop and purchase a strategy guide, then you might want to if you’re a collector. Strategy guides have become collector’s items, and you’ll probably want one for your favorite game. Guides often come with exclusive artwork or posters. Flipping through can also help you learn something new about the game’s lore.
Is It Too Late to Save Physical Strategy Guides?
Avid collectors and users of strategy guides might not be able to buy strategy guides in the future. Some newer games like Borderlands 3 already cut a strategy guide from its budget. Other game guides can’t keep up with games that are constantly getting DLC and patches.
Once a game guide gets published, it’s illogical to keep publishing new ones with added updates. That’s where online guides trump physical guides—it can easily add new information.
Eventually, game guides are bound to become obsolete. While you’ll still probably see art books floating around, too many gamers are taking to the internet for game walkthroughs. If you still enjoy physical game guides, enjoy them while you can. Game guides might not survive the digital age that we live in.
Game guides aren’t the only things that are disappearing from the world of video games—discs are too. All-digital discless consoles are our future, and there’s not much we can do to stop it.