Manual Override

I thought that perhaps throwing this into the wider pool of opinion would yield interesting results because I don’t wish to make a general statement about gender on the issue, however, I have noticed a trend when it comes to that oft overlooked part of gaming…the manual.  Whether it is directly related to the part of the stereotyped portion of the male of the species who don’t (or won’t) read a map or stop and ask for directions, I don’t know, but neither my father or partner bother with them, as opposed to my sister and myself who do.   Perhaps it is coincidence or merely down to personal preference but I thought it was worth exploring.


Personally I love to read the manual.  I like to hold the controller in my hand and get a feel for the controls, read any back story, study important stats, and get a feel for the HUD before I dare to fire the game up.  I like to know what I’m doing, where I’m going, and why.  Not everyone does, however and this was never more clear to me than after returning home from a recent trip to Glasgow to watch the Ready Up World Record attempt.  Partner and myself both arrived back with a copy of Burnout Paradise and while I settled on the bed and cracked open the manual, I could hear the whoosh of partner’s Xbox booting up in the next room before the strains of Paradise City immediately began to filter through.  I actually stopped reading and considered banging on the wall.  What was he doing?  He couldn’t have read it that quickly.  Nope, he didn’t bother!  But, but…stuttered my incredulous brain, how could he not?  Why wouldn’t you?

It boggles my mind, but he isn’t alone – my father is worse, even extending his, ‘nah, that’ll be alright’ approach away from gaming to everything from flat-pack furniture to shed construction.  Thankfully my sister at least shares my incredulity.  After (quite foolishly) convincing my father to try the satisfying but tough ancient Egypt management game, Pharaoh, she lovingly printed out the manual from the budget CD-Rom and gave it to him.  It got nary a second look.   Hours later, he declared the game stupid…the reason?  His townsfolk were being decimated by Hippos because he hadn’t bothered to read the manual and had no clue what to do next or how to get lazy remaining workers to build those ancient wonders.  It served him right.  “Did you read the manual?”   No, was of course, the defensive answer.


Flash forward to Oblivion.  For a long period of time my other half groused about trudging to and fro between towns and places and the time swallowed in doing so.  It was only after clocking up a large number of gaming hours that he discovered the fast travel option.  Where had this gaming gold nugget of information been hidden?  Yes, the manual.  Which he hadn’t read.  Now, there are some games you could argue, you don’t need to bother, but with a game like Oblivion, taking a flick through may just be of import, especially when at that all important character creation stage, and certainly the same case can be made for a tricksey and often brutally unforgiving management game like Pharaoh.

I suppose I just don’t get why you wouldn’t read the manual, but I grudgingly accept that there are some to whom simply wading in is perfectly natural…but on their head be it.  So if your Glass Boots are wearing thin from walking to the Imperial City or your villagers are being menaced by assorted Nile wildlife, it’s your own fault if you didn’t bother with manual.  With my measured approach, I may not beat anyone to the disc-tray to fire up a game, but at least I know what the yellow dots are on the Paradise City map and my Egyptian villagers won’t incur the wrath of Anubis…because that just stings.

You will read them...

You will read them...

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Twitter
  • Bebo
  • Faves
  • Share/Bookmark

Filed Under: FeaturedGeneral


RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply