Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sometimes You Do Need The Instructions

Now I am going to admit that this post is going to be not for everyone. But there are a few readers out there that I know will understand exactly where I am coming from on this.

With the ever-increasing number of games that are legally available and distributed online, this particular issue may come up more and more.

Now I understand when I am buying a game online, I am not getting a printed manual. To have that item instantly, I am willing to make that sacrifice. And most of the time it doesn't matter because a lot of games these days don't need a manual anyway because they teach you as you go along or they have a tutorial. And in the case of more complicated fare, they have a PDF version which if you were so inclined, you could print.

And I really enjoy complicated games, the kind that you have to learn after a lot of practice, testing things out and reading.

So I was a little disappointed when I bought myself an early birthday present, a digital copy of Football Manager 2011, and it did not include a PDF manual or have a tutorial.

You see, the manual was online. For a full-frame game, that seems... I don't know, rather unwieldy. Yes, there are some tool-tips and a mini-glossary, but this is a game that requires competence from the moment you start it, so having a little more guidance would have been helpful. And because every little chapter is a separate page, it takes a long time to put all those little bits together into a document one can print. I mean, with this kind of game, it should come with either the instructions or a tutorial... preferably both because this game is truly one which can bury you in information.

It is just an experience which made what should have been an excellent first day with what looks like a quality game less than stellar, and first impressions are sometimes the lasting ones, and to make such an impression for a couple of megabytes savings during the download seems foolish to me. I mean, it certainly doesn't make me want to buy another game from Sports Interactive in a download-only fashion again.

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