Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Art Of The Video Game Walkthrough

I have found myself becoming more and more into video game walkthroughs as of late. Like any other form of writing, different authors have different styles, ranging from the irreverent to the respectful. I tend towards the latter, feeling uncomfortable with fan-based forms of humor. I have never been one to laugh at jokes based upon works of art that I am into, I think this stems from my childhood when I attended a writers workshop with other children, had written a parable-style story about a young boy who is trying to earn allowance money, and was outshone by a kid that had written a parody entitled 'Star Bores' (or Boars, I am unsure which having heard the story rather than having read it), a comedic scene-by-scene retelling of the original George Lucas masterpiece. Paradoxically, I used to like reading Cracked and Mad magazine. Perhaps it was because the humor was more lowest common denominator or that the artists were talented professionals and not just unruly fans, knowing what was funny and what wasn't.

My favorite walkthrough has to be 'Illbleed', written by Jerome ADDA [ADK], translated from the French by Cryptomayhem. The guide is respectful, informative and when read well after the game has been played serves as a nice reminder of the game itself, acting much as game music does, in that you are given recall of the game without having to commit to a lot of time in order to relive the most exciting moments.



I also like that the walkthrough standard is a simple text file, and that any art in the game is asci generated, lending a rather timeless quality to the experience. No matter how new or old the game, the walkthrough continues to remain in the same format [for now at least].

The amount of effort that these authors place into these guides is quite amazing, and one has to wonder what makes them do it. Certainly not monetarily based, perhaps a desire for status within the fan community but overall I think it is just their passion for the game that they are covering itself, and for that I am quite thankful. These authors have a level of discipline that I just do not possess.

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