GamesMadeMe is a series of posts that cover gaming-related topics that have shaped who I am as a gamer today. With the release hype of Baldur's Gate 3 upon us (no, I am not playing it) it had me thinking about my journey into Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Specifically the big, fat ringbound instruction manual.
|A legendary artifact of gaming past!|
That is a good looking instruction manual! When you picked up the box at the game store (a local mall GameStop for me at the time) there was some weight to it and you knew you were getting into something good. Seeing the manual slide out of the game box was an awesome feeling and you knew what you were going to be doing for the next few hours while you waited for the multi-CD install process to finish.
Even before Baldur's Gate 2 I have fond memories of sitting in the back of the family minivan reading through the manual of whatever latest video game I just bought. I still remember buying Final Fantasy 8 and flipping through the manual. I was so excited for that game and decades later that memory is stuck in my head. Some of my favorites like FF8 and BG2 are still with me to this day.
That experience is all but gone today and I can't remember the last video game I bought that came with any sort of game-related material. I can still get a hit of the nostalgia with most board games and their manuals but it's more of a chore there as you really can't play the board game until you digest the rules book so it's always getting in the way of the fun.
I have tried to bring some of this joy to my oldest son as well. He found my Shadows of Amn instruction manual some time after he was reading by himself and he consumed the whole thing over the course of a couple days. He didn't really want to play the game; was just fascinated there was a "book" with so much about a game in it. We also bought him the collector's edition of the Zelda Breath of the Wild strategy guide and I've never seen a kid more fond of a book in my entire life. He gets limited electronic time so he filled other time with reading and earmarking every last part of that book and coming up with elaborate plans for his one hour of electronic time the next day. Man that makes a gaming dad smile ear to ear.
Dang... need a tissue. /sniff Where does the time go anyways. Game manuals made me the gamer I am today.