Posted August 16, 2013 by Ashton Graves in Editorial

Who the Hell is Still Buying Strategy Guides?


In an almost completely digital age where information is the cheapest thing you can get, it begged the question: “Who the hell is still buying strategy guides?”


I was sitting around at work fiddling with Facebook when I saw the information shown in this picture pop up on my newsfeed.  bradygames I thought it would be cool to win one of the games they were offering as a prize but then as my eyes scanned the text line all I could see was “Signature Strategy Guide….Strategy Guide….Guide….” like a horrible visual echo in my brain. Are people that big of suckers these days that they’re still shelling out close to $30 for what they can access for free? I can remember having Ultimate Code Books back in the days of the SNES and Genesis. I can remember ripping pages from an Electronic Gaming Montly Magazine and stashing them in my pocket when WWF War Zone was out for the N64 in 1998. I can EVEN remember buying my first strategy guide for Kingdom Hearts in 2002. But do you know why I remember those things? Because at all of those points the Internet was in it’s infancy. We didn’t have pages full of strategy guides on GameFAQs, video walkthroughs covering every game splattered across YouTube, or even websites with full picture and video for every secion of games like IGN/Gamespot/Kotaku/The Escapist/EVERY FUCKING GAME WEBSITE EVER.


So it brings me back to the question again, WHO THE HELL is still buying strategy guides? Sure, we know that parents are going to buy them for their snotnosed brats because at least they’re reading something even if it is about how to get your money back from a hooker in GTA. Yes, we know the collectors are going to shit bricks when they see that foil cover. We’ll have the impulse buyers and the worry warts picking up copies because “What if I get stuck?”. But I don’t think I’ve ever caught myself, in over 10 years of gaming, say “Man, I’d better get that strategy guide because there is no way in hell anyone on the internet will know anything about my problem, ever.”. But yet, we have two major companies, Prima and Brady Games, putting out a combined number of about 250 guides a year which are claimed to sell like hotcakes.


Not only are they cashing in on the last breath of a dying medium, because let’s face it printing costs aren’t getting any cheaper any time soon. Which is why both of these companies have evolved and adapted to seep more and more money out of your wallet. How are they doing this? Digital content. Both of these companies are putting out eGuides and video walkthroughs via Steam/PSN/XBL. The cost of creating an eGuide is much, cheaper than the cost of actually printing a giant book because essentially you’re skipping the cost of coallation, binding, printing, color checking, etc. The eGuide is the final step, and one of the steps they would do anyways, so they’re selling them to us at a slightly reduced price but now a much larger profit margin. I’m not against strategy guides, let me make that clear right now, but I am against the nickel and dime business the game industry is getting to.


Let me explain this a bit further, if you have ever gone to check a videos section about a game on XBL then you

3 lives. No code. Because fuck you that's why.

3 lives. No code. Because fuck you that’s why.

notice that there are pay to own videos for each game before and after the game is released. Sometimes they’re previews, sometimes they’re walkthroughs, but they are always expensive and split up into sections. These companies will claim they do that for the sake of upload/download size but some of us realize it’s because they want people to go download happy on these sections until they’ve much passed the $20-$30 dollar cost of a guide and racked up a bill near $50 bucks. THAT IS THE PRICE OF A FULL GAME. Worse than that, they usually offer you at least one of the sections for free. This is what I like to call the crutch effect in which you’re treating a sprained ankle with a wheelchair or a pair of crutches instead of just walking it off like you’re supposed to. Games these days arent that hard and no one is making you play Contra with 3 lives, okay?




But lets say you want the crutch anyway. You want to soar straight through to the end of the game feeling like the ultra mega boss of the world. Then why are you paying someone for information that is so readily available? Are you really worried you’re going to get stuck within the first day of play time? Do you not think that there are people out there with advanced copies dumping information out left and right? That perhaps, there are not free venues from gaming magazines that you will “pay” in ad revenue from the website visits? If you’ve answered any of those questions with a “Yes” then you are an absolute idiot, now take your controller and system outside and smash it with a hammer until it can’t even be glued back together with the fermented glue made of your own tears. You’re reading this article right now on the internet. In case you need reminding, again, this is the location of all the best and free information in the world. If you can’t figure out a situation, GOOGLE IT. Stop wasting money and throwing it at companies that don’t need it. I’m not against strategy guide, I’m against stupid purchases. So if you really, really, feel the need to go buy that strategy guide I know this article isn’t going to stop you but let me know how rehab goes when you get out from under that candy crush addiction that is gonna wind you up in the poor house.


TL;DR: Stop wasting money on guides that are readily and freely available online or you’re an idiot.

Ashton Graves

The biggest all around Nerd you'll ever meet. I'm internet famous (see http://www.siradio.fm ) and I'm an avid lover of comics, movies, games, and music. I'm a little bit angry and probably a little bit biased but I will always give you something to think about.