Posted November 8, 2013 by Ashton Graves in Editorial

Friends Don’t Let Friends Abuse GameFAQs


I get it, I get it. You’re the hardcore, take no shit, best of the best gamer that ever lived of all time and you don’t need no stinking guidebooks. At least that’s what we all tell ourselves until it’s 3 in the morning, our brain is barely functioning while trying to solve that last stupid box moving puzzle, and we want to put the murder on a few choice game designers. “I just want to beat this level and get to the next save point so I can go to sleep.” you say to yourself. Where do we always end up turning to? GameFAQs.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 18 years or you actually enjoy paying outrageous prices for strategy guides then you probably know about the website called GameFAQs. It is, for all intents and purposes, the best and biggest place on the internet for codes, FAQs, walkthroughs, and a community quick to answer just about any question you can throw at them on the forums. It was created in November of 1995 by Jeff Veasey and by 1997 had already earned a legit affiliation with IGN (Imagine Games Network) in order to place banners and links on both pages leading to the other. This affiliation ended in 2001 when the site became an affiliate of CNET Networks and was acquired by the company in May of 2003 in order to be a tie in for GameSpot.

The big thing about GameFAQs is that all of the guides, walkthroughs, codes, and content (for the most part) is all user generated and created by volunteers. This is a perfect example of a website that is almost, if not fully, dominated by it’s community. Before we had Wikipedia, this was the Wikipedia for just about everything you wanted to know on any game. To most of us who were early adopters of the internet it was a bastion of hope in the dark times of game guide prices that the average gamer could not afford. It also became the kryptonite or heroin for impatient gamers who couldn’t seem to understand moderation in use. ¬†What is the worst that could happen? Surely no one would use this power for evil would they?

Spoiler Alert: They would.

GameFAQs has always been there for me like the friend I don’t talk to much but if I was too drunk to drive would gladly pick me up at 3 am and deliver me soundly to the secure slumber of my sanctuary. He didn’t even seem to care if I puked in his car that one time…or the other time…or any of the other five times it may have happened. But with every friend you have you can not become too dependent because not only will it ruin your friendship, it will ruin the rest of the friendships around you. Specifically, I mean your BFF video games who you love to hang out with like, OH EM GEE BECKY, all the time. When you depend on a service like GameFAQs it can absolutely make games less enjoyable because instead of creating that bond and the memories between yourself and the game, you ruin it by not having to exert any effort.

It could just be me but I find that part of the joy of playing games comes from the personal achievements and the feeling of accomplishment I get when it has taken me awhile to figure something out. The piece of cheese at the end of the maze seems super tempting when I know that old buddy GameFAQs could lift up all the doors and lead me straight through but I resist because I know it might alter my judgement of some games. An example of this is Portal 2, which I never once looked at a strategy guide or video for. I sat at my computer for all 8 or 9 hours it took to complete that game and was shocked at how over complicated I tried to make simple solutions. But it also made me realize how well that game is designed because you go in with the thought that you’re going to have to be a genius and when you figure out the actual solution is so much simpler than you though, it impacts you. It changed the way I looked at Portal as a game and puzzle solving games as a genre because it was not only fun but innovative and awe inspiring.

If I had used GameFAQs to just blow right through the game it would not have had nearly the impact it did. The “interactive cut scenes”, for lack of a better name, would have felt rushed and pushed on me. The story would not have felt as fun to get through and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the game for all the tiny things I would have missed and the ability learned from taking break times. It’s not news that gamers love the idea of speed runs but we do those on games we’ve played so many times that we could do it with our eyes closed (Zelda:Link to the Past). With the internet being one open forum for praise and complaint I feel as if there are games, both past and present, that have failed or tanked due to what I am now calling the “GameFAQs Effect”. The GameFAQs Effect is where a group of over zealous gamers abuse the power of GameFAQs to rush through games and label them as bad or too easy. They hop online and tell every forum in the world that will listen to their vile spew about their negative encounter with the game and even urge their friends. if they have any, not to buy it.

This kind of stuff is what can make or break games. I’m not talking about games that have bad mechanics or look terrible, what I mean is games that later become cult classics that you pick up 5-10 years later for $3 on Steam and BLAM turns out you fucking love it. I won’t even begin to list any games that I believe this could have been problematic fo-Psychonauts, Grimm Fandango, the entire adventure game market, Spec Ops:The Line, Metroid Other M, Eternal Darkness, System Shock 2, Aero the Acrobat, etc etc etc. Ahem, sorry not sorry. The point I’m trying to make here is that GameFAQs should never be a crutch that we, as gamers, depend on. It should be used as a stepping stone to the next level of our own gaming skill. Sure, everyone deserves a power up once in a while but they never last forever. So for your own good and the good of games, admit you have an addiction. I did it and I’m a better person and a better gamer for it now.

I’m RedJeans and I used to be a GameFAQs addict.

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.