Second only to the factory-fresh, plasticy aroma of a newly unwrapped box, sifting through a hefty instruction manual used to be one of those reward-center-satisfying rituals of buying a brand-new game. They were ubiquitous: full-color, 30-40 page handbooks, sometimes with intricate graphical art, welcoming us to our new purchase with story introductions and character bios and helpful tips and tricks.
Now, we’re lucky to get a black-and-white insert describing the game’s controls alongside a 12-digit code for an online pass (Limit: one-time use only). We get that publishers want to save money or a few trees; both have their vital functions. We also get that many gamers prefer to skip to, you know, the actual game, never bothering for the contents of a box aside from its disk. That being said, finding a classic manual in today’s era of in-game tutorials and digitally embedded control guides is rare to a discomforting degree. An outlier worth slowing down to enjoy.