I have been gaming since the Vic-20 and Intellivision. When my parents bought me games for my birthday or Christmas, I always had a blast playing Intellivision Baseball or Space Armada. Inside the big cartridge box was always a nice manual telling you exactly how to play the game. Most of those games were fairly simple, and did not require a huge manual to play.
In the 80's, games became more complicated. Wizardry, Bard's Tale, RPG's became common, and the instrution manuals did too. If a game required a manual with 200 pages, it was printed and shipped with the game. I remember flight simulators that came with books that were massive!
The trend in the 90's and into today seems to be less is more. There are still massive games being created, but you may receive a manual that is 20 pages! When I picked up my copy of Madden 09, the book gave the very basic commands. Yes it told me how to throw and run, but it did not show me how to do the things that make you WIN! Why not tell me how to do everything?? World of Warcraft is a great game, but the book should help a noob out more than it does.
I understand that publishers want to save money by cutting back on printing pages, but if I am paying $60 for a game, give me the knowledge on how to play your game properly! Most games do not need huge books, but the ones that do, well do the right thing and DO IT!
I agree. I used to be able to sit down for than a few mintes and be able to read the manual for the backstory of every main character, a good description of the most common enemies, a description of weapons, and the back story of the game itself.
Now all you get is basic controls, maybe a paragraph on the backstory and nothing else. I used to judge wether or not to buy a game based on what the manual said about the game, now I just have to play it.
Soon it will be a single sheet of paper folded in half with the pic of the game on front, a warning and a advert inside and copyright stuff on the back =D
The reason new games don't require a book detailing the entire back story is because games now have long cinemas explaining the back story. Games used to not be able to cover that in game so it needed a book explaining it.
I agree, give me something to get excited about before I pop the disc in.