Guides & Wikis

I don’t know why, but there’s always been this strange stigma associated with using guides, wikis or game help. Any time I would have to search for outside help, even if it was only for one small part in a game I felt as if I was doing something wrong.

Should we feel bad when we need outside help for a game that may just be a little too hard? No! Games are for everyone and if you need a little help to properly enjoy a game, it’s totally fine to look for outside help.

Back when I was a kid, help in games came from asking a friend, monthly gaming magazines and/or strategy guides. Today, we have the internet, where there are too many video game tutorials for each and every area in a game. Seriously, have you ever searched for help on a specific area of a level in a game. You end up finding way too many videos.

Now PlayStation has even started handing out helpful hints (to PS Plus members) with their PS Game Help on the PlayStation 5.

Game Strategies, Wikis, tips and more are a huge part of gaming website traffic. I’m sure IGN gets a huge percentage of visitors each day who are searching through the wikis, trying to make their way through difficult games.

My Guided Experiences

I know I used the hell out of wikis/guides for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Switch) and Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (Nintendo Switch). These were two games I truly loved and enjoyed, but I still needed some guidance.

Many times it’s not about utilizing every piece of information in a guide to make your way through an entire game. For both those games I partially used the guide I found and partially used my own judgment. I also used the guides in two totally different ways.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Switch)

For Link’s Awakening on the Switch, I had never played the original Game Boy game — and I don’t understand how any 90s kid could have beaten it on their own. Seriously, if you were a kid in the 90s and beat Link’s Awakening on a Game Boy you must be some sort of scientist or brain doctor by now. Maybe you’re making tough games today.

This was only my third Zelda adventure (after Twilight Princess & Breath of the Wild, both games I haven’t yet finished). In Link’s Awakening I used the guide mostly to figure out where to go next. Once I got there I tried to figure it out on my own. The main reason for using the guide was to not get lost exploring the same areas over and over without making any progress. 

When I was first playing Breath of the Wild, I started off by aimlessly exploring different areas. Sometimes I would find something and other times I would not. It wasn’t until I began tracking locations and quests that I started making real progress in that game.

My Steamworld Quest

Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamesh (Nintendo Switch)

Ever since I first played Steamworld Dig a few years ago (and beat it in one weekend), I knew that I would become obsessed with this world and this series of games. I quickly moved on to Steamworld Heist and then Steamworld Dig 2. When they announced Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, I thought it looked a bit different, but also knew I would definitely be playing it.

For Steamworld Quest I had to use the guide in a limited way. This one is more of a 2D linear adventure where you explore left and right through different areas until you find your next battle. The way I used the guide for Steamworld Quest was to build the perfect deck of cards for each area. Steamworld Quest is a card-fighting, deck-building, turn-based combat game.

I would explore and fight enemies on my own. I just used it so I would be prepared to defeat them. I still haven’t completely beaten this game yet, but I did come pretty close. That last boss is just too much for me. 

God of War III: The Glitch

God of War III: Remastered (PS4)

Back when I was playing God of War III: Remastered to decide if I should pre-order this new God of War (2018) I totally got stuck on one part. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. Get up on top of some barrels and move on to the next floor, but for some reason the game wouldn’t let me do it. I continued to move the barrels slightly, but nothing helped.

I ended up quitting God of War III for a few months, and when I finally decided to come back I checked a YouTube video for that specific part. It showed me exactly what I had been trying to do months earlier. Get up on those barrels in that same spot. 

I hadn’t been doing anything wrong. I booted up the game and tried once again and it finally worked. I finally beat the game and that’s why I pre-ordered God of War (2018) — one of my favorite games of that year.

I Wish

There are so many games I played as a child and probably ended up quitting without making it very far at all. I wish I had these guides as a child, maybe I would have beaten more of these insanely tough games. Maybe I would have made it just a bit further in some of them.

The other day I watched a friend play Mickey Mousecapade from the NES days, on an emulator. I totally remembered playing through this game as a kid, in fact I still own the cartridge. I also remember not making it very far and most likely becoming very frustrated.

My copy of the original NES Mickey Mousecapade (Capcom)

There were many games like this as a kid. Games were harder back then. They were harder because the technology was limited. Have you ever gone back to play a retro game and noticed that the controls feels kind of wonky now? That’s because we’re so used to smooth controls today.

Back then we all had that “Game Guru” friend who could beat any game. You’d tell them to come to your house and beat a certain part, or the whole game for you. If you were that “Game Guru” you should also be a scientist by now, or the person writing those wikis and guides for video game sites.

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