Guide Guilt

To rise above the mere gaming whelp, never debase to ask for help.
The Gamer Code; Chapter 3, Verse 1

CTRL+ALT+DEL is a webcomic written and drawn by Tim Buckley

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The myth that real gamers don’t ever consult walkthroughs or game guides is hilarious to me. It’s this generation’s version of a refusal to stop the car and ask for directions. How can you be expected to just know everything? Sure, part of the fun of a game comes from figuring out how to play it, but where is the fun in getting stuck on a map for three hours because you just can’t find the objective, to say nothing of completing it?

But, you may be tempted to say, if you can’t figure out how to beat a level, then you really haven’t earned the right to progress to the next one.

I suppose that’s a way to look at it. But that argument presupposes that every video game is designed well enough that any player who pays attention should be able to figure it out.  I spent a very frustrating hour, a few weeks ago, trying to figure out what, in the name of God, the designers of Beyond: Two Souls wanted from me. All I could glean from the voice of Ellen Page was that I hadn’t found the thing that I was supposed to interact with. I received no direction, except to tell me I was doing the wrong thing. Just as I was about to throw the controller at the screen in an epic rage quit, the guy I live with pulled it out of my hand and fought Ellen Page for another 20 minutes. He eventually figured out that I was supposed to go do something in an obscure corner of the map. 

Is he more of a gamer than me? Maybe he is. I think it’s probably that he studied game design for three years at this college and is now working in his field. When Nintendo Power died, I think part of it joined with his soul.  

While it’s true that the games of old didn’t require long prologue levels or official game guides, consider that those games were a lot less complex. A simple explanation of the controls is all you got because that’s pretty much all you need to understand Duck Hunt. It takes a little more direction to get the most out of Halo 4.

Wren Guilmain


Wren Guilmain is a gamer by just about any arbitrary definition. As a self-professed BioWare fangirl, Wren loves her RPGs and Action-Adventures. To her, games are the next evolution of storytelling: "It's like a book that's trying to kill me; I have to solve puzzles and stay alive to find out what happens."

Check Out These Links:
Dirty Rectangles -  As they put it: "a collective of Ottawa based game designers and artists committed to the exploration of games as a medium of expression."
Penny Arcade - It's not just about video games anymore, but it's still worth exploring.
Joystiq - Where Wren goes for video game news.