Or, why game walkthroughs need some attention.

Every gamer, no matter how serious, has probably been quite a few times to GameFAQs. It's definitely in my bookmarks. I'm not perfect. I'm currently trying, first time in my life, to determinedly play a game (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes) through without using any of these outmoded spoilers and walkthroughs. I'm slowly losing my sanity at times. I've got to admit that I've needed to check out a few FAQ bits for that game - only to find out what I, strictly speaking, knew, so I don't think those times count. =)

Yet, the first thing that anyone who visits there probably notices that there's many FAQs. Many many FAQs for the same game.

I know variety is one of those things that make the world go around, but sometimes, all of this just feels like wasted and duplicate effort.

Aww, heck, my head isn't in the condition to do really really long rambling anyway these days, so I just conclude it thus: I think old FAQs are getting somehow busted. At least I think it would be really great if FAQ authors would cooperate more. They clearly are cooperating; Most good FAQs I've seen have loooong credits lists listing everyone who bothered to email stuff to the author's direction.

The communication is the problem. Usually, maintaining a single page and incorporating changes emailed by the users is pretty painful.

Also, GameFAQs generally only accepts FAQs in text format: there are cases when graphics really clarify things. I remember people throwing a lot of heavy critique to Jeff Rovin's direction for How to Win at Game Boy Games and related book titles, because they didn't have much graphics to go with the text.

I remember one horrifying night when I played Metroid: Zero Mission. I read the FAQ, which was, obviously, in exact same format as Rovin's book and the gameplay description hadn't changed much from those days: "go left and jump up there and shoot that and then go left and..." I squinted at the map and tried to make sense of it, went down wrong hallway, and such. Then I realized how to do the whole thing, all by myself, by accident.

So, here was my big rambling for the day. I'll just add this little plug here, though, because it's definitely on-topic. Wikibooks, these days, seems to also have game walkthrough guides. I saw their Final Fantasy VI book and I was amazied: This is probably the perfect format for game walkthroughs and guides. It allows inclusion of exemplary graphics, and allows people to immediately include the changes they were thinking of. Now all Wikibooks needs is some exposure: I really hope people will find out how great medium for game FAQs this thing is.

And my own plug here, finally: I recently started a Final Fantasy VII Wikibook. I already have some great (I think) stuff there, in form of exemplary notes and diagrams which just would get messed up in textual FAQs. If you know anything at all about the game, please come and edit it.