Solution books are printed matter in which the reader receives instructions and tips for playing through one or more video games .
Forerunners of the solution books were pure complete solutions that were published in computer game magazines or distributed in file form . With the increasing complexity of video games, the scope of the solutions also increased, and special issues appeared that were dedicated to a few games or just one game. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many of these publications were unofficial solution books released without the game manufacturer's approval or involvement. For individual titles, there were also official solution books that were created with the approval of the game publisher or even in cooperation with it, for example for the Adventure Myst published in 1993 . In the course of the 1990s and 2000s, the official solution books replaced the unofficial ones more and more, and the books were increasingly supplemented by further elements. In 2010, an official guide was published for the majority of the best-selling video games, sometimes even in two different editions such as a standard edition and a collector's edition .
Layout and function
In the meantime, solution books no longer only consist of the solution path, but also cover other aspects. A typical solution book today includes, depending on the genre :
- a more detailed explanation of the gameplay than usual in the manual for the game, information on the control and effective use of all game elements,
- a complete solution for all campaign missions, orders or scenarios,
- detailed maps of the game world,
- a list of the weapons, armor or other items available in the game with recommendations for their use,
- a list of the units, vehicles, technologies or buildings available in the game with their costs and tips on placement and use,
- a list of computer opponents with tips on how best to proceed against them,
- an overview of how to develop the game character and advice on how to do this particularly effectively,
- possible strategies for multiplayer as well
- a list of all achievements available in the game .
To make the explanations in the text easy to follow, solution books are usually richly illustrated with screenshots from the game. In addition, official solution books usually contain artwork from or about the game. A Collector's Edition in particular can be supplemented with concept drawings, information on the development of the game or interviews with the developers.
Due to the large amount of additional information, today's solution books not only serve to enable the reader to play through the title quickly and easily. Rather, it tries to illuminate and analyze all elements of the game, so that the solution book can be viewed as a comprehensive reference work for the game. This and the elaborate presentation of many strategy guides they can also be collectible, especially if there is a special collector's edition is that by concepts such as lower edition, additional texts or hardcover instead of paperback may differ from the standard output.
Solution books for role-playing games , strategy games , adventure games and first-person shooters have been brought onto the market since the beginning . Books on simulations , racing games and sports games are less common , although solution books are also published here for particularly successful series.
Solution books in the broader sense
Depending on the number of pages, solution booklets can be distinguished from solution books. Following the definition of a booklet or a brochure , solution booklets have up to approximately 50 pages and no hard cover. Typical official solution books of the last few years, however, have a length of well over 100 pages. However, there is no sharp dividing line; for example , the 8-page booklet accompanying the Collector's Edition of The Sims 3 is also referred to as the “solution book”.
More than one book is even released for certain games. For several Pokémon games, for example, there is a book called "Pokédex" in addition to the actual solution book, which contains images and data of the available Pokémon. A wealth of books has been published for the MMORPG World of Warcraft under the names "Strategy Guide", "Atlas", "Questguide", "Game Guide", "Tactics Guide", "Book of Dungeons" and "Class Guide"). Although none of these books contain a walkthrough for the game that goes with it, they are considered “walkthroughs” because they are intended to help the reader play.
Official solution books usually go on sale at the same time as or shortly after the game in question. This has the advantage for the publishers that players have not yet posted complete solutions on the Internet that could serve as a free alternative. However, this has the disadvantage that the solution book must be created on the basis of a pre-release version of the game, which can differ more or less strongly from the retail version, depending on how much the developers change in the last phase before the release date. With a print product like the solution book, it is generally not possible to react particularly flexibly to subsequent changes to software, for example through patches , downloadable content and add-ons . Solution book publishers sometimes try to counteract the obsolescence of their products by publishing them in digitized form, as so-called eGuides , which can theoretically be constantly updated, or by offering self-made videos of important scenes for download; these can also be updated at any time.
In German-speaking countries, solution books are mainly published by publishers who also publish software or who specialize in solution books. The solution book publishers include BradyGames, Data Becker , Future Press, Koch Media and Piggyback Interactive. In the English-speaking world, Prima Games is one of the leading publishers in this field. Digitized versions of the English language solution books from Prima Games are also available for download in Germany. The publisher Game-Press is a provider of numerous unofficial solution booklets.
Solution books are not only marketed under this name, but also as “strategy book”, “game advisor”, “guide”, “game guide” or simply “the official book”.
Occasionally, solution books or parts of them are included with special editions of video games. In addition to the manual , the Platinum Edition of the role-playing game The Witcher also includes a 114-page solution book with the complete solution for the game, called the “game guide”. The special version of Stahlbart's Treasure from Risen 2: Dark Waters also contains an approximately 200-page solution book.
Solution book sales are rarely published. So far there is no own bestseller list , rough estimates of the relative sales figures are only possible with a kind of dealer charts.
An indication of rising sales figures is the fact that, unlike in the late 1990s and early 2000s, an official solution book is now being published for most of the larger video game titles, which is at least partly due to the growth of the video game market. The trend that players use game aids more quickly than in the past is also viewed critically. However, classic solution books also lose value due to the Internet, as there is a fan wiki with detailed information about the game for almost every game and complete solutions are usually also online free of charge, but financed by advertising, e.g. B. on Spieletipps.de , published. In addition, tutorial , Lest's Play and walkthrough videos on web video platforms such as YouTube compete with traditional solution books.
- ↑ For example, the 1992 special issue No. 3 of the Amiga Joker contained 14 pages “Tips, Tricks, Plans and Solutions” on several different role-playing games.
- ↑ Rick Barba & Rusel DeMaria: Myst: The Official Strategy Guide , Prima Games, in a revised and expanded edition published in 1995 with ISBN 0-7615-0102-9 .
- ↑ In addition to Assassin's Creed - Brotherhood: The Official Guide , ISBN 978-1-906064-77-8 , appeared as (English only) of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Collector's Edition Guide , ISBN 978-0-307-89000-9 , and next Fallout New Vegas - Official Game Guide , was available (also in English only) from the Fallout New Vegas Collector's Edition: Prima Official Game Guide , ISBN 978-0-307-46995-3 .
- ↑ For example The Sims 3 - Officially Licensed Strategy Book , Gran Turismo 4 - The Official Book , ISBN 978-0-307-89000-9 , and Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 - Official Book & Training DVD , ISBN 978-1-906064-23 -5 .
- ↑ Only after complaints from buyers was the note added to the product description that it was not the officially licensed strategy book.
- ↑ For example, the great quest guide to World of Warcraft: Alliance , World of Warcraft Dungeon Companion: The Official Tactical Guide , ISBN 978-3-8272-9135-6 or World of Warcraft - The Book of Dungeons III
- ^ Alan Emrich: Decline of Guides ( Memento from July 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
- ↑ This is how the publisher advertises Portal 2 - The Official Book , ISBN 978-3-86993-034-3 , with “exclusive videos” that are available after registering the book: http://www.future-press.com /index.php?book=110§=books&skip=0 .
- ↑ Homepage http://www.bradygames.com/index.aspx?rll=1 .
- ↑ Solution book range Archived copy ( Memento from April 23, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
- ↑ Homepage http://www.future-press.com/ .
- ↑ Homepage http://www.piggybackinteractive.com/de/ .
- ^ As "eGuide" under Archived Copy ( Memento from May 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
- ↑ Homepage http://www.game-press.de/ .
- ↑ Sebastian Klix: Risen 2: Dark Waters - content of the special version "Stahlbart's Treasure" known. In: GameStar . March 6, 2012, accessed December 24, 2019 .
- ↑ The online retailer Amazon.de, for example, lists the bestsellers in the "Solution Books" section here: http://www.amazon.de/gp/bestsellers/videogames/403626/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_vg_1_2_last .
- ↑ Article on GamersGlobal: Why do players like to deceive themselves? from October 15, 2009.