Tag Archives: game guide

Game guides: Why do they still exist? And why are Skyrim guides now £40!?

1 Dec

Going back to my earlier post about Skyrim and my failures as a decent person, it seems I just have general GAMING flaws that crop up in every game I play. It’s gotten so bad, that I was playing Broken Sword on my DS the other day and the urge to press “HINT” so that I could get out of a room I’d been in for less than 15 minutes was so strong I had to shut the console down.

Is it just me, or are people generally too proud to get hints to get them out of a sticky situation? I mean, hardly anyone buys game guides anymore, and the few of us that do would never admit it!

Saying that, I have noticed a massive trend in my store at the moment:  SKYRIM GUIDES.

At first I thought, “Finally! I’m not alone… Other people use these things too!”, until a colleague of mine told me they were selling for in excess of £40 on eBay.


I understand that gaming can have niche areas of the market, but would someone please let me know why these guides are selling for so much? I bought mine for £9.99 when I bought it with the game, with an RRP of £19.99 I’d love to know why people are so mad for this book. The game has been out now for over 3 weeks, so anything you desperately need to find, can surely be found on the Wikipage. Or is this a case of Eldermania, and people are hoarding these books like dragons, rolling on top of the guides that form a small mountain in their living room a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I guess I’ll never know.

I think perhaps the main reason for this guide-book black hole, is that many people stick to user-created FAQ’s and Wiki’s on the rare occasions they absolutely need to. As a result publishers are publishing less game guides because it’s not something they see an awful lot of revenue from. As such, a crisis is formed when a sprawling game like Skyrim comes out because people are getting stuck a LOT more, and there appears to be a mass shortage of guides.

The first and foremost advantage of a paper guide over having to source electronic material on the web, is that you can have it plopped right in front of you. It can be kept open and to hand even whilst you are playing and without the need (for those of you who are computer gamers) to Alt-Tab furiously to and fro. On the flipside however, is the incomplete or inaccurate information that can be found in some guides, especially in the era of DLC we are living in, where games are released with future quest lines to be expected.

I’m going to push forward a new radical idea: e-guides. Why haven’t publishers picked up on this!? With the surge of the Kindle, Kobo and other electronic devices that serve as portable libraries, it’s mad to me that this idea hasn’t already been in use for years. A dedicated website that sold e-guides in a PDF format online could update popular guides as and when DLC was released.  For a cheaper price than a full on guide, and with none of the bulk I’m sure it’s something that would be a welcome addition to the gaming community at large.

I shouldn’t have told you my idea. I could be sitting on a goldmine…