245: Bad MotherFAQers

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Without FAQs, I'd never know that Enemy Ace 067 was an SR-71 and callsigned "Rabe" and in mission 9 in Ace Combat Zero.
I never really thought about the fact that people would actually beat games to 150% for the benefit of others for free...

Though I'm not a FAQ writer, I think Game Guide writers and old world explorers have a lot in common. How is the motivation for a guy who explores every inch of the world of Final Fantasy VII that much different from, say, Lewis & Clark? Of course, exploring virtual worlds created by people is a bit different than exploring actual locales. In one, you have from the risk of death from wildlife, unfriendly natives, veneral diseases (overly friendly natives), running out of supplies, etc. In the other, you risk death only if you believe you might succumb to the occasional marathon gaming-related death you hear about on the internet. I'd venture a guess that these intrepid guide writers harbor a need for exploration that, in today's age of Google Earth, is difficult to meet. And so these adventurers turn their eyes to virtual worlds that don't exist, that they explore and document everything they see in a mad rush so that they can see (and prove they saw) what others have not. Perhaps they share a need for glory, and a place marker in history. Where are the explorers of today? Out carving a niche for themselves on GameFAQs? Games give everyone a chance to live as an explorer, and FAQs seem to be a natural extension.

On a different track, I have noted a sorted jaded, world-weary attitude permeating the occasional game guide that seems to suck a lot of the fun away from playing a game. I recently had a peek at the Gamespot's official guide for Mass Effect (the original), and found it written with a slight air contempt for the branching story line mechanic. It felt like the author could not believe he had to be bothered to try to find the "correct" choices in order to get the guide out before some publication deadline. The guide was extremely helpful, but it really stripped away the illusion of a grand universe with "infinite" possibilities.

I love that site, it has helped me many many times in my gaming life. Plus, I also use it to look up cheats as well.

In my experience the most useful walkthroughs are component guides. Like breaking down accessories in FFXIII, or alchemy in Oblivon, etc.

The amount of effort required to write down every item drop from every enemy in a game and every way those items can be combined shows a devotion to a game worthy of an accountant.

I actually liked buying the official guides. The new book smell, the artwork, the peeking ahead and feeling the shame of doing so yet feeling glad that the guides really didn't spoil anything, the right layout. I think my favorite was the Final Fantasy X guide which I got for around $10. Now days though, I either go without or use FAQs since not only are several guides useless but they're too expensive.
I actually remember the first time I really needed an FAQ, Legend of the Dragoon. I got the game after the guide had stopped and when I hit a certain point, it was like running into a brick wall. An FAQ helped me out of there and let me finish that glorious 4 disc game (another one let me get to the end of FF IX). More recently, I've been getting small bits of info online about bosses in FF XIII as well as how to get all endings in Heavy Rain. Thank you FAQ writers.
Now, I do have to say here that there are a few FAQs that need to learn how to not create large walls of uninteresting looking text that span an entire page, but the masters who know how to space it out as well as put those quick jump messages through out it, I salute you. Thank you for all you help!

Bad MotherFAQers indeed.

I also would like to add support to the comment before; of how Youtube and such are bringing in a 'new' phase of FAQing. They say that a picture paints a thousand words.

I, myself have a few fair visits to GameFAQs, but most games I play are games that do not require the assistance of a FAQ (I'm a simple gamer at heart, or mayhaps I'm stubborn).

Yeah, GameFAQs is a testament to the fact that the internet can in fact be a force for good and not just a tidal wave of porn and hate.

There's so much good work there, offered for free, and only created to help other people.

I did start a FAQ ages ago, but never got more than about half way.

Kudos to anyone with the willpower to finish one, and sit there playing thru a game they're already done with , with notepad open and pausing every few seconds to write up what they've discovered.

A fantastic first post. I'd say welcome, but you've been lurking for at least 2 years...

Well, yes.... And you can guess how much I frequent the forum by the fact it took me this long to notice I'd gotten a reply.

Short attention span... that's me.

I wrote a number of Final Fantasy walkthroughs myself in my day. Though... I did things a little differently. Yeah, I went through the gameplay and gave strategies - I even bothered to every so often even suggest what weapons to buy. But actually I spent most of the text just making fun of the characters and the hackneyed plots. Needless to say, they were absolutely worthless when it came to being guides. (Also whenever I didn't feel like playing the games, I simply copied over whatever GameFAQs said.)

You know, I think I actually read and used some of yours. FFX? ;P

Hey, at least those remarks kept things more interesting for me to read, because in most cases I felt the same way about the characters as you did. AKA, that they were annoying and, with only 1-2 exceptions, pretty emo or stupid.

The age of the FAQ is dying, at least for mainstream titles - though Gamefaqs would rather not admit it. Nowadays, my gaming secrets come from the power of the Wiki.

Take a game like Mass Effect 2. No one FAQ author could sit down, write the detailed Paragon/Renegade walkthroughs, point out all the various areas in the original that are flagged to carry over to the sequel, copy the entire codex, then turn around and test every single gun, power and squadmate in the game for dps/utility/effectiveness. Complete with screenshots, videos, and commentary.


Im working on a FAQ for one of my old (and favorite) games; Magic carpet 2. An interesting way to kill time and deconstruct the game by analysing pretty much everything i find.

I played that game too back in the day, and guess what: It was designed by Peter Molyneux.

You whippersnappers. Long before Lionhead, Fable, and even Black & White, there was an ambitious studio called Bullfrog that brought us gems like the aforementioned MC, and a couple of strategy games you may have heard of called Dungeon Keeper, Populous and Syndicate. Please look it up.

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