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DevBlog: “Dear game guide”, a love letter

A relic from the olden days, or an irreplaceable accessory? For our Creative Director Dirk Riegert, there is only one answer to that question. Enjoy his fiery plea for a, in our modern times, redundant art form.

Dear game guide,

You have to be strong now, because you see, no one actually really needs you. The ones who buy you already know the game, which you describe in detail, inside out. They do not need your assistance in the form of a book. It is exactly these players who lovingly pat you on the cover and who reverently carry you around from their couch, to the bath and to their bedroom to bury themselves in your pages. In that sense, you are the ultimate accolade for a video game. You demonstrate that many players love their games so much, that they want to spend time with them even when they are not currently playing.

It was exactly the same with me. I can vividly remember as if it was just yesterday all the times I took my guide from the shelf after I played through roleplaying games to reminisce on the most memorable and challenging parts of my adventures. You, dear game guide, were always a fascinating mixture between diary, photo album and manual for me. And even if your importance for that last aspect keeps on dwindling in the digital age, you are still a must-buy for devoted fans who love to get lost in the pages of a good old book.

And then of course there was that one time where you really saved me in the most dire of circumstances; do you remember? It was in the year 2004, and we just had started the development of Anno 1701. I was quite shocked back then, when I noticed that we had no design documents of the last two Anno games for us to do research, as it was the first Anno game developed by our studio. Anno games were a unique and complex blend of strategy and city building though, so I desperately searched through the various documents I was able to dig out but the results were all less than helpful. I felt utterly destroyed when I finally found you, dear game guide. My knight in shining armor, saving me with your sharp knowledge and trusty pictures. Hardworking people had put together so much useful information, including all the game rules and charts about Anno 1503, all very well written and easy to understand.

I was so thankful and it was calming to know you were at my side for the years to come. As the Anno series was continuously growing, you too grew bigger and more extensive in size and content. From a medium sized, 162 pages paperback for Anno 1701, you expanded to an impressive 295 pages hardcover with Anno 1404. With Anno 2070, your dimensions evolved even further, to an unbelievable 367 pages and I remember how it became quite exhausting to hold you in one hand. With Anno 2205, we thought digital information would suffice, but I can tell that I missed you quite dearly.

Now, with Anno 1800, I wonder if our paths will cross again. If the folks in the Anno Union love you as much as I do, could there maybe be a chance of a comeback? For myself, I would love to hold you in my arms again, dear game guide. Maybe, just maybe, there might be even a chance to exceed 400 pages, who knows?

We might see us in future,

Dirk

We hoped you liked this very personal love letter to the strategy guide. But how is it for you, members of the Anno Union: Is a game guide just a nice collectable memoriam for you or a trusty companion and do you even think that we need them anymore, in this modern day and age?

7 Comments

  1. Swimming-Paul Swimming-Paul

    That was such a beautiful and informative poem to the Anno strategy guides! I personally love the idea but it only makes sense to me when a game is really huge and complex. In my dream world first we would get an addon expansion for Anno 1800, and then after a second huge and juicy addon is realeased, we get a super collectors edition with a beautiful strategy guide and concept art of the universe created. And a poster!

  2. Soulridder Soulridder

    Truth be told, I’ve never read the game guides books for Anno nor am I planning on doing so. When I need to know something I look at some internet wikia, but most of the time it’s just me figuring stuff out for myself. 🙂
    Thought I always like to have a high quality book full of concept art for the Games I’m playing, be it either paper or digital. 😉
    In the end I wouldn’t personally mind wether such a book exists or not, but I guess a digital version of it would be nice if such a book exists in order to reflect changes made in later patches or when an addon/dlc is released. Such a digital version could also exists besides the paper version.

  3. Hannover8 Hannover8

    A delightful love letter, that is. I’d say to give a chance once again to the game guide book. Not only just a nice collectable memoriam, but a trusty companion to us, for the city-building game of the century!
    Modern day and age of the Victorian Era.

    Sorry to copycat some words 😛

  4. palemale53 palemale53

    I remember printing out the PDF for 1701, I think. I was really disappointed with the 8-page pipsqueek that came with 2070. Fortunately Wikia satisfied my needs.

  5. AmpeImann AmpeImann

    Some of my favorite memories was looking through the 1602 guide and seeing the images of the complex cities that had been designed and trying to replicate those cities in the map editor (I played way too much 1602 when I was younger).

    I would absolutely love to have a physical guide with Anno 1800. These days I usually pay the game with a wiki open on another screen to assist as I progress through the game, having a physical guide would be super handy and would also give me a bit of nostalgia for 1602.

    The challenge really comes in when new content is added or patches are made to affect game balance as those changes can’t be reflected in a physical guide. That being said I would still love a physical guide for Anno 1800!

  6. FHackner FHackner

    I’m very much like dirk in regards to my interest toward game guides books.

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