Official Nintendo Seal of Quality
November 16, 2016 8:22 AM   Subscribe

To coincide with the release of the NES Classic, Nintendo has published a small trove of NES instruction manual scans. (Make sure to click "printed manual.") via
posted by griphus (36 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
COUNT DRACULA'S BEST BUDDIES

I feel like all early video game manuals had this jokey vibe, completely divorced from the tone of the actual game. I think the Castlevania III manual used the phrase "Burn, baby, burn!" to describe the holy water, and my reaction was, "Ohh. It's a joke!" Then, I quietly and seriously continued reading.
posted by ignignokt at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


IIRC, the manual for one of the Metal Gear games for the NES, I forget which, completely changed the received tone of the game in the US by being full of awful puns and wacky situations.
posted by griphus at 8:44 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was literally scared of that heart in Simon's Quest because I thought it would attack when I came to collect it, on account of the manual. I did not understand at age eight that it was a pune, or play on words. Vampires were all very well but the idea of an animate organ was too much. That game became one of my favorites, but I had to get a few months older before I dared, armed with a walkthrough that made no mention of that attacking heart whatsoever.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


As a pretty literal-minded kid, I remember wondering when the heart was going to attack as well.
posted by Jpfed at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


In the caves where people live are invisible closed doors. How to open them? That's a secret, too.

This "clue" drove me nuts! There are no such doors! I spent so many hours and bombs trying to find them. Maybe they had them in an early version?
posted by ignignokt at 9:37 AM on November 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


These are my childhood.
posted by curious nu at 9:44 AM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really miss game manuals and other inclusions.

Infocom games seem only half-there without them.
posted by rokusan at 9:46 AM on November 16, 2016


Those dense manuals with enemy bestiaries and maps and lovingly illustrated catalogues of all the items you could find were the fucking best thing ever and sometimes I preferred poring over them to playing the actual games. When I saw the shift in later years to minimalist manuals I felt a profound sadness for the generation that followed mine.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2016 [12 favorites]


I feel like all early video game manuals had this jokey vibe, completely divorced from the tone of the actual game. I think the Castlevania III manual used the phrase "Burn, baby, burn!" to describe the holy water, and my reaction was, "Ohh. It's a joke!" Then, I quietly and seriously continued reading.

The manual for Super Mario Brothers refers to stomping several enemies in a row without touching the ground as "the Domino Effect" and instructs the reader to ask their parents. I was embarrassed to not know something and never did, only to realize years later that the Super Mario Brothers manual had a joke about international politics in it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


And Pope Guilty, you only just NOW made me realize that! I assumed they meant...dominoes falling over, and wondered why I should ask my parents about that.

I love that I for years thought I was the only one who ever faithfully read every word of the manuals, but of course all my compatriots in manual-reading are on Metafilter. *waves*
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


PROTIP: If it's 1986 and you're seven years old and you're too young to go searching for porn in the woods, there's always harpy boobs in the Kid Icarus manual
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


I love that I for years thought I was the only one who ever faithfully read every word of the manuals, but of course all my compatriots in manual-reading are on Metafilter. *waves*

Whenever we would rent games, my brother would get to play first when we got home. It wasn't unfair or a cause for disputes- I wanted to read the manual first, and he preferred to just jump in.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


prize bull octorock: Aw, jeez, now I'm full of nostalgia for old Maxis game manuals. Who else would fill half of the manual with essays on the nature of cities, scientific analysis of ant colonies, and all sorts of other data relevant to the concept, but irrelevant to the game. When I pulled out the friggin' pamphlet that passed for a SimCity 3000 manual, I could have cried.
posted by SansPoint at 10:56 AM on November 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why did manuals go away? The cost to produce these must be nothing in comparison to the overall budget of a game. I get now that most games are not even physical, but these always seemed like a good thing.
posted by geoff. at 11:06 AM on November 16, 2016


I still remember the moment that I was told that the word "chaos" was not pronounced "chows" and that was when I was reading the Legend of Zelda instruction manual aloud and my older brother corrected me.

Also, the illustrations in the Zelda manual look like they were taken from an animated show and I really, really wanted to see that.
posted by zsazsa at 11:06 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


zsazsa Also, the illustrations in the Zelda manual look like they were taken from an animated show and I really, really wanted to see that.

There was one.

You didn't miss much.
posted by SansPoint at 11:07 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's not the manual art, but Katsuya Terada's Zelda art for Nintendo Power was gorgeous.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I just looked up what the Classic is going for right now, and holy shit.

People are paying four to six times markup for something they could, worst case, wait a few months and drop sixty damn dollars on. Or play in an emulator right now.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:26 AM on November 16, 2016


The Metroid Manual with the paragraph where they use the pronoun "he" while describing Samus. I've always wondered if that was deliberate misdirection, or did they just not know?
posted by radwolf76 at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


You may be interested in the Legends of Localization books, which go into the localization process of various games in-depth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:44 PM on November 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


there's always harpy boobs in the Kid Icarus manual

That's my favorite Arrested Development episode.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2016 [12 favorites]




too real
posted by griphus at 1:39 PM on November 16, 2016


what kills me is I already bought almost all of these goddamn games 1) when they originally came out, 2) when they were released on GameBoy Advance, and 3) from the Wii Shop (and I could hook up the Wii and play them right now if I wanted), but I'm 100% certainly going to buy a fucking NES Classic when I can find one for MSRP anyway
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


pbo, I did all that and even went to the added trouble of paying an extra buck each to re-import my Virtual Console games to WiiU, and I still want an NES Classic. Mostly to be able to take it to other people's houses and get some impromptu head-to-head Dr. Mario going on.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:07 PM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


For the insane amount of money people are paying for an NES Mini, you can buy a Wii U, jailbreak it, and run just about every NES/SNES/Gameboy Advance/GameCube/DS title ever made.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm jealous of folks that got full manuals when renting. I recall games from both the Albertsons in town and the mom n' pop convenience store out in the sticks came with abbreviated instructions printed on the inside of those clear hard cases (kind of like this, random image from a GIS) which were mostly not helpful.
posted by asterisk at 3:15 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


PitW, you can get an original Wii even cheaper and install the Homebrew Channel even easier, too. There's something to be said for the real thing, though.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Since we're now on the subject of the de-escalating price of retro gaming piracy, there's always the RetroPie
posted by thecjm at 5:14 PM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah the NES Classic is a toy, not a console, in the sense that in 1997 my old 486/66 with 8mb of RAM emulated NES at full speed. I don't think anyone who is buying it at inflated aftermarket prices is doing it bc they have no other way to play NES games.
posted by griphus at 5:37 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


but I wanted an NES Classic though
posted by Night_owl at 5:40 PM on November 16, 2016


Nintendo has even corrected mistakes in the original manuals for these reproductions. Talk about a seal of quality!
posted by Servo5678 at 6:28 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


there's always harpy boobs in the Kid Icarus manual

Or is it a skin tight shirt?
posted by fairmettle at 2:13 AM on November 17, 2016


Recently I dragged my NES across the country from my parents' place... only to find that the power supply was dead. Oh bugger. Was looking forward to replaying Shadowgate while I play the PC remake.

As far as this site goes, I'd hope they'd publish scans of the Finnish manuals. That was some hilarious grade-A mangling of language. Unfortunately, I imagine Nintendo is likely to no longer have those manuals to scan, as the original NES-era Finnish Nintendo importer went out of business.
posted by wwwwolf at 1:06 PM on November 17, 2016


You may be interested in the Legends of Localization books, which go into the localization process of various games in-depth.

After a bit of digging on that site, it would seem that Samus was a guy in the Japanese manual too. That site's author is convinced that it's deliberate misdirection right from the start.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:06 PM on November 17, 2016


Wonderful. PDFs can't convey the luxury of that glossy paper.
posted by Sreiny at 5:30 PM on November 17, 2016


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