Manual Writing

Game Manual Writing: More Forgotten

The game manual writer is up against even more of a PR problem than the game writer. The unlucky game writer has the task of creating a compelling narrative that’s often more of an afterthought than a priority. The hapless game manual writer has the more obscure job of writing the user documentation for that same product.

The Game Manual Writer’s Assignment

A game manual isn’t Shakespeare, by any means. In some ways the task of writing and editing a game manual is liberating because the parameters of the job are well-defined. The game itself is finished or nearly so. The publisher knows the amount of space and time available for the task. The game manual writer’s job is to provide the game buyer with the essential information to enjoy the game’s experience. This information includes installation steps, gameplay instructions, identification of important threats and aids, and tips on how to succeed at the game.

Still, a game manual writer shouldn’t be entirely without imagination. A well-constructed game manual is an integral part of the game product, enhancing the drama and tickling the imagination. Some memorable game manuals have been designed to look like instruction manuals for a giant fighting robot or tattered notes from a mystical mentor. If you’re old or obsessive enough to remember Infocom, you know that the manual writing, humor, and offbeat objects included in those games often added an unexpected depth to text games that ran purely off a command-line interface.

A badly-designed game manual, on the other hand, can be a serious detriment to a product’s success. Faulty instructions or the omission of critical gameplay descriptions can cripple the inexperienced gamer or even cause gross underestimations of the game’s features in the press. (Yes, we’ve observed this firsthand, unfortunately.) Uninspired game manuals are a missed opportunity to breathe life into the product. Sloppy writing and disorganization take a serious toll on gamer enjoyment when proper execution is inexpensive and quick.

Need a Game Manual? Need to Make Your Game Manual Better?

If your game needs a professional game manual writer or editor, contact us or read more about our game manual writer corps. We recently completed manual revision work for two Wii products and a Nintendo DS product to rave reviews. If you believe in your product, why ship it with a sloppy game manual?

2 thoughts on “Manual Writing”

  1. i like your article. what would a person have to study in college to be a video game manual writer? i’m studying technical communication right now. it’s pretty much user manual writing, or officially: “communicating technical information to a general audience”. it sounds boring, but i want to liven up my career with something like video game manual writing. So, would Tech-comm be an ok major of choice for video game manual writing?

  2. Yes indeed – tech-comm is perfect for manual writing…! Of course, game manuals tend to be a little less formal and more concise than application and procedure manuals, but the concept is the same.

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