This ugly guide is the reason I got into JRPGs.
When I was a kid, I rented Final Fantasy and loaded it up. I had no idea what was going on. I pressed continue, all of a sudden I’m in an overworld, I started walking around and I get in a fight. I think I won that fight, but then, I really didn’t know what was going on.
“Alright! I’ll press New Game instead!” Well, the same thing happened. I’m in an overworld next to a town, I get in a fight, only this time my guys were wimpier. “The hell is this game? Let me just play the other game I rented, Contra.”
About a year later, this snazzy guide came with Nintendo Power and it just totally explained everything. What class does what, what stats are on the weapons, etc. etc. Basically, it explained how the game worked, and far better than the manual did. Sure, later I would find out that there are a lot of errors in the guide… for example, there are no racial bonuses in the game, like the Were sword is not any more effective towards Were monsters, nor are there elemental weaknesses. Looking back it at though, it revealed the immense complexity behind Final Fantasy and I would become a fan of those games for a long time to come.
The guide didn’t go as so far to reveal damage formulas, but a lot of the stuff in there was just absolutely instrumental for a young 7-year-old to learn. Each item had all the stats–the hit percentage and strength increase, or absorb and evade percentage, as well as status resistances. All the monster stats were there so you knew what attacks they could do, how many HP they had. There would even be explanations for map events, like how there’s that hallway in the Earth Cave where you get in a fight with every step. (If I didn’t read that, as a kid I would’ve thought that that area was broken!)
Without such a guide, I’m not sure if I ever would’ve continued to play RPGs. The guide really just spelled out how an RPG works, and the lessons learned from that guide could be applied even now.
Now, I’d love to get into how silly the game mechanics were, (Ineffective, anyone?) but I’ll leave that for some other time. For now, I just wanna sit back and heap praise on the guide that started it all for me.