5 Mind-Blowing Facts Hidden in Video Game Manuals
If there's anything I truly miss about gaming as a kid (Aside from, you know, having the ability to play Final Fantasy VI for eight straight hours on a Saturday) it's game manuals. Oh, they still exist, sure, but they are to gaming what album inserts are to music. It's rare that you find one of any depth, beauty, or grace these days.
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Part of that is the nature of gaming. I haven't played a game since 2006 that didn't walk you through every single mechanic found in the game as they're needed, so what's the point in printing instructions? And since the storytelling capabilities of modern gaming rival film, there's not much a manual can tell you in a paragraph about a character you won't learn in due course in the game.
In the olden days, though, manuals were the only way you'd ever learn some bizarre trivia. The game wasn't going to waste valuable kilobytes on that stuff in-game. Other mindblowing facts hidden in the manuals include...
The bricks in the Mushroom Kingdom are people
The original manual for Super Mario Bros. makes for some fascinating reading. It's where you learn that the goombas are actually Koopa-sympathizers who have betrayed the mushroom kingdom like those French anti-Semitists that aided the Nazis in World War II. It's also one of the places that states explicitly that Bowser is a master magician.
One of the reasons that the brothers fight alone is that the Koopas black magic has transformed the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom into thinks like hills, clouds, and bricks. Those are actually people stuck in an inanimate form like some sort of whimsically Japanese version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
It also means that every time Mario breaks a brick he crushes the life out of cursed citizen. Those 1UP Mushrooms? He's consuming the soul to extend his own power. Are we sure Bowser is the bad guy in this?
Goro is a polygamist
Few games have had the anticipation of the original Mortal Kombat when it came to the home console releases. Mortal Monday was an event I still remember, and I was first in line at a local store to pick up my SNES copy.
The manual of the game offered some surprising trivia on many of the characters, but none more than the four-armed sub-boss Goro. It addition to laying out his royal lineage, it also stated that he had seven wives, though these are not named. Sheeva has often been suggested to be one of them, though there's not any direct evidence if this nor is it stated that Goro's wives are necessarily Shokan like himself.
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