Phillyman

Strategy Guide Company Prima Games Is Shutting Down

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Prima Games, the publishing company that has printed video game strategy guides since it was founded in 1990, is shutting down, parent company DK said yesterday. The label will no longer publish new guides starting now, and it will officially shutter in the spring.

Thanks to the rise of sites like GameFAQs—and major gaming publications like IGN commissioning their own online guides, which bring in monstrous amounts of traffic—print strategy guides have struggled for years now. In 2015, Prima purchased and swallowed its biggest competitor, BradyGames, and has been consistently churning out guides for both print and the web, but it wasn’t enough to survive what the company called “a significant decline” in the world of print video game guides.

 
 

Anyone who grew up devouring old strategy guides will no doubt feel bummed out about this. But in a world where video games are changing constantly, through patches and updates, print guides can be out-of-date before they even hit the shelves. At least we’ll always have Final Fantasy IX.

 

Sauce

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It's sort of shocking they lasted this long.  Print guides have been largely irrelevant for over 20 years now.  Almost from day one of the Internet you could find more thorough guides online, written by people who did so because they had a passion for the game, not simply because it was their job.  The only advantage print guides had were the wealth of pictures, but once games went 3D in the mid-1990s, pictures and maps were no longer as helpful as they once were.  I remember struggling to find a hidden switch in Dark Forces (1995) using the strategy guide.  Since the game's maps are true 3D (levels layered above and below one another), it's impossible to clearly represent the level with a 2D map, and trying to discern where in the level the text might be trying to describe was near impossible.  Years later, Youtube and let's plays would solve such problems, with video walkthroughs acting as the final nail in the print guide's coffin.

Still, there were some beautiful strategy guides produced back in the day (Yes, I'm talking about you, Working Designs), so some of the nicer ones will always have collector appeal.

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Sad to see another mainstay fade away, but they lasted far longer than their relevancy. As soon as I had access to the Internet, I stopped purchasing most strategy guides.

There were a few that I bought because the designs were incredible, like the large coffee table books with high quality images and layouts.

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