Walk This Way: Why I Use Walkthroughs | ThatPunkAdam's Column

Posted on August 30, 2014 - 10:00am by ThatPunkAdam

I use walkthroughs. Although these tutorials, explanations, hand-holding “how to” instructions have garnered a passionate hatred amongst the self-proclaimed “hardcore” crowd, the convince, actual lack of hand-holding, and complete execution they offer make walkthroughs a genuine approach to playing and actually beating games.

Now let’s get something straight. I don’t use walkthroughs for every single title I play, as there is still merit in completing a puzzle, stage or even entire game all by yourself. I understand that, heck; I admit sometimes I strive to see how long I can get in a game without using a walkthrough.      

What’s more, when it comes to any puzzle or conundrum that requires some brainpower, of course I’ll attempt to solve on my own first – otherwise what’s the point of playing a game?

That said, my argument still stands: when every avenue is explored, in my opinion, walkthroughs allow a solution to be offered then and there, still let the player be a player, and will aid in the completion of games – something that surprisingly isn’t common amongst many gamers.

Before we get more into that, however, let’s talk connivance. According to survey conducted by the folks over at Nielsen, the average gamer over the age of 13 spends an average of roughly 6 hours a week playing video games in 2013, meaning less than an hour per day is typically spent gaming.  

While that stat does factor in mobile devices, these quick-fix platforms only account for 19%, with PC, PS3, Wii Xbox 360, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One representing a total of 77%.

So, with many modern day titles sporting rather lengthy campaigns, amongst a slew of side quests in addition to collectibles, not to mention the added time it takes if you become seriously stuck – playing less than an hour a day could very well make that game the only title you’ll be playing for a long time, which in turn causes many players backlog to further increase.

With so many great games available, walkthroughs can help you get to them quicker, whilst feeling satisfied for the completion of your last adventure. Simply put, though, you can use a walkthrough for the entire game or just a particular section – either way, if it helps see and play more of the game, something has to be said for that.

Something those aforementioned ‘hardcore’ gamers commonly say about walkthroughs, is that they take the ‘play’ out of players. When it comes to puzzles and brainteasers this is understandable, yet many of the core gameplay elements remain in tact.

For example: I become stuck on a certain boss fight. This monster is kicking my ass, and I just simply can’t find his weakness. Do I need a certain weapon? Is there a weak point I am unaware of? Do I just suck at video games?

If I just cannot find a solution, with the average gamer’s less than an hour a day session winding to an end, I look at my walkthrough. It tells me that I am in need my glasses and cannot see the beast’s giant red nose (this game is the totally-legit Tyranny Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer by the way).

Anyways, after finding the solution, the task still isn’t over. And this is the point: I, the player, must still play the game to overcome the challenge. Sure, a portion of the challenge is gone, but maybe I can’t dodge the boss’s attacks because I’m too slow, maybe the amount of minions overwhelm me – either way, I still have a game to play.

And ‘play’ is exactly something the walkthrough can’t do; they can instruct you on what to do, but the can’t do it for you – essentially, the player remains a player, ‘hardcore’ or not.

A quality that would likely be required to declare oneself a ‘hardcore’ player of a game would be that of the actual completion of that game, which is surprisingly an achievement not common amongst many gamers.

According to Activision’s Keith Fuller, “What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start a game never see the end.” What’s more, IGN’s Colin Moriarty reports less than 50% of Steam players beat Batman: Arkham City, Portal, Mass Effect 3, and Borderlands 2 (via achievements) to name a few.

Those were all critically acclaimed games, so why didn’t gamers want to see them through? Heck, I’ll admit I have plenty of older games I never saw the end of, simply because I had got stuck at one particular part, something players should not let happen if they want to get their money’s worth.

This is an issue walkthroughs can help you overcome, actually completing a game. What’s the point of playing if you don’t end up completing at least the main campaign? Sure, maybe you don’t want to someone else to provide you the answer throughout the entire game, that’s fine. But, if you’re willing to give up on the game entirely, you owe it to yourself to get that one answer if it makes you see the game to the end.

And an end is exactly what this column entry is coming to. Although I may not have changed your stance on walkthroughs, hopefully I was able to offer a different perspective at the very least. The aid these tutorials offer allow gamers to play more games, let the player remain a player, and can provide that extra little push to see the journey through to the end.

That is why I use walkthroughs.

Thanks for reading.

Well, that was my opinion, what’s yours, g1s? Are walkthroughs still the bane of gaming? Or, if used at least sparingly, they hold value? Be sure to let me know in the comment section below!    

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