This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

If you are over 20 years old, you surely remember when the game discs came with an instruction book. And if you are a retailer, you may have noticed that the designs of the covers of the new releases tend to resemble each other more and more. But there was a time when it was not like that.

Before, video games were accompanied by an instruction booklet inside the box in which the basic principles of the game, the controls, options were explained to the players and a brief idea of ​​the universe in which the action took place was given. You don’t have to go back to the Third Age, when Isildur tried to destroy the One Ring, or to the remote days of Atari 2600, when Greg Vance, Cliff Spohn or Michael Becker They gave the best of their art so that games like Sky Diver, Super Breakout or Solar Storm would seduce the first generation of home video game buyers. In 1993, even the legendary Japanese illustrator Katsuya Terada made some spectacular original designs for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

But a lot has changed the video game industry so that today, if you are lucky, when you open a launch case you will find inside a card promoting the DLC. That is if as an amateur you are still betting on the physical support and you have not gone directly to the digital purchase. But there is a large group of video game lovers, collectors and perhaps nostalgics, who miss when developers and distributors pampered the presentation of their products when they reached the hands of the players. They were different times.

Now it is very easy to access the list of blows, commands and special movements of the entire roster of characters in a fighting title, but in those days you had to pull the shots on many occasions. instructions to know what movements to perform. Sometimes these little booklets even reserved a space for the player to take notes, secrets and level passwords; a record of every hard-fought battle. The dark and gloomy days before autosave.

This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

Among these players who miss the manuals we find Isra Garcia, who has decided to dedicate time and work to create the manual that does not accompany Bloodborne. His work has been warmly received on the social networks of the fans and, as he himself tells us, he responds to the longing for those useful accessories, “a very nice part of the physical format, and also helps new players, especially in games like ‘Souls’ “.

“The keys to a good manual are two: the first is the visual (art, design and images of the game), and the second is to simplify the instructions (enough so that any player without knowing the game can start from scratch with some notions All this together “, explains Isra García,” they leave us with a good manual, and most importantly: Always spoiler free! The challenge that these jobs pose me is to review every detail of the menu and the first steps of the game, always thinking about how to put a tutorial of all this in a booklet 32-page instruction booklet.

This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

“The first phase of the process is the most complex for me and is to gather all the information and how to present it in an orderly way. The design at first brought me headaches until I found the ideal size for current covers, since I had no reference, and once done it is easier to edit with a template “. A demanding job that finds its reward in self-satisfaction and in the value that other fans who think like him regarding the disappearance of the official instructions: “collector’s editions usually bring an art book, but from my point of view they are incomplete. It would be great to see instruction manuals again inside the covers (I love for example how they came in Nintendo DS games), but everything can be adapted, why not include the download of the official manual along with the digital edition? The same happens with the downloads of the soundtrack in some titles “.

But how-to books aren’t the only thing the video game industry has lost along the way to this day. Another element that many veteran fans miss is perhaps a loss of originality in the covers and covers of the games. This nostalgia for the covers of yesteryear should not be misinterpreted with contempt or demerit to the current ones, far from it. Studios and developers invest a lot of time, talent and resources in designing the covers and promotional images of their productions. They are aware of the enormous importance that the visual impact of the boxes has in the points of sale, but also the way of selling the games has changed, and the presence on the store shelves of a title It is no longer so defining at the sales level.

Why not include the download of the official manual along with the digital edition?Isra garciaNowadays games have such a powerful audiovisual promotion that when the player goes to the store to buy, they no longer do so guided by the promises made by the covers as in the past, since you know exactly what product you are buying. Hence, the covers of the games no longer tend to be descriptive, trying to summarize the content of the game, as to the iconic, in search of a defining image.

This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

Hence, perhaps by looking for that image that serves as an icon, the visual identity of the games has sacrificed some creative freedom. The change is in favor of compositions that, while strictly following a series of compositional and design laws Fully studied and fully tested, they end up being somewhat corseted. It is something that is currently shared with that sister industry that is cinema: when many of these images are put together we begin to see that there is a very efficient and striking communicative language, but that it plays with an increasingly limited palette of resources.

I think anyone who wants to try to do something else with photo-mode canFirescorpioFrom the field of graphic design Firescorpio has combined his professional talent with his love for video games and the many possibilities offered by photo-mode that more and more titles include. From their social networks we can see titles like Death Stranding or Ghost of Tsushima with new eyes. Again, as he details, the inspiration for his work is in film posters. “Thanks to my overflowing love for cinema, there was a moment where I decided to start transforming my captures into ‘what if’ style posters within the game universes, at the same time referencing iconic posters such as the monster from the black lagoon, Casablanca , etc.”.

This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

He also adds, in relation to his process when generating his own covers for games, that “I think that anyone who wants to try to do something else with the photo-mode can. I think no one imagined at the time with the replay mode of Halo that something like Red Vs Blue would become what it is. In the same way I think that everything that can be done with the photo mode is beginning to be explored and under that some of us are pushing to see how far we can go with it. People like The Fourth Focus, DotPone, Shinobi_Space They come to mind because like me, they explore different ways of doing something with our creations within photography modes. “

Armed with editing programs and references as powerful as illustrator Alex Ross, Firescorpio takes the screenshots of his games and finds a more personal approach to his favorite games. These images are the basis for covers and posters that bear a personal stamp difficult to find in the official work carried out by official promotional campaigns. “It is not to belittle the work of my colleagues, that I understand that there is an unavoidable marketing issue, but it happens a bit like the ones in the cinema, right? Suddenly everything looks a bit the same, there is the exception to the rule like Persona 4 and KHIII, but I think that putting a reversible design that is very conceptual would not hurt, right? They no longer print manuals or anything, I think the industry could invest a little in more interesting covers, which seriously , Call of Duty and Battlefield need a little hand there, eh! [risas]. I don’t know how many more black silhouettes with crossed arms I can tolerate, and blue and orange colors [risas]. “

This is how fans improve the physical editions of your favorite games

Israel and Firescorpio They are a great example of how talent can be put to work to satisfy a personal need such as having a cover to your liking for your favorite game, and incidentally, inviting the rest of the fan community to participate. And it is that surely more than one fan will now want to have their copy of Bloodborne, or has decided to enliven their bookshelf by adding to their collection of games a colorful and limited cover of Horizon Zero Dawn or Spider-Man.

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