The internet is a marvellous thing; making archiving incredibly easy. I’d like to do my part today and show you the whole scanned English section of the manual for Pac-Man, on the Atari 2600.It's no matter that it’s a terrible game and an unfaithful port to one of gaming’s hugest IP’s; these things deserve to be saved digitally just in case. You never know what could happen: a great flood, a great earthquake, a great fire? Something else equally great? (Not great as in great great, but huge).
I think I'm wondering off the designated path though, into a forest of snakes and bears. Let’s quit this small talk and explore this manual.
The first thing that strikes your eyeballs is that this manual is in full colour. Glorious, glorious colour. At least six of them. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a second and take note of of the copyright notice. This manual was printed in 1981, and it's in god-damn'd colour. The most recent new-gen game I've purchased was Assassins Creed IV, which includes a manual in black and white. What the shit, Ubisoft?
It starts off in a very sensible manner, laying out what the game is about and how to play. It also mentions the fact that you can play this in the comfort of your home, honing your skills to the extreme so you can impress all your dorky friends in the arcade. Considering how terrible this port is, I don't think it would of done you any good. I'm not going to even bother making a joke, it's just plain misleading. Someone please call the ACCC.
On the next page it talks specifically about the ghosts, and hints at their deviant musical lifestyles. It also talks about the controller, which is quite a small paragraph considering how simple it is.
On the next page it tells you how to select different game modes using the console controls. I love how old consoles actually have some controls built into the actual unit its self. It makes the experience way more interactive.
There is nothing really else to talk about here, it's all practical information. Moving on...
On these pages it continues to talk about the game variations, but also prints some helpful hints. Hints that no doubt, will help you kick ass and take names in the arcade while Eye of the Tiger blares in the background.
From there everything is repeated in several other languages leading to this back page. Here you will see that copyright notice, and also a very bold and proud notice proclaiming: "PRINTED IN U.S.A". I find that quite interesting, as most of that type of work comes out of China these days. I guess that's the beauty of looking into one of these booklets; they're basically time-capsules of a different time and place.
And now thanks to my cheap HP printer/scanner/copier combo, the whole world can look back and talk about how shit this game was for generations to come, while also appreciating the manual. God speed.