To Walkthrough Or Not To Walkthrough - That Is The Question

Far be it from me to take it upon myself to provide the one and only true answer for a question which has troubled mankind for...oh, years. I have only my meager opinion to add, and it is probably as inconclusive as any other opinion already stated on the subject at hand, but I'm going to state it anyhow. This topic has been debated fiercely on newsgroups, in public forums, in cafes, on MSNBC, and in millions of living rooms across the world. The topic, my friend, is walkthroughs. Are they good, are they bad? Should they be abolished? Here's my take on the subject:

1. What is a walkthrough?

Blissful innocent, I am glad ye decided to ask me this question first. A walkthrough is a handy dandy bunch of text that tells you from start to finish how to complete a computer game.

2. Are walkthroughs morally wrong?

Ergh. Now, this kind of stuff I have trouble with. We are just talking about computer games, right? I don't think it's MORALLY wrong to look up a walkthrough and use it to solve a game. But that doesn't mean it's a good thing to do, either. But MORALLY wrong? No.

3. When should people use walkthroughs, and when shouldn't they?

I can tell you how walkthroughs fit into my life. I admit I've used them, particularly with commercial adventure games(I want to get my money's worth, you know...not just get stuck and never finish the game I forked over the tree matter I worked so hard to earn for). However, I don't often use them with freeware interactive fiction. It's no skin off my back if I never solve those kind of games, and there's always the potential that I WILL solve the games eventually, so why should I ruin my potential joy by consulting a walkthrough? I'd rather get the partial experience of an IF game that I've earned than to get the full experience that I did not earn. It's just more fun that way. Other people can make up their own minds.

4. Should authors include walkthroughs with their games when entering them into the competition?

It has become pretty well accepted behavior, so people kind of expect a walkthrough with the games now. So the author has to be able to withstand criticism for his/her decision not to include a walkthrough with the game. However, I'm pretty sure quite a lot of people who vote in the competition spend comparatively little time with the games and go straight to the walkthroughs for games they don't think will be very interesting. So the author should realize that a lot of people are going to miss out on a lot of the experience of his/her game if he/she includes a walkthrough. On the other hand, however, these people probably wouldn't have bothered to complete the game without a walkthrough anyhow, so nothing is really lost. It's probably a good idea to include a walkthrough with the game, then, just to avoid public outcry.

5. With or without anchovies?

Without. Definitely without.

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