The Most Whack Lines Ever To Appear In A Video Game Manual

by Robb Sherwin

One of the things that made it from the move from Rochester to Colorado is the box of video game manuals. The floor hockey nets didn't make it. The fricking bed didn't make it. The naked ex-girlfriend photo archive didn't make it. But these damned manuals did. The really sad thing is that I actually paid money for every single one of these games. I won't buy an audio compact disc unless it has four songs I'm absolutely enamoured with, but if a video game has a cool box I am charging it and slobbering. Awful.


"Other puzzles may be more involved. For example, you may need to discover a coin that can be used on a fortune-telling machine that produces a combination to a safe that contains a crystal figurine that, when placed on an empty mantle, opens a secret passageway to a new level of the Fun House! The preceding puzzle dooes not actually appear in the game, but actual puzzles can be just as, if not more, complicated." -- X-Men:  Madness in Murderworld; Paragon Software 1989

(Oh, how very sporting of you! Because really, when I play the part of the X-Men in my basement and in my underwear,  I want to be concerned with finding wooden nickles and manipulating empty mantles! The possible extinction of a dangerously mutated race of villians simply does not interest most of the acne-pitted sleds that purchased this game. We were really just killing time until the eventual release of  "Marble Drop.")

"Queen Alexis cried, 'Is no man in the kingdom fit to wed my only daughter? Methinks she must remain unmarried, then, and Virgin all her days.'" -- Wishbringer; Infocom 1985

(Yeah, right. I popped that chick while those other clowns were flying into dragons and falling off mountains. The only "wish" she ever had was that I stuck around until morning. Um, what?)

[RE: Cid Highwind] "With his handmade spear and knowledge of machinery, he throws himself into any attack regardless of the danger." -- Final Fantasy VII; Squaresoft 1997

(He's got a knowledge of machinery but goes around chucking a spear? What the hell is wrong with him? That's really who I want on my side in the penultimate battle between good, evil and poorly drawn japanimation constructs: a guy with a pointy stick and the mental abilities to, maybe, run a dishwasher. The sad thing is, someone thought it was better to have Cid in the game than the ability to save anywhere. Most every other game ever created has chosen dynamic saving over Cid.)

"And don't forget to check out the incredible interactive comic book demo included on this CD-ROM! Then you can really start your collection with the whole series of Marvel Interactive Comics by Toy Biz, available almost everywhere!" -- Separation Anxiety, Acclaim, 1995

(Um. I may not have been this game's target audience, but still. I hope any kid who started a collection of Toy Biz Interactive Comics got severely beat by their dad.  And their stepdad's bowling team.)

"This suntan lotion will protect us from Atomic Rays!" -- Trinity, Infocom 1986

(Yeah. But nothing will protect that little paper sundial from not disappearing.)

"This means that Sierra shall not be responsible or liable for lost profits or revenues, or for damages or costs incurred as a result of loss of time, data, or use of the software or from any other cause except the actual cost of the product." -- Sierra Sports NFL Football Pro '99; Sierra On-Line 1999

(Ah. A good point. Any game so rippingly buggy that it single-handedly wipes out one of the oldest software publisher's entire team-sports catalog had better be protected from lawsuits regarding "waste of time." With the chief plaintiffs being the apparently wholly ignored Quality Assurance team. )

[RE: Commander William T. Riker] "His off-duty interests include cooking and jazz trombone." -- Star Trek: The Next Generation "A Final Unity"; Spectrum Holobyte 1995

(... and boning the ship's counselor, growing a bad beard, gaining weight, orchestrating the Enterprise to consistently run into his evil twin, losing his memory and drinking like a parched blowfish. Cheers, Number One!)

"Subapooza Len Goes Like A Drain!" -- Jinxter; Magnetic Scrolls, 1988

(I've said it before, I'll say it again. I understood the concept. I like the concept. I like the game. But I didn't understand a single syllable of it. Maybe it's just me.)

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