Wednesday, April 14, 2010

EXP Podcast #73: Just the FAQs

The digital wilderness can be a confusing place. Thankfully, when we need a guide or a helping hand, we have the luxury of being able to turn to the gaming equivalent of CliffsNotes: FAQs. Whether they are called walkthroughs, guides or cheats, it's likely that every gamer out there has at some some point consulted them for clues on how to get the most out of a game. This week, inspired by Robert Janelle's profile on some dedicated FAQ writers, we discuss the relationship between games and guides. FAQs have always been more than simple spoiler lists, and we explore the different ways to use walkthroughs, the role they play in gaming culture, and what it takes to write a great guide. As always, feel free to offer your own thoughts on tips, tricks, and techniques in the comments.

Some discussion starters:

- Are there any particular games you have played in which FAQs were particularly useful? Does this correspond to specific genre or gameplay style?

- In what contexts are FAQs most useful? Should guides be more integrated into games? How have services like YouTube affected the way you seek out hints?

- Have you ever written a FAQ? If so, how did you like the experience? If not, would you ever consider writing a FAQ for any particular game?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 27 min 44 sec
- "Bad MotherFAQers," by Robert Janelle, via The Escapist
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. I must say that I use GameFAQs a lot. Especially because I often grind for achievements. But I never considered writing one of these. I think it is way more work than one might suspect.

    I find the format of GameFAQs quite peculiar. Do you guys know where this TXT restriction comes from?

  2. One thing I've heard is that the early FAQs were uploaded to private servers with limited space so the plain text kept storage space/bandwidth issues in check.

    Now, I get the sense that it's some kind of badge of honor to make a "hardcore" text FAQ, you know?