Welcome to “Inside the Guide,” the column that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at making guides for GameFAQs.com. So far, I’ve written a grand total of 98 different guides. Whew! I’m getting dangerously close to guide #100! I mean, technically, I’ve already written over 100 guides because three of them were rejected by GameFAQS, but still. #100, here I come!
Personally, I’m amazed I’ve written so many guides, because I don’t do it often. I only write guides every one to three months. But since I’ve been doing this for over ten years, I guess the total number of guides has really piled up! Hooray for perseverance!
Yesterday, I finished writing walkthrough #99, for Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!. It was my first submission since January, and I couldn’t help but notice that GameFAQs has a brand new “file type” category.
As you can see, I can have my guide labeled as an FAQ, an FAQ/Walkthrough or a Walkthrough. And now I’m confused, because I don’t know what the difference is between those three categories. Does FAQ mean it has to be in Q and A format? What if the FAQ walks you through the game? Will I get in trouble if I pick the wrong category?
…So now I’ve reached the point where I need a guide…in order to write a guide. Brilliant.
OK, let’s see if I can figure out what these three categories mean. Well, FAQ stands for “Frequently Asked Questions,” so my guess is that FAQ refers to a guide written in Q and A format. Personally, I never write guides in Q and A format, because nobody asks me questions about a game before I write a guide for it. Also, I don’t want to step on Jeff Day’s toes, you know?
FAQ/Walkthrough must be a guide which is half-FAQ and half-walkthrough. But…that doesn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense. How can something be a half-FAQ?
What a Half-FAQ Might Look Like
Q: How do you defeat the boss?
Q: What weapon is most effective against the magician?
Q: I’m level eight, but I still can’t get past the green guardian. Why not?
Q: Who framed Roger Rabbit?
A: She was pregnant, that’s why.
So FAQ and FAQ/Walkthrough are both kind of useless. That must mean my guide is a walkthrough. Thank you, GameFAQs, for needlessly complicating things. Why can’t you just explain what these things mean and–
Oh, wait, never mind. It turns out that when you select a file type, you get a description of it. So an FAQ answers questions, a Walkthrough gives you a beginning-to-end description of what to do, and an FAQ/Walkthrough does both. Simple enough, I guess.
Still, I can’t help but wonder why these distinctions exist. I mean, did GameFAQs get complaints from protesters who absolutely refuse to read guides without a Q and A section, or what? I can’t imagine people getting worked up about that sort of thing.