Inside the Guide: Updating Guides

How often does Michael update his guides? As infrequently as possible.

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Welcome to Inside the Guide, the column that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the art of writing videogame walkthroughs for GameFAQs.com. Writing guides may be fun, but you know what isn’t fun? Updating your guides.

There are good reasons for updating a guide. Maybe they released a brand-new level for the game. Maybe you discovered a more effective strategy for a particular boss battle. More likely, though, you made a typo in your original guide, and a hundred people sent snotty emails informing you that the main villain of the Zelda series is not named “Ganondork”.

I have a Yahoo Mail account, which I only use for GameFAQs work. Here’s a picture of my inbox:

emails

As you can see, I get about 2-3 messages a month about my guides. As you can also see, I only respond to about a third of them. I’m quick to respond, if someone has a question, or if they need clarification. I’m not so quick to respond, when someone tells me I need to completely rewrite part of my guide.

In my defense, updating a guide on GameFAQs is kind of hassle. You need to download the original guide, edit it in Word and Notepad, then re-upload it. Things would be so much easier if you could just edit your guide on GameFAQs itself. Seriously, GameFAQs, it shouldn’t take me ten minutes to fix one typo.

But even though I dislike updating guides, I am always gracious to the person who emailed me. I include a special thank you note to him or her in the updated guide, something along the lines of “thank you to Son Goku for telling me how to defeat Frieza”.

When I give someone credit, I’m never quite sure if I should use their real name, their email address or a made-up Internet name like Steve Wowthatllamahasalongscreenname. That’s why I send them an email and ask, “How would you like me to credit you, in the guide?”. The usual response to this question is, “I would certainly like it!”

groucho2-sm

Thank you, Groucho Marx.

That’s it for Inside the Guide this month! Sometimes I have to update guides, but I usually try not to, because it’s more work than it’s worth.

Thanks to Nathaniel Hoover, for inspiring this month’s article. He had two helpful suggestions as to how I could improve my guide for Nightshade (NES). I don’t remember that game at all, so…it’ll probably be another six months before I get around to responding to Nathaniel’s email.

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About the Contributor


From 2007 to 2016

Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.

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