What Are Video Game Manuals and Inserts?
Whether you're a die-hard NES collector, a video-game artwork enthusiast, or a gamer attempting to complete a game collection, original game manuals, packaging, and advertisements make appealing additions to any collection. Some original Nintendo items are rarer than others and require a search, which makes finding them even more satisfying.
What's a Game Manual and Why Buy One?
Most (if not all) video games used to come with an instruction manual.
- The manual usually came in the form of a booklet and provided detailed instruction for gameplay.
- A manual is a guide that can offer directions for how to move through each game, which buttons and controls to use in order to jump, kick, or punch, and what the objective of the levels themselves or the entire game is in general.
- Manuals are collectible for many reasons, but one is the nostalgia factor. Games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, and Tetris bring back memories for many lifelong players of classic titles and for gamers who purchase NES consoles now, manuals can help them relearn how to play the classics.
What Are Inserts?
An insert features information included with a game that is not as thick as an instruction manual.
- Inserts are typically just one sheet tucked into the inside of the case.
- Sometimes these were promotions for upcoming games or other items made by Nintendo, such as the Zapper, so they were used for advertising purposes. Others might feature additional items that tied into the title, like toys.
- Alternately, a sheet could even be a bonus item itself, such as a miniature poster featuring characters like Mario or scenes from the title or for upcoming titles.
What Are Some Features of Box Art?
Unlike today's titles that come in rigid, plastic cases, old-school NES titles like Metroid and Pinball came in oversized boxes typically made of cardboard. Now seen as collectibles due to their retro artwork, there are a few standout features of these boxes.
- The front of the box featured the title as well as some of the main brightly-colored characters from it, allowing buyers to immediately know what it was. There are some distinctive fonts that many gamers recognize, such as the blocky letters of Tetris.
- In most cases, the title is shown on the sides as well as on the top of the box.
- On the back of the box, there are scenes from the game as well as information about gameplay, the plot of the title, how many players can get in on the action, and anything else that might be relevant, such as the logo of a game manufacturer like Konami.
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