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Strategy Guides

Or how beating a Mario game can be cheap!

Strategy guides are a great boon to players everywhere. The people who lovingly find every secret in every nook and cranny of a game, and then write them all down just for us, can really help you get the most out of that game. Yet there's also an evil side to strategy guides. They let you cheat. Not just at the game, these guides let you cheat yourself!

Example 1: A person buys Super Mario 64. He plays the game without the aid of a guide. He is surprised when he finds the princesses secret slide and the red switch palace. He marvels at Bowser and the secret to beating him. He figures out the secrets of tiny-huge island on his own. This player is truly getting the most out of his game. Finally, after many hours, he's gotten to 110 stars, and is stuck on those extra hard last ten. Then the player pulls out the strategy guide he got just in case, and finally gets those last few, and meets a polygonal Yoshi on the roof. The player leaves satisfied.

Example 2: A person buys Super Mario 64. He plays the game until he gets 20 stars and is completely stuck. He just can't seem to get the 3D nature of some of the levels. He turns to the guide he bought for some hints and tips. He gets 2 dozen stars this way, and then, with his enhanced knowledge of how to play the game, proceeds to get most of the rest with no problem. When he does have a problem, he'll flip to the appropriate page, and get help. This person is using the guide effectively, as was person 1, to get help only when they needed and allowing themselves to figure most things out on their own.

Example 3: A person buys Super Mario 64 and a walkthrough. He starts playing the game following EVERY step the guide says getting each star in order and doing only what he's told by the guide. During his free time, he memorizes everything in the guide, until he knws every secret and everything that will happen in the game. He beats the game without exploring (unless the guide says to), without a sense of wonder at "what happens now" and without nearly as much fun. He gets all 120 star and brags to all his friends about it. This person is cheating himself out of the greatness of Super Mario 64! Instead of the sense of surprise and accomplishment achieved when playing alone, person 3 know exactly what to do and what will happen, and plays more as a form of thumb exercise than anything else. This is the evil side of game guides.

There are a ridiculous ammount of person 3's out there. They buy a guide, beat a game completely, and end up unsatisfied. I urge all of you to not be a person 3! Use the guide as it's intended, to help you when you get stuck, not to blaze through the game knowing every move! The same thing goes with game genie and other enhancement devices. These are great tools also. Codes that make you jump super high, walk backwards, or do other crazy things are great fun and add new life to the game. Things like infinite enrgy and life codes can even help you out in situations. Then there are people who will buy a game, put in his infinite enrgy code, blaze through it, and then throw it aside, thinking he's done all he can in it. This person's an idiot. Don't fool yourself into thinking that, just because you beat a game, there's nothing more to it (especially a Mario game!). If you use a cheat to beat a game, try to beat it without the cheat. If you used a guide to beat a game once, try to beat it again without help, as fast as possible! This makes the games more fun and will give you more satisfaction for your 50 bucks. Thank you for your time.

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