AMONG ALL THE games I’ve played over the past decade, Skyrim holds a special place. I’ve probably spent longer talking to Belethor, the smarmy but conveniently-placed Whiterun merchant, than I have playing many other titles from start to finish in their entirety. I’ve quested for hours to win the favor of a lone companion for the sole purpose of having someone to help carry my unwieldy piles of stuff – an apt if depressing analogy for real-world relationships.
GAME GUIDES OCCUPY a unique space in the present-day videogame universe. As with the guidebook industry as a whole (including everything from travel guides and maps to cookbooks, legal guides, and repair manuals), the option to simply consult an online forum is nearly always present. The result is a greater pressure on printed guides to offer beauty and substance, and to exist as complementary projects that stand on their own.