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How to Write a Video Game Guide

Updated on November 30, 2012
Screenshot from Guild Wars 2
Screenshot from Guild Wars 2 | Source

Video Game Guides for Dummies

Do you feel that you know a lot about a video game? Have you mastered it and now want to share the knowledge? There are many times where I have written short video game guides for games I completed so many times that I felt there was a thing or two I could guide people through better than most. Whether there are or are not already guides out there already, you might want to try to write a video game guide yourself for the experience - but there are things you should remember as well.

Screenshot from Guild Wars 2
Screenshot from Guild Wars 2 | Source

Don't Expect Money

Sadly, there are thousands of guides out there for most games and a lot of them come from the creators of the game itself. For instance - World of Warcraft publishes game guides that are pretty amazing and probably make a good profit for them, but you are unlikely to profit off a self made game guide because of both sheer amounts of guides out there and the fact the game companies themselves are a little more credible. Along the same lines there are many game guides on gaming websites like IGN and Joystiq, so unless you work for a company like that you might not want to get your hopes up - do this for fun!

Screen Shot from Guild Wars 2
Screen Shot from Guild Wars 2 | Source

Add Your Own Flavor

Just telling people how to do things is rather boring. Try to find the most interesting bits to point out as you are writing, and make sure your voice is heard. On the other side of that though, don't be annoying. There have been video game guides on youtube that I have had to mute and just watch because they are extremely annoying presenters.

Screen Shot from World of Warcraft
Screen Shot from World of Warcraft | Source

Video vs Writen Video Game Guides

You might consider a visual video game guide, especially if you are wanting to have walkthroughs of games or areas. While playing games a lot of people need to see what is going on in order to understand it. This is highly applicable in puzzle games in any form including the Darksiders series. If you feel comfortable with this, write out your video game guide and read it while showing scenes from the game.

For getting video data from video games, Fraps is a real time video capture program that can allow you to record video games or anything else you want to show people from your computer. With basic video editing software you can take the video you get from Fraps, overlay your voice, and bam! You have your own video video game guide.

Screen Shot from World of Warcraft
Screen Shot from World of Warcraft | Source

How to Write a Video Game Guide

Now the first thing to realize is that it is a huge task to create a video game guide. Depending on the game it can be 50 to 1000 pages. I would suggest starting in a newer format: wiki guides. It used to be that people would write video game guides in one really long text document, but that was boring and hard to find things in. Wikipedia has solved this with a clear and concise format that lets everyone find what they are looking for, and easily allows you to know if you got everything in the guide you wanted.

Lets take a look at World of Warcraft's wiki guide.

Two things to note here. This guide is a LOT larger than it seems because every heading can have 2-20 things under it, and World of Warcraft has been around for so long there is a lot more to say about it than any other game so it is a lot more than you would need to write (so don't panic).

There are other systems of processing a video game guide but I think this is the best. You may want to explore other methods and get a feel for writing style and how much information they actually get through.

As for writing the guide: organization is key. If you are not extremely organized you will get confused, your readers will get confused, or you could even end up not completing the project at all.

The last hint I can give is when you think you are done, play the game through again. You may find something you want to fix or something you missed. Either way another play through the game is in your best interest.

Good luck, and have fun gaming!

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