An older Millennial trying to embrace what makes her generation special.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Millennial Murder Files: Video Game Strategy Guides

No cover photo for this particular Millennial Murder Files. In lieu of, please enjoy this Angry Video Game Nerd video.

Millennials have a taste for blood, and we can't be quenched. Nothing, it seems, is safe from our murderous desires and this time, we have apparently taken out something only our generation grew up with.

Apparently, we took out Prima Guides.

For those of you not in the know, video games are really hard. Sometimes, you get stuck, and you need a little extra help to find out what you need to do to move forward. But not all guides were created equal. We only ever had one strategy guide growing up, because it was a book Mom saw at Walmart that had most of our games in it. Sure, it taught us the 99 lives trick in Super Mario World, but it absolutely did not tell us where we could find the fourth bottle in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - something I only figured out two years ago because the Internet exists now and I did a Google search.

But then there were Prima Guides. Prima Guides were incredibly detailed guides that told you literally everything you needed to know for just one game at a time. They were pricey, so my parents never bought them for us, but we checked them out from the library sometimes. Yes, Prima Guides were such a phenomena that you could get them from your local library.

So then what happened?

Well, I already alluded to it - the Internet happened. Prima Guides were $20, but a dedicated Google search could find you information for free. Prima Games didn't find a way to re-market and remain profitable, and now they're shutting down for good.

So is it fair to blame Millennials?

Yes, no, and shouldn't we blame all generations?

Some Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all play video games, and none of them are buying strategy guides. It's kind of everybody's fault. But let's get into the actual yes and no.

Yes, Millennials killed strategy guides by not wanting to purchase them. Like I said, they were pricey. And it's not really fair to blame the Internet as Millennials actually prefer printed books to digital copies. That was all on Millennials not wanting to pay $20 to find out how to save the princess when they can find out online for free.

But no, because Prima Guides didn't adapt. Yes, Millennials kind of killed newspapers in the same way - preferring to read for free online what they would otherwise have to pay for. But news outlets adopted. Newspapers may die, but the news will go on. I pay $8 a month to read New York Times on all my devices, because in the grand scheme $8 isn't that much to get up to the minute news updates and still support journalism - but the actual New York Times costs $2.50 for a Monday through Saturday edition, and $6 on Sunday. See what I mean about them adapting? Even if the newspaper does eventually go out of print, they still have a platform.

But Prima Guides didn't do that. They didn't find a way to engage their audience digitally and convince them they still wanted to pay something versus nothing. They didn't make themselves competitive in a new market, and they suffered for it.

What do you think? Did Millennials kill Prima Guides? Will you miss Prima Guides? Let me know!


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