They may be an afterthought these days, but in the console generations of yesteryear, game manuals were often essential to read. Compared to the sparse pack-ins that come with games these days, those vintage instruction manuals were on a whole different level in terms of the care and detail that went into them – and the page count was much higher too.
Now, as noted by Kotaku, a community project led by streamer Peebs has successfully scanned and uploaded every latest English-language game manual for the Super Nintendo. You can view the entire collection here. Peebs was motivated to gather one central resource for tutorials during an eight-year quest to play and beat every SNES game for his Twitch viewers.
Browsing random instruction booklets can be a nice dose of nostalgia for those over 30s like me, but it can also be a useful resource for gamers working on the various SNES titles available with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
We couldn’t have done this without all the help from everyone else.
On twitter, discord, reddit. Spread the word and help track down manuals here and there.
In 2 years we went from 52% of the available manuals to 100%
— Peebs – SNESManuals.com (@PeebsSNES) July 1, 2022
Nintendo offers online manuals for every game that comes with the NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles, but this is a much more comprehensive vault of gaming history. Check out the manual for something like Chrono Trigger as just one example of how comprehensive they could be in the 16-bit era. Similar archives are available for Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy titles.
The SNES handbook project was a collaborative effort in which owners of rare or hard-to-find titles contributed scans to the archive. According to Peebs, nearly 100 people came to the occasion. But if anyone happens to own the PAL manual for the German release of Daze Before Christmas, you can help fill in the last remaining piece of the puzzle. I’ll just browse through old favorites here like Saturday Night Slam Masters and a Home Improvement game I didn’t even know existed. In-game tutorials just aren’t quite the same as a physical tutorial with a notes section at the end.