October 2011

Final Fantasy: You Need a Book

I have never been a big fan of cheating at video games. There have always been books and cheats that have been 

exploited for the sake of getting to the end, but some games the world is too expansive that a book to help you find every little thing is a necessity.

Final Fantasy is a group of role playing games developed first by Squaresoft and then by Square Enix. The games routinely can take more than 100 hours of gameplay to complete and that without finding every last little thing...and therein lies the problem.

It not that difficult to finish the main game because everything is pretty linear, but that main storyline is only a small part of the whole game. There are summoned beings that can be found using side quests amazing weapons that are only found after arduous journeys. Each games has an accompanied book that you can purchase that literally has every little last secret in the game.

Game Books: Find-A-Word

Try them for all levels from small children to adult.

If you go into my parent's bathroom, and there is no real reason you should, then you'll find a series of find-a-word

books. Sure, they have large type because they're a bit older, but its been a staple in the home for years.

The basic premise is you have a large group of letters and hidden within them are certain words. The easy find-a-words just have letters up, down and diagonally, but when you get into the complex find-a-words the can be curved or at angles.

These are very difficult and I try to stay away from them. I have a hard enough time with the easy ones. What makes these kind of books special is most of the puzzles are themed. It could as general as plants to as specific as a certain film or television series.

Chess Guides: Start Them Early


When I was a kid, I was completely enamored with the game of chess. It took me a while to learn the names of the 

pieces and how they moved, but eventually I figured it out and tried my hand at playing. Chess is the kind of game that has an air of mystery about it.

People have been playing it for centuries and there are hundreds of books about strategy and manipulation. My problem was I never had the instruction about that strategy. I knew how the pieces moved, but I never learned about planning moves ahead of time, so I just kind of played by the seat of my pants.

That roughly translated to I lost a lot. I was thrilled when my own children showed an interest in the game, but I didn't want them to have the same difficulties that I did as a child. I purchased “Chess for Children” as a way to help them understand the basics of the game and help them understand about strategy.

Strategy Guides: Paper Versus Digital


As soon as the first video games began being developed, people needed help getting through them. They didn't like 

having to spend the time figuring out the best methods to kill a particular boss or get through a difficult puzzle.

I remember looking up the solutions to puzzles on “The Seventh Guest” and searching through the pages of the “Final Fantasy” strategy guide. Since moving into the digital age, gamers have the ability to choose between the well-written, and often expensive, strategy guides in stores or read the many text-based guides on the Internet.

I have used both over the years, and each has its own set of pros and cons. The free text-based guides or walkthroughs are often done by fans of the game who have spent hundreds of hours pouring over every inch of a game and simply put their best practices into a book. They can often be flawed or incomplete, but they're free, so what are you complaining about?