When to Use a Guide

Do you ever look up what to do to progress in a game if you have no idea what to do? Or do you 100% figure it out yourself?

A bit of both. It depends on the game. Sometimes I try really hard to figure it out, because the reward is really sweet when I do, sometimes I brute force it or look up the answer. If a puzzle doesn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the game then I’ll sometimes bypass it by looking up what I’m supposed to do.

I had to look up where to use the basement key in dark souls for example.

Very recently I played Dishonored 2 and got stuck in the very first room, eventually had to ask a friend who did the exact same thing as me how to get out. There were two windows that I didn’t realize could be opened, they looked like a part of the wall.

I think I looked up one of the light redirection puzzles in DMC3, at least the first one, because I flat-out didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.

I remember being really ecstatic about figuring out the video puzzle in Phoenix Wright 1 where you need to notice that the evidence locker light is still on. I had no access to internet and had to figure it out myself.

I’ve cheesed the dice puzzle in DMC4 almost every time (use devil bringer right when the die faces the side you want).

I beat the first 3 days of majora’s mask on my own, then basically used a guide for everything up to the water temple because I couldn’t be bothered to figure out what inane connections there were between everything.

I came up to the windmill in Brothers, and thought I had to jump from the windmill onto the raised bridge, not the other windmill, so I looked up a lets play to figure out what to do there.

I remember looking up the fight for the final boss of Doom 4, because I didn’t really understand how to avoid the blue mist and getting skewered on top of the platforms. The videos I found seemingly just had the guy get lucky.

Recently I played Dishonored 2 and got stuck in the very first room where you have control. I tried interacting with literally everything in the entire room, but couldn’t determine what the fuck I was supposed to do. I went out the open window, but there didn’t seem to be any way forward there. I eventually asked a friend who had played the game before me, and he pointed out I could open the other two windows in the room. I thought they were just set-dressing, not interactable.

In Nioh, I played one level themed like a bathhouse called, Trail of the Master. In that level, you need to find 3 tiles to open a door to the boss encounter. I found the first two tiles by beating one time encounters around the level, and slowly cleared the level out. I found all the kodama, I found a secret wall, I found one of those wall demons, I found paths on the banisters into other rooms. I thought there must be something I’m missing. The last tile was on a corpse I thought I had already looted, because if you loot a corpse and it has consumable items when you’re at max capacity, the corpse stays active across resets instead of the item being lost like in dark souls. So I scoured the level up and down and eventually looked up a walkthrough.

My stance generally is that if just knowing what to do ruins a section, then it’s usually not a very good gameplay challenge to begin with. You can’t make a dark souls boss any easier with a tutorial video (unless it’s bed of chaos, and even then). I’m not proposing this as a hard and fast rule, it can be fun to figure things out for yourself, but I don’t really begrudge using guides or such when you’re stuck and there’s really no clear way forward. Though I’ll also say that if the challenge is presented fairly and you do have all the pieces to figure it out, you should try your best to figure it out before resorting to a guide.

7 thoughts on “When to Use a Guide

  1. RDI February 17, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    That’s a bit hilarious, a common consensus is that people use a guide for Majora’s Mask’s first cycle and then get through the rest of the game fine. Oh, you silly outlier.


    • Chris Wagar February 17, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      There’s so much weird shit in majora’s mask.

      I mean, the swamp stuff up to forest temple isn’t so hard, it’s reasonably straightforward, except that you need to go on the boat cruise to get rid of the big octorok.

      Snowhead is filled with all sorts of weird adventure game logic. What really bothers me is the goron lullaby really. You first need to talk to the right people to find out about the baby wanting to see the goron elder, while being in the goron form, then you need to find the elder who is in a snowball that moves depending on the day and needs to be broken with a bomb or goron punch, then thaw the elder with hot water from the spring by the grave, then you need to speak with him twice in goron form, while also having to have spoken to his son beforehand while in goron form or it won’t update the quest. Then you need to play the lullaby intro, remember it, and play it to the baby to learn the full lullaby. Then outside snowhead temple, you need to use the lens of truth to see a giant invisible goron and play the lullaby, which for whatever reason wasn’t in my song listing when I was replaying recently and wanted to backtrack to that temple.

      None of these things rely on logical induction, they rely on you trying every possibility or already knowing the answer. The game is filled with this shit to greater or lesser degrees.


  2. RDI February 17, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    The Goron baby requires no prerequisite to speak to aside from being in Goron form. The 3DS remake of Majora’s Mask doesn’t have the elder in a snowball, but even in the original, it’s larger than the others, and Tatl points to it. The hot springwater doesn’t necessarily have to be from the grave, there’s an ice encased grotto in the twin lakes area that also has hot springwater. You don’t need to remember the lullaby, it’s in the song listing. Though, I don’t know why it didn’t show up there for you. Tatl points out something in the blizzard with something along the lines of “do you see that”, coupled with the fact that the blizzard and audio are coming from an invisible source.. Honestly, dude, I’ve done this and have seen others do this with relative ease. You may have your problems with these experiences, but you don’t speak for everyone. Locating some of the dungeons in the first Zelda, especially the last two in the first quest, are much worse in my opinion.

    The only dickish thing about the above to me that actually might require foresight is the hot water in the grotto. Unless the player stored two bottles of hot water from the grave, the player would likely feel apprehensive about wasting their water on a grotto and instead thaw out the elder, not only unknowingly neglecting to open another source of hot water, but also risk wasting a lot of time if they haven’t spoken to the baby yet, requiring them to do so while the Goron freezes AGAIN, requiring another trip back up to the grave. Even so, the elder directs you to the baby and the baby directs you to the elder. You only need to speak to the baby first. A Goron near the baby even hints to where the elder is. And the accessible areas are so small that there aren’t even many places to look.


    • Chris Wagar February 17, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      Alright. I don’t remember any of that honestly. I looked up blind playthroughs to source my thing and missed those details. I don’t totally remember where I used a guide and how. Maybe it is all hinted or whatever. Maybe I’m being a huge baby.

      Also with the blizzard, I mean, for all you can see, it might just be that they added a wind effect to that area.

      Okay. I decided to boot up majora’s mask to test this out. I flew to snowhead. I did indeed have the lullaby in my song library, so that’s my mistake in recollection. I walked forward a bit and tatl said “there is something in the blizzard, can’t you see it?” So I got out the ocarina and the secret tune played when I pulled it out, indicating I did the right thing, I played the lullaby and nothing happened. I had on the Zora mask, so I took that off and tried again as a kid. That didn’t work. For completeness, I decided to do it as a Goron and it worked. So that’s probably what actually screwed me up last time. I flew to the temple, wasn’t a goron because I didn’t take the normal path that you need to be a goron to get through, and was held up because it has that extra restriction that is unexplained.

      So I’m gonna double back, move the goalposts like a little bitch, and say that I’m pretty sure I used a guide because I didn’t care to deal with all this bullshit asking me to match various items to the interactable points where they’re supposed to be used. It was faster and easier to just do what the guide said even if this was reasonably intuitive. This isn’t Toki Tori 2, where you have puzzles that teach you the mechanics of the animals in the world and steadily solve more complex puzzles that make use of them. It’s basically veiled hints asking you to perform simple tasks, not exactly deep gameplay.

      And I guess you have fair grounds to say I’m not being fair for doing this and I can’t fault the game for being vague because there is appropriate hinting, and I’m just too impatient and unwilling to even bother to give it a fair chance.

      I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions. I still hate that game.


      • RDI February 17, 2017 / 10:47 pm

        You can hate what you wish, but I can grant you not knowing the right instrument. The game never outright tells you to use Goron instruments with Goron related music events, and the same with Scrubs and Zoras. It’s something that makes perfect sense narratively but is generally only realized in hindsight.

        Relax, I wasn’t trying to fight you or accuse you of being an unfair baby, just comparing experiences. I wasn’t trying to change your opinions on the game, I couldn’t care less about that. I was trying to assist you and I’m glad I have.


        • Chris Wagar February 17, 2017 / 11:14 pm

          I’m having a bad day and expecting antagonism and I’m trying to not be a dick.


          • RDI February 17, 2017 / 11:27 pm

            Well then forgive me if I came off as antagonistic. My “silly outlier” comment was meant in jest. My condolences.


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