They might often be an afterthought nowadays, but in the console generations of yesteryear, game manuals were often essential reading. Compared to the scant pack-ins that come with games today, those vintage instruction manuals were on a completely 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 led by streamer Peebs has successfully scanned and uploaded every last English-language game manual for the Super Nintendo. You can check out the entire collection here. Peebs was motivated to assemble one central resource for manuals during an eight-year quest to play and beat every SNES game for his Twitch viewers.
Perusing through random instruction booklets can be a fun dose of nostalgia for 30-somethings like myself, but this can also be a helpful resource for any gamers working through the various SNES titles that are available with a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.
We couldn't have done this without all of the help from everyone else.— Peebs - SNESManuals.com (@PeebsSNES) July 1, 2022
On twitter, discord, reddit. Spreading the word and helping track down manuals here and there.
In 2 years we went from 52% of manuals available, to 100%
Nintendo provides online manuals for each game included with its NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles, but this is a far more comprehensive vault of gaming history. Take a look at the manual for something like Chrono Trigger as just one example of how extensive they could be in the 16-bit era. Similar archives are available for Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy titles.
The SNES manual project was a collaborative effort, with owners of rare or difficult-to-find titles contributing scans to the archive. Nearly 100 people rose to the occasion, according to Peebs. But if anyone out there happens to posess 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 be over here skimming through old favorites like Saturday Night Slam Masters and a Home Improvement game that I never even knew existed. In-game tutorials just aren’t quite the same as a physical manual with a notes section at the end.