Is using strategy guides cheating?

drzoidbergmd

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Aug 14, 2008
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Most of the people I talk to berate me endlessly for looking at one section in a strategy guide, comparing it to using cheat codes. I don't think it is because strategy guides still require you to do everything properly while cheats just let you dick around to your heart's desire.
Does this have any merit?
 

Graustein

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Jun 15, 2008
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I wouldn't go so far as to calling it cheating, more a sign of weakness. I used to use them like mad, now I don't touch GameFAQs.
 

ImmortalItalian

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Oct 19, 2008
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I love doing things without strategy guides. Makes it more fun to find out things yourself without consulting a 50 lb book that tells you where every shotgun, robot and naked woman is and how every ceiling tile is placed.
 

Flying-Emu

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I think it's an opinion sort of thing.
I personally prefer not using strategy guides, since it means I have to figure out everything myself, which is definitely harder than just peeking at a book.
Yes, you still have to "do everything properly", but it's really not that challenging when you look up the method for solving a puzzle.
It's more forgivable when its an FPS, for example, since you still have to have the reflexes required to "aim head shoot".
 

Caliostro

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Jan 23, 2008
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Well... Let's see... Is using something that tells you exactly what to do thus bypassing any hardship in the game cheating? I guess that's the definition of cheating yes.


That said, I do use "strategy guides" once in a while. Mostly to compensate for poor game design ("You have ONE chance to get this item, no way of knowing it exists, if you mess up once, you gotta start over again!" - as seen in Final Fantasy games) and/or "moon logic" developer syndrome ("How can you NOT understand a single fish floating in the water was a reference to Bertrand Russel and thus you had to put the cork in the broken kettle?!"- as seen in a considerably number of adventure games).
 

AceDiamond

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If I am genuinely lost (which happens the most in adventure games due to the esoteric puzzles) I will use strategy guides. Otherwise I prefer working it out for myself.

Also FFVII necessitated a strategy guide in order for me to get Vincent.
 

ZeroMachine

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I only resort to guides if I'm stuck and pissed off about it, which doesn't happen often, but I don't consider it cheating. It's basically meant to help push you in the right direction. If you buy a game with the guide and use the guide to... well... guide you through the whole entire game than not only is it pretty much cheating, it's kinda ruining the experience.
 

Gxas

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Only after I have beaten a game and given up on 100%ing it alone do I use a walkthrough. I don't believe it is cheating. It is just another way to play.
 

MintyFreshBreathGuy

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Oct 10, 2008
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Hey I call it a cheat book but it's not like I care. If I'm lost or something on those lines then YEAH I'm gonna cheat. Besides some books come with interesting information which makes the game more interesting... sadly they usually don't but hey when they do I get happy.
 

the_tramp

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I tend to play the game through once without strategy guides unless a big decision comes up in a game and I want to know what happens either way. The explode/defuse decision from Fallout 3 springs to mind for example.

However there are some games that are designed for the strategy guide to be bought alongside it. The Final Fantasy games are a prime example of this, take FFXII for example:
If you don't open something like 7 RANDOM boxes throughout the game then in the last box a really powerful spear appears after a certain point, at no point in the game does it tell up which boxes they are and you literally need to be externally told which ones not to open.
 

Not Good

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honestly, the necessity of a strategy guide is both a measure of skill, and a measure of how tl;dr the game would be.
 

SinisterDeath

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My use of Strategy guides are like this.

Games that are over 6 hours, along the lines of 20hours + (MGS4 for instance, and possibly highly puzzle based aka FF games).

I use the Strategy games only, and only if I get stuck.

I don't know about you, but when I play a game, Its highly frustrating spending 6 hours trying to get past hidden geometery to a magical doorway that doesn't actually exist. >_<
So when I get the slightest bit stuck (more then 5-10 minutes) I use the strategy guide to get me through it.

If I beat the game, and have the ambition to get 100% completion, I use the strategy guide, cause really, you'd have to be a masochist to get 100% completion in a game like MGS4 with out the guide.
 

Altorin

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May 16, 2008
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It's not cheating, but it can soil a good experience that you'd never know you'd have.
 

Seydaman

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Nov 21, 2008
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if used for a puzzle game it ruins the game because your not doing anything, just following instructions. while if it was a guide for like gun stats then w/e
 

Deadarm

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I think they should be used as a last resort. That being said, I've only had to consult 3 of them ever Elder Scrolls 3 and its xpacks, Resident Evil for the order in which the animals are suppose to be and finally The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker only because it came with my game and I got totally lost once the triforce collection part came around.
 

CyberAkuma

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Ugh, depends on the situation...

I sometimes use strategy-guides/cheats when I already did beat the level and I want to resume the game where I was.
I also use strategy guides when I want to forfil a task that requires NO skill what so ever and that is only time-consuming.

A good example is all those bloody Diamond-locations in Far Cry 2.
Finding all the bastards doesn't require any SKILL. It's just time consuming and I don't see it as cheating if using the guide then like I did.
There's way more difficult things to do in that game than hunting for stupid rocks.
 

Avatar Roku

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Jul 9, 2008
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Do you remember Yahtzee's explanation of "In case I need it later"? That's how I view this; a strategy guide is like an ultra-powerful weapon, on which I set an over all limit for each game depending on the difficulty of the first 1/2 hour or so. Like: "Oh, this seems tough, this game'll be a three-checker."

EDIT: The exception is on later play-throughs, when looking for things like Assassin's Creed's flags.
 

crazy-j

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Sep 15, 2008
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Graustein said:
I wouldn't go so far as to calling it cheating, more a sign of weakness. I used to use them like mad, now I don't touch GameFAQs.
i agree, i hate myself for using them....but from time to time we all come across a scenario were we have no alternative
 

Bob_F_It

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May 7, 2008
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I always thought it was wierd to release official stratagy guides exactly at the same time as the games. What, you'd rather this book play the game for you?
It would be pathetic if you did go and use one to hold your hand from start to finish, but that won't always be the case. I think it's perfectly acceptable to whip a guide out if something has had you completely confuddled for the best part of an hour. While reading every puzzle spoiler sucks the fun, so does beating at a brick wall with your fists because you just don't know what the hell you're meant to do. [a href="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt"]TV Tropes[/a] knows what I'm talking about.
 

searanox

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Sep 22, 2008
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Definitely not cheating. Strategy guides aren't just for getting un-stuck or getting 100% completion - they also help you learn how to make the best character builds and parties, use the best tactics available, etc., without you having to figure out everything yourself. I don't abide by the use of walkthroughs all the way through a game, but there's nothing wrong with looking up something if it's going to save you a lot of time, so long as it's not the first thing you do when you start up the game for the first time.
 

Calamity

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Aug 22, 2008
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Seeing as some games require them now if you want to finish all the post game events (I'm looking at you FFXII), I wouldn't say it's cheating.
But I would question why you would even play a game if you're going to shadow a guide the whole time.
 

Pseudonym2

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Mar 31, 2008
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I almost always have to use them and I think the developers intentionally design the game to make you buy the guide.

Find a cello and harp player in a 49 square mile game world.

Jump into a puddle with a sparking wire on it.

Assume a bug can dig through hundreds of square miles but can't dig around a car.

Here are some other examples.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt

Here's some other examples.
 

Amnestic

High Priest of Haruhi
Aug 22, 2008
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When Ace Attorney games start using logic 100% of the time I'll stop poking at my strategy guide once or twice per case.

Is it cheating? eh, maybe. But it's your game, why does it matter to me? If you get more enjoyment from the game using a strategy guide than not, should I fault you for it? Of course not, that's just silly.
 

xitel

Assume That I Hate You.
Aug 13, 2008
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Not if you payed for it. If you spent money on the guide, it's not cheating. You bought those tips, payed actual money, and got a couple of hints on how to play a game that you love, and get even more enjoyment out of it.
 

drzoidbergmd

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Aug 14, 2008
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Not in the case of Guide Dang it http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt

"Golden Chocobo Corollary: The magic formula for acquiring the supreme upgrade will be only vaguely alluded to in the game itself. Ideally, you're supposed to shell out $19.95 for the strategy guide instead."
- The Grand List Of Console Role-Playing Game Cliches
 

Bob_F_It

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May 7, 2008
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Bob_F_It said:
... [a href="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt"]TV Tropes[/a] knows what I'm talking about.
Pseudonym2 said:
...
Here are some other examples.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt
Onmi said:
Not in the case of Guide Dang it http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt
...
How many more times is that going to be linked?
 

Amnestic

High Priest of Haruhi
Aug 22, 2008
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Bob_F_It said:
Bob_F_It said:
... [a href="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt"]TV Tropes[/a] knows what I'm talking about.
Pseudonym2 said:
...
Here are some other examples.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt
Onmi said:
Not in the case of Guide Dang it http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GuideDangIt
...
How many more times is that going to be linked?
Another 3 from me.
 

Zer_

Rocket Scientist
Feb 7, 2008
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I remember using a strategy guide for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The water temple was a total *****.

Otherwise the only game I've used a strategy guide for was Homeworld, although that was after my beating the game for the first time.
 

cleverlymadeup

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Mar 7, 2008
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usually i don't use them, i always enjoy the challenge of doing it on my own. tho i like to use them for stuff like hard to find stuff, like flags in assassin's creed and other bonus stuff, for the main game i don't really do it tho
 

gigastrike

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Jul 13, 2008
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Well, you're giving yourself an unfair advantage over other people by making it so that you don't have to figure anything out for yourself. So, if it's competitive, yes. Otherwise, you're just making things easier.
 

Arcadia2000

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Mar 3, 2008
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Hmm, this sounds familiar. Would the interested please see my thread "Cheating Sans Guilt" [link]http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.69900[/link].

The definition of cheating is what ties our undies in bundles here. Codes and guides operate on a similar principle - you couldn't do it by yourself, so... here's a little something to make it easier. The logic is sorta like what a local club uses in their ads: If you can't find it, you're too stupid to be here. If you just dicked around for long enough, you would find out whatever the guide would tell you anyway and if you didn't well, then you're too stupid to play. Now certain cheats enable things not possible in regular game circumstances, but at the same time, it's still considered screwing around and not taking the game "seriously" if not a "shortcut" to a ton of hard work.

A guide is a tool. If you really, really, REALLY wanna make a bedroom set from scratch using nothing but the minimum in tools: saw, hammer, nails, and sandpaper(and even the hammer and nails part can be contested!), then by all means, go right ahead. But there are better tools that will make that go faster and even people who will do it for you. If you really wanna put yourself through that kind of pain and agony, be our guest. It doesn't make you better than me, it just means you enjoy different things, apparently. However, the nitpicking comes down to whether to bake cookies or buy them. It doesn't take a whole lot of time, effort, or materials to make decent chocolate-chip cookies, but eh, why make the mess when you can buy them? It's not the same, you say. And that's the difference.

It's not the same when you use a guide instead of figuring it out yourself. But some things are just plain hard. If it's too hard and you had to look at a guide, there's not really any shame in that. If it's too hard to run a mile in under eight minutes, there's no shame in that. You can either train, or just let it be. If you looked at the guide, well, just let it be.
 

insectoid

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Aug 19, 2008
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I will always have a good crack at a game, but if I'm truly stuck, why wouldn't I use a strategy guide/walkthrough...

What I don't understand is why people who can't be bothered playing the game just find a walkthrough and read what happens.
 

CmdrGoob

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Oct 5, 2008
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Sometimes I take an occasional look at a strategy guide in RPGs to make sure I've found all the secondary quests, if they aren't obvious. I wouldn't call it cheating, I mean they're meant to be found. It just saves me talking to each and every NPC (or whatever) to make sure I'm finding all the content.

I also like powergaming in some types of RPGS (the thinking up powerful character builds kind, not the mindless grind till you're god kind) so looking up some guides can help with aspects of that, though I prefer to use them to get info to think of my own builds rather than read and follow someone elses guide to a powergaming build. But that's for a second playthrough.
 

Erana

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Feb 28, 2008
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... If you're going for the "No-Spoilers" ascension on Nethack, then yes.