“Damn! This stage is just too hard,” you say. “I’ve been playing this game a million times, and I still can’t accomplish this part. What else do I have to do?”
“Dude, use a cheat code,” a friend suggests. “It’s easier that way.”
“No, no!” another gamer interjects. “Using cheat codes is, well, cheating. Shame on you! Use a walkthrough instead.”
Wait, what’s a walkthrough? Well, a walkthrough is some sort of a guide or video that tells you what to do, step by step, to accomplish the game. It usually tells you the correct solution, path, combination, weapon, or action to take so that you can accomplish what you’re playing. With walkthroughs, you go through the actual gameplay in the easiest and the shortest time possible.
A cheat, on the other hand, involves using codes or techniques that actually modify a game’s program to gain an advantage in the gameplay or to unlock secrets. With cheats, you can skip a stage, have infinite ammunition, have unlimited health meter, obtain another costume, or even change heads.
I had a rather interesting discussion with a gamer friend of mine whom I invited over for a coffee. He considered himself as a real, hardcore gamer, but what raised my eyebrows was the fact that he sent a game magazine publisher a thank-you email for a walkthrough of a game that he had trouble finishing. He said that the walkthrough section that the magazine published enabled her to vastly improve his gameplay.
That led me to ask him why he should use a walkthrough. Personally, a video game is like a puzzle; the idea of playing such a video game is to think and figure out how to solve or overcome and obstacle by yourself. Putting up a good deal of time and effort to win the game without previous guidance or alteration is where the challenge and excitement comes in. It tests your limits, enables you to think creatively, and exercises your problem-solving skills.
If I use a walkthrough to guide me through the game, then that’s a clear indication that the game has already defeated me, that’s not something I want to be known for. In fact, I would feel guilty or disappointed with myself if I use walkthroughs; I’d feel like giving my Rubik’s cube for someone to solve it for me then boasting to the world that I was able to solve a puzzle. Would I cheat to solve a crossword puzzle? I may but that would definitely take away that grand feeling of accomplishment.
What about my friend? Why does he insist in using cheats and walkthroughs? He just laughed at my explanation and uttered, “Well, it’s just a game.” When I checked out his game library, I realized that his titles were actually interactive stories (e.g., Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, etc.), which he did not view as challenges but entertainment. He is really after the storyline and the enjoyment, not the gameplay or the challenge.
Suddenly, it all made perfect sense. By using a walkthrough, he gets to partake of the entertainment value of the game much like enjoying a really good movie. Sit back and relax, and let the story flow.