Once upon a time, when PC games were packaged in cardboard boxes the size of a copy of War and Peace, they also came with manuals. These arcane tomes, printed on what the old ones called ‘paper’ (like the internet, but flammable), were filled with forbidden knowledge, illustrations, in-jokes, and other fun stuff. And leafing through them before playing a game, or while taking a toilet break, was a joy that is now lost in time, like tears in rain. But there are those of us who still remember the delight of a good old-fashioned manual.
Developer Black Isle/BioWare Year 1998
As well as an in-depth guide to the game itself, the hefty Baldur’s Gate manual also boasts a well-written guide to its setting, Faerûn. This significant lore dump, detailing everything from the legend of Drizzt Do’Urden to how to kill an Ogre, also features hand-written notes by legendary D&D storyteller Volothamp ‘Volo’ Geddarm. But if you prefer stats, this manual has you covered too. The last quarter of the tome is dedicated to vast tables detailing, among other things, spell progression and schools of magic.