Spoiled by the Manual

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Sometimes a Video Game instruction manual, in the progress of describing gameplay controls or mechanics, will reveal information that was otherwise intended to be a surprise for the player as they play the game.

For example, an illustration may depict characters that join the player's party late in the game, enemies or bosses they may fight in a particular area, or a page may discuss how to control the player's Global Airship.

This is related to Trailers Always Spoil and Spoiler Opening. See Interface Spoiler where the spoiling is done by an interface element instead of a manual.

Examples of Spoiled by the Manual include:

  • Super Smash Bros. has the following:
  • In the instructions for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, there is a pic of the character selection screen. With every secret character unlocked.
  • The series Final Fantasy has a few:
    • The manual of the SNES American release of Final Fantasy IV - in the equipment section in the back, it lists the classes of all the characters, to designate what each can equip. Particularly blatant in the case of Edge and FuSoYa, since you know there's more game coming after each Disc One Final Dungeon because you haven't met a ninja or Lunarian yet.
    • Final Fantasy VI came with a physical map of the World Map (both of them), with every dungeon labeled.
    • Final Fantasy X manual contains information about three party members and four aeons that aren't present early on and whose eventual appearances are supposed to be surprising at varying degrees.
    • The Final Fantasy XIII game manual reveals that Lightning's party will be joined by The Sixth Ranger Fang and land on the Pulse. But then again, they aren't very big spoilers, as it's been in every trailer and review.
  • The World Ends With You's manual discusses the controls for all three of your partners, somewhat spoiling the Not So Fast Bucko moment where it looks like the game's over after week 1 because you haven't even met one of them yet.
  • Tales of Symphonia's manual spoils the identities of four eventual party members, and eagle-eyed gamers can spot clues that there is another world involved.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's manual reveals the game's use of a Decoy Protagonist.