One of the coolest things about games back in the mid-80s is the fact that the booklets generally included a bunch of artwork to go along with the info. Flipping through the pages was always exciting! It was a way to get some insight into the game; reading up on the backstory and enemies etc. Having that art was a great way to interpret what you'd actually see in the game, since the quality of graphics couldn't come close to what could be shown in a little sketch.
Incidentally, while searching for examples of instruction booklets I found an amazing site with info on games from pretty much every older system imaginable. Check out Games Database here!
Super Mario Bros 3
Mega Man 3
That was definitely something I wanted to emulate, since I made the decision to have tiny little pixel graphics (fyi, the player character in the game, Mitch, is 14 pixels tall, and everything is based on a 16x16 pixel grid, so being able to show elements of the game in greater detail seemed smart).
Using the original storybook style as a basis, I tried to make everything in the booklet cartoony, fun and really colourful. Here a few of the pages from my instruction booklet:
Adventure Apes and the Mayan Mystery
As a kid, I spent a ton of time drawing things that I thought were interesting. Not just from video games necessarily, but it seems art based purely on imagination has a way of sparking the viewer's creative flair. I thought it would be really cool if these drawings would make a kid want to draw, the same way those old instruction manuals inspired me! In the end though, it was something I wanted to include to make the whole experience feel a little more nostalgic, even if everything was in a digital format.
In the next post, I'll talk about finalizing/releasing the game, and taking my lumps along the way!