Back in the day, before the internet became the land of carbon copy websites, one could find all sorts of obscure information and facts about anything relatively easily. Searches certainly weren't as advanced as they are today, but at the same time there wasn't anywhere near the volume of crud to wade through. It was a glorious time.

Two incidents recently revealed to me the sorry state of affairs of the internet's ability to provide information that really doesn't seem all that obscure. I recently wanted to look up some information on a video game a friend was playing. Enemies in the game sometimes are visibly holding items you can steal from them. In playing the game, I noticed that specific enemies carry specific items. To aid my quest, I looked to the internet for it's repository of video game information, GameFAQs, for this information.

After looking through about fifteen different FAQs, I discovered that the depth with which these FAQs delved into the game is akin to the depth of a puddle on a sunny day. In fact, only one of of the many FAQs I looked at even gave a passing glance to the fact that these enemies even carried items from time to time, beyond the description of an ability used to steal these items from your foes.

I've blinked disbelievingly for some time now, unable to understand where all the fanatical gamers like myself went. I've written an FAQ myself before, and in the purely fanatical fashion of capturing every detail imaginable in as full an explanation as possible. The only reason I never finished or published is because the whole capstone of the FAQ, the hope that I would find one elusive powerup that no one had found, never happened despite some pretty insane acts on my part. There's nothing like doing the impossible and not finding something.

In any case, I am still at a loss for why the fanatics like myself who were writing faqs with a passion not so long ago have suddenly vanished. The only game I can think of that has had a fanatical presence recently was Halo 2. All other console games have been forsaken.

Were it not for my impending return home, and subsequent job seeking, japanese studying, and programming (and maybe even despite all of that) I'd write the FAQ myself. But what worries me is the systemic scope of the problem.

I already ranted about this in The Death of the Internet, and there you'll see what worries me.

Part of the solution is, as I said, for me to write the FAQ myself. However, a full solution requires that the next generation of video gamers be educated in constructive fanatacism. Constructive fanatacism is the kind of fanatacism which drives one to fully understand and know something. This is different from the kind which drives someone to endlessly argue with someone else about something.

The lack of constructive fanatacism leads to other incidents like my recent search for the language options in a game. With the language options of every movie coming out on DVD carefully laid out before us wherever we go, I didn't think it difficult to see similar statistics on a game. Despite that, my search for whether or not Dynasty Warriors 5 had a japanese language option took more time than I am willing to admit.

What really bothers me is that this information I seek doesn't even seem that obscure to me. There've been FAQs in the past about the excessively complicated calculations for the damage in a game for a system barely anyone knows about which required that the author find these calculations without anything but the variables as they changed and the resultant damage. While this makes more sense with more popular games like Final Fantasy Tactics, there was a time when information that obscure was readily availible for just about everything. That time has obviously past if a game can't even have some information that is barely above basic availible.

Something needs to be done to correct the atmosphere of video games that is breeding this generation of gamers to miss the depth of a game. I'm sure there are others like me raising their eyebrows and wondering what the heck happened to in-depth FAQs. Somehow, we need to find each other and figure out what is going wrong before the path known as video games diverges off into a cliff.

Anyone have Nintendo's phone number?

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