More than 25000 words to review
The Guia Games (“Games Guide” in cheesy Portuguese) was a weird magazine I prized when I was 9. A singleton edition, it was a small, thick, blue-on-white book special. It was expensive; mom gave it to me as a holiday present. It was massive, advertising “tips and walkthroughs” for a whopping 78 games. This was before the explosion of the 16-bit era: game magazines were still rare and thin, Supergame hadn’t merged with Gamepower to make Supergamepower, and most people in countryside Brazil didn’t even know what a “videogame” was supposed to be. As far as I could tell, 78 games seemed close to a list of all games ever.
The format, too, was unusual. Games were listed alphabetically, with no relation to each other, and each entry had, below the title, a single, blurry, small, black-and-white screenshot — often of the title screen, disappointingly enough. A short scenario story followed — I couldn’t have known how badly-written and flat-out wrong those were — and then you had the usual “tips” and “walkthrough” sections, in standard second-person style. Fly to the top left corner of the screen to find a secret door. Be sure to buy the white gem before leaving town. Use the spray to paint the hydrant purple. In the next room you’ll fight a giant spider.
Words fail to describe how strong was the impression caused in my developing mind by those small chunks of dry, screenshotless text. I read the whole thing from cover to cover, again and again, until I memorized most of it. I had all those feelings about games I never saw, this nostalgia for places I’ve never been. Each time when, years later, I finally played one of those games I knew only from imagination, it was like finally scoring a girl you loved platonically; a bit disappointing, a bit like returning home.
The Guia Games Project is a single-person Internet tribute to the Guia Games. I’ll play all 78 titles in order and review each and every one in all-out “new games journalism” style.