Video games have come a long way since pong, and today’s titles feature more difficult levels and quests than ever before.  To assist players with beating the game, some companies and gamers are producing online game walkthroughs to help you overcome tough challenges and find secret or hidden levels you may not otherwise discover.

Is this helpful?  Of course!  Is it cheating?  That’s an area with a lot of debate.

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In this guide, we’ll give you the rundown of online game walkthroughs.  We’ll discuss what they are, why some people use them, and address the controversy.  Then, we’ll give you tips on where to find the best resources for popular titles like Elder Scrolls and Grand Theft Auto.

What are Online Game Walkthroughs?

Video game walkthroughs started in the late 80’s, as a way to help players improve their skills and results when playing a title.  What began as a typed-up text document outlining everything from how to find secret rooms to cheat codes evolved over time into a lucrative industry.

Today, walkthroughs exist for a few different reasons and in several different formats.  Usually designed to help gamers complete a specific element of a title, you can watch a walkthrough or a play through to see how to beat a level or unlock game achievements.

Walkthroughs are typically produced and developed by other gamers, but sometimes the game developer themselves will release one that they sell to accompany the title.

Why use Online Game Walkthroughs?

There are many different reasons why someone might utilize a game walkthrough.  Here are just a few.

  1. Beat a game with the highest possible score.
  2. Overcome a difficult element that you can’t figure out without assistance.
  3. Get an enhanced experience by finding features or quests that you would not otherwise discover.
  4. Watch other expert gamers and learn how to apply their techniques to your gameplay.
  5. Connect with your peers and other gamers.
  6. Unlock new game plus (NG+) features on your title.

The Controversy

Many purists argue that the prevalence of video game walkthroughs doesn’t have a positive effect on gaming culture.   As they are a resource that’s both easy to access and typically free, almost anyone can use these helpful tutorials to beat games and unlock secrets without having to do the hard work.

This has led to some gamers labeling walkthroughs as a way to cheat, and to have less respect for their peers who use them on a regular basis.  Some industry experts argue that they have deepened the rift between casual and hardcore gamers, with those who are the most hardcore lamenting that there is no longer any real skill required to beat a game.

Additionally, game makers also have the added challenge of finding ways to make their levels more unbeatable and the gameplay more difficult, which isn’t always something that gamers who don’t use the walkthroughs appreciate.

How Have Walkthroughs Changed the Gaming Experience? 

Novice gamers and veterans have different feelings about how the prevalence of walkthroughs has caused gaming to evolve.  Here, we’ll discuss both sides of the story.

The Positives

  1. It’s now possible to beat any title, even the most challenging if you’re willing to look for help along the way.
  2. Gameplay doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing process that takes weeks or months to complete if you don’t want it to be.
  3. Hidden features that may otherwise go unnoticed or unappreciated are getting their time in the limelight.
  4. Running across an impossible to solve puzzle doesn’t have to mean you can’t ever finish the game.

The Negatives

  1. Hardcore gamers argue that the walkthroughs are too accessible, and therefore lessen the notoriety that comes with beating some of the most challenging titles.
  2. Players are quick to go to these guides, leading to a speedier play through that may prove to be less personally satisfying in the end.
  3. The bar for success is set higher in gaming as a normal play though is no longer the gold standard of accomplishment.
  4. It’s necessary to adopt self-imposed challenges, like setting time limits, finding all the collectibles, completing every goal, or only taking a certain amount of damage, to earn bragging rights.

Where to Find Free Online Game Walkthroughs

It’s easy to locate digital walkthroughs online.  Video sharing websites like YouTube feature hundreds of channels where you can watch gamers from around the world play live and give you tips and tricks on how to beat and defeat the game.

Other media streaming sites, like twitch.tv or Let’s Play give you some of the same content with the added benefit of having entertainment value.  On Let’s Play, for example, the videos have evolved into near art forms, offering witty commentary, gamer personality, as well as high-quality videos that help you achieve the highest competition levels or fastest play though times.

Plot-heavy titles, like Mass Effect as an example, are among the favorite types of walkthroughs to watch because of the consequences of choices throughout the game.  Before the advent of Let’s Play videos, gamers had to make these nerve-wracking decisions without knowing what the possible outcome would be, how it might affect the character later on, and what the alternate choice may have led to.  Now, you can weigh your options by watching how each of the alternatives plays out ahead of time.

Popular Titles to Use Online Game Walkthroughs

While you can view a walkthrough, or play through for thousands of different tiles, there is a handful that has a lot of popularity online.  Here, we’ll give you a few tips and reasons why.

Grand Theft Auto 5

As the latest release in the franchise, users love watching a GTA5 online walkthrough to get tips on how to maximize the game.

One popular goal is to achieve 100% completion, and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish.  In order to hit that mark, players need to:

  • Complete all 69 primary storyline missions
  • Complete 20 strangers and freaks missions
  • Do all 14 random events
  • Achieve all 42 hobbies and pastimes
  • Conquer 16 miscellaneous tasks

In addition to serious bragging rights, players who hit the 100% completion mark get a few additional rewards within the game itself.  They include:

  • A Career Criminal achievement and trophy
  • Animated UFO’s that appear at the top of Mount Chiliad, above Ford Zancudo, and Sandy Shores.
  • An addition to Franklin’s wardrobe in the form of an orange T-shirt that says 100%.  They do say that orange is the new black, so it’s fitting for a career criminal.

As a result of completing 100%, there are also two additional pieces of the game that unlock.

A Strangers and Freaks mission called “The Last One” will be available for Franklin.  After you complete it in the enhanced versions of the game, a golden peyote plant blooms in the Chiliad Mountain State wilderness area.  This enables you to become the Sasquatch and access the challenge to unlock the Beast.

Elder Scrolls

One of the most prominent fantasy video games ever created, the Elder Scrolls is an RPG that’s loved by gamers across the world.  While it is an in-depth journey that’s both immersive and fun to play, users to access an Elder Scrolls online walkthrough gain the advantages of learning tricks that you may never discover on your own.

Here are just a few things you can learn how to do in a walkthrough.

  • Earn easy money in non-traditional ways
  • Buy or sell items at a significant bargain or profit
  • Become an emperor
  • Turn into a vampire or werewolf
  • Get married
  • Get extra inventory slots
  • Reset your skills without losing your character progression
  • Emote in dozens of different ways, including by being drunk, doing push-ups, or falling in love

There are also thousands of walkthroughs to help you conquer quests and earn achievements.  Many of these delve into the pieces of storyline that aren’t straightforward, or that you may not discover otherwise.

Additional Walkthrough Considerations

Not all walkthroughs are created equal, and while a purist may argue against using the resource, there are a few additional things to consider.  Different types and genres of games may offer more reasons to use a walkthrough because they are helpful in unique ways.  Here are two worth discussing.

New Game Plus

One way that manufacturers are sweetening the deal for gamers is by adding New Game Plus (or NG+) modes to their titles.  This unlockable mode is only available to players who have beat the game at least once, and it provides new and exciting enhanced features on the second time around.  Titles that have a new game plus walkthrough will help you not only beat the first play through quickly but experience the advanced aspects to their fullest.

This mode is most prevalent in role-playing games, and might also be referred to as a “challenge mode,” “replay mode” or “remorting.”

Escape Games

Escape games, where players have to get themselves out of a room or situation through a series of problem-solving and point and click actions are becoming more popular by the day.

This genre is growing so quickly, it’s sometimes difficult to find help with new escape games and walkthroughs, but it’s not impossible.

Many game makers use similar logic and ways of exploiting your surroundings to solve the puzzles and gain your freedom, so it’s worthwhile to check out playthroughs and walkthroughs for titles that are similar to what you’re playing to learn new tricks and get ideas along the way.

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