Strategy guides are a relic of a bygone era. The beautiful artwork, well-constructed writing, and detailed maps of these guides have since been replaced with wiki’s, GameFAQ’s, and YouTube “Let’s Play”'s. These guides are still being made today but the heart and soul hasn’t survived. Older strategy guides are often examples of well-crafted additions to games that should be just as sought-out and collected as the games they represent.
Why don’t people collect Strategy Guides? Well, for one, a lot of them aren’t as great as I originally alluded to. Most “Unofficial” or “Unauthorized” guides are missing key points of information or just plain wrong about things. Even the official guides are lacking; the Prima guide to Mortal Kombat (2011) even went so far as failing to list correct input combinations for special moves. These publications are never perfect and 2nd print runs are uncommon.
The limited nature of these items does add to the value, though. “Collector Edition” strategy guides are also popping up with every AAA release. This advent of “Collector Edition’s” does mean one thing, there is an emerging market. People are slowly starting to collect these things as the pack-in’s included are usually worth more than the guide itself. Common pack-in’s include a hardbound cover, a map, a poster, special DLC, or other unique items that you can’t obtain elsewhere. The resell value on these “Collector Edition” guides is much higher than the normal variants, assuming it comes complete.
Finding and collecting data for this article is hard because no one seems to be paying attention to this market even though it is healthy and growing but I noticed a few trends. Games worth a lot of money are often accompanied by guides that are just as valuable. Consistently, Nintendo Power Player’s Guides for SNES classic games and guides to RPG’s sell for more than any other type of guide on the market currently. Nostalgia is the most likely driver of these price increases.
By and large, one strategy guide continues to bully out every other pretender to the throne of “Most Valuable”. This guide consistently sells for around $100 no matter what condition it is in ~ EarthBound Player’s Guide from Nintendo Power.
This is a unique piece, it was a pack-in itself with every new purchase of EarthBound and acted more or less as the manual for this title. What really made this guide unique was that it had 6 scratch-and-sniff cards included. One of these could be torn out and mailed to Nintendo for an air freshener (also worth insane amounts of money). You will be hard pressed to find a copy with all these cards intact and still attached to the guide itself.