Bungie's 'MYTH' Game Manual: 'Introduction' section

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The audience for this manual are those who bought the game. It comes for both the Macintosh and Windows 95 platforms. Players are undoubtedly much younger than most who purchase computer software. They range in age from mid-teens to late 20s, and early 30s.

Since the game has more than likely already been bought, the manual is not intended to sell the game, but rather it is intended to complement the game, serving as an instruction and reference manual to a game with a steeper than normal learning curve. It must present the game as fun, exciting, and relatively easy to learn in order to keep gamers interested.

The manual itself has a glossy cover, and individual pages are thick and stiff. It is well known that many software manuals are notoriously bad in their ability to instruct the reader so this is the atmosphere which this manual is entering with perhaps lowered expectations on the part of the game purchaser. The manual is not very thick, and is highly portable. It can also be opened to a relevant section and flattened out easily if need be.

There are three different typefaces running through the Introduction section of the manual. The first typeface is a gothic script with above normal kerning. It comes in three sizes(24, 18, and 10 pt). The second typeface is a sans serif typeface, probably Arial. It has normal kerning and comes in a 10 pt size. The third typeface is another sans serif typeface in 10, 8 and 4 pt sizes with normal kerning. The gothic script enhances the tone of the manual, hinting at the medieval times which the game is set in. The other two typefaces are easy-to-read, and the sans serif adds a professional look to the document, enhancing the ethos and emphasis of manual.

At the inter level, the 24 pt gothic serif script is used for the title of the Introduction section, located at the bottom of the Introduction title page. It acts to enhance clarity and conciseness within the document. The same typeface and size is used once again as the title of the Introduction section marking off the start of the instructions for this section. The same gothic typeface is also used as headings for each part of the instructions. It is set in 18 pt, all caps with a half inch of white space before each heading. This helps to clearly mark of each section of the instructions, adding to the clarity and arrangement of the document. The main text in this section is used for instructions and general information. It is set in 10 pt Arial, left justified. The instructions are numbered, with one line of space in between each instruction enhancing the clarity of this section. Different options such as the Small, Large, and Network only installation options are boldfaced and indented within the instructions, again enhancing clarity. At the bottom of the page the gothic scriptface in 10 pt all caps are used for clarity, and ethos building as it repeats the name of the game, and the name of the company. The page numbers are also in 10 pt situated at the edges of the page. This enhances clarity, but the page numbers are too small, and do not stand out like they should which decreases ethos, and clarity. Lists are bulleted and indented from the rest of the text in 10 pt Arial. The bulleted lists enhance clarity, ethos, and emphasis because they add to the professional tone and clearly label the information as important.

At the extra level, a large hand drawn, yet highly detailed black and white picture is located in the centre of the title page to the Introduction section. This enhances the tone of the document as it portrays a serious and highly exciting(albeit gruesome) portrayal of a battle between good and evil. Another extra level element can be seen in the Celtic horizontal rule found at the top and bottom of each page. This enhances the tone as it is consistent with the gothic, medieval feel of the game, and clarity because it marks of where the instructions begin and end on each page. A third extra-level element is the graphic that introduces the 'Bungie Hint Line.' It is a black and white graphic, left-justified on the second page. This graphic adds to the emphasis, ethos and tone of the manual because it stands out as important information for those who get stuck in the game. The fourth extra-level elements are the plain horizontal rules which are underneath every heading. They run across the page and strengthen the clarity and emphasis of the document, as they add extra importance to the headings. The fifth and last extra-level element is the detailed drawing of a character from the game itself. This adds to the ethos and tone of the document since the creature is portrayed in a questioning manner, and suggests a bit of humour lightening up the tone of the document. Bungie does not want us taking things too seriously.

There are several elements at the supra level which strengthen the arrangement, clarity, ethos and tone of the document. The celtic horizontal bar which is repeated at the top and bottom of each page enhances the arrangement, ethos and tone. All page numbers are repeated on the outside edges of the pages, enhancing arrangement and clarity because of their repetition, and location. The repetition of the title(Introduction) on the title page, and the next page at the top aids in clarity and emphasis clearly indicating that this is the Introduction section of the manual. All instructions are numbered, while all system requirements are bulleted thus enhancing clarity and conciseness due to the consistency. Instruction headers are all of the same pt size and typeface, and all headers have a horizontal bar running underneath them, adding to the already strong clarity and arrangement elements of the document.

This is an extremely well-designed, and well-planned document. Its strongest features are its clarity, arrangement, and tone enhancing features. These three aspects make for clear and consistent instructions as well as reproducing the tone of medieval and mythical times which the game itself is set in.