the entire contents of the boxI recently went through my ES collection, thinking about all the stories behind each item.  One of my favorite things in my collection is a boxed copy of Battlespire: not because I like the game exactly (it proved to be too glitchy and laggy to be playable), but because it's fun to look at and it was a lucky find.  While I'd been watching on eBay, any boxed editions were few and far between (and way too expensive; the few I saw were like upwards of $200). Then I was browsing my local Craigslist one day and there happened to be one - usually the only games you see around here are the type of thing you'd find in the bargain bin at Walmart - and the seller also happened to work just two blocks away from where I was going to karate at the time, so it was meant to be.

The box isn't exactly in pristine condition, but it contains all the original inserts, which are an entertaining read, partly because some of them are written humorously, partly because of just how old they are. ("Battlespire is the first installement of the new series, which we have entitled the 'Legend Series'..... 'The first chapter of the new Adventure Series is entitled Redguard'".... "Which other game systems do you own? Saturn, N64, Playstation"...)

Read after the break to take a closer look at all the inserts (and feel free to click on each image to view a bigger version if you want to read them!)

First up is a welcome letter from Christopher Weaver, the president of Bethesda at the time.  I've added a text version of the letter to the wiki if you prefer to read it that way.

Of note it talks about how Battlespire and Redguard would be the first games in two new series, and what they intended each of those series to be.

letter from Bethesda's President

The next is a readme: it's a 4-page booklet: just a front, middle, and back, printed with green ink.  The first page is boring, just installation instructions mainly, but the middle and last page are pretty fun.

readme page 2-3

readme page 4

There's an ad for the Battlespire Athenaeum, the guidebook: again, this is a small booklet with just a front, middle, and back, and most of it is just an excerpt from the guidebook.  Here's what the cover looks like:

Battlespire Athenaeum ad

The Battlespire manual is a 56-page booklet.  Here's the cover, and the "Designers' Notes" page at the end.

manual cover

designers' notes page

There's an ad for a multiplayer service:

MPlayer ad

It came with a Software Registration card, which reminds you of the technology of the time:

software registration card

Here's roughly what the disk looks like (apologies for the poor-quality scan.)  As you'll notice, it does not have a booklet/art on the front part on the case: this is why any disk-only versions you might find online are like that; it comes that way. Interestingly, a disk-only copy I'd previously purchased separately had a blue disk with a silver Daedric Crescent, whereas this one is silver-with-teal. If anyone knows why there'd be a difference, I'm really curious.

disk

And, lastly, here's the back cover of the box.

back of box

It's interesting to take a look at the history of the series and see how far it's come since then!

4 comments

Comment from: thelastdovah [Member]  
thelastdovah

It’s rather interesting seeing how much detail is put into manuals during the 90s and early 00s and the state of them nowadays. It’s a real shame that games don’t get this amount of details nowadays. Skyrim’s manual was ok but compared to Oblivion that had stuff on races, skills and other features in the game, it’s kinda meh. The Legendary Edition was a joke. Literally just a leaflet. :(

Battlespire and Redguard were interesting entries. If they had taken off, I could see there being adventure games on Android and IOS. That said, Legends seems to be getting recieved well and could give Bethesda a massive incentive to consider reviving the Adventure spin offs either directly or outsourcing it to others whilst they focus on their new projects.

I miss detailed manuals. :(

09/22/16 @ 15:01
Comment from: Jimeee [Visitor]
Jimeee

I think the decline of cool manuals is directly related to the rise of the internet. Most new games have their own dedicated site that the publishers want you to visit. Overwatch did a pretty decent job with their site, it was essentially the manual (or cool aspects of it) in website form.

10/24/16 @ 13:27
Comment from: Jimeee [Visitor]
Jimeee

I think the decline of cool manuals is directly related to the rise of the internet. Most new games have their own dedicated site that the publishers want you to visit. Overwatch did a pretty decent job with their site, it was essentially the manual (or cool aspects of it) in website form.

10/24/16 @ 13:28
Comment from: jimeee [Member]  
jimeee

I think the decline of cool manuals is directly related to the rise of the internet. Most new games have their own dedicated site that the publishers want you to visit. Overwatch did a pretty decent job with their site, it was essentially the manual (or cool aspects of it) in website form.

10/24/16 @ 13:29