Tell Your Friends (What To Do): Steam Has Guides Now

Do you ever feel lost? As though each and every moment is just a blind struggle in some abyssal darkness? I know I do – especially when the power’s out or I forget how to open my eyes. But also, you know, metaphorically and stuff. And, as ever, in the game. Fortunately, Steam’s now offering a solution to one of those issues – and, given Valve’s unending quest to make its download/social network/movie-making/productivity software service do everything, the others can’t be far behind. But yes, Steam Guides. They’re in beta, and – if you’re feeling so inclined – you can go make one of your very own right now.

The general idea is a somewhat more elegant GameFAQs – so, you know, with actual pictures and fonts and menus and stuff. Valve explained:

“You’ve probably got some favorite games that you play a lot and know pretty well. Or maybe you’ve mastered playing as a certain class or character in Team Fortress 2 or Call of Duty. Or maybe you’re just really good at finding all the hidden secrets in the latest Elder Scrolls game. How do you put that knowledge to use and help fellow gamers? Create a game guide on Steam!”

Assuming you’re in the Steam Community beta, a new Guides tab will now appear on the hub for each Steam game. Making your own is as simple as picking the option, twisting open your noggin like a tin can, and letting the precious secrets contained therein spill onto the virtual page. Among other things, you can also add Steam cloud images and YouTube videos. But you, of course, are the glue that holds it all together. You beautiful, glorious snowflake, you.

As always, Valve’s open to feedback. How of it they’ll actually use is anyone’s guess, but tossing a few suggestions their way can’t hurt, right? And then you can make a guide explaining how you got Valve to listen to you. (Protip: Probably don’t ask about Half-Life 3 every other sentence.)


  1. Text_Fish says:

    I wish they’d hurry up adding Workshop support to CS:GO like they promised exactly ten point six basquazijiphlipillion moons ago.

  2. abandonhope says:

    I wonder how Prima feels about this, although, does anyone actually buy guides anymore?

    • MiniMatt says:

      A quick scan of the bookshelf suggests the last Prima guide I bought was for SimCity 2000.

      I suspect Prima’s physical distributions have been effectively dead and buried for a long time now and the addition of another site on the net offering (free, up to date and sort of peer reviewed) guides is not going to make a dead thing any more dead.

      • Jackablade says:

        Given the extent to which Electronics Boutique and its ilk try to push Prima guides on anyone foolish enough to wander into their store, I suspect they probably still do a pretty good trade to the clueless and gullible.

    • Rosveen says:

      I know a few people who bought the strategy guide for Skyrim even though UESP is free, fast, has more content and is more reliable. They like to have a physical book… I can even understand this sentiment – when it comes to games I too would rather buy a hard copy than a digital one – but to pay for something you can have for free? Madness.

      • mouton says:

        But! You can have games for free too!

        So logically, using a free wiki/guide = piracy = murder.

        • Mctittles says:

          Not when the guide creators get the advertising revenue, instead of being divided by the cutthroat sub-economy of piracy sites.

        • Rosveen says:

          You’re right. Using a perfectly legal, free wiki is vile – just like borrowing a game from a friend to see if it will run on our computer. It’s because of us that the video game industry is in ruins, the developers unemployed and their children starving. We’re evil, evil people.

          • mouton says:

            While I was joking in my post, what you describe usually is, in fact, against the rules nowadays. Games tend to be tied to an account which cannot be shared with anyone. For example, according to Steam Subscriber Agreement, you cannot let anyone use your account, even if they are your children/partner who live with you.

        • Phantoon says:

          By that logic, Prima guides are pirating the IP of the game by putting out all of the information in the game out.

    • Alphadrop says:

      Last one I got was Fallout 3, mostly for the art design documentation in the back. Before that it was the Mass Effect 1 guide, very handy to have an easy reference guide on the weapons and armour considering there was so much of it in the first game and save the trouble of mooching upstairs to check things on the computer.

  3. BrendanJB says:

    Having gamefaqs built in to steam? Works for me!

    • The Random One says:

      I hate Steam, but I hate GameFAQs even more, so it works for me.

      Why am I such a sad little ball of hatred :-(

      • Rawrian says:

        Did Steam killed your baby brother or something?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          More likely that he just got caught using VPN (or paying for gifts) to get his games from a cheaper store by dodging local tax (or being in breach of money laundering law) and got his account banned.

  4. tomeoftom says:

    This is so dumb. Why wouldn’t you just set up a webservice that served HTML (rather than plain text) guides and just use that in the Steam Overlay browser? Just hook it up with the Steam Account API so you can follow people, see who wrote what etc. Having it in the Steam Community site / client just guarantees they’ll do a half-assed job of it, and it’ll be really clunky to navigate.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Most of the back end of steam (the store, community pages etc.) is already html, and I assume this will be easy to reach through shift-tab.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I absolutely think user-created game guides are a great idea, just not tied to Steam’s shoddy whitescreen architecture. Navigating those things is going to be a huge pain for a lot of people.

  5. F. Lynx Pardinus says:

    I find collaborative efforts like Wikia have become more useful to me than individual efforts like Gamefaqs. For example, the Wikia pages for Fallout: New Vegas were really helpful during my playthrough this fall. Does or will Steam have options for collaborative guides?

  6. Metalhead9806 says:

    Certain strategy guilds are worth getting. Like the massive elder scrolls ones. they are as large as phone books and imo add to the experience. yeah you can go online for the info but there’s something about those books. Its like a trusty companion you take wth you through your adventure.

    • Phantoon says:

      Well, my opinion is that I don’t like playing any of the Elder Scrolls games first time through with any sort of guide.

  7. uh20 says:

    all of these community goodies going around steam is ok

    what makes them really nice though is when your using big-picture, thats when these in-built community things actually look attractive

    otherwise, any guide on a website will do, and this is just a minor thing

  8. Bob says:

    A guide eh? That’s what Steam buddies are for, if they have played the game of course.

    I must admit to having a chuckle when I saw a Prima Guide for Just cause 2 in the Steam Store.
    I’ll save you $20 or more with that one: Blow stuff up. Find stuff. Also if you find the time, do some story missions. :D

  9. Radiant says:

    The best strategy guide I’ve EVER bought was the soul calibur V one by Future Press.

    Everyone should buy that just to see how lovely it is.

  10. Radiant says:

    I might do one for Frozen Synapse.
    If I can get wonderhero involved.