Game FAQ Writers: Unsung Heroes of the Internet


When checking the web for a clue or strategy in a game, it’s easy to forget that those FAQs were written by dedicated gamers just like you.

How many times have you been stumped on a puzzle or boss in a game and just couldn’t figure out how to beat it? You may just shell out the 20 bones on the “official” guide, only to find that it lacks the detail you need. For some gamers, that was the only motivation needed to start writing their own guides and walkthroughs. Congregating at sites like GameFAQs, these FAQ writers are a special breed who spend hours on their helpful documents for little to no compensation beyond the pleasure of providing a service to their fellow gamer. Robert Janelle takes a closer look at these writers in Issue 245 of The Escapist:

While game guide writers come from a variety of places and backgrounds, what most seem to have in common is how they got started: dissatisfaction with the information currently available for the games they were playing.

Daniel Engel, a 27-year-old from southern Ontario, started writing game guides after playing Equinox for the SNES. Not finding much information on how to get through the game, he decided to start writing out what he already knew to try and gain some clarity and insight into how the game worked. “It was good to collect my thoughts and work my way through it,” he says. “It helped me get through the game, so I shared it with everyone else.” Engle has kept at it: To date he has written and shared more than 100 guides.

Sometimes the work that an author does on an FAQ does get noticed, and they’re offered jobs to write for a game’s official guide. But just as often, these writers prefer to work on a purely volunteer basis. That’s what makes them Bad MotherFAQers.

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