I was spending some time cleaning out my room this weekend and came across an old binder that I used for keeping hand written notes in about games I was playing. Things like where to find specific Pokemon, who I needed to talk to about a quest, hand drawn maps, etc. I was looking through it and I realized modern games you really don’t need to do this anymore because everything is built into the game itself most of the time along with getting better at finding ways to inform the player about something and just the internet existing now in a much more accessible form. But there was something honestly really magical about finding these old physical pieces of paper and remembering that this was how friends and I used to write our own mini guides.
This got me thinking, is expecting players to keep notes outside of the game itself (digital or physical) an acceptable gameplay mechanic these days? Is there something to be gained by telling the player at the start “Go buy a $1 composition book so you can jot notes down in it” or “Here’s a QR code for a map that you can open up on your phone to draw on or print out”? Zachtronics games have regularly done this (Exapunks has entire zines) and I think part of the reason I like these games is the physical element of it.
What are your thoughts on this? Is asking a player to take notes or read/examine something outside of the game a bonus or a downside?