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Walkthroughs, also known as FAQs or strategy guides, are player-authored documents that provide step-by-step instructions on how to play and what to do in order to finish a given video game. Exegetical in their length and detail, walkthroughs require hours of exacting labor to complete. Yet authors are rarely compensated for work that markedly differs from other kinds of fan creativity. To understand their motivations, I interviewed six veteran GameFAQs authors, then inductively analyzed the transcripts. Open coding surfaced five themes attributable to each participant. Together, these themes constitute a shifting mix of motivations, including altruism, community belonging, self-expression, and recognition — primarily in the form of feedback and appreciation but also from compensation. These findings increase our understanding of the motivations that drive fan labor, even as they complicate assumptions about its exploitation.




University of Illinois at Chicago University Library

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