I recently completed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In the forum thread, I expressed how it totally made me reflect on I play games and made me realise that I'd gotten to a point where I just wasn't exploring and having fun, rather turning to a guide the minute I felt like I wasn't on the right track or getting frustrated. The latest Zelda games pretty much leaves you to your own devices and doesn't give you a check list of things to go search out like many open world games do.
The first time this happened, I almost immediately got a bit intimidated and went straight to look at a guide online to see where I was "supposed" to go. It almost instantly clicked with me that I'd been doing this all too often lately - the new Zelda was a chance for me to totally change that and take the game in a different way. And for that, I had a great time playing it and wasn't even bothered about things I may have missed. I have a friend who was using a guide to find all the shrines and Korok seeds in the world, and it made me so glad that I didn't go down that route, as actually carving my own way felt so much more rewarding.
I wouldn't say the time I've spent looking at guides for some games has made me waste my time with them, but it does make me feel some regret that I could've really spent my time with them a bit better. Dishonored and Hitman Bloody Money come to mind as two games where I would constantly just watch guide videos of how to complete missions, and it makes me feel like I've totally missed the fun and the point of those games (luckily I've got Dishonored 2 ready to play to rectify one of them!)
I can't say why it is that I got to a point where I'd just immediately use a guide for most story based games. There's a certain fear or missing out involved, as well as the relative ease today of finding out pretty much everything within every game. On top of that, finite time and wanting to play more games means I'm sometimes a bit over-keen to complete something (I try to see through the main story of pretty much every game I play).
I'd say that from now on, I'm in a much better mind frame to just limit the amount of times I use a guide, and really want to start just playing games my way rather than treating it like there's a "proper way to do it" (if that makes sense!) I don't think I'll entirely stop using them though. Sometimes I just really am stuck in games, I was playing Metroid on 3DS not too long ago and I just had absolutely no idea about where I was supposed to go. I spent ages just trying to figure it out and couldn't get it. I put the game down and want to get back into it, so feel like just looking quickly at the guide to get myself back on track and set me on my way isn't too big a deal.
How often do you use game guides? Do you have any regrets about using them too much or possibly using them and seeing particular spoilers? Are there any games you've used a guide for that you wish you hadn't?