You have to understand that before the internet was standard, before Gamefaqs or Prima Guides dominated, there was a quirky magazine called Nintendo Power. This was the holy bible for us kids growing up in the golden years of 1988-1996. It had everything from guides to cheat codes about all of the Nintendo games we loved. The magazine even had information about games of the future that were coming, some of them never did see the light of day. The simple tease about a sentence or two of a new Mario or Zelda title could send us kids into a frenzy. Eventually the magazine wasn’t breaking news anymore but those that were late bloomers to the Internet culture still got a few more years of its magic. The in-depth coverage became the only cornerstone of the magazine when you could just Yahoo Search or eventually Google them. News about upcoming games came from every direction and no longer relied on the magazine trade. Nintemdo Power still nailed guides though for simple games like Smash Brothers or collectible heavier games like Kirby 64.
The covers of Nintendo Power were pretty awful for the first few years. Mega Man 3 appeared on a 1991 cover but looked more like bad box art Mega Man’s son instead of the Blue Bomber. Bowser appeared on the Mario Kart cover looking like he was flipping the bird and other covers featured athletes that most people barely remember (Ken Griffey Jr). In terms of bad art the other major item that comes to mind is the comics of Nintendo Power. In the early days they featured former Nintendo President Howard Phillips reminding us to play with power and putting up with the hi-jinx of Nester (pictured to the right). Nester was a cocky and arrogant teenager who thought he was the bomb. The character was eventually dropped but he got his own game on the Virtual Boy called Nester’s Funky Bowling. Like the system itself the game wasn’t a winner.
Later comics over the years would feature the Star Fox cast, Batteloads, Killer Instinct, Pokemon, and Kirby to name a few. The Pokemon comic put the anime into comic book form but you got to remember this magazine released only 12 times a year. It was crazy behind and had no intention of catching up so you would have Ash battling Misty when on the show they were on the 7th gym or so. The Star Fox comics were awful but at least featured something original, the Pokemon comics always came off as insulting.
The August issue marks the 281st issue of Nintendo Power to be released after 24 years. The magazine is set to end by December of this year or January of next year due to decreased sales. With EGM having died a few years back this is the last of the old magazines to end. Although I had long outgrown it, a part of my childhood has come to a close. The magazine stands as a history of the last 24 years of Nintendo showcasing dead dreams, forgotten console names like Dolphin, and classic 1 UP tricks that swept our culture.
Nick Gearhart: I would read Nintendo Power all the time as a kid. Heck, I still have a couple old gaming magazines laying around my house somewhere. It’s really sad that its ending and that as far as gaming magazines go we have Game Informer (which is going digital), OXM and PTOM and that’s about it. At least there is 24 years of bad comics and art to reminisce upon.
John “Smurgendorf” Soto III: I remember joining the Nintendo Fun Club as instructed by Doc in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! and then being sad to see it go just as soon as I joined. What replaced it was something even at the time I knew would be so much better. Issue 1 of Nintendo Power arrived with its clay rendering of Super Mario Brothers 2 on the cover and my 9 year old mind exploded. And it always seemed to deliver the best news first. The first time I held that amazing Final Fantasy guide and flipping thru those pages in sheer wonder of that game, the posters that came with each issue, very few publications have had as much as an impact on my young life as Nintendo Power had. It’s a real shame to see it go.