It’s December, which means that an end of an era has occurred for not just Nintendo fans, but video game fans in general. Yes, this month gave us the final publication of Nintendo Power, a staple in many young gamer’s lives for about 24 years. To commemorate the swan song of this childhood cornerstone, we decided to open up a round table discussing memories and reactions to the sad news.
Nintendo Power’s finally over. It just feels so… wrong. The Nintendo magazine has been around my entire life! I was never a subscriber to NP– I was a newsstand browser who picked up the occasional issue– but I’ve been reading the magazine since the Nintendo 64 days, and I have many a fond memory of combing through pages to read letters, admire screenshots, and get the scoop on Nintendo games. It was a time when we actually found out about new game reveals straight from the magazine!
Nintendo Power became more than a magazine, it was an extension of Nintendo in the Western world. The magazine became as much a part of the Nintendo culture as much as the people who ran the company. We even had a Virtual Boy game based on Nester from Nintendo Power! As a lifelong fan of Nintendo and game culture aficionado, it really pains me to see the magazine go. In this age of the internet, there is still a place for physical magazines.
In a better world, NP would have stayed strong and started to break exclusive stories from Nintendo like it used to. In a world with justice, Nintendo would have taken back the magazine after it didn’t renew with Future Publishing.
I just bought a copy of the final issue of Nintendo Power today. It’s sealed in a plastic sleeve, and I intend on keeping it that way forever. For reasons that I can’t quite explain, the end of Nintendo Power has made me profoundly sad. I will truly miss it. You had a good run, NP.
My parents didn’t subscribe to any magazines when I was growing up, so my experience with Nintendo Power (outside of the few occasions my dad, who worked at a paper mill, would bring issues home with him) was limited to that brief period of time when Nintendo offered a free trial of the magazine to Club Nintendo members. This was just after the publication re-branded itself in an attempt to stay relevant, right around the launch of the original Wii. I really enjoyed the few issues I got; I thought their layout was sleek and modern, especially their gorgeous, glossy covers, and the features within each were extensive and well-written. I didn’t renew my subscription once the free trial ended (I could barely sustain myself with the income I made, so I could do without any new expenses), but I came away with a new appreciation for the magazine.
Still, while I may not have the same personal attachment to it as many other Nintendo fans, I’m just as sad to see the magazine being shuttered after 25 years of publication. Nintendo Power essentially kickstarted the field of games journalism when it launched back in 1988, paving the way for fansites like Nintendojo a decade later. More importantly, it shaped many gamers’ tastes by exposing them to the newest and best titles on Nintendo consoles. It’s sad to see such a prominent part of the industry fading away, but that’s just a reality of out times. Print is being supplanted by the Internet, and even the most beloved magazines aren’t immune to technological progress.
I suppose my fondest memory of Nintendo Power, then, would have to be when I met the Hoff himself at Disney World this past September. It was an honor to hang out with such a longtime member of the publication, and it really put this whole loss into perspective. Nintendo Power was an institution of the games industry, and seeing it go leaves the field a little emptier, and certainly a lot less heartfelt.
I wanted just one copy of Nintendo Power— just one. I was nine years old and on the verge of walking the three miles to Target just to buy a newsstand copy of the magazine, just to finally hold in my hands what I’d drooled over for so many years. Perhaps recognizing this unparalleled furor in me, my mother finally caved in, and showed me a copy of Nintendo Power: volume 121, the Pokémon Yellow magazine. She said she’d let me have it when I got straight A’s in all my subjects. So, of course, I did. (Though I ended up reading it anyway, since I’d scour the closet for the hidden magazine when my parents had fallen asleep.) I must’ve read that magazine hundreds of times. That cover, for sure, has been ingrained in my head.
Now of course, I haven’t had as much time– or as much inclination, I suppose– to read Nintendo Power, even though I’ve been a subscriber for a good thirteen years now. But I’m still a fan of the NP Krew. (Even though staff nicknames like that are a little out of style.) I begged my cousin to give me his copies of the Nintendo Fun Club newsletter, and his beat-up copies of old magazines (including the first, iconic cover!). I even wrote letters, with art on the envelopes, hoping to get even a sentence published. I ended up with two letters published– a suggestion that the NP Krew should be in the next Super Smash Bros. game as well as an early critique of Nintendo’s silliness with third parties. Saying that these publications made my grade school years would be an understatement.
The best part of Nintendo Power, though, has always been its staff’s participation with its audience. This magazine was what introduced me not only to N-Sider, or to the Nintendo Cheat Code Vault, but also to incredible events and people like Camp Hyrule and Jason Leung, whose memoirs along with others you can read here. True, the whole rag was an advertisement in disguise– but I freakin’ loved these advertisements. I will always look back fondly at Nintendo Power‘s glory days, and there’s no doubt that the magazine changed my life. I’m here at Nintendojo, aren’t I? I play games, don’t I? Yes. I do. Thanks, NP Krew. You will be missed.
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