Round Table: Nintendo Power Memories

The staff reflect upon the final publication of Nintendo Power.

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 12/17/2012 10:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

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.

Kyle England:

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.

Kevin Knezevic:

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.

Andrew Hsieh:

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 Pok√©mon 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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3 Responses to “Round Table: Nintendo Power Memories”

  • 702 points
    Matthew Tidman says...

    Having not subscribed to Nintendo Power for awhile now (since 2006 I think?) you would think that the news of its passing would not phase me one bit. Yet, looking back at the magazine it provided something that no one else was doing at the time: it gave us the real inside scoop on Nintendo. True, now most game journalism is done online, but for the notoriously tight-lipped Big N, Nintendo Power stood as a beacon where the best of Nintendo-related news would be shown to the world.

    I still remember how they suckered me into my first issue. I got the player’s guide to Pokemon TCG for Game Boy, not because I had any problem with it, but because I wanted that awesome promo card, and the only place I could still find the player’s guide was through a deal with Nintendo Power. From the first issue I was hooked. Every month provided new excitements. Within the pages of Nintendo Power, nothing could ever go wrong for Nintendo. Truly, Nintendo Power will be missed.

  • 784 points
    Marc Deschamps says...

    Andrew, the Pokemon Yellow issue was the second issue of my Nintendo Power subscription. This summer, I got it signed by Veronica Taylor. She’s insanely nice.

  • 201 points
    NintendoDad says...

    I was exposed early to Nintendo Power. Actually, I remember reading a couple issues of the Nintendo Fun Club (before Nintendo Power) that my cousin had. I think they had a guide for Kid Icarus and choosing the correct jars in the mini-game. I was so excited. I soon subscribed thereafter. My first issue was issue #4. They also sent a free copy of issue #1 with the subscription.

    I kept my subscription going for many years. Probably around 2002-2003 I finally let my subscription expire and did not renew. There were two reasons. One, with the internet the news in the magazine was no longer exclusive. Why pay for a once a month magazine when you could look at free websites that were updated every day? And two, this was when Nintendo Power featured a lot of comics, which I hated. It appears I was in the minority, but I felt Nintendo Power should offer game information, not a comic book. I remember thinking 20 pages devoted to comics just meant 20 pages not devoted to game news.

    A couple years later I decided to renew for some reason. It was the issue before they totally redesigned the mag (for the better in my opinion.) After seeing the redesign (I think it had Zelda: TP on the cover), I was hooked again. No, it wasn’t timely news but it was nice to read about Nintendo and not have to look at a screen. From then on I kept my subscription to the end.

    I thought the last issue was great. From the cover, the memories, the poster, the Nester comic…I don’t think they could have done a better job. I’ll be honest, I felt my throat getting tight a couple times while reading through it, knowing this was the last. I’m 40 years old now. And I’m going to miss that once a month feeling of seeing a new copy of Nintendo Power sitting in my mailbox. Luckily, I still have all of my old issues do I can always re-read them again when I feel the need.

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