Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The day the classic publication died - Nintendo Power, revisited

at 11:47 PM
I've always considered myself a voice screeching for progress and ridding our world of cultural and societal detritus that has long outlived its usefulness. It disgusts me that newspapers and paper mail still exist, I'm baffled every time someone tells me their "home phone number", and the fact that cars still run on gasoline is one of the biggest scams of the industrial world. Likewise, magazines are kind of a joke. They accomplish nothing that can't be done a hundred times better with more advanced technology. I'm not saying the concept of a serialized publication with in-depth articles, features, and columns needs to go, just the dentist office waiting room medium. And if you're thinking right now "they aren't hurting anyone", have you ever looked at a modern magazine? I've found some in the possession of decrepit and irrelevant aged folk and out of curiosity paged through - they are literally more advertisement than content - sometimes by a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio.

This looked so good next to
my Army of Darkness poster
That's why I acknowledge that, though it saddens me to see Nintendo Power go, it had a good life and is better left a memory of the time it served. Sure, I haven't picked up an issue in five or six years, and some will (probably rightfully) claim that at a certain point it became little more than a mouthpiece for Nintendo. But NP was a big part of growing up for me, and of learning to love games [history lesson for perspective: I'm 24, born in '88, first console was an NES that I got at age 3]. It really did teach me how to play, how to break games down and pull them apart at a meta-textual level. Without it, I may never have moved beyond looking at my "Nintendo" as a 30-minute toy. I doubt it affects many kids the same way in 2012. Aren't we glad for GameFAQs (only half-sarcastically I say that). 

The biggest cred I can give the magazine is that without it, I never would have known about or bought Ogre Battle 64, probably the most influential work of art in my life. I remember reading NP's coverage and being so intrigued by what this game could be, so confused and yet excited about how different it sounded from anything I'd ever played, and how the game actually had like a real story! I've played through OB64 a half dozen times since then and you'll surely be reading more about it on the blog (god forbid you stay around for that long), yet one of my fondest memories of the game is being 11 years old and reading the NP preview over and over again, memorizing all the strategies and charts explaining the class system and the branching narrative, eagerly anticipating October 7, 2000.

This boring reminiscence can't be entertaining, so I'll stop there, before I embarrass myself by revealing that I even once mailed a letter into Player's Pulse to correct an incorrectly depicted X-Wing. But if you're like me and have a history with the mag, do yourself a favor and go dig through your closet for an old issue. Can't get a more direct dose of nostalgia than that (legally, that is). And look at it this way: if you're on your best behavior and make sure to ask REALLY politely, maybe Weird Al will write a song about it!


  1. I was a casual gamer before I started reading Nintendo Power who only played like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart. It introduced me to Fire Emblem, Phoenix Wright, Dragon Quest, Castlevania, among other series. Without Nintendo Power telling me about good games, I am pretty sure I would have turned into a COD Bro. Mad respect for the defunct publication.

  2. A guy I dated in high school gave me a bunch of Nintendo Power magazines as a gift. It was the most romantic thing that had happened to me at the time.

    Unfortunately, that was like, a million years ago, and I remember nothing I read in them.