Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Power Drain

It's been a long time coming, but now it's here: Nintendo Power Magazine is shutting down after 24 years. If nothing else, a lot of people's magazine collections are about to become really valuable.

I am feeling about as rotten about this as I did when Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson died. Yes, Nintendo Power was a nakedly commercial corporate thing - a singularly genius bit of marketing by Nintendo of America in realizing that there was going to be a "gamer culture" and getting in front of it with a big, glossy fan magazine of their own. (You can read the first issue in PDF format HERE.)

But it was a HUGE deal, legitimately, as well: Pre-internet, I don't think a lot of gamers (myself included) would've become gamers without NP to show them that there were others and that codes, strategies, maps, fan-art etc was meant to be shared. Having this magazine showing up at my house every month for a decade or so did more to make me a better reader than almost any book did, and I can say for a fact that there were a lot of NES/SNES games now considered benchmark classics that I don't think a lot of people would've connected with without NP "covering" them. A whole generation of (American) gamers were introduced to JRPGs when Nintendo Power gave away a free copy of DragonQuest (as "Dragon Warrior") as a re-subscription bonus. I myself got my first internet connection - and first exposure to the "medium" where I now make my living - in order to use the Nintendo Power AOL site. The AVGN once summed up the memories thusly:

I hadn't subscribed in years - like everyone else, The Internet replaced magazines for things like that for me - but it's still pretty sad to see it go. This is real end-of-an-era stuff - another huge part of the Golden Age of Gaming is gone. In my mind, this is as quietly-devastating a loss as when Sega abandoned consoles.

Rest in peace, old friend.


Thomas Winwood said...

Does this mean we know what the next Overthinker episode will be about, or are you actually planning on ignoring nostalgia in favour of looking at things that actually need attention drawn to them?

Aiddon said...

well, that's depressing

MerelyAFan said...

@Thomas Winwood

Honestly, if there was something Nintendo and nostalgic worth doing a show over it would be NP, and Bob could do a hell of a job with it.

Hell it'd be an episode that could tie in the Overthinker and Retrothinker characters almost better than anything.

biomechanical923 said...

I don't see why Nintendo Power couldn't make a transition to the internet like a lot of magazines are doing.

Hell, "Cracked" started out as ripoff of MAD Magazine, and it eventually transitioned onto the internet as one of the top comedy sites (Better than SomethingAwful)

Anonymous said...

Your upset by a magazine not publishing any more as much as real people dying?

Newsflash you already had better access to news, hints, guides for over a decade.

Redd the Sock said...

I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did after gamefaqs came along. Its value as a magazine was usually limited, but prior to the internet, it was an invaluable tips, maps, and cheats manual. You never wanted to miss an issue in case you rented something it covered one day. And boy could it make any bit of crap look good. From hidden gems, to total turds, there's a lot of games I wouldn't have touched without NP's influence.

Anonymous said...

GameFaqs strategy guides are a pale comparison to the comfort and ease of a Nintendo Power strategy guide. Someone got paid to those guides so they always looked top notch and were perfect for what you needed. I have never been guided wrong with a Nintendo Power guide.

I find 99 per cent of website previews for games to also pale in comparison.

As for reviews... well, nobody purchased Nintendo Power for reviews.

Nathan Lickliter said...


You have to remember that people look at things different. While Nintendo Power closing doesn't mean squat to me, Sega getting out of the console market did mean as much as Jim Henson dying.

Because Sega meant that much to my childhood. Even today, playing my Genesis brings the same amount of emotion back as watching old Muppets Show reruns on Youtube. So, I understand where Bob is coming from. Part of our childhoods are dead now. We can try and recapture them, but it won't ever be the same.

Anonymous said...

Nope, still not seeing it. A magazine, console, or video game franchise ending is still not the same as a person dying.

Heck at least bring up all the people who are going to lose their jobs if you want to feel sad about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon1, please don't try the "moral relativism" thing to try and devalue Bob's article paying tribute to Nintendo Power.

This is a blog about video games and video game-related news. I'd say that's okay to talk about on a blog about video games. Sure, a lot of people are losing their jobs from Nintendo Power shutting down too. That's sad, nobody's denying that. But trying to bring something like that up on a blog where talking about video games is the whole point just comes off as bad form for you.

Anonymous said...

That would be the case if anyone but Bob said it.

But being that Bob DID say it, and has gone on record numerous times on how he owes his very life to Nintendo, one can very well see him as depressed about this as a person dying.

Anonymous said...

Actually not many people will lose their jobs because of this.

Nintendo saw the writing on the wall as far as the magazine would go as far back as 2007, when they contracted the magazine out to Future US.

All the employees WERE working on the mag at Nintendo just went on to other parts of the marketing department, or if any were let go, they were quickly replaced with other employees with their move to New York and California, so no net jobs were lost. (Sucks for the Seattle people though)

Every reason Nintendo Power was created has been replaced by other means, either from Nintendo or the internet.

-No need for gameplay strategies when Gamefaqs is a click away.

-No need for news, even exclusives when those and any other news tidbits will be thrown onto the internet within seconds, if not leaked before.

-No need for exclusive re-subscription goodies because those have been moved to Club Nintendo.

-No need for features, because the online presence takes care of most of that, through facebook, youtube,their E3 network and Nintendo Direct

Nintendo can now directly market to their consumers.

Don't be sad that it's ending after all these years. And definitely don't be mad that Nintendo is ending it, when they clearly lost interest in late 2007, yet allowed the magazine to exist for 4 more years anyway.

And look on the sweet side. It's not like the magazine is suddenly ending like EGM. They have 4 more issues left and they are assuredly going to make them memorable. In fact, I wouldnt' be surprised if Nintendo Power ends as it began, with a Mario game on the cover.

Michael Sriqui said...

My name is Michael Sriqui, I am a big fan of the game overthinker, eventhough I did not grow up during the era of the NES I still have fond memories of nintendo power. I think I just discovered something incredible when reading the pdf of the first issue of Nintendo Power; if you look at the NES Achiever's rankings for Super Mario Bros. the person on the top of that list is none other that Cliff Bleszinski the creator of Gears of War, I checked the location as well and it turns out that the place they list as his hometown is realy where Cliffy B. comes from. Holy Sh@#t I guess that Cliffy B. was a big SMB player when he was younger.