Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The End

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.


Gordy said...

I'll perhaps feel a similar way if and when they cancel the Dandy over here, even though I haven't read it in many years.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Wow, this is pretty stunning.

I was a subscriber for about ten or so years. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've got the majority of that run (from the early '90s to the early 2000s) somewhere.

It'd be interesting to see them after all these years. Interesting indeed.

BookwormOtaku said...

Will this feature in a future Overthinker episode?

Brick said...

Damn. End of an era, truly, though I never did subscribe. Couldn't they theoretically stay on by just abandoning the magazine itself, and switch to purely a Website?

Daniel R said...

We don't have Nintendo Power in México. But I have a closet full of "Club Nintendo" and "Atomix" issues.

I'd be just as depressed if either of those went out of business.

Omegalittlebob said...

I'm only 21 and I didn't start getting Nintendo Power until 2003, but it was still a huge part of my growth as a gamer who grew up in the Gamecube era. It is an unfortunate day indeed.

Chris Cesarano said...

I remember being a little kid and propping an issue of Nintendo Power onto the arm rest of our couch while I had a notebook in my lap, trying to imitate what I saw in there. I once lamented the loss of hand-drawn art for gaming marketing materials, but this is even bigger.

Nintendo Power and gaming instruction manuals are pretty much what taught me how to draw.

Of course, there are other things as well. I remember being excited to read about Earthbound 64, reading through the Secret of Mana guide for three issues straight, and discovering Harvest Moon through the magazine.

I, sadly, chose Playstation over N64 (I had to choose one, and I went with Final Fantasy 7), so I ended my subscription. Still, it's sad to see this happen.

Eze said...

Truly an end of an era. I remember my first Nintendo Power and how I looked forward to getting a new one every month. I learned to draw well with Nintendo Power. I learned a slew of secrets too. It will be missed.

pokegiohgirl said...

Being under 20 years old, my first issue of NP had the brand new Nintendo DS on it, and I was hooked ever since. I'm still subscribed today, even after having a huge debacle with losing two of my issues while it was being sent to my college address this year. I was able to reclaim one on ebay but I'm still missing the other (April 2012), and I was pretty pissed because it had never happened before. I guess they were just showing the signs.

I'm gonna make a prediction and say they'll stretch out to issue 300 before they bow out. And I'm proud to say I'll be there when they do, with all of the other great Nintendo fans.

Tony Russo said...

I never realized how happy that stupid old magazine made me until right now.

Wow. :(

My first issue was for Pokemon stadium. IT WAS SO COOL. You could take your pokemon from your gameboy color and play them on your nintendo 64.

Anonymous said...

Could've given a crap less about NP, cause I had my awesome Game Players Magazine, which was a shit ton funnier, though I was always on the lookout for my friend's new issues to see if they had any more of those awesome comics they would sometimes publish.

KYO said...

I remember getting the Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones guide as a re-subscription bonus. That was my reason to get the game and it has become one of my favorites on the GBA. I can't believe that I won't be seeing the mag anymore.

Anonymous said...


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