NettoSaito's Nintendo Power Memories

Well today was the day a lot of us knew was coming... The final issue of Nintendo Power finally hit my local store shelves, ending its 25 year long run. For anyone who is a video game fan who was a kid back when Nintendo was king, Nintendo Power was one of them big name magazines that you were either getting, or wished you could get. It was the main source for all video game related news, and it also served as a guide in many different ways.

Back then, up until the early 2000s, the internet wasn't quite like it is today; there wasn't all of these fan sites, not as many big name media websites, and well, just not many people really had access to the internet like they do today. If you wanted to get online, you would have to dial the internet, which would take quite a few seconds as well as tie up your phone line, open up your web browser, somehow find one of the websites out there, and then wait who knows how long for the page to load. Still all of this would happen only if you had a home computer yourself, or knew someone who had one.

To put it simply, the internet wasn't something you would want to use for gaming, and the most you would really find would be rumors made up by fans (the Nintendo 64 era with Ninja Mario and Luigi in Mario 64 is a perfect example of this). If you really wanted to keep up with the world of video games, you would be reading Nintendo Power.

The Last Issue:

It's really sad to see the magazine end, but the truth is, magazines just aren't needed like they were back in the day. Now days you DO have the internet, there's millions of websites out there you can check out to get your gaming news (heck we're all on one right now, and you are all reading someone's blog), you've got youtube and other video services, there's social networks and forums, and there's massive official websites as well. If you want to find out something related to a game, you can find it out in a matter of seconds. If you're stuck in a game, just load up GameFAQs and read one of the millions of walk throughs uploaded. All of this information is extremely accessible now days, and that is what killed Nintendo Power.

Anyway, the issue itself is a tribute to Nintendo Power in general. The front cover is actually a "modern day" version of the first Nintendo Power's cover (featuring Mario jumping off of a gomba with Bowser in the background), and the entire issue talks about its long running history. From short letters sent in by long time fans, to a long list of Nintendo Power's top games spanning all 25 years, and even a year by year look at some of the magazine's milestones (from the nightmare cover which had parents raging, up to, well, today). The last issue really does a nice job covering its history, and it even includes a nice poster of all of the cover arts. Sadly though, the issue is still in fact a "small sized" issue (as I like to call them) which started coming out in 2006. Yep, that's right, instead of the 200 or so paged issues we used to get, this one is only 97.

The issue also includes some very quick overviews of some of the Wii U games, but each one only gets two pages. New Super Mario Bros U, Batman Arkham City, Assassin's Creed III, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Zombi U, etc, these articles aren't the full game coverage we've come to expect from Nintendo Power, but that's alright. This issue was a tribute to Nintendo Power itself, and it is very clear that was the main focus of it.

At the back of the issue we get to see one last Nester comic, followed by a "Game Over, Thank you for reading" page, and the "you found the ocarina" advertisement we've been seeing since Zelda OoT. It's a really nice, yet also sad way to end it all.

My Memories:

When it comes to Nintendo Power, I have quite a lot of good memories, and bad memories as well. When I was growing up playing the NES, and SNES, Nintendo Power was completely out of the question for me. Back then debit cards really weren't around, and to order Nintendo Power you had to have a credit card, the type of credit card my parent's DIDN'T have. So basically, even if I would have managed to talk my parents into ordering it, they truly wouldn't have been able to. Still that didn't stop me from looking at all of the Nintendo Power offers that came with the games I would get. I remember looking at that Super Mario Bros 3 lamp with the angry son, and I always wished I could own it... Yeah, that never happened.
Jump ahead quite a few years, and the Nintendo 64 was out, but once again, I still wasn't able to get Nintendo Power. Sure I had seen/read older issues, but I still never owned it for myself. If I wanted to read Nintendo Power, I would either have to read my cousin's, my uncles, or hopefully find one in a store to read (as I did quite often with Nintendo guides). I still remember reading one that my uncle had which actually covered the secret unlockable characters in Super Smash Bros, which I had rented that day. I spent all day using that guide to help me unlock characters like Ness, but in the end, I wasn't able to do it. Since the video stores only allowed 2 day rentals back then, I had to return the game before I even got close. Still, I do have good memories of playing the game, reading Nintendo Power, and working through it with my cousins.
It actually wasn't until the Nintendo GameCube that I was able to get Nintendo Power myself, and just in time for the Pokemon Colosseum issue as well as the issue that followed (due to when I ordered it, I actually got two months shipped to me on the same day)! Sitting there on the front room floor in front of my GCN as I looked at all of the features this new 3D Pokemon game would bring. I liked the character design, I liked what I read about the story, I liked how it reminded me of Pokemon Stadium, and well, I just couldn't wait to play it! I read that article over and over again looking for any small detail I could find, and it just made me want the games more and more.

In the years that followed other issues that really stood out to me was, well, when the "Developer System" (DS) was announced, Animal Crossing WW, Custom Robo, Metroid Prime 2, Mario 64 x 4 DS (Mario 64 DS), Pikmin 2, The World Ends With You, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Resident Evil 4, Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (which was announced long before the Wii), the announcement of the "revolution," there was the GBA SP "NES" special edition, Star Fox Command, Mario Kart DS, Lost in Blue, Megaman Battle Network 3, Time Hollow, Pokemon Pearl, Tales of Symphonia, and so on. I learned about so many great games between both Nintendo Power and Nintendo's Official Nsider Forums (where I spent a great deal of time), but once 2006 hit... Everything seemed to fall apart.
Not too long after the Wii finally came out, Nintendo Nsider shut down, (their yearly online event Camp Hyrule shut down just the year before), and Nintendo Power switched companies. This was when the issues went from being 200 + page long issues, with quite a few bonuses every few issues, to being short 90 (or less) paged issues, with hardly any bonuses to offer. Around this time the Xbox 360 and PS3 really picked up as well, and because of that they started getting the major games. Nintendo Power slowly brought me less and less use, with the games I actually cared about only being talked about in magazines such as Game Informer, and well, I just ran out of reasons to have it.

Around 2008 I had finally stopped getting Nintendo Power, with hopes that one day it would be able to pick up once again... Sadly that won't be happening.

Really it's kind of sad to think that now that Nintendo has a console that can actually get all of today's most wanted games, they are ending their magazine. I mean, now was their chance to cover all of the major games just like they did back in the day, as well as all of the great 3DS exclusives. Still, I guess there's no point in complaining about it now, because it's over...

Although I already bought an issue, I may actually go back to the store tomorrow and pick up a second (unopened) copy for the collectors value. Even though I haven't got a Nintendo Power in years, this last issue really has brought me back, and I know this will be another good Nintendo Power memory.
Well... Goodbye old friend.

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