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...you'd think, "Well, they probably had a staff of 50 running around doing all sorts of different things." No, we did not.
December 11, 2012 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Back then -- it's hard to imagine now, because we have so many tools, including YouTube walkthroughs and so on. It's hard to imagine that we were all playing games on little toilet paper tubes -- this narrow perspective of what the game world was. To have these maps suddenly spoke to how large the game world was, which then resulted in this tremendous feeling of empowerment, because you could feel it, finally. You could finally know what was beyond the edge of your television screen in the next area.
Nintendo Power: Remembering America's Longest-Lasting Game Magazine (previously)
posted by griphus (17 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: There is a still open Nintendo Power thread, I'm not sure why this isn't there? -- jessamyn



 
I still have my pocket-sized special edition issue that I received for lining up like a good little lemming to see The Wizard on opening day. The movie was somewhat forgettable but man, those screen shots of Super Mario Bros. 3...I remember staring at them for months until I finally got my hands on the game.
posted by trackofalljades at 10:20 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I kind of miss the big, fold-out maps you used to get in games, the collection of random oddities. The map that came with Lands Of Lore, the little toolkit that came with AutoDuel. Infocom's questionably-named "Feelies".

I still have an intact copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, with peril-sensitive sunglasses, microscopic space fleet and some pocket lint.
posted by mhoye at 10:31 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could finally know what was beyond the edge of your television screen in the next area.

I grew up in a mixed NES / Sega Master System household. One of my favorite games was the SMS port of Choplifter, but I could never get past the third level with the cave. While I had a subscription to Nintendo Power, I didn't have access to the equivalent magazine for the Master System. Thus, I didn't realize that there are three additional levels beyond the cave until 2005 when I found a playthrough on Youtube, and I can't begin to relate how earth-shattering this discovery was.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:35 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't have an early Nintendo nor did I subscribe to Nintendo Power but I had a best friend who did. And since, when taking turns playing a game, I would read the magazine when it wasn't my turn, I read so many detailed articles about so many games I never played. When I get overwhelmed by gaming culture now, I realize that it's not just that it's gotten so much bigger but that I was much more invested. Thanks Nintendo Power.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:38 AM on December 11, 2012


You wanted them to take that 20 percent of the blockers that were blocking 80 percent of the players and get them out in the magazine somehow. [...] We knew the 800 number wouldn't last, so we needed to get something in place that they would consider to be better than the 800 number.
Speaking of things that seem incomprehensible in retrospect: I honestly sometimes wonder if I dreamed the Game Counselors. No kidding it "wouldn't last" — imagine how much money Nintendo was burning on that program. Former NP readers, if you're ever tempted to launch into the Games Used to be Hard nostalgia trip, try to remember the massive company-funded infrastructure that used to be there to support you when you played those hard games — because apparently, exactly like a 2010s developer, Nintendo was terrified that you'd get stuck at a "blocker" and then never buy another one of their games again.
posted by RogerB at 10:45 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I attribute the countless hours I have logged, and still log to this day, in Final Fantasy I to its Nintendo Power strategy guide, which I got back when I got the game. It's the first strategy guide I ever even SAW and I still have it. It's not in the best condition, it has some errors, recent remakes of FF1 have rendered much of it incomplete or obsolete—but I will never dispose of that strategy guide.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 10:47 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never had a subscription to the magazine, so I'd gleefully ingest any copy I could get my hands on from friends. My favourite issue of Nintendo Power was the one with a 16-page guide that demonstrated all the cool stuff you could do with Mario Paint, including recreating scenes from Zelda and Mario, music included. I don't think I'll ever forget the sense of demystification and accomplishment.
posted by blue t-shirt at 10:52 AM on December 11, 2012


Longest lasting video game magazine, perhaps, but still not as long a run as Dragon.
posted by JamesD at 11:07 AM on December 11, 2012


From the article: He wanted to use people who were involved in the Japanese print magazine business to help us make a magazine that would approach it editorially from that same point of view.

This is an important thing, maybe the most important thing to NP's early success. Although there were some very amateurish aspects to early Nintendo Power, they did an amazing job of getting through that enthusiasm for video games. Posters with original artwork, big level maps, and art all over the place. I think the art director at the time must have had something against having white edges, because page after page the art would extend all the way to the edge of the paper. Competitor Electronic Gaming Monthly also took that approach, being largely a clone of Japanese magazine Weekly Famitsu, but they would throw have huge advertising sections masquerading as content. Sure, you could argue that Nintendo did that with their whole magazine, but at least their company name was on the cover.

Reading this article makes me appreciate Howard Phillips all the more. What a big loveable nerd.

FFI guidebook: it has some errors

Tell me about it. All of those enemy weapon weaknesses it lists are not actually in the game.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2012


Ehhh. The point of the games IMHO was your explore them without a pretty walk through. And I'd die before calling am 800 number. The available games were harder on average compared to the massive selection pool now but the pool has gotten too diverse to really compare against the past, just as Nintendo wildly expanded the field after people realized most Atari games were clones and you could never win.
posted by lordaych at 11:23 AM on December 11, 2012


The movie was somewhat forgettable but man, those screen shots of Super Mario Bros. 3...I remember staring at them for months until I finally got my hands on the game.

The best thing about Super Mario Bros. 3 was that, after all that hype and build-up, the game actually was that good.
posted by Kosh at 11:49 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still struggle to decide which is better: SMB2 or SMB3. Both really solid games.

I did not have the cash for a NP subscription when I was at this age, but I knew a kid from a well-off family who did. He had the subscription. He called Game Counselors. He had the NES MAX and the NES Advantage.

He wasn't a friend of mine, but I sure did spend a lot of time at his house.
posted by rocketman at 12:33 PM on December 11, 2012


And to this day, I still fire up my emulator to play some River City Ransom. For some reason, I could grind on that game for days and days.
posted by rocketman at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOW 'BOUT THIS?!
posted by rocketman at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2012


Sometimes they would purchase big licenses or put a lot of energy into a game that just doesn't work out to be very fun or balanced. Those games did not get as much coverage, even if the licensee begged or pleaded. [laughs] The answer was still no. It was considered quite a coup to have your game featured on the cover and to get major editorial coverage.

Haha! Wacky old-timers!
posted by Sparx at 2:07 PM on December 11, 2012


I honestly sometimes wonder if I dreamed the Game Counselors. No kidding it "wouldn't last" — imagine how much money Nintendo was burning on that program.

In middle school there was a particularly bratty kid who had all the games and always bragged that he had beaten them all. He often claimed that because of this mastery, he had been appointed a "Nintendo Power Pro" and had in his possession a special device that connected to the the telephone and allowed him sync up to people's games so he could be an on-call volunteer game counselor.

Maybe he was on to something....
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:22 PM on December 11, 2012


Open Nintendo Power thread.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:26 PM on December 11, 2012


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