So Long, Nintendo Power: A Look at the Best Classic Covers
Once upon a time Nintendo was more than a game company, it was the kind of community that you get among Apple users today. Maybe it was because gaming was still mostly a kid thing and kids are the world's best obsessors, or maybe it was just because Nintendo in '80s and '90s was just that freakin' awesome. There is no better argument for the latter than the magazine Nintendo Power, which will sadly close forever later this year.
For the last five years the magazine has been published under the direction of Future US, who says they will cease production this year. Nintendo has declined to either seek a new publisher or to take over the duty themselves as they did for the first 19 years.
Sure, the magazine was more catalog than journalism. You never saw a bad review for a Nintendo-licensed game. It also had a penchant for running contests for things it could either not deliver on, such as a cameo in the Mask 2, or for granting them in mindblowingly bad ways like with the infamous Chris Houlihan Room. Most damaging, gamers no longer hold their breath from month to month hoping that cheats and secrets for the game they were playing would appear. Now the internet does that.
Still, for sheer, childish enthusiasm Nintendo Power couldn't be beat. Every issue was a promise of hours of gameplay that would take you far away from your parents, your school, and whatever gives 10-year-olds angst. It's an aspect of gaming culture that simply no longer exists.
Trust me, I've got a Game Informer subscription with my GameStop rewards card and its piece of junk. Reading it feels like an assignment. Reading Nintendo Power was more along the lines of, "We both know this stuff is awesome. Sit down, kid, and let's talk about just how awesome it is!" The magazine was kind of like a friend, and at the time gaming was a somewhat lonely hobby so that was very welcome.
So goodbye, old friend. I had hoped one day to work for you and help bring others the same joy you brought me. I guess that's out the window. In the meantime, let's look back at some of the covers that brought a smile to my face when they arrived in the mail.