‘Nintendo Power’ Is Canceled, Your Childhood Memories Have Been Mortally Wounded
When I was a kid, I'd start bugging my mom every Friday after school to drive me over to the video store so that I could rent a video game before all the good ones were gone, and the reason I knew which ones were good -- or thought I knew, anyway -- was that I was a subscriber to Nintendo Power. I read the magazine with a downright religious fervor during the NES and SNES eras, so I was more than a little saddened to find out that Nintendo Power is coming to an end.
As reported by Joystiq, Nintendo has declined to renew their licensing agreement with Future Publishing, the company that's been publishing NP since 2007, and will be canceling the magazine entirely in favor of online content.While I'm obviously a pretty big fan of online content, the physical form of Nintendo Power carries a huge amount of nostalgia for me. I have vivid memories of memorizing level maps and secret codes on my way to get a copy of Rockin' Kats or Power Blade for the weekend, and keeping that big Super Mario Bros. 3 guide handy until I wore out the binding on it, and I imagine a lot of people in my generation felt the same way.
But assuring impressionable young readers that Shatterhand was well worth playing and terrifying kids with a lurid cover featuring Dracula's severed head (which was awesome) weren't NP's only duties. One of my favorite aspects of the issues I read growing up were the comics. There was the regular Howard and Nester feature starring Nintendo Fun Club president Howard Phillips and his fictional Cool Teen Sidekick, of course -- all of which have been archived online -- but there were also great strips that helped flesh out the storylines of video games at a time when the games themselves weren't able to.
My favorite was always the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past adaptation stocked up with high-fantasy adventure that only slightly resembled the game on which it was based...
...but there was also that story that explained why Wario and Mario hated each other so much:
That strip is probably why I was so surprised when voices arrived in Mario games and I found out he had that accent. They weren't the only long-form stories, either; I have vivid memories of that one Starfox comic where Falco beat the living crap out of Fox in some weird, They Live-esque brawl.
But despite my nostalgia, time marches on. As much as I'm sad to see Nintendo Power go, it's impossible to argue that the Internet hasn't replaced its primary function. GameFaqs alone has pretty much rendered strategy guides obsolete, and game companies are fully able to get their hype machines going without having to get things printed up. You can even find comics about your favorite games in roughly nine billion webcomics, and if you want a more official version, maybe Dark Horse's already hugely successful upcoming release of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia will pave the way for more stories on that front in the coming years. Still, here's hoping they keep NP alive and well in some form as a digital endeavor, if only to spare my childhood.
And seriously, if anyone remembers the shopping code to Rockin' Kats, let me know. I can't find that issue anywhere in here.