It is with a strong twinge of nostalgia that I report the following sad news: the end is nigh for Nintendo Power, a gaming magazine that pretty much defined what I thought was cool in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. For those of you who aren’t aware, this wondrous publication used to provide tips, tricks, strategies, and walkthroughs for all the NES games we loved; it would also offer tantalizing glimpses of each “next big thing” in the realm of 8-bit gaming. It was, in short, the most exciting magazine I had ever read. Of course, this was during the halcyon days when Nintendo ruled the world (so it seemed to me when I was in 3rd grade, anyway).
It’s hardly shocking that print strategy guides, like so many other written publications, have basically been rendered obsolete by the widespread availability of information on the web (gaming guides, news articles, blogs, etc.). According to Ars Technica, Nintendo itself seems largely responsible for the end ofNintendo Power: the venerable Japanese video game company expressed little interest in embracing the “digital initiatives” suggested by Future Publishing (the game guide’s publisher since 2007). Without a solid online presence, Nintendo Power was bound for the ash heap of history, but I’m still sad to see it go.
As a tribute to the magazine, Mashable’s Christina Warren has shared a gallery of some classic Nintendo Power covers. It’s worth checking out, if only to gain a bit of perspective on how far game technology—not to mention game-related artwork—has come over the years. One of my personal favorites is theCastlevania II cover, which features a helmeted Simon Belmont wearing his trademark bullwhip on his belt and carrying the severed head of Dracula in his right hand (no chance that gave me nightmares when I was a kid).
I also love the Mega Man II cover, because it reminds me of that proud day when I finally made it to the end of Dr. Wily’s lair and defeated the mad scientist using something called “Bubble Lead,” a weapon which the eponymous, blue-suited hero of the game had looted from the exploded robotic corpse of a crazed scuba diver. Sounds perfectly normal, right? In truth, it’s unfortunate that today’s mainstream games have substituted detailed technical realism for the eccentric creativity that gave rise to the Mega Mans, Castlevanias, Zeldas, Marios, and Metroids of yesteryear. All the graphics and sound effects in the world can’t replace the simple joy of stomping on a Koopa Troopa and punting his shell at his comrades.