On August 21st, Nintendo of America announced that Nintendo Power, its monthly gaming publication, would cease publishing in December 2012. While I haven't subscribed to the magazine in years, I am sad to see it go. It was an important piece of gaming culture that helped foster an interest in gaming in a generation that would grow up and help make it what it is today.
Was Nintendo Power a product of marketing? Yes. But it was loved in spite of that. The magazine will be an artifact that provides insight on gaming culture. Many readers remember Nintendo Power for what it was during the 80's and 90's and how it was the main source of gaming information in a world where the internet wasn't a major part of daily life. For me, it was like looking into another world. I loved reading about gaming news, learning about game development, and the people who made them. I was introduced to people like Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Naka, Hideo Kojima, and Eiji Aonuma through articles and interviews on the games they were currently working on. All the old fanart, letters, and reviews published in the magazine contain people's thoughts, appreciation, and criticisms about Nintendo, the games released on their platforms, and their upcoming hardware (anyone remember the Gameboy Camera and E-Reader? I didn't think so).
The Nintendo Power I subscribed to was during a time of transition. The first issues I had dealt with the Nintendo 64 and the leap from 2D to 3D gaming. Pokemon was making its way to America. The Gameboy Advance and Nintendo Gamecube were releasing in the same year was releasing and I was able to remember my first leap into a new generation of consoles as a gamer. Sega began releasing Sonic the Hedgehog games on Nintendo systems. At the same time, the world was stepping into the 21st century and journalism in general was moving online. Nearly anyone can become a journalist or blogger, but because there's so many sources to follow and a 24/7 news flow, things can get overlooked and ignored. By having all that information published in a tangible form, the writers have created a reliable time capsule documenting gaming history from the 80's up to modern day.
One of the things that stuck out about the magazine was the writers and the work they put into it. 8-year-old me was in awe of the idea that people could get paid to not only play and write about video games, but how Nintendo employees got involved with the magazine. Staff came and went over the years, but no matter who was involved with the magazine and when, I felt there was always a strong level of quality and everything I read was time well spent. I can say with pride that the antics and work of all the Nintendo Power writers inspired me to write about games and subculture surrounding them.
24 years is a great run for anything. If there’s one disappointment I have in Nintendo Power, it’s that I’m writing about how great it was rather than pursuing a dream of one day writing for it. The magazine will go down having an important place in gaming history and the efforts of its staff have entertained and informed many gamers.