Fallen Giants: Nintendo Power Is No More

Written by Aaron Mitchell | Thursday, 23 August 2012 00:18


Even in these digital times when magazines seem to be entering the Logans Run period of their existence, soon to be hunted and destroyed, it seemed like there was some invincible aura around a title like Nintendo Power. The magazine, first published in 1988, has been a mainstay of game journalism and Nintendo fandom for what seems like forever. But now the magazine has gone to that big spinner rack in the sky.


Originally published in house by Nintendo, the production was licensed to Future Publishing in 2007. On August 21 Nintendo informed Future Publishing that the license would not be renewed and publication would cease. There had been some negotiation about expanding the magazine content into digital formats but Nintendo was never interested in expanding the Nintendo Power brand beyond the magazine. Nintendo, described as ‘difficult to work with’ by Future Publishing staff, have not commented on any intention to continue to magazine under their own steam and it seems unlikely they will. Despite having a reasonable readership of just under half a million in the US, Nintendo Power will run out after an as yet unknown number of remaining issues.


The magazine has weathered some of the most important periods in gaming’s short but dramatic history. The rise of the home console and its cultural impact, the marketers wet dream that were the console wars (when it wasn’t uncommon for magazines to publish fan art of Mario brutally and sadistically murdering Sonic and vice versa) and the numerous highs and lows of Nintendo as a company.


Nintendo has always had a strong and extremely loyal fan base outside of its home land of Japan and I would hazard a guess that a lot of that good faith and fan love comes from growing up with Nintendo Power. Many modern Nintendo fan boys and girls grew up with the magazine and no doubt many old gamers reading this right now have a reasonable stack of mouldy magazines in a cupboard right now. Two of the major reason for its enduring popularity was that it remained the officially sanctioned resource for exclusive information. While other vendors could only speculate and site rumours, Nintendo Power always had the facts when it came to Nintendo products. The second reason was its source for guide information. In the pre-internet days if you were stuck on a boss or a puzzle, reduced to crying into your Wuzzles soft belly (Eleroo in my case) there was a Nintendo Power issue that told you the secrets you needed to defeat your obstacle.


Even speaking as someone not enamoured with Nintendo and all their wares I see it as quite a tragedy. Nintendo Power was an iconic magazine and to see it dismissed so off handedly by Nintendo seems a little wrong. Perhaps it’s only emblematic of the new Nintendo, corporate focused and chasing the next balance board or similar cheap to make profitable gadget while neglecting the fans who helped keep Nintendo afloat during the lean times. There’s a lot of Gamecube owners out there Nintendo, and they still love their Gamecubes. Or maybe I’m just old and cynical. No word on what will happen to the Official Nintendo Magazine, the UK version of Nintendo Power. But with the higher circulating US one biting the dust the UK version can’t be far behind.