Nintendo Power

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The first cover of Nintendo Power featured a clay sculpture of Mario from Super Mario Bros. 2. As Nintendo admitted later, the colors red and blue were accidentally reversed.

Nintendo Power magazine is a monthly news and strategy magazine from Nintendo. The first issue published was July/August of 1988 spotlighting the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2.



The magazine has traditionally been heavily focused on providing video game strategy, as opposed to other video game magazines which often focus a lot on game reviews, previews, and gossip. As the magazine is published by Nintendo itself, Nintendo Power often featured detailed in-game maps which came directly from programmers and companies. As a result, the magazine earned a reputation as being an "insider" source on game info with "official" content that differentiated itself from the more speculative, "amateurish" approach of its contemporaries. At the same time, the magazine's insider status has also made it the source of some criticism, with critics alleging the magazine does not offer truthful reviews and exists mostly to promote the sale of games (resulting in the rather tongue-in-cheek nickname Nintendo Pravda.) For many years this argument was helped by the fact that the magazine did not run print advertisements, a fact which critics alleged was because the magazine was already "one giant ad."

Regardless, the magazine has remained financially successful, and is one of the longest-running video game oriented magazines still in circulation. Today, though still "officially" affiliated with Nintendo, the magazine has become more similar to its contemporaries, with a greater focus on staff reviews, gossip, and fan letters than in previous years.


Nintendo Power began as the several page long Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter, but quickly changed to its current magazine format. The first issue published 3.6 million copies with every member of the Nintendo Fun Club receiving a free one. Almost one third of the members subscribed.

The magazine was edited at first by Fun Club "President" Howard Philips, an avid game player himself. Nintendo Power's mascot in the late 1980s and early 1990s was Nester, a comic character created by Philips. After Philips left the company, a more "teenage" Nester became the magazine's sole mascot. Early issues of the magazine featured a two-page Howard and Nester comic, which was later replaced with a two-page Nester's Adventure, which was then reduced to one page, and then dropped altogether. Subsequently, Mario replaced Nester as the mascot of the magazine.

Later, during the early 2000s, the magazine made another mascot out of their Senior Writer, Alan Averill. Apparently very camera-shy, Alan himself never appeared in any photos; rather, he was represented by a plush toy of a Blue Slime from Dragon Warrior. Fans often clamored to see what Alan actually looked like, but the magazine instead ran still more photos of the toy, and even claiming that Alan was, in fact, a Blue Slime. Eventually, Alan retired from Nintendo Power to join Nintendo of America's localization department. His true image was never revealed.

A more recent running gag for the magazine is the inclusion of a photo of Mr. T. in the Player's Pulse section.

Sometime during 2001, Nintendo Power released seperate magazine named Nintendo Power Advance, featuring the Game Boy Advance and its games. The magazine only lasted 4 issues.

During the early 1990s the magazine used what was then a very expensive promotion, and gave a free copy of the new NES game Dragon Warrior to every new subscriber.

Following the release of the Super Nintendo, the magazine featured lengthy, continuous comic stories based on Super Mario World and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. After these stories ended they were replaced by similar multi-issue stories based on Star Fox and Super Metroid.

Sections in Nintendo Power

Currently Running

  • Player's Pulse - "Mailbag" section that features letters to the editor and, until recently, art submitted by readers. At first, it was two different sections titled Mailbox and Video Spotlight, the latter of which featured mail from really good players. But during 1989, they merged into one section. Currently, it is titled just Pulse.
  • Pak Watch / Game Watch / News - A look at upcoming games and gaming news.
  • Nintendo Online - Shows information and news on video game websites.
  • Top 30 / Top 20 / Power Charts - The top-rated games as voted by the readers. Originally, it featured the top 30 NES games, then changed to feature the top 20 games for all the systems in 1992. In 1995, the name was changed to Power Charts, with varying numbers depending on which system (the handheld systems would have half the list length of the consoles). It was removed in 2001, but brought back in 2002, this time being listed in order of top sales and the readers' votes on what they wanted.
  • Classified Information - For codes and strategies and gaming secrets.
  • Player's Poll Contest / Player's Poll Sweepstakes - Monthly contest where readers send in included cards to enter and provide feedback to the magazine.
  • Epic Center - Role-playing game information and coverage.
  • Now Playing / Reviews - Editor reviews for the latest game releases. During 1992, the games were reviewed by two employees named George and Rob, but this change did not satisfy the readers, and George and Rob were removed the following year. More recently, though, the section now features reviews by one editor per game, with no words from any others.
  • NP 411/The Nindex - Information on how to reach the magazine's departments and where to find information on a specific game in that magazine.


  • Counselors' Corner - The staff answers game-related questions on how to get from point A to point B or things like that. It was removed in 2002.
  • NES Achievers / Power Player's Challenge / Arena - Players send in their best game scores to try to win free T-shirts.
  • NES Journal - A newsletter within the magazine, often featuring media news relating to Nintendo and celebrity interviews. The column disappeared after Volume 16, but the celebrity interviews remained until late 1992.
  • Game Boy - Early on in Game Boy's career, the magazine ran a special column focusing on the handheld, even giving it its own section within. However, it ended shortly after the Super NES came out.
  • Game Boy A-Go-Go / Title Wave - This section featured short strategy reviews for games that weren't big enough to receive full ones. Originally, it focused on Game Boy Color games, but then changed its name in 2002 to accommodate GameCube games as well. However, it vanished from the magazine during 2003, causing all the games that would've been appropriate for this section to receive two-page strategy reviews.
  • Power On - Entertainment section featuring caption contests and celebrity interviews. Began in 2002, but ended in mid-2005.
  • Pokécenter - For latest Pokémon news and updates, TCG strategies, and team analysis. It came into the magazine in April 1999, but ended in the July 2005 issue when it merged with several other sections.

Player's Guides

Missing image
NES Game Atlas Player's Guide cover

Nintendo Power has also produced another series of strategy magazines called Player's Guides. The first Player's Guide was simply called The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, featuring dozens of different NES games. It was followed in the early 90s by a number of guides which were produced under the slightly different moniker of Nintendo Power Strategy Guides. These were sent between the then-bi-monthly magazine issues to subscribers or mailed alongside them. NES games covered by their Strategy Guides included:

  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Final Fantasy
  • Four-Player, which covered multiple four-player games on the NES
  • Ninja Gaiden

Nintendo ceased production of these bimonthly Strategy Guides due to a lack of important game releases in the pre-holiday seasons of the year. After converting Nintendo Power to a monthly format came the more well-known mainstay of Player's Guides. Early guides covered groups of games in one book. Some of the most well-known were:

Outside of offering an optional Player's Guide as a free gift for a Nintendo Power subscription or subscription renewal, Nintendo Power did not include Player's Guides with the magazine. They were, however, made available separately, both through mail-order and at book and video-game shops. Nintendo did also once offer a subscription motive that included four of the aforementioned Player's Guides instead of only one.

Today each Player's Guide published features one specific game, much like the earlier Nintendo Power Strategy Guides. The concept is now emulated by other publishing companies such as Bradygames or Prima for Nintendo and other video game consoles. Almost all major video games released today will have an official Player's Guide associated with it.

In order to be released at the same time as the game, commercial Player's Guides are often based on a pre-release version of the game, rather than the final retail version. They also cannot be updated after they are published. Because of this, they often are not as accurate or detailed as free, fan-made FAQs or walkthroughs which can easily be found on-line (such as at GameFAQs).

The rise of the world wide web and the increasing availability of free on-line FAQs and walkthroughs has taken away some of the need for commercial Player's Guides. However, there is still a large market for them. Player's Guides often feature extensive picture-by-picture walkthroughs, maps, game art, and other visual features that cannot be provided by a bare text on-line walkthrough.

Among the games that have been given Player's Guides:

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
  • Mario Paint
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Super Mario All-Stars
  • Super Metroid
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Killer Instinct
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Super Mario 64
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Star Fox 64
  • GoldenEye 007
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Pokémon Red / Blue
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Pokémon Snap
  • Jet Force Gemini
  • Pokémon Special Edition
  • Donkey Kong 64
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game GB
  • Pokémon Gold / Silver
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Paper Mario
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day
  • Pokémon Crystal
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Wave Race: Blue Storm
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • Super Mario Sunshine
  • Star Fox Adventures
  • Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Metroid Prime
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
  • Metroid Zero Mission
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past / Four Swords
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
  • Pokémon Ruby / Sapphire
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age
  • Wario World
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
  • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
  • Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen
  • Pokémon Emerald


Here is a list of milestones Nintendo Power has had over the years:

  • First issue: Volume 1 - July/August 1988
  • Game Boy introduced: Volume 8 - September/October 1989
  • First of four strategy guides: Volume 13 - June 1990
  • "Now Playing" column debuts: Volume 18 - November 1990
  • Super NES introduced: Volume 25 - June 1991
  • First Super NES game cover, Super Mario World: Volume 28 - September 1991
  • Super Power Club launched: Volume 41 - October 1992
  • First Bonus Issue: Volume 44 - January 1993
  • Final NES game cover, Battletoads & Double Dragon: Volume 49 - June 1993
  • 50th issue published: Volume 50 - July 1993
  • The new Nintendo Power logo (with a new 3-D look) debuts: Volume 68 - January 1995
  • Nintendo Power celebrates 10 years of the NES: Volume 78 - November 1995
  • Nintendo 64 introduced: Volume 85 - June 1996
  • First Nintendo 64 game cover, Super Mario 64: Volume 85 - June 1996
  • Final Super NES game cover, Donkey Kong Country 3: Volume 90 - November 1996
  • Pokémon debuts: Volume 98 - July 1997
  • 100th issue published: Volume 100 - September 1997
  • Nintendo Power celebrates its 10th anniversary: Volume 110 - July 1998
  • Game Boy Color introduced: Volume 114 - November 1998
  • Game Boy Advance introduced: Volume 132 - May 2000
  • "Nintendo Online" column debuts: Volume 135 - August 2000
  • GameCube introduced: Volume 137 - October 2000
  • The white Nintendo Power logo debuts: Volume 143 - April 2001
  • Final Nintendo 64 game cover, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Volume 146 - July 2001
  • 150th issue published: Volume 150 - November 2001
  • First GameCube game cover, Super Smash Bros. Melee: Volume 151 - December 2001
  • Nintendo Power celebrates its 15th anniversary: Volume 170 - July/August 2003
  • Nintendo DS introduced: Volume 181 - July 2004
  • Nintendo Power has a total makeover in its design, including a refined logo with only one set of lines: Volume 193 - July 2005

Comic Series in Nintendo Power

  • Starfox
  • Super Metroid

See also

External links


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