Video game history is a bit of a hobby of mine, in which I sometimes enjoy diving deep into the biographies of big developers and their stories. Just last year, I picked up Masters of Doom to learn John Romero and John Carmacks’ interesting tale. The problem with being into video game history is there isn’t nearly the plethora of written content available like there is for other historical interests.
Reading about Abraham Lincoln can take decades just due to the amount of work that’s there, even though I’m convinced he hunted vampires in his leisure. However, with video games there is just recently been a resurgence of the urge to preserve these stories as history for a medium that emerged from nowhere within the last fifty years or so. Luckily an archive of over a hundred Nintendo Power magazines have been scanned and uploaded for open use.
This archive is delightful for fans of video game history or Nintendo in general. Starting from the very first issue and going to the early days of the Gameboy Advance, this archive shows exactly what Nintendo were doing to keep their customers informed and excited about their games. This was a time when the internet was still a new thing, so a physical magazine made since during this time. Hidden in these issues are screenshots of early builds of the games, interviews, commentaries and more. Just looking at the covers is interesting, as there are all sorts of artwork being represented here from clay sculpting to 80s fantasy art.
Unfortunately, as with all things Nintendo fans tend to collect and put out into the world there is a moment of the child awaiting the belt for fear of doing something wrong in the eyes of the company. Nintendo are notorious for shutting down amazing fan projects, rom hacks, and even parties just to keep their name in place. That’s why my biggest tip in regards to this archive of Nintendo Power is to download everything. Luckily the archive provides several different formats for each issue, with only a handful not complete or having issues.
Above: Ocarina of Time 2D, a fan made game that had its demo pulled by Nintendo. Production seems to be continuing on their website.
Needless to say, there are 145 issues of Nintendo Power now sitting on my PC’s drive for later research and furthering my understanding of writing about video games. What a great piece of history to have readily available. Hopefully this will create a mass of magazines uploading their old issues for public use. I would love to check out some of PlayStation’s early publications or even some British ones for diversity.