Farewell Nintendo Power

Adios Wort! No one liked you anyway...

Adios Wart! No one liked you anyway…

Everyone who had an NES knew of Nintendo Power. The yellow and red titled magazine with its often amazing cover art, packed with news and strategy guides, unbelievably colorful designs. It was so much to look at, so much to read. It was entertaining as it was informative.

When I looked at Nintendo Power and compared it to every other magazine that ever passed my hands, all I could think was, “This is what magazines should be like.”

After 24 years of business, the closing of Nintendo Power is a big deal. As December is the last issue of Nintendo Power, writers at gaming sites are chiming in on the impact the magazine had on their lives. Not so much about recent successes by the magazine, but in the victories of the past.

The artwork was probably my favorite part about the gaming magazine. Nintendo Power took the extra effort to either create their own artwork or use colored artwork from the game itself.

The gamer’s guide for the original Final Fantasy was one of my favorite, as was that for Final Fantasy III (we now know as the sixth title). In the former, several pieces of new art were developed, with western style fantasy settings.

The art added to the game guides really added to the beauty of the magazine.

The art added to the game guides really added to the beauty of the magazine, and helped us to imagine details the game art didn’t provide.

For the latter of the two, general acceptance of Japanese style fantasy artwork was more widespread in the mid 90s, resulting in my first exposure to the work of Yoshitaka Amano. That’s right, the gaming magazine helped expand cultural knowledge.

Another aspect that surprised me was the intense effort at creating solid strategy guides. Nintendo Power really set the standard for writing them, with everything from character analysis to monster glossaries, maps, battle tactics and strategy. They found everything you wanted to know. Almost all future gaming guides emulated Nintendo Power‘s informative approach to writing strategy guides.

And then there were the comics.

The earliest ones were comedy pieces involving Nester, the Nintendo Power mascot. But during the SNES age, we started to see some real comic book style pieces. These included The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori and Super Metroid. Now that was some serious entertainment value.

The Nintendo Power that I remember is long, long gone. The internet revolutionized everything. Why bother with magazines when GameFAQs and individual game wikias can help with strategy? Why bother subscribing when sites like IGN offer the news and reviews?

But as nostalgic as I am, it’s just one of those things from one’s childhood they cannot really have back. All that remains are the memories.

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Additional Music for Writing

I do this for Aiur! ... Wait, wait, wrong game.

I do this for Aiur! ... Wait, wait, wrong game.

So a day ago, Narravitium and I were chatting about the works of Aaron Dembski-Bowden. I mentioned that his book titles Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver made me wonder if they were influenced by the Legacy of Kain game series. Oh no, of course the Night Lords legion aren’t vampires, but they damn well feel like them sometimes.

Still, it’s a stretch of the imagination. But the plus side is that I remembered some damn fine music for writing. So I raided my old game collections to find some ideas. Time for a nostalgic trek.

  1. Ozar Midrashim, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver OST.
    I certainly liked the Legacy of Kain series. They were not the best made games technically, but the story was solid and involving and the puzzles were a turn on. I hear rumors, unconfirmed, that a reboot maybe in the works but we shall see. This link is actually both Ozar Midrashim and the ending credit music, but both are quite good. It’s an incredible piece that screams “war against the light” in my mind.
  2. Artificial Sky, Armored Core 3 OST.
    Armored Core is another of my favorite game series and has a faithful cult following. Both my brother and I loved playing it. I like the customizations and the nice multiplayer aspect to it. I await the day that the developers really create an end-all game that is fully networked for co-op and competitions. I may talk about the background of Armored Core in a later blog entry. You may also want to check out Precious Park but it has lyrics.
  3. Contra Rock-Metal Remix, by Vomitron.
    Contra is one of the most beloved of games by testosterone junkies. Imagine a movie with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in their prime, killing alien possessed humans and no limit to the amount of ammunition. And then forget the movie and just turn it into a game, and that is Contra. Sadly, a lot of these old school NES game series have not transitions as well to newer consoles. But someday, someone will do it right. Maybe a game that mixes first and third shooting with side scrolling levels and…
  4. The Legend of Zelda Orchestrated, by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
    I loved the old school Zelda games. The newer ones took the series in a slightly different direction. That, and they kept pumping them out non-stop. The over-franchising kind of ruined it for me, but I don’t hold it against people who love it anyway.
  5. Staff Credit, Final Fantasy Tactics OST.
    Sigh. I love this song. It reminds me of the challenges I faced, the characters, the story and plot that were deeper than an ocean. It makes me nostalgic for the first game I ever owned on the Playstation and, to this day, one of the greatest games I will ever play. I know, I know, new titles for Final Fantasy Tactics came along, but they just weren’t as incredible from what I played. The direction Square Enix has taken the Final Fantasy series in general has been too goofy for me. But I still have my classics.
  6. Love Song, Dragon Warrior 2 OST remixed.
    Old school as they come, Enix software was the only real competition Squaresoft had in NES RPGs for quite a while. The first game was simple, but they got better, adding parties and abilities and developing better stories and characters. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to listen to this song.
    But thou must!
    But thou must!
    But thou mu- okay, I’ll stop now.

    I really hope this line is used in The Dark Knight Rises.

    I really hope this line is used in 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

  7. Batman Level 1 Remix, by Farmhouse Media.
    Sunsoft made a decent platform game when it brought the Batman series to the NES. But the one thing that has stuck with the gamers throughout the years has been the very impressive soundtrack that came with it. Take a hard look at the sheer number of remixes for that game. That, and the fact that he’s the goddamn Batman.
  8. Megaman X – Storm Eagle Theme Remix, by Chikusho Sound Team.
    There are many harder and faster remixes than the one issued by Chikusho Sound Team. But I pulled myself back and reminded myself that the music I’m finding is primarily for writing. If you want something more intense however, check out the Powerglove Remix version.
  9. Double Dragon theme, by NESkimos.
    If there was anyone I’d want to see do a Double Dragon remake, it actually would be Rockstar Games. And I’d want them to reboot the series, adding some moral grey areas that let the player decide between being the good or bad, taking over gangs and the streets or helping people out. And as a result, which of the two brothers you are at the end of the game. The Warriors on PS2 was both my favorite game and one of my favorite movies. That sir, is a remake and franchised game done right.
  10. Main Theme Orchestrated, Secret of Mana OST.
    So too many of my themes have really focused on pumping up their audience. This one is much slower, much more mystical. The game itself was mystical as well, being a 3-player RPG that my buddy Ben and I played throughout our youth. It was a colorful game, a very basic fantasy story. It’s a shame that future titles just did not deliver like the first one, but I’ll never forget the first title.