When they announced that Twinkies were going away, I didn’t really care that much because I tended to stay away from Twinkies when I grew up. The end of Bazooka Joe comic strips stung slightly, but I only really remembered paying attention to them in the days of pee-wee baseball. I stopped reading Nintendo Power shortly after the 100th issue in 1997, but when I heard that the publication was being canceled, I felt it. Sure, I haven’t read any of it in 15 years and I was more surprised that it lasted this long, but it still represents a chunk of my childhood and seeing it snuffed out takes a lot out of me.
Today at work, we got in the new issue. The final issue, featuring a cover made to look much like the one that came out in 1988.
Which reminds me, why hasn’t Nintendo ever brought back Wart? They use Shy-Guys and Birdo, but they never reintroduced King Wart. What’s with that? And where’s that purple alien guy from Super Mario Land?
Anyway, I had to pick up the final issue for old time’s sake. While they’re long gone, I did have those initial issues, like the creepy one with Simon Belmont on the cover holding Dracula’s decapitated head, garnering the complaints of many parents. I think I stopped when I came to terms with the fact that Nintendo Power is a propaganda piece from Nintendo. It was a stage of growing up. There were better magazines out there (though certainly not that waste of paper Gamepro) and other game systems worth reading about and the chance that somebody might completely lay into a terrible game.
And you know what? Back in the days of the NES, that stuff wasn’t necessary. Nintendo Power obviously had the better finger on the pulse of Nintendo news than the other magazines. Nintendo practically had a monopoly on video games worth playing until the Genesis arrived. Most importantly, it didn’t matter that it was propaganda and that they were talking up how great nearly every single game was. Back in those times, being a kid in the NES era, nearly every single game WAS worth playing. It was a simpler time where you were either stuck owning a game or you were renting for the weekend. Unless the game was confusing or flat out terrible, you’d play the everloving hell out of it. Years later, I found out that Ikari Warriors 2: Victory Road was a bad game. My seven-year-old self played that thing for weeks!
I haven’t had much time to really sit down and read the final issue, but the last few pages caught my eye. Early on, Nintendo Power had a regular comic interlude called Howard and Nester, based on Nintendo employee Howard Phillips. The series went on for a while, eventually Howard left and it became teenage know-it-all Nester’s show. After the failure of his Virtual Boy game, Nester fell into obscurity, making a special appearance every now and then.
Not counting the “GAME OVER” final-final page, this is how Nintendo Power volume 285 ends. Not with Howard and Nester, but Nester and Maxwell, showing off how many years have passed since that clay Super Mario Brothers 2 cover from back in the day.
The last thing I noticed in that final panel was Howard’s bowtie in the center. Damn.
To cheer myself up, here’s a completely metal cover of the Ikaris Warriors 2: Victory Road main theme by Ryan8bit that I discovered many years ago.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to surf on a tank while on my way to fight the devil.