Nintendo Power was a monthly Nintendo-focused magazine based in the United States (that also shipped to Canada). Beginning in 1988 by Gail Tilden (with support from Nintendo spokesgamer and Fun Club President, Howard Phillips and several Nintendo of America employees) the magazine was co-published by Tokuma Shoten in Tokyo and Nintendo of America in Redmond, it is one of the longest running video game magazines of all time.
In the magazines' final issues, the publication was owned by Future International and the Editor in Chief was Steve Thomason, formerly Chris Slate.
Even though Nintendo transferred the magazine to Future International, Nintendo of America still promoted the magazine. For example, they included a subscription slip for the magazine with every Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS unit.
It was announced in August 2012 that the December issue of that year would be its last, making the entire run a total of 285 issues.
- Contents - A list of pages the features are on.
- Game Index - A list of all the games featured in the magazine, and what page they are on.
- Pulse - Fan letters, as well as a letter from the editor. Before a major redesign of the magazine, fan art was also placed on these pages.
- The Score - Features the results of the Nintendo Power online poll.
- Power Up - Replaced the news section. Features news, trivia, and more.
- Warp Zone - Looks back at issues 5, 10, and 20 years ago.
- A Winner is... and Dodongo Dislikes... - Ups and downs of the month.
- Power Quiz - A small, three question quiz with three difficulties.
- Star Power - A two page spread on a specific character.
- Collector's Corner - Nintendo-related merchandise.
- Game Forecast - All of the upcoming games in North America.
- Readers' Most Wanted - Top five most wanted Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS games as voted by the readers.
- Bestest Video Game Moments - Best thing that happened in video gaming
- Download - A monthly look at the WiiWare, Virtual Console, and DSiWare games.
- Previews - Short previews of upcoming games.
- Power Profiles - A lengthy interview with one of the industry's most prominent people. The first edition was with Shigeru Miyamoto.
- Playback - A look back at games for classic consoles and handhelds.
- Reviews - Reviews of all the current and upcoming games for the Wii and DS.
- Reviews Archive - Scores from all the games released in the past 12 months as well as a few miniature reviews by the magazine's writers.
- Community - Features interviews with Nintendo fans and focuses on the video game community.
- Screen test - Provides the readers an image that they are asked to send a caption to. They also provide their own.
- Photo Challenge - Shows a Nintendo photo in AR mode and a theme
- Next Month - A section talking about what will be covered in next month's issue.
- News - All the latest news in gaming, as well as a don't miss section telling the reader the dates of upcoming games. Retired in Nintendo Power V253.
- Video Shorts - An article that previewed upcoming games. Last article was in Nintendo Power V16.
Nintendo first created a monthly newsletter about Nintendo video games. The cover of the first issue featured Super Mario Bros. It was titled Nintendo Fun Club, and was later changed to the magazine Nintendo Power. The first issue featured Super Mario Bros. 2 on the cover, and was the first of hundreds of future issues to come. The next issue was the first to feature a controversial cover, featuring Simon Belmont holding a severed head of Dracula.
In issue seven, the Game Boy was revealed, following the first strategy guide of volume thirteen. In issue eighteen, they made their first review section, titled 'Now Playing.'
After 24 years, it was officially announced on August 22, 2012 that December 2012 would be Nintendo Power's final issue. NintendoPower.com announced that subscribers would be refunded the remaining balance in their subscriptions and said the following regarding the final issue:
- "Nintendo Power's last issue will be the December 2012 issue, which will be mailed to subscribers in late November and sold on newsstands starting December 4."
The website was edited soon after to correct the newsstand date. The actual date of publication for newsstand copies was December 11.
Scott Pelland explained that the magazine's cover is to sell the magazine using fantastic imagery and eye catching words to influence the potential buyer to purchase a copy of the magazine. The process to decide what will be on the cover of Nintendo Power is no easy task. The writers must ponder on which story is the biggest, if the content is exclusive to the magazine, if the game in question too big to not place on the cover, if there is an interesting picture of the game available to place on the cover, or if it's too late in the game to make it a cover story. Then, the writers debate on which game should make the cut. Some publishers will request that their games be made on the cover, and one publishing giant which Scott Pelland didn't name was extremely keen on getting their game to be featured on the cover, and eventually it was. He then explained that the publisher is still around to this day.
The very first cover of Nintendo Power featured a clay model of Mario and Wart (the game in question was Super Mario Bros. 2). They would abandon this style the next issue, though the cover has become iconic, with most fans of the magazine instantly recognizing it. In Nintendo Power V39, Nintendo went back to this style once more with a Mario Paint cover that featured Mario, on an Super Nintendo Entertainment System mouse, painting a scene with Yoshi.
By far, the most controversial cover depicted Simon Belmont holding Dracula's severed head. This gave little kids nightmares and angered mothers. In fact, Nintendo themselves have looked back on previous covers and issues, including this cover, and said it was by far the worst cover on any Nintendo Power magazine. In their 50th issue, the staff regarded the second cover as their worst, due to the overly gory image which was not actually in the game, as well as numerous complaints from parents.
Conversely, they felt their best cover came much later, with an image of Mickey Mouse holding a fire house, touting Mickey's Magical Quest. The 50th issue featured Link's Awakening, and the next issue's Nester's Adventures had the game's owl warning Nester "We must take cover!" only for Nester to retort "You had a cover last month! Don't become overexposed."
As time passed so did the overall mood of the Nintendo Power covers, as well as the logo. Nintendo Power V68 introduced a 3D rendering of the logo, while years later starting with Nintendo Power V193 Nintendo Power would completely redo it when they redesigned the entire magazine. In 2008 Nintendo Power started to give exclusive covers to those who subscribed to them that were devoid of annoying text that distracted the customer from the main attraction - the actual image. The primary games that were featured within were placed in a box below.
The cover of the final issue resembled that of the cover of the first issue. Volume 1 depicted Mario and Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2 while volume 285 depicted Mario and Bowser from New Super Mario Bros. U (shown below).
- Volume 1 - First issue, featuring Super Mario Bros. 2 on the cover (and as such, the first issue to feature Mario on the cover)
- Volume 2 - First issue with a game made by a Nintendo licensee (Konami) on the cover (Castlevania II: Simon's Quest)
- Volume 4 - First Zelda cover.
- Volume 7 - Game Boy introduced.
- Volume 8 - First issue with a Disney video game on the cover (DuckTales)
- Volume 18 - Now Playing section debuts
- Volume 25 - Super Nintendo Entertainment System introduced.
- Volume 27 - First issue with a Game Boy game (Mega Man: The Wily Wars) on the cover
- Volume 28 - First issue with an SNES game on the cover, Super Mario World
- Volume 31 - First issue with a Metroid game on the cover
- Volume 44 - First bonus issue
- Volume 49 - Final issue with an NES game on the cover (Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team.
- Volume 50 - 50th issue
- Volume 66 - Last cover to feature claymation
- Volume 72 - First E3. Also the first issue with a Kirby game on the cover (Kirby's Dream Land 2).
- Volume 75 - First and only Virtual Boy cover
- Volume 78 - 10 year anniversary for NES
- Volume 85 - Nintendo 64 introduced. First Nintendo 64 game on cover, Super Mario 64.
- Volume 90 - Last issue with an SNES game on the cover (Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!)
- Volume 98 - Pokémon debuts
- Volume 100 - 100th issue
- Volume 110 - 10-year anniversary for the magazine
- Volume 114 - Game Boy Color introduced
- Volume 121 - First issue with a Pokémon game on the cover (Pokémon Snap)
- Volume 132 - Game Boy Advance introduced
- Volume 137 - Nintendo GameCube introduced
- Volume 150 - 150th issue. Also the first Nintendo GameCube game cover, featuring Luigi's Mansion; also only cover for Luigi series.
- Volume 170 - 15th anniversary of the magazine
- Volume 181 - Nintendo DS introduced
- Volume 193 - Enhanced Nintendo Power design debuts
- Volume 194 - First DS Game cover, Mario Kart DS
- Volume 198 - Wii controller revealed
- Volume 200 - 200th issue
- Volume 205 - Wii fully revealed
- Volume 207 - First Wii game cover, Rayman Raving Rabbits
- Volume 231 - 20th Anniversary Issue
- Volume 235- Only Animal Crossing cover, Animal Crossing: City Folk
- Volume 250 - 250th Issue
- Volume 256 - News is replaced by Power Up. While similar to News, it has been completely redesigned and has new features.
- Volume 260 - Nintendo Entertainment System Anniversary issue
- Volume 269 - Wii U revealed
- Volume 270 - Super Nintendo Entertainment System Anniversary issue
- Volume 271 - Photo Challenge debut
- Volume 272 - Introduces the best video game moment section
- Volume 275 - 2012 Preview Issue; first issue to feature Kid Icarus
- Volume 280 - Wii U Issue
- Volume 282 - First cover to feature two games
- Volume 285 - The final issue, the cover a homage to the Mario cover of the first issue