Before the internet and E3, the only way gamers could get the latest info and tips for games were magazines. One of the longest running gaming magazines was Nintendo Power. It was a video game publication originally published in house by Nintendo of America and then independently. It was also the replacement for the Nintendo Fun Club News; a free magazine that was given to members of the aforementioned club. The first issue of Nintendo Power, dated July 1988, featured a cover story on Super Mario Bros 2 and a guide for Metroid.
Over the years, the magazine dedicated itself to the latest news, reviews, and tips on almost everything Nintendo. They also produced a series of strategy guides called Official Guides from Nintendo Power before outsourcing production to Prima Games.
Nintendo once used a historical promotional tactic with the magazine. They gave away free copies of the game Dragon Warrior, the American Nes version of Enix’s Dragon Quest, to subscribers of Nintendo Power. Since the American release of the game didn’t so well financially, Nintendo figured this would be a good way to get rid of unsold merchandise. The tactic paid off and allowed Enix to bring the next three Dragon Quest installments in America.
One of the most famous contributions the magazine made to gaming were some of the bosses in Mega Man 6. From Mega Man 2 onward, Capcom held fan contests with Japanese publications. In these contests, fans could send in designs for potential robot masters to appear in the next Mega Man game. Mega Man 6 was the only installment to feature American fan designs submitted to Nintendo Power.
In 2007, Nintendo turned publishing over to the American branch of British publisher Future. When Nintendo announced that it wouldn’t renew its deal with Future Publishing US in 2012, Nintendo Power ceased publication. The final issue’s cover paid tribute to the debut issue, which featured clay figures of Mario on the cover and a free poster.
The Internet Archive has archived issues 1 to 145. These issues cover Nintendo games and consoles from 1988 to 2001. That’s a lot of gaming history. Those who want to “get the power” need only follow this link.