There was time when a gamer’s most valuable source of information was the humble magazine. In the days before the internet was even a thing, gamers would regularly flock to the magazine stand in order to find out the latest goings on. For many, these monthly words of wisdom could be the difference between purchasing a classic like Ninja Gaiden, or a stepping on a hidden turd like Shaq Fu.
What’s more, amongst these magazines, the most popular has to be the legendary Nintendo Power. Whether it was the free poster, or the industry leading in depth guides, if you owned a Nintendo console, this was your number one choice in information. Yep, despite being made by Nintendo themselves, this really was the de-facto retro gaming magazine.
As such, thanks to archivist Jason Scott, who uploaded the collection on the Internet Archive back in February, it was great to see that gamers could go back and read the first 13 years of this legendary publication online. Even better, this hidden vault of gaming magazine goodness grabbed widespread attention last week, bringing it to the attention of more and more people. Sadly, this also brought it to the attention of Nintendo.
Why is this sad? Well unfortunately, in order to protect its various licenses and projects, Nintendo have decided to have the collection removed in its entirety. In doing so they released the following statement:
The unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects.
Nintendo’s strict protection of its copyright and licenses is not new. In fact, this exact quote was also used only days ago when explaining the reasons behind the takedown of fan project Metroid 2. Nevertheless, whilst unfortunately taking down the latest fan game makes perfect sense, this one is slightly more odd.
Why? Well in some respects, having these magazines online arguably does nothing more than promote Nintendo’s classic back catalogue. Much like they did back in the 80s and 90s.
What’s more, given Nintendo’s constant stream of Virtual Console releases, and the upcoming Nintendo Classic Mini, tapping into many a fan’s nostalgia for these games and the era as a whole can only be a good thing. This isn’t all though, as Nintendo Power’s back catalogue not only give us an insight into retro games, but the culture of retro gaming too.
Keeping The Dream Alive
Thankfully though, whilst this Nintendo Power archive has been taken down, others are still trying to keep the dream of magazine gaming journalism alive. This is something seen through the recently kickstarted Mega Visions magazine, and the the Patreon funded Nintendo Force, a magazine which has risen from the ashes of Nintendo Power’s demise.
Magazine journalism may be on the decline, but it was very much an important part of retro gaming, with Nintendo Power being the lynchpin. As such, protecting this can only be a good thing. Let’s hope that in time this archive returns, potentially even via Nintendo themselves.