Cliff Bleszinski’s Eulogy For Nintendo Power

After news broke yesterday that Nintendo Power seems all but doomed as a print publication and may be finished outright, I reached out to the biggest fan of Nintendo Power that I know of: Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski.

Yes, before he led the creation of Gears of War, worked on Unreal Tournament and became one of the world’s top video game designers, Cliff Bleszinski was a kid who loved Nintendo and suffered the razzing of his schoolmates because of it. He was the kind of person who read Nintendo Power and, today, he is the kind of person who is able to provide us the ideal eulogy for a cherished part of many of our childhoods…

Take it away, Cliff:

“The Nintendo Fun Club, and later Nintendo Power, were incredibly important periodicals for me growing up in suburban New England. Remember, I grew up in an era pre-internet, so any data one could acquire about games came from only a handful of sources — the back of the box, or from a network of friends. The latter were often unreliable in the fact that they’d make up urban legends, such as the one about the negative worlds in Super Mario Brothers in which Mario allegedly got to go skiing. (I once, in middle school, had a friend try to convince me that there was a sequel out to the amazing game Herzog Zwei, when he had somehow misunderstood that the “2” was actually what “Zwei” meant in German. There was no Herzog Zwei 2. Closest thing is that sweet game AirMech that’s coming out.)

“I digress. Nintendo Power wasn’t just my glimpse into what was coming next, it felt like my portal to the outside world. It poured fuel on the fire of my burning love of video games by showing me previews of upcoming titles and how tantalising they looked. I’ll never forget seeing the giant bosses in Mega Man 2 laid out on those spreads; in fact, when I think back I can still smell the ink of the pages.

“The magazine also gave me my first taste of video game infamy with having my name in the Fun Club and later in the first issue of Nintendo Power — I sometimes wonder if this was what led to my eagerness to engage the press and gamers on such a regular basis.

“Most importantly, I learned the power of hype. Let’s be honest, Nintendo Power was a propaganda device for the big N. But when you had a willing young boy in middle school who ate Nintendo Cereal, covered his walls with Nintendo logos, and was called “Nintendo Boy” on the bus it was a monthly shot in the arm that I would check the mailbox for daily. The magazine had a great run, and it will be missed, as will its enthusiasm, especially in a digital age that can sometimes be quick to damn before praising.”


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