Written/Created by: Matt
Posted on 3.05.03.

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Howard and Nester's stupid comic strip appeared in most of the earlier issues, including the first. I never really understood the point of it; I guess Howard & Nester was a little too highbrow for me. I couldn't figure out why Nester would cross out his name in the title of every strip, just to rewrite it in a larger in-your-face font. I guess I get what he's trying to do, but wouldn't it have made more sense to tack on a 'KING' prefix or something like that? Stupid, stupid Nester.

The magazine had a price tag of 3.50, which was admittedly high considering the time period. Still, Nintendo Power made sure you got a wealth of info for your cash, so it wasn't like you were paying money to have them reiterate how much better than Sega they were over and over again. As a side note - Nester's head makes me want to try eating radishes again.

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Double Dragon had a lengthy feature, detailing virtually every stage of the game from start to finish. This particular page was probably my favorite, explaining each of Billy Lee's many karate moves. I never quite knew what I was making him do, so having names to attach to all those kicks and punches was appreciated. For example, the 'hair-pull kick.' I always did that, but I figured I was just making all the enemies suffocate to death by giving me extended blowjobs. Now I knew better. Now I was playing with power.

The 'Player's Poll' was Nintendo's way of figuring out what you thought about their new magazine, and the system in general. I've always wondered if people actually sat down to read these things, or if it's just more of a token 'we really care!' gesture. Somehow, I can't imagine one of the employees calling up Nintendo president Yakakawahiro Manashikowakaka to explain that 'Billy' from 'Detroyt' has only owned a NES for five months. I guess they could come up with something a little more solid after tallying all the poll results. Maybe Billy from Detroyt wasn't alone. Maybe there were 45,000 other subscribers who've only owned Nintendo systems for five months. Can you imagine all the things they could do with juicy info like that?

Okay - what's Mario doing in that picture off to the far right? No wonder all of today's games have those parental advisory things.

I actually completed and mailed in the form back when I originally had the mag - not because I wanted to be a good sport, but because Nintendo had promised a few lucky poll participants prizes beyond their wildest dreams...

I didn't win.

Nintendo Power also lived under the false belief that it was a real magazine, filling some of the final pages with articles that had nothing to do with video games. We're given an insider's look at Pee-Wee's second film offering, Pee-Wee's Big Top. If you've never seen it, you'd be wise to keep it that way. Though it's sort of worth watching if only to see Pee-Wee getting funky with the girl Charlie Sheen cooked eggs on in Hot Shots. In the blurb, Pee-Wee describes the film both as a 'sexy love story' and 'a buddy picture,' because when you're Pee-Wee Herman starring in a movie with circus animals and Kris Kristofferson, you should probably try to hit as many target demographics as possible. This indirect sequel to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure wasn't considered a success, only pulling in a fraction of what the first movie accomplished. After that, Pee-Wee started shoving pickles up his ass in churches and his Hollywood value just completely went to shit.

The second page is a far larger cause for alarm, centering in on 'celebrity profiles' for super siblings Kirk and Candace Cameron. Apparently, they were both some of the biggest Nintendo fans around. The article's intellectual weight shines through with this quote, from Kirk - "I am having problems getting past the Amoeboids in Gradius. You know, the meatballs with arms?" Awesome. Kirk would later go on to star in a bunch of religious movies where he gets to save the world with Jesus' help. As for Candace? I'm not sure. Something tells me we'll see her on a Lifetime special in a few years, grizzled and smoking a cigar, insisting that she much prefers her new normal life. I keep waiting for the Enquirer interview where she'll fess up to seeing Ashley Olsen eating the candy she supposedly gave up for Lent.

Each issue had a two-page spread listing the month's top thirty games. I dunno, the list seemed pretty legitimate at the time. There were certainly games further down the list that Nintendo probably would've wanted to promote a little more than the ol' Super Mario cart, but that's good - it proves that the list wasn't all a big shill. Though I must admit, the list loses some face on the second page...

Okay, there's no way Baseball came in at #21. The only way it'd be feasibly possible is if the NES had 21 games in total.

This ends our little trip. The magazine might not seem like much to those of you who weren't into Nintendo when it came out, but seriously, this was a big deal back then. Real big deal. Super big deal. I ended up subscribing to Nintendo Power, but my interest waned after the fourth or fifth issue. There only so much Nester and so many in-depth looks at Mario warp zones a person can take, y'know? Actually, my collective interest in Nintendo at large came to a screeching halt once I got the Zelda sequel. I found it way too difficult to play, and didn't see a point in sticking with this whole video game thing if it was just gonna make me feel dimwitted. I got enough of those feelings trying to tie my shoes correctly.

On the plus side, Nintendo put out a killer cereal. Follow the link below to download and watch the original Nintendo Cereal System commercial, where Mario brings a bunch of kids into the Mushroom Kingdom to jump on their heads and show them just how easily his enemies could turn into a big part of your balanced breakfast. Enjoy...


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