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25 Things We Learned in the First Issue of Nintendo Power

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Starting in July/August 1988, a generation of kids eagerly anticipated every issue of Nintendo Power. It was probably the first regular mail many of us received. Here are 25 highlights, tips, tricks, and celebrity cameos that greeted video game fanatics of the late-'80s.

1. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start

Contra made The Konami Code famous, but it originated with a programmer on Gradius, Kazuhisa Hashimoto. "There was no way I could finish the game," said Hashimoto, "so I inserted the so-called Konami Code. There isn't [a story behind it], really. I mean, I was the one using it, so I just put in something I could remember easily."

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2. How to Get Mario 100 Extra Lives

One of Mario's most famous tricks. Here's a non-Nintendo Power tip for jumping over the flagpole.

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3. How to Beat Mike Tyson

If you want to give this a shot but don't have the patience to beat the King Hippos and Soda Popinskis of the world, remember these magic numbers: 007-373-5963.

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4. What Games Kirk and Candace Cameron Are Struggling With

"I am having problems getting past the Amoeboids in Gradius," explained the Growing Pains star. "I think that I'll have to place a call to the game counselors soon!" His sister Candace, who played D.J. Tanner on Full House, "has yet to rescue Zelda."

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5. Before Nintendo Power, There Was Fun Club News

A free publication called Nintendo Fun Club News preceded Nintendo Power.

Image credit: IGN

In an interview with Complex, founding editor Gail Tilden said, “The Fun Club newsletter started as a six page, simple thing in 1987. It was a direct response program to get a database of all our users. By the time we got to the Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! issue, however, we were at 600,000 readers, and it was a bigger bite out the market budget than we had anticipated." So they expanded it to a paid-subscription magazine.

There were seven issues of Fun Club, which you can find on eBay.

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6. The First Editor-in-Chief Was a 31-Year-Old Woman Who Kept a Low Profile

“No reader wants their mom to be the person running their video game magazine,” Gail Tilden explained to Complex. "It was very conscious that the editors did not have pictures of themselves in the magazine. It took away from the idea that the magazine was about ‘you,’ the consumer." Tilden served as editor for the first ten years.

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7. The Inaugural Power Rankings

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8. The Rest of the Top 10

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9. The Dealers LOVED R.C. Pro-Am

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10. You Could Call for Help

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11. The Existence of This Awesome Shirt

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12. The Cast of Characters for SMB2

"Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and the Mushroom Retainer are getting involved in a strange dream world where they must hop, jump, run and find vegetables." To find out why kids in the U.S. didn't get the same sequel as kids did in Japan, read this Chris Higgins story.

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13. Where Everything is on Zelda's Second Quest

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14. How to Pull the Goalie

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15. The Umps in Bases Loaded Were Yuk, Dum, Boo, and Bum

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16. How to Beat Castlevania

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17. How to Beat Hewdraw

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18. What to Do With Pegasus' Flute

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19. There Were Books and Booklets

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20. The Exact Name of the Theme Song From Spy Hunter

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21. Someone Thought Double Dribble Was Amazing 

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22. Where to Get Screw Attack

Nothing in this issue about Justin Bailey, however.

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23. A Few Moves in Double Dragon

Including the devastating "Hair-Pull Kick."

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24. Big Things Were Coming

A few months later, Zelda II made the cover:

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25. We Were Playing With Power

The final issue of Nintendo Power was published in 2012, and the cover looked very much like the first one. Thanks to Kotaku for linking to the first issue and inspiring this trip down memory lane. Now go read Kevin Wong's history of Nintendo Power over at Complex Magazine.

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Pop Culture
Neil deGrasse Tyson Recruits George R.R. Martin to Work on His New Video Game
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Kevin Winter / Getty Images

George R.R. Martin has been keeping busy with the latest installment of his Song of Ice and Fire series, but that doesn’t mean he has no time for side projects. As The Daily Beast reports, the fantasy author is taking a departure from novel-writing to work on a video game helmed by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

DeGrasse Tyson’s game, titled Space Odyssey, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. He envisions an interactive, desktop experience that will allow players to create and explore their own planets while learning about physics at the same time. To do this correctly, he and his team are working with some of the brightest minds in science like Bill Nye, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, and astrophysicist Charles Liu. The list of collaborators also includes a few unexpected names—like Martin, the man who gave us Game of Thrones.

Though Martin has more experience writing about dragons in Westeros than robots in outer space, deGrasse Tyson believes his world-building skills will be essential to the project. “For me [with] Game of Thrones ... I like that they’re creating a world that needs to be self-consistent,” deGrasse Tyson told The Daily Beast. “Create any world you want, just make it self-consistent, and base it on something accessible. I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s quote: ‘First get your facts straight. Then distort them at your leisure.’”

Other giants from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, including Neil Gaiman and Len Wein (co-creator of Marvel's Wolverine character), have signed on to help with that same part of the process. The campaign for Space Odyssey has until Saturday, July 29 to reach its $314,159 funding goal—of which it has already raised more than $278,000. If the video game gets completed, you can expect it to be the nerdiest Neil deGrasse Tyson project since his audiobook with LeVar Burton.

[h/t The Daily Beast]

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fun
Nintendo Will Release an $80 Mini SNES in September
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© Nintendo

Retro gamers rejoice: Nintendo just announced that it will be launching a revamped version of its beloved Super Nintendo Classic console, which will allow kids and grown-ups alike to play classic 16-bit games in high-definition.

The new SNES Classic Edition, a miniature version of the original console, comes with an HDMI cable to make it compatible with modern televisions. It also comes pre-loaded with a roster of 21 games, including Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, and Star Fox 2, an unreleased sequel to the 1993 original.

“While many people from around the world consider the Super NES to be one of the greatest video game systems ever made, many of our younger fans never had a chance to play it,” Doug Bowser, Nintendo's senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. “With the Super NES Classic Edition, new fans will be introduced to some of the best Nintendo games of all time, while longtime fans can relive some of their favorite retro classics with family and friends.”

The SNES Classic Edition will go on sale on September 29 and retail for $79.99. Nintendo reportedly only plans to manufacture the console “until the end of calendar year 2017,” which means that the competition to get your hands on one will likely be stiff, as anyone who tried to purchase an NES Classic last year will well remember.

In November 2016, Nintendo released a miniature version of its original NES system, which sold out pretty much instantly. After selling 2.3 million units, Nintendo discontinued the NES Classic in April. In a statement to Polygon, the company has pledged to “produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition.”

Nintendo has not yet released information about where gamers will be able to buy the new console, but you may want to start planning to get in line soon.

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