Howard says: “Listen to Retronauts Episode 19 today!”

Nester says: “I’ll listen tomorrow.”

Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter which of Nintendo’s Goofus ‘n Gallant duo you heed, or when you listen to Retronauts 19. The important thing is that you do. Uplift yourself.

Kickstarter backer Tyler Castro joins us this episode to discuss Nintendo Power, which is why we barely touched on such an influential magazine in our sprawling games publications episode a couple of weeks ago. We had to pace ourselves, you know? There’s an interesting mix of hands-on perspectives in this one. Being the haggard old person of this venture, I was a Nintendo Power subscriber from day one, whereas the other guys came in somewhat later. But we all agree on the tragedy that was Nintendo Power‘s N64/GameCube years, and the quality of Future’s revamp of the book.

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Episode description: Backer Tyler Castro joins us to discuss the flip side of our game magazines episode: Nintendo Power. Why does this propaganda rag command such affection among Gen-X types? We, the brainwashed, explore the Barnum principles behind its succcess.

Music incorporated into this episode:

  • Ninja Gaiden: The Ninja Dragon
  • Rygar: Gran Mountains
  • Power Blade: Stage 2
  • Battle of Olympus: Phthia
  • Bionic Commando: Area 08
  • Metroid: Kraid’s Lair
  • Mega Man 2: Quick Man
  • Wizards & Warriors: Title Screen

Thanks again to Tyler for supporting Retronauts! And also all the other people who support it. You folks are peaches.


Filed under Retronauts

14 Responses to Howard says: “Listen to Retronauts Episode 19 today!”

  1. The covers to Nintendo Power #s 2 and 4 are actually small maquettes, not life-size mannequins and/or actors. Look closely at the hands and faces. Its likely that Link and Belmont are the same figurine.

    Great podcast by the way!

  2. Clash at Demonhead ended up having a pretty good spread in Nintendo Power, not just a weak Video Shorts. Here’s someone else’s scans:

    I’m not usually this guy, but I would never have finished this game as a kid without that article. The fully labelled map alone is indispensable, especially if you’re trying to not hate the game in 2014.

  3. DarthEnderX

    What Jeremy said about Mega Man 4-5 etc. may have been true about 4, but was definitely not the case with 5.

    Mega Man 5’s coverage was in the same issue as Mega Man X. Which had that awesome silver MMX cover. So by the time of 5, they were definitely back to putting Megaman on the cover.

    Speaking of covers, 260 was the one with that epic sprite collection on it.

    Anyway, my own subscription lapsed right around the time Street Fighter II was in it’s heyday. I was basically only allowed to get one magazine, and that was the period I switched to EGM, mainly BECAUSE of the SF2 coverage.

    • DarthEnderX

      And for whatever reason, Peach wearing Luigi’s clothes is also pretty much the only thing I remember from that Mario comic. Other than that I remember it being good.

  4. Rhett Lauffenburger

    I know this is silly, and inconsequential, but I was very glad to hear the return of the “this week on Retronauts” opener; that line never fails to put a smile on my face, and the last couple episodes just didn’t feel quite right without it!

  5. I was wondering why you didn’t talk about Nintendo Power much during the gaming magazine episode. Should’ve expected it would get it’s own episode.

    So I never had a Nintendo Power subscription growing up, so I largely got to experience it through borrowing issues from friends. Since I also didn’t own a NES or SNES growing up, that was the only way I saw some of those games. I remember the coverage on Power Blade sticking with me, even though I forgot the game’s title for years.

    My younger brother eventually got a subscription in the later 90’s, and I agree that run was terrible. What really sticks out at me during that era the reviews. They had all of these postage stamp-sized reviews where you’d only get a few lines about the game itself and a score. I had already moved to online new sources, so I knew just how bad they were.

    He kept the subscription going through the relaunch since that was so much better. The interviews were really great and the reviews actually told you stuff. Unfortunately, he let the subscription expire and I never thought to pick it up again. I did pick up the final issue and it was a fitting send off.

    I also have really found memories of the comics. I remember first discovering them reading random issues at my cousins house, and I ended up sorting large parts of his collection just to read through them. The fact that none of them are available officially in some form is a tragedy, though some of them are archived on fan sites:

    It’d be nice if Nintendo could put them, as well as Nintendo Power back issues, up on a digital service. I doubt the returns would be worth the investment though.

  6. JohnLearned

    I love that Tarada artwork, especially the chapter paintings in the Ninja Gaiden 2 strategy guide. If anyone knows of a site that’s just dedicated to his NP stuff, please, please, please post the link

  7. I think one of the biggest aspect younger gamers may not understand is the lack of information (or, incorrect information–still haven’t seen Double Dribble 2) that came from not having the internet. Having exclusive knowledge of Zelda 2 from the Nintendo Fun Club was priceless to the “casual” gamer at the time, since Nintendo was bar none the most popular system on the streets. And magazines were traded daily in the lunchroom for all of the detailed maps and Top Secret codes.

    What was always odd to me, however, was that Rob & Mike (I think that was there names) were pretty harsh with their reviews. I remember everything basically relied on the “Theme & Fun” score, and it always tended to be on the lower side.

    But, sweet baby Martha, did they offer incredible swag! Free game, free strategy guides, free smells (Earthbound ad)…it was a dream come true for its time.

    Great episode.

  8. Teh Lurv

    Nintendo Power stands out in my mind because that publication introduced me to the notion as a child that media may not be impartial. I remember reading NP’s review and lame defenses of the censorship of Mortal Kombat and couldn’t understand how the reviewer thought the removal of blood and fatalities was a good thing. As I thought about it I realized, as a Nintendo publication, they had a vested interest in presenting Nintendo in the best possible light. ::Tiny mind blown::

  9. DRich

    Used the guides a lot for Dragon Warrior dungeons and for help with the card matching games in SMB3. The article I poured over the most was actually the Tetris one which included tips from Howard Phillips.

  10. Johnny

    I actually own a Japanese edition of the Super Mario Adventures comic that I bought on a whim off eBay years ago. It’s got same material as the book released here but it also contains an interview with the writer and artist team. From what I gathered from the accompanying illustrations they had a hard time with the American staff who objected to certain artistic choices like that one panel where the art style shifts to a slightly more realistic Mario gasping in terror.

  11. Progearspec

    I use to be a avid reader of nintendo power but only for the nes era.I remember the first issue as well with it’s covering of smb2.Though i remember wanting to use it’s zelda quest 2 guide but i couldn’t since i had to vist family around the time.By the time the genesis,TG16 and snes came out i wasn’t reading nintendo any more.By then i got into magazines such as egm,gamefan and even some gamepro.

  12. Tomm

    Great episode–probably my favorite thus far.

    Robin Hood NES was always modeled after the film. It was just really, really late.