Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nintendo Power, Volume 52 (September 1993)

 Today I'm going to be looking at a magical relic from September 1993: Issue 52 of Nintendo Power (RIP). I just picked up a used copy on Amazon, so I'm reading it for the first time.

This was nearly the first issue of Nintendo Power that I had as a kid; I subscribed in August, but it didn't get processed in time to get this issue. Instead, the first one I got was the fairly underwhelming October issue. That issue still blew my mind at the time, but I can only imagine the level of mind-blowing that would have occurred had THIS issue been my first. I was an absolute Mario fanatic.

 Before reading this issue, I made sure to put on my Super Mario boxer shorts. I'd make the easy joke about how these cause women to run in horror, but usually the women just end up wearing them later.

 Remember these weird Super Power Club ads? This one is particularly bizarre. I have no idea what message that picture is trying to send.

 Table of contents. Wow, lot of good games here. I see The 7th Saga, which I just covered in August and need to play some more of the sequel some time. Final Fight 2, classique. Final Fantasy Legend III is definitely one of the best Game Boy RPGs out there. Of course, the crown jewel of this issue is a certain Mario collection.

Check out the new model NES on the left there. I always wanted one of those. The rounded controller must have been a massive upgrade; the corners of the NES controller were always pretty uncomfortable. $50 is an incredible price considering the NES was, at that point, only eight years old and only two years removed from being the dominant system. It's like having a new model Playstation 3 be released for $70 in 2015.

Also, NES games ran $10 new at this point. Seeing this system for $50 next to $10 games like Metroid and Super Mario Bros 3 was insane. I never got this model NES or any of those games until 1999, but it's okay. I got a Super NES soon after this (my first home console) and the NES pretty much dropped off my radar for a long time.

 Final Fight 2 coverage. Check out the artwork. They did this for SO MANY games. It's amazing how Nintendo Power could take a standard side-scrolling beat-em-up and give it so much more personality in their coverage.

7th Saga! They covered the whole game in this article, even if it's only the bullet points. Lot of helpful advice here. I also enjoyed the write-ups on the seven characters (click this image to get a closer look).

 Rock and Roll Racing, I believe. I took this shot because THAT'S A XENOMORPH. I'm not sure why Xenomorphs have made it into so many games (aside from being awesome), and it's too bad Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Stan Winston, and H.R. Giger didn't get royalties from all of them.

Classified Information! This was the place for cheat codes and various tricks. Back then, we didn't have the internet, so we'd scrounge through our NP issues checking this section for codes for whatever game we were playing.

 Nintendo Power also had some pretty sweet comics. They had year-long comics for Mario and Zelda, but at this point they were doing a series on Star Fox. The next year they'd do one for Super Metroid, but it was cut pretty pretty short. Five issues, I think. Unfortunate, because I was looking forward to seeing them cover more of the Metroid universe.

 FFL3 coverage. NP tended to have some very in-depth RPG articles, and they generally did a great job capturing the "feel" of any given RPG. Heck, their coverage of Chrono Trigger is what got me interested in RPGs. It was just so... magical.

 Counselor's Corner, the place where they'd answer some of the more common questions that came in. Something tells me Battletoads was a regular here...

 I'm not sure how NP did the Top 20. Are these sales charts, or did they base it on the votes that readers sent in? Pretty sure it was the latter. Mario and Zelda absolutely dominated these charts most of the time, showing us that not a whole lot has changed with the game lineup throughout Nintendo's history. The two games I owned at this point, Kirby's Dream Land and Metroid 2, occupy top five positions in the Game Boy section.

 For some odd reason, the awful Terminator 2: The Movie gets the first spot over Super Mario All-Stars in the short-review section. As bad as the T2 games tended to be, I'm guessing they still sold well. Heck, I very nearly bought the Game Boy iteration around this time just because I loved the movie so much. Glad I didn't, because new games were few and far between.

 A preview of the next issue, which would be my first NP. Mortal Kombat was about to take the world by storm.

 I really liked these trading cards that were included with the issues back then. I'd never actually take them out of the issue - preferring only to look at them - and it looks like the guy who owned this issue before me felt the same way. I'm impressed with the condition of this issue in general given that it's two decades old.

And that concludes my look at...

Wait, what's that? I forgot something? YOU'RE RIGHT.


 Featuring Toad, eater of worlds.

For the most part, this article is all about The Lost Levels. That uberchallenging game was reaching American shores for the first time with this compilation. I completely agree with them that the frustration of the game is offset by the enhanced graphics and the fact that you can save after every level.

 But wait! I learned something new. There's a World 9 in the game, and you only get there if you beat the entire game without warping. I had NO IDEA that this existed. I know that if you finish the game and DO warp, there's a World A, B, C, and D after the initial eight.

I'm guessing World 9 is the pinnacle of the challenge, and I've gotta see it for myself.

 Firing the game up on the Wii, plugging in the Classic Controller Pro... World 9, here I come.
Oh yeah, that's the stuff. All of my problems just fell away, at least for a little while. I'll be busy with this, so you'll have to excuse me.

After all these years, Nintendo Power and Mario can still make me feel like a kid.


  1. The caption on those Mario boxer shorts is one of the greatest double entendres I've ever seen.
    Forget the Super Power Club, man. Never used it.
    The Table of Contents! I just had a nostalgia heart attack!
    "Evolve or become extinct" was an appropriate slogan for the new NES. Which was awesome. Though certain people I've mentioned it to said they prefer the NES's boxiness and blowing on the cartridges and such.
    Is the artwork from the NP staff itself? That's really impressive.
    You're absolutely right about how key the Classified Information codes were.
    Fire in the Sky! That montage was SO COOL for me, and I really enjoyed this comic as well as the ones for Mario and Zelda.
    NP did do a lot for RPGs.
    7th Saga...Kamil Dowonna sounds like a summer camp name. Esuna Busy is..always busy, then. These are good fake names.
    Counselor's Corner was a great idea all around. I too remember a lot of Battletoads questions.
    I paid a lot of attention to those Top 20 slots! Never even thought about the methodology! ps there's Nestor!
    I didn't take out the cards, either. They are cool indeed. Also, 'U.N. Squadron'? That definitely wouldn't be made in the US.
    I was getting anxious you were gonna forget the Mario All-Stars part! Whewwwww
    It's pretty interesting they, too, encouraged you to keep trying with Lost Levels.

    'I'm guessing World 9 is the pinnacle of the challenge, and I've gotta see it for myself.'

    NP gave you the scoop ten years late! Whoa! That is a great idea how to unlock a bonus level, btw.

    Great ending. Great post.

  2. Perhaps the message is... "when you miss a month, you miss a lot"? I think that's the moral of the story here.

  3. If everything that was a fake xenomorph had to pay royalties, there would be no fake xenomorph's and their notoriety would be much less.