Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Club Nintendo advocates drugs

It’s true, the proof is in the photograph...

Taken from the Rad Racer section in Club Nintendo magazine, the “Classic” issue circa sometime around 1990? Right there in print, it says: rush, as in high on drugs.

There is technically an explanation for this, but I thought I’d let this stew for a while before giving the explanation in the comments section. Full images of the DPS is below.

I will say this: the image is not a hoax. I have said issue of the magazine, and it does indeed say that, and it was officially printed on behalf of Nintendo in its Club Nintendo magazine.

The simple answer for this that I can work out is: it's actually the South African edition of Club Nintendo and, due to geographical isolation at a time when the internet didn't exist, a physical copy was never checked by the London/European head office.

In the credits on the inside cover, while it says Published by Nintendo Europe, the editorial office was in Doornfontein, South Africa. Now it has to be said, the NES never really sold in SA. I've heard reports from people who swear they saw official PAL units being sold in some places, but I never saw them my entire childhood over there. The Famicom Clone reigned supreme since it would have been considerably cheaper.

Which means this magazine is probably their only real attempt at generating publicity in South Africa. At least that I saw. It was a free supplement in the first issue of a magazine called KIDZ, which was sold through schools. It featured puzzles, comics, film reviews, short stories, game coverage, and other cool stuff that 7-12 year-year-olds would like. Which makes the drug reference all the more strange.

If you check out this link:

You'll find a PDF download of what I presume is the UK edition. Notice how the design and colouring is different, though the content, assets and cover are similar. There were obviously editions made for each region, since googling Club Nintendo brings up a German version of the cover. There is no equivalent Rad Racer page that I could find in the above linked version.

My educated guess is that South Africa wasn't high on the priorities of Nintendo, they set up some kind of tiny editorial office which knew the NES was never going to make it even before it came out, and so when redesigning the magazine took liberties with it which were never checked. They would have either have had to send physical copies to Europe for verifying, or faxed them. Assuming they were printed in South Africa. Whatever the case, it's obviously an example of someone given free reign with captions and not being supervised.

Still, it was officially endorsed by Nintendo, so is a fun historical anomaly especially given Nintendo's early sanitised image.


  1. ...I'd like to hear the explanation :p

  2. Yeah sure, this isn't a hoax, just like the Christopher Walken thing wasn't a hoax.

    Shouldn't it be completely obvious from this?
    "I will say this: the image is not a hoax. I have said issue of the magazine, and it does indeed say that, and it was officially printed on behalf of Nintendo in its Club Nintendo magazine."

    You know what Sketcz? This is usually the part where I chide you and etc, but this time I'm not even going to analyze why this is stupid or even criticize you. If people continue to fall for your idiotic pranks then damnit they deserve everything they have coming to them.

    Just remember that most people aren't stupid and know about "fool me once, fool me twice" and that you're not just risking your professional reputation but also that of HG101 as well.

  3. Zack, I stopped paying attention to your juvenile, barely controlled rants after you went and posted that ludicrous and insane diatribe against me and this website on the Gameroom Blitz forums. You have some serious mental health problems, and I advise that you seek some kind of counselling or anger management for your outbursts. Or just grow up.

    An easy way to verify this is that I had sent a second copy of the magazine to the deputy editor of a leading UK games magazine, a friend of mine, who could have quite easily posted here or on his official twitter confirming it. Though frankly after your irrational outburst I'm reluctant now to drag him into this.

    As you aptly quoted me, the clue to this mystery is: "on behalf of Nintendo" as opposed to by Nintendo themselves.

    And another clue is this page, which has a version of Club Nintendo to download:

    The full explanation (or at least my understanding of the situation) will go up when I can be bothered. Probably tomorrow - assuming Zack has taken his medicine.

  4. I seem to remember seeing this picture elsewhere, but I can't remember if an explanation was offered as to why it occurred.

    It might be derived from the name of the stage on the course select screen: Snow White Line. "White lines" yield "speedrush"? It's probably incorrect, but it's the best explanation I can muster.

  5. Atari Raccon here on my reborn old google account

    Well, Nintendo DOES endorse sex phone lines now, since the phone number you find in Who Framed Rodger Rabbit now connects to a phone chat line.

    But correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the top image and the thrid image two different articles with the same slogan on them?

    Was this actually a 'second' produced version ment to help fill distribution needs, since Nintendo had a hard time filling the demand for the requested free copies of the mags. Or was it 'fan' produced ;) ? Especially since the text seems identical to the official publication.

  6. Edited the main entry with an explanation - or at least an educated guess.

  7. I have the German issue with that cover, but IIRC, the content was entirely different.

  8. Different also to the English version on the NES-bit website?

  9. @adam_curran
    The top image and the third image are quite obviously from the same article - if you click the DPS image you get a more zoomed in version and you see the same thing. I just took the two pics at different times - the top one using a lamp to attempt better lighting.

    It's also not fan produced. Is the presence of this drug reference really so difficult to believe? When I was in primary school in 1990 (or it could have been 1991, I forget) the first issue of KIDZ magazine (now defunct) came out. You paid I think two SA Rand (R2) for the issue and inside was this magazine as a supplement.

    I bought two copies of KIDZ that day, the other being for my brother who wasn't yet in primary school. He recently threw out a lot of his old stuff and so I took his copy of Club Nintendo and posted it to the dep ed of GamesTM, who is a keen retro collector.

    As for the text being identical to the official publication, which one do you mean? This is an official publication, redesigned for a different market (and with some clearly having a little too much fun with it).

    I've not read the German version, and my only other experience with Club Nintendo is from the NES-bit website which has a slightly different version to download.

  10. Oh no, I was simply trying to guess how the quote was possible, just playing the guessing game.

  11. Bah, ignore that last reply, stupid copy paste not working...

    Dang, how did I think the two images were different. Maybe I was half asleep and didn't see all the text in the first WAS in the other one (d'oh)

    Ah HA, it was in a different country's publication of the mag. I guess I was a 'bit' close. Oh well, was a fun guess though.

  12. Oh, I meant the south African one. I've downloaded the English issue now. It's not easily browsable because it's all individual PDFs, but the few pages I've opened seemed the same as in Germany

  13. Remember sending off for these with cards you used to get in NES game boxes here in the UK. To be honest it took about 9 months for the first issue to arrive and when it did come it sucked. We normally used Mean Machines for all our NES information, instead of relying on Club Nintendo.

  14. But did Mean Machines encourage drug use?