Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Magazine Reviews - Nintendo Fun Club #1

Hello, I'm Alexander Case. I recently did write-ups of the the numbered titles in the Might and Magic series. In the past, in my personal blog, I've been doing write-ups of old issues of various video game magazines. I've decided to continue this here, where I'll be taking a look at old issues of Nintendo Power magazine, starting with the magazine's original form – the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter. I'll also be doing some write-ups of titles that are covered in the magazine but not on the site.

A little background first. Nintendo started the Fun Club, as with most other fan clubs, as a marketing tool for Nintendo. Around the time of the NES's release, most of the video game magazines that would have provided publicity for NES games had either gone under, or had switched their focus from the more-or less deceased console market to home computers. Thus, if Nintendo wanted to get the word out on upcoming titles for the NES, they would have to do it on their own.

Issue #1 – Winter, 1987

Page One
The first issue of the Fun Club letter is relatively short – only 6 pages long, but opens with a doozy of a title – Super Mario Bros. The game has just been released, and the article gives is a run-down of the game's story, listing Princess Peach by her original name for the US release – Toadstool. We also get a plug for the official Nintendo Fun Club strategy guide for Super Mario Bros.

We also get a quick look at their motorcycle racing game, Exitebike (another classic), and Hogan's Alley. Both game descriptions are relatively generic, with the descriptions basically consisting of ad copy. The one notable bit is related to Hogan's Alley. Nintendo held a competition between teenagers and NYPD cops in the game, to see who was best at the game. The winner was a cop from the NYPD's 28th precinct, named John Hunt.

The first modern geek celeb to appear in a Nintendo magazine.
Next up is on another video game tournament, this time in California, with celebrities playing against regular people to raise money for the Scott Newman Foundation. The winner of the tournament was one of one of the celebrities, and one who should be well known to readers – Wil Wheaton. Will even discussed it on his blog.

We also have several letters in our letters column, something that is rather impressive considering that this is the news letter's first issue. The most notable one is from Bob Gale, the producer of Back to the Future, and who has also written several issues of The Amazing Spider-Man magazine in 2008.
We also get a set of hints and tips for Super Mario Bros, hinting at the existence of the Warp Zones, along with the slide trick, and maximizing the point bonuses for fireworks. Thee are some also tips for recovering faster and sticking the landing in Excitebike. 

We wrap up the issue with an article about members of the Fun Club getting a subscription to Top Score magazine, whose editor is another person video game fans should know – Steve Harris, future Editor-in-Chief & publisher of Electronic Gaming Monthly.

One last thing to mention from this issue – there are no screen shots of any kind here, which is significant considering later issues of Nintendo Power would be extremely screen shot heavy.