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Internet Archive: Nintendo Power Magazine

As described by the website, “Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” For the retro-hound, it’s a depository of all things wonderful. A place you can find web pages preserved in time via the Wayback Machine, VHS recordings taped from television, and old magazines digitized and restored. The site is at the very top of my bookmarks, and a place I visit regularly for my nostalgia fix.

I don’t know many retro junkies that don’t have at least a fleeting interest in video games. The mid to late '80s brought with it a cultural resurgence in video games after the crash of 1983[1]. I personally had both an Intellivision and an NES in the 80s. Others likely had an Atari as well. And if you owned no video game system, then one of your friends probably did.

What came along with the video game boom was a healthy appetite for all things Nintendo. The games, after all, weren’t exactly easy for most kids, and any bit of advice or guidance we could get was more than welcome. We also craved news. What new games were coming out? Are there any secret codes? Contests? I must know!

Howard Phillips, a spokesperson for Nintendo in the '80s, said, "When we first launched the NES in 1985, we figured out very quickly that kids were just dying to get extra information about the games—not just new games that were coming out, but also how to play them."[2]

Not long into the sale of the NES, Nintendo began distributing the precursor to Nintendo Power Magazine, the Nintendo Fun Club News, which was a free newsletter sent out to members of the Nintendo Fun Club. After only seven issues, the free newsletter was discontinued and, in mid-1988, the Nintendo Power Magazine took its place.

If I’m being honest, I have, unfortunately, no memory of Nintendo Fun Club News, but then I also was only seven to eight years old. Recently when writing an article about the Nintendo Entertainment System, the sad reality came crashing down that I also had no memory of how or why I received my console. I asked my parents, to which they had no solid answer.

This is one of the reasons I love the Internet Archive so much. Often, my own memory fails me, but this depository of cultural memory stands stolid and waiting for anyone with a curious enough mind. And so it is here you can find the entire run of Nintendo Fun Club News for free. It is also here you can find Nintendo Power Magazine, starting from the very first issue, each and every page scanned and preserved for your reading pleasure.

Sometimes you can read and view the magazines directly in your web browser, but it is worth mentioning you can also download the files. While you often have a choice (PDF, Jpeg, Kindle, etc.), one document type that pops up quite a lot, and that you may not be familiar with, is CBR (Comic Book RAR). This file type does require a standalone reader, which you can also download for free.[3]

In an age when every scrap of our past is sold on eBay for a premium, it’s nice to know there’s still a place you can go to freely view and enjoy slices of our own history.

[1] ET: The Extra Terrestrial is often cited as a reason (if not the reason) for the crash, though it was largely a symptom of the larger epidemic of shovelware being produced at the time. [2] Cifaldi, Frank (December 11, 2012). "Nintendo Power: Remembering America's Longest-Lasting Game Magazine". Gamasutra. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
[3] I use Cover, which is free in the Microsoft store.

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