After 24 years, Nintendo Power releases its last issue.
ALAKA (28302), Dec 03, 2012
Future Publishing has decided to pull the plug on the long running magazine which was dedicated to covering all things Nintendo. The final December 2012 issues cover features an homage to the first issues cover which featured Super Mario Bros. 2 on the front.
Ah yes, I saw a picture of that cover the other day and had a fit of nostalgia. Sad to see it go, but there isn't really a place for a magazine like that in this day and age...
Is still there a place, or rather a purpose, for any magazine on paper? I am afraid not.
Magazines today are like blogs curated for the enjoyment of rich people whose time is too valuable to squander looking for the next great life-improving thing.
The 3DS just isn't enough of a luxury item for this crowd to support it.
What I want to know is: did Howard & Nester make a closing appearance?
According to Wikipedia, Nester and his son Max appeared in a comic in the last issue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Power#Nester
Good! It's important to celebrate the nostalgia that counts 8)
(Edited by 雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (46719), Dec 13, 2012)Re: Nintendo Power releases its last issue.
雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (46719), Dec 13, 2012
Gamasutra posted this excellent piece the other day. It's basically Howard Philips and Gail Tilden just talking about how the whole thing got started back in 1987, when there was virtually no games press in North America to speak of. Great nostalgic reading. :)
Future Publishing does NOTHING but kill magazines. It's companies like that who transformed fun and interesting magazines in nothing more than advertisement space. There are still a few mags run by people who actually care about video games (i.e. the journalists themselves), and those are a whole different deal, they're actually good, if you can imagine such a thing.
In the German-speaking area they will always be remembered for killing the venerable PC Player magazine (after turning it into a PC Gamer clone).
A shame, but i suppose times are changing. We didn't used to have the internet. Now we know everything at the same time as the journalists!
2012 was a BAD year for press. Not only NP is dead....
Poland - KS Gry and Play (13 years...) was buried. ;(
I quit buying gaming magazines in 2001.
Games are mostly light entertainment relying on what's new, because of this the best medium for reviews etc. is the Internet.
The crowd wants information, fast. Only some picky (pseudo?:D)intellectuals would pay for printed independent in-depth reviews - is there enough of them to make it worthwhile? ($$$-wise)
In 2008/9 I begun writing to console-oriented (eek!) mag Engarde... it died after just 4 issues due to incompetent owner/editor (but that's common in my country :/ ). I had to wait 5 months for my petty pay to arrive. I don't know which online magazine would pay me for my articles...
Facebook. Easy enough to see which sites are popular by their Facebook page activity. It's the 21st century -- social media, dude.
I'm sure if my roommate can get paid to write squealing fanboy drivel for a website that shall go unnamed, someone who actually has something insightful to say shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to publish their work, right?
I do agree that printed magazines can no longer, and don't have to, compete in the breaking news department. Most of them have scaled the news sections back to a short monthly summary, which is good. But apart from the obvious advantages of having something on paper rather than digitally, there are still many things a printed mag can do better than any website ever will. The magazines have (had) to adapt, but they still have their place.
One of the most important of them being selectivity and consistency. The web's biggest strength is its biggest weakness. Unlimited content, by anyone and everyone. And its effect that you're no longer surprised by content you didn't expect, because you only read what you are specifically looking for. Magazines need to capitalize on having a team you get to know, with a consistent writing style you get to know, having the most contacts and industry access, etc. and of course doing the less time-relevant things where they can outshine websites, like background features. And I have yet to find a website that is as fun, balanced and easy to "just read" as a well-made magazine. Professional layout and editorial processes go a long way.
I still have my magazine subscription from 1998 because, while I'm sure you could find a lot of similar content on the web for free, I can't get it as good easily and in one place. Also, that my particular magazine includes one or two full version games each month helps justify the subscription :)
I'd start with the full games as selling point.
Past that, I'd say pretty much get rid of whatever can be easily found in hundreds if not thousands of places on-line way before the magazine hits the stands. So, yes, I'd go as far as eliminating reviews and previews of major titles, or maybe just leave one per issue for a cover image that people would relate to something they know, and replace them with reviews and previews of titles in danger of slipping under the radar, digging up older good games that have either been largely forgotten or undeservedly failed to make an impact even at launch, maybe games that failed due to bugs or flaws that have been since thoroughly patched, officially or (most likely in such cases) not. Get rid of news with an impact too, maybe if you have a news section at all focus on a few stories that slipped past largely unnoticed. Plus, of course, add some in-depth features, maybe something about making games (likely presenting tools/editors, not a programming course), maybe something about local gaming, be it developers (most preferably independent, not branches or contract workers of the major international companies), pro gamers, events...
Think magazines could still make a living on that... But, again, start from the full games... Which tend to feed on themselves. Give good ones (if obviously not new - much better to have a great title that's 5-10 years old, as long as it's patched to work well on new systems, than an average one that's 1-3 years old), people buy the magazine for the game, you have large numbers to offer to distributors when requesting deals for more good games. Give bad ones, far fewer people will buy, distributors will see they're not getting too much for the discounts they make you and you'll only be able to get even worse games from then on...
These are all very good points, and in fact the magazine I'm subscribed to does a lot of it. I don't know about the others, but I would assume that those who survived these last years did to some degree as well.
News used to be maybe a dozen pages, it's about four now, more of a summary. Not the detailed chronology of events that you can get on websites, only the big stuff that you probably should know, even if you don't read gaming news websites (like me) or missed something. Things like, this franchise has been announced to continue, that big studio went out of business, this famous game designer said something incredibly stupid. I still think that this is an important part of a magazine. Not because you couldn't find it anywhere else, but because it gives a short overview and makes for nice flashback material later on.
As for the rest, reviews make up a lot less of the magazine than back in the days. I think I did the numbers in another thread here; it's about 1/3 or 1/4 of the number of games they reviewed per month 10 years ago. The focus has shifted to previews a bit, I assume because that's where industry contacts can get you stuff not every community website author has.
But probably the most interesting are their other editorial sections: a section on Indie developments, free games and mods that they think are worth reporting on; a section with gaming-related (sometimes academic) articles on politics and society; interviews, visits at local studios, making-ofs and post-mortems; a "hall of fame" section revisiting classic games and game series; and a satire page. Together, definitely the most interesting parts and I suppose the main reason for people to still buy them. And on the DVDs I hear they're still making those editorial videos, although I haven't watched them in years (don't know why). I remember the amazingly trashy but funny video reviews they used to do. Definitely a unique selling point!
So yes to all the things you suggest adding, but I don't think it would do them any favours to drop reporting on the popular stuff. They're a big part of newsstand sales still. It's just something you expect, and I think for many people the really big and omnipresent titles are all the more reason to read about them in a print magazine rather than on a website. They're usually under less pressure to be the first ones to post a review, and because the people writing them are professionals, you'd assume they're less prone to fall prey to premature judgements because of the hype. I know this is not the case for all print mags, but it is one of their potential strengths. I would hope even the web 2.0 kids see the value in something where not everyone is allowed to contribute.
Was saying to drop them not because there's something wrong with seeing them there, but because you can't keep adding things without removing others. Or, sure, you can, but that leads you to one of the following scenarios:
- A decently sized and decently paid staff that ends up overworked. Sooner or later, depending on how much they really like what they're doing, they'll start cracking and messing up or leaving directly.
- A large staff, but an underpaid one, to keep costs within sustainable levels. More or less gets you right back to the above scenario, they'll crack sooner or later, plus that the more people you need, the harder it is to find only those that are skilled and dedicated.
- A large and decently paid staff. Unsustainable from magazine sales, so you'll need to do the off-line equivalent of all the shit that the current major sites do to stay afloat and lose all those advantages you named that magazines still have.
Yeah, that's true. I think scaling back the news section to a quick summary would be viable though. You don't need people whose full-time occupation is to scour all press release sections daily and call up contacts anymore. If you're only going to write a few sentences about the most important headlines (interested readers will look it up online anyway), that can probably be some lower percentage of a regular editor's job.
It's more difficult for reviews, since what takes time is actually testing the game. You probably don't save much time by just giving an overhyped game less coverage. But I also think if everyone seems to be talking about and waiting for, say, Mass Effect 4, it would be weird if a magazine didn't cover it. People probably wouldn't accept the response that you can read about it anywhere on the web anyway. The reason they subscribe is because they'd prefer hearing about it from their trusted source. If everybody else is writing about it anyway, then the unique selling point just has to be that their article is much better, in whatever way.
(Edited by Indra was here (15038), Feb 25, 2013)Re: Nintendo Power releases its last issue.
Indra was here (15038), Feb 25, 2013
I have yet to figure out if gamers know the difference between a review and an emotional evaluation...or simply a consumer review.
Some magazines here in Brazil started giving games back in the 90s and today the magazine is just a 4 pages quick guide for the game bundled.
Hey, better than vanishing completely.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (85451), Feb 19, 2013)Re: Nintendo Power releases its last issue.
Patrick Bregger (85451), Feb 19, 2013
I agree. I generally like print magazines much more than websites (MobyGames excluded). Even on the best websites I just skim the headlines in my RSS reader and read the things which sound really interesting. In print magazines I read almost everything and discover interesting things I'd never notice on websites. In fact, during the last years I even subscribed to additional (gaming) magazines. But I could not care less about full versions. I think they eat up a lot of licensing costs for nothing (Steam sales!) and hold magazines back.
Websites for information, magazines for reading.
(Edited by Indra was here (15038), Feb 19, 2013)Re: Nintendo Power releases its last issue.
Indra was here (15038), Feb 19, 2013
Daniel Saner Wrote:
Used to buy magazines based on this. Wizards of the Coast magazine, Times, and Asia Newsweek...and due to exposure from reading articles from Playboy Mansion, Playboy seems like a nice read. More or less capable of making you read stuff you're not primarily interested in.
Business Week is still the dullest piece of magazine literature I've read. Including practically 100% of internet news, blogs, and practically anything on the net. Gawd, reading political blogs is painful.
Come to think of it, what online source is really worth reading? Only place I know is Cracked...and for the most part for reading the user comments.
You're right, but as I said, this requires readers with better refinement = less customers. Now what, we have to increase the price to compensate this? That's what is done when a product moves to a higher shelf.
In the world where games are illegally copied on a daily basis, are there enough rich game collectors, enthusiasts, researchers, connoisseurs etc. who could afford such elitist gaming mag? Because you don't expect teens appreciating those fine points about quality you've described (I take you aim at twentysomethings with decent income?). What about countries where legal software was introduced only in mid-1990s?
It's true that we're searching for things we know that exist, other stuff must be introduced to us. Usually by someone knowledgeable.
Few years ago, before I could see hipsters on billboards, I had an idea about a magazine promoting vintage/retro culture. A bit of everything, almost like Playboy ;) After all, I saw at the newsagent's 2-3 magazines about wine (I don't live in France, who buys this here?), so I hoped there will be readers for my printed mag. Sadly, all the people I told about this said I should stick to an e-zine...
Perhaps my cautious approach stems from the fact that I live in a country which society still doesn't have living standards on a par with Western Europe.
Has anyone checked out Nintendo Force Magazine yet? A bunch of fan site people banded together to try and create the spiritual successor to Nintendo Power. I haven't bought an issue yet but what I've seen looks good.
I sprang for the first issue of Nintendo Force Magazine, as I appreciate the goodwill of the people who put it together. I was actually fairly impressed by it, enough to purchase a subscription. It does a decent job combining some of the better parts of the newer Nintendo Power format with the old standards.