Playing With Power

Playing With Power – Nintendo Power #9

The biggest thing that stands out to me regarding issue 9 is the increased highlight on role playing games.By late 1989, Dragon Quest 1 through 3 had already taken Japan by storm and Final Fantasy 1 and 2 had also been released so the role playing genre was in full stride in Nintendo’s home land.  Hoping to bring this same RPG fever to America, this issue has 2 feature RPGs, an expanded preview of another RPG and half of the Counselors Corner section is related to RPG’s.  Then for this issue, the special insert is a 36 page tip book for the recently released Dragon Warrior.  That is a lot of RPG goodness!  Of course it didn’t really pan out particularly well as none of the games featured in this issue became big sellers and RPG’s didn’t really start to pick up steam in America until the release of Final Fantasy in mid-1990 but for early fans of the genre, there was no shortage of games to pick from around this time.

Elsewhere in the magazine, we have a feature that gives away 10 endings to popular NES games. I’m guessing this would be the first time many gamers would have found out that Samus was a female protagonist but I don’t know how much those of us reading the magazine at the time would have realized just what a unique feature that really was.

In the previous issue we got our first detailed look at the Game Boy system and in this issue we get our first look at the games that would be available around launch with Mario leading the way.  While Tetris was the game that kept gamers playing their Game Boy for hours on end, Super Mario Land was the game that got kids excited about the system.  Imagine after spending endless hours playing a game on your television that suddenly you could bring it with you anywhere you went.  While that is as common as the internet or email is today, when the Game Boy launched only a handful of people had spent any real time with portable systems and many of those were simple one screen LCD games like Tiger Electronic handheld games or Nintendo’s own Game and Watch systems.  The idea of playing a Mario game on the go was a complete revolution to kids everywhere and while looking at it now Super Mario Land is an incredibly short game, I remember sinking hours of playtime in to it on car trips as a kid.

For those keeping track, I mentioned in the last issue that Mario 3 was on the Top 30 chart and would remain there for over 5 years but you may notice that it is missing from this months Top 30 list.  I have since found out that the 5 year run was once the game broke the top 20 but that wouldn’t be until after it released in 1990.  I’m not sure how it even ended up on the Top 30 list in the previous issue when it was still months from release but I suppose gamers were just that anxious to get a new Mario game for their NES they voted on it before even playing it!

The next item of note from this issue is the announcement of the Nintendo World Championship.  If that sounds familiar that’s because this is the contest that brought us the special World Championship game cartridge that now sells for tens of thousands of dollars when one comes up for sale.

That’s issue 9 and still as great as ever.  Hope you enjoyed it, see you next time!

Play with power!