INTERVIEW: Operation: Power Up – A Campaign for the Revival of Nintendo Power

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

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Near the end of August 2012, as the news first started making the rounds, we were one of many sites who reported on the demise of Nintendo Power… a magazine many of the staff held near and dear to their hearts. While we took time to remember, a small group of people decided to take action. Operation Power Up reached out to us for support. And while their numbers aren’t quite enough to join our Campaign Hub, some of the staff decided to do what they could to help out. I had the chance to interview the leader of Operation Power Up, to discuss the goals of their campaign, as well as pay respects to Nintendo Power and its contemporaries.

Nintendo Power

[Jonathan]: Most of the Internet went into mourning when the news of Nintendo Power’s demise first broke. Among tributes, fond memories, and sadness…you eventually decided to start Operation Power Up. What motivated you to do so?

[Power Up]: Honestly, my initial reaction was anger, for I still had my subscription.  Besides the general grieving, small tributes, and discussions here and there…the key factors were nostalgia, tradition, and evolution.  The motivation for this was sparked from a friend of mine; we were talking about Nintendo Power’s cancellation, and how new generation of gamers won’t understand that we’re losing a big part of our gaming culture.  One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we started this campaign.

[J]: Your purpose is crystal clear: convince everyone affiliated with Nintendo Power to “keep it alive” somehow, someway. What do you all feel is the ideal way to keep it alive? If everything went as perfectly as it possibly could in the eyes of your campaign, what would the end result be?

[P]: The ideal way to keep it alive is in some sort of digital format.

Ideally, we wish the end result would be an evolution of Nintendo Power, along the lines of an interactive website (similar to Poké or a new Wii U and or 3DS application (similar to the Nintendo Channel, but with more news, information, and interactivity), something exclusive to the fans.  We want the app/website to like an official hub for all Nintendo related information, with input from the fans.  Also, linking Club Nintendo accounts to Nintendo Power would be nice.  Ultimately we would want a new Nintendo Power adaptive for these times.

[J]: What will you all do in order to help accomplish that result? Do you have alternative goals in mind?

[P]: We’re doing a lot to try to bring Nintendo Power back. We’ve been planning on the group writing letters to Future Publishing, Nintendo of America, and other game magazine publishers to pick up the Nintendo Power name.  The main thing is that we’re trying to show Nintendo of America that there’s still market for Nintendo Power.  Currently our first event, Mission: S.N.A.P. invites participants to take pictures of Nintendo Power with their 3DS and send their pictures to “Nintendo 3DS Photo Showcase” . When the time comes, we’ll even try to assemble a team of programmers, artists, journalists, etc. to form a studio to pitch to Nintendo of America an Wii U/3DS or e-zine.  I’m a programmer and I have a few colleagues who would join in this venture.

Our alternate plan was to make our own Nintendo related magazine, but seeing as though Pure Nintendo seems to have that covered, we might put our efforts to support and help them expand if they would allow us.

[J]: Given everything we know, everything we’ve heard…what do you all feel lead to Nintendo Power’s demise? And do you honestly believe that supporting your campaign can help turn the tide?

[P]: I feel like a couple of things lead to Nintendo Power’s demise.   The fact that print is a dying medium is a huge factor, since more and more people just go to the internet for information.  Now-a-days gamers get their gaming news from gaming websites.   Even more so, a majority of gamers also get information through word of mouth from social media sites only. I honestly believe that if enough people join us and participate in our campaign we can get Nintendo of America’s attention and turn the tide.

[J]: Part of helping any campaign succeed is to better know its leaders. How far back does your collective history with Nintendo Power go? Do you have any fond memories that you’d like to share?

[P]: Where do I begin? My history with Nintendo Power goes pretty far back. When I was younger,, my uncle and neighbors would give me their old issues of Nintendo Power that weren’t reading anymore.  I would keep them for the pictures, till I realized they also had maps and secrets that helped me out in games.

My fond memories are the moments when my younger brother and friends would spend time reading Nintendo Power together and speculate about upcoming games and the theology and lore of games, mostly The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario.  We would bring our issues to school and during lunch time (in or class), we would read them and have colorful “debates” with each other.

A more specific memory would be during the Pokémon craze, when Nintendo Power introduced the PokéCenter section. That helped fuel our love of Pokémon and sparked more discussions with my friends about Pokémon.  A related moment was when someone at school mentioned that you could access the Orange Islands from the Pokémon anime by trading your starter to Red/Blue/Yellow to Gold/Silver and go on the SS Aqua at a specific time and day.  My friends and I have the issue of Nintendo Power (Vol. 150) that debunked the rumor of going to the Orange Islands. We pulled it out and “politely” corrected him.

Another fond memory was when Nintendo Power featured Tales of Symphonia for the GCN (Vol 180). My younger brother read the article and told me we should get the game.  At the time I was skeptical because I wasn’t too fond of JRPGs.  However, since Nintendo Power had it on the cover and gave it a good review, I figured it would be good.  Furthermore their review made it seem interesting.  Once I got the game, I was wrong, it was better than good.  It quickly became one of my favorite RPGs of all time.

[J]: Times are indeed different than they used to be. Earlier, you mentioned Nintendo Power being a “big part of our gaming culture” at one point. Do you feel as though this sentiment applies solely to Nintendo Power and Nintendo fans, or do you think it applies to all the big-name gaming magazines of the time (EGM, etc)?

[P}: I feel this applies to all big-name gaming magazines.  Gaming magazines have been a big part of gaming culture, especially during the 80’s and 90’s.  They have made a big impact in gaming itself, most notably, EGM’s infamous April Fool’s joke that ultimately led to Akuma being added to Street Fighter.

[J]: You have a history with Nintendo Power, but do your horizons expand to any other gaming magazines that are no longer in print? What are/were some of your favorites? Is there anything you’d like to share about other publications?

[P]: I have some history with other out-of-print gaming magazines.  My favorites were GamePro, GameNow, Sega Visions and, Tips and Tricks.  I enjoyed GamePro mostly due to their LamePro parody articles.  I have a couple of issues of GameNow just for the sake of more GameCube related reading material.

[J]: You mentioned Pure Nintendo. How do you feel Operation Power Up differs from the efforts of Pure Nintendo thus far?

[P]: We feel that we’re different from Pure Nintendo for the fact that we’re trying to restore Nintendo Power to an official community/hub for Nintendo related information for fans, while Pure Nintendo is its own fan community dedicated to all things Nintendo.

[J]: In the open letter announcing the close of Nintendo Power that went out a recent issue (with words from Reggie and the chief editor), Reggie alluded to Wii U. Do you think the Wii U’s Miiverse (and other applicable things that allow sharing of information for fans/by fans) could somehow tie in to the personal goals of your campaign?

[P]: Honestly we view the Miiverse to be a huge successor of Nintendo’s old official forums, NSider.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not quite Nintendo Power.  It might tie in with our personal goal of restoring Nintendo Power or having a new Nintendo Power for this day and age, but it’s too early to tell.

[J]: Are there any other comments you’d like to make regarding your campaign and its future?

[P]: Times have changed and we at Operation: Power Up know this.  Everybody is going digital and Nintendo is clearly embracing the internet with their social media pages and their Nintendo Direct videos.  However we feel that their social media interaction is a bit sterile, as if they’re targeting to investors or uninformed consumers instead of targeting to the fans. We would better enjoy the personality and charm that Nintendo Power has had.  We want to show Nintendo of America, that there is still a market/community for Nintendo Power.  We want to continue this 24 year legacy and adapt to the times.

Operation: Power Up Website
Operation: Power Up Facebook Page