For anyone who grew up with Nintendo Power, it was sad to see the last issue come out this December. I stopped buying it several years ago, but I always held a fond place in my heart for that publication and the work it did over the years. It seemed timeless and I wrongly assumed it would live on forever, even without our support.
With the launch of a spiritual successor, Nintendo Force, I’m not making that same mistake again.
Day one, they had my money and, although I didn’t get around to reading it until almost 24 hours later, as soon as I started, I couldn’t stop… this might be a good place to step aside and apologize to anyone following me on social networks; as soon as I got hooked, links got pasted everywhere, and as soon as I was done, another batch went up. I just couldn’t help myself, it felt like I was a kid again, getting an issue in the mail, and rushing to my room to tear into it and lose myself for the next hour.
Outside of that general feeling of nostalgia though, Nintendo Force is well put together and looks fantastic. The writers have done a great job of putting together a compelling first edition, with everything you would expect from the NP of old: letters, fan-art, news, features, interviews, reviews, and in-sights to what is next for Nintendo. The designers have crafted a brilliant new layout that feels fresh, while staying simplistic and easy to navigate; as a design student, this may be the area that excited me most, because it really does look and feel like a well-designed whole. The length is just right and the lack of advertising inside it makes the whole thing feel a lot more personal, especially since they used some of that extra space to include original comics that seriously seal the deal.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows… there are some pretty big issues they need to overcome to really take Nintendo Force forward as a franchise, and not just a one-off fan publication. First of all, the site needs to be more than a placeholder. In today’s super fast paced news cycle, it will take more than a half-dozen issues a year to capture peoples attention; any printed publication needs to have some sort of presence online to build a community, keep people in the loop between editions, and hopefully do some online reporting to keep us excited for the next release. They have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but their homepage needs work in this regard.
They also need to figure out a better way to publish, or at least give users the option to purchase it in other places. Right now, they’re using HP’s MagCloud to print on demand and deliver PDF’s (and an iOS version via the MagCloud app), and it works for now… but there is no way to subscribe, there is no Android presence, and the price is a bit hefty. For a print copy, you have to shell out $18, which, although it comes with the digital copy, is definitely too high. If you’re like me and have no need for more clutter in your house, the digital copy is $5 all by itself, which is a lot more ideal in terms of price-points but isn’t as fun to read. Hopefully they can get a more permanent solution figured out in the near future because at those prices, I’m sure most of us would prefer to have ads helping subsidize it, rather than getting the warm, fuzzy feeling of it being all content driven.
And, perhaps the last knock, is that it still reads a little fanboy-ish at times. I don’t mean the bad kind where the company can do no wrong, I just mean that the love pouring out for Nintendo can be a little overbearing at times. Sure, the thing has Nintendo right in the title, and I understand that it’s going to be a little bias towards them, but the main reason I stopped reading NP, was because it felt a little too much like a corporate fanboy mag. This has definitely ditched the corporate feel, but I really hope they bring in some writers who are more critical of Nintendo to balance things out and give rise to some real, deep conversations.
Even with those negatives listed out, reread, and edited to death, I can honestly say that the first Nintendo Force is worth the entry fee for anyone who considers themselves a fan of Nintendo or NP (at least for the digital-only edition). It’s obvious that a ton of work was put into this first edition and a lot is on the line for everyone involved, I’m sure. I hope they get an overwhelming amount of support and love from the community because their work shows and they deserve a hearty round of applause for what they’ve done in such a short time.
It’s still a bit sad to see Nintendo Power’s days behind us, but the future looks bright and brilliant for Nintendo Force. So, let’s give them the chance to get off the ground, figure out these kinks, and, if we’re lucky, maybe NF will live on for the next 25 years.
Source : Nintendo Force Magazine