The thing about renewing Nintendo Power magazine is that you have to pick a free thing each year you do it. While this is cool, it's also kind of hard to pick out WHAT I want, since I get game help from, usually, and most of the offers are for guides. So I have to call up Nintendo, and ask for a back issue instead. This time I asked for the Super Mario World issue, and the rep said they were sold out of that forever. ARGH! But then I remembered this issue I was reading in eighth grade class one day,
so I asked for that one. Since it was from 1996, I
didn't expect many changes.

Boy, a lot can happen in 5 years. Reading this was
like flicking on a light switch in the dark--it hurt to
see the unfamiliar landscape. Articles raved about
"huge, 32-megabit games!" and Earthworm
Jim 2. Egad! Has it really been that long?

I guess. I first read this as a friend's copy on one
dull day in eighth grade. This was my year in
                                                   private school,
                                                   and I got in trouble
                                                   every day for the
                                                   first two months. Every day would open up
                                                   to prayer requests, at which point Andrea
                                                   Whitton would pipe up and say, "OUR COWS
                                                   HAVE BOILS, AND EMPHYSEMA, AND
                                                   ASTHMA, AND HERPES, AND DANDRUFF,
                                                   AND...."  She was really attached to her cows.

One other notable thing was that my teacher was fresh out of college and probably the most lenient and easy one I ever had. He was from Generation X and for a year I actually had a teacher, in a private school, who had actually watched
Beavis and Butthead. He was fat, though....
Taking tests was aggravating, however, especially if you had bothered to study the material. Once we were working on a math quiz and somebody mentioned Winnie the Pooh, at which point the teacher said, "Anybody who can tell me what the Wonderful Thing About Tiggers is gets five points added to their score." And it really happened, too. I, however, had taken the hard route by studying the previous evening. CURSE YOU TIGGER!

Anyway, the kid I had borrowed the magazine from got a lot of magazines, everything from
Gamepro to The Limbaugh Letter.
I read a lot of things, including Art Linkletter's Kids Say The Darndest Things, but this particular issue of NP still stands out in my mind for three things: the fold-out, subscriber-only cover(above), the disgusting "toenail clipping" appeal to make you want to subscribe to the magazine, and this letter:
There was another aspect of this magazine, and that was the multi-page Shoshinkai convention report (it's wisely called "Space World" now). This ran the first pictures of Super Mario 64 I had ever seen, and wow! I stared at these until I had to give the magazine back, which was over an hour's worth of time (um, no, we WEREN'T learning anything that day). I also remember previews of other things for the coming N64, including a Mario Paint 64 where you could draw a fish, and then a shark, and then swim around as the shark and eat the fish. By the time my own copy of this magazine arrived in the mail (July 23, 2001), I was still waiting for Mario Paint 64 to come out for the near-dead N64. Amazing, the things they can print......
Now that I have the magazine, I can recall new memories...............

Reading this is like being on another planet. This isn't the Earth I know....Harry Potter isn't mentioned; instead a horror writer named R.L. Stine was beginning to climb the charts. This is a Nintendo magazine and Pikachu, or anything associated with him, isn't even in it! And perhaps most foreign of all.....the Powerpuff Girls are NOWHERE TO BE SEEN! Anywhere in the entire year! Are you sure this is Earth??
**Surprisingly, there WAS a walkthrough for a Scooby-Doo game in this magazine, even though not many children had access to Cartoon Network and Scoob was foreign to them then.

                                                                   Instead of what I had grown used
                                                                   to, 2-D video games ruled the
                                                                   roost. Chrono Trigger and Yoshi's
                                                                   Island had just been released.
                                                                   Nintendo's idea of Game Boy
                                                                   graphics looks awful now that I've
                                                                   played my Game Boy Advance,
                                                                   and perhaps the weirdest thing
about this issue is.....they actually think VIRTUAL BOY HAS A SHELF LIFE!!! I've always wondered what exactly Nester's Funky Bowling is supposed to be; are they referring to this very magazine's mascot character, who they dumped in 1994? If they actually made a game starring him, two years later, and on VIRTUAL BOY of all machines....that would be worth some E-Bay bucks.
THIS I remember now. Shots like this left me staring, especially coupled with teasers like "Imagine a game like Toy Story, that you can control!!" 3-D was completely foreign unless you thought of the crummy 3-D on Sega's doomed Saturn as 3-D. Now that technology's moved on to greater things, people are calling for the return of 2-D stuff. Go figure....the novelty wore off.
What is THIS??? You probably can't make out the pictures (one is of Mario Kart; it's not part of it), but they look awful! It basically looks like the 2-D Link sprite, crudely converted to polygons, fighting a very shiny robot(these shine effects, by the way, look sharper than anything I ever saw on the N64....hmm). Thankfully, this was NOT the game or any part of it; it was a demo that had to satisfy the audience until Miyamoto's team had finished Super Mario 64. But trust me, this looks bad....Link looks about as real as Cloud's little figure in FF7.
Well, shoot....this looks like fun; why didn't I get to play it? Noooo, I got Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, which wouldn't have been as fun as this. It looks like it's similar to Kirby's Tilt-N-Tumble, though...except without the annoying tilt controls. Who knows?
Anyone with an
N64 knows what
game Goldeneye
was......but what
the H is Buggie-
According to the
article, Miyamoto
was a LITTLE
involved, but not a ton.

Some of these things never saw the light of day, but there's one little blurb I just casually glanced over in eighth-grade class, and almost missed this time around. As it turns out, I was wrong about no traces of our current culture and situation appearing in this 1996 magazine. Hidden deep in the "Best of the Rest" page, an innocent-looking paragraph says:
According to the website Euro-Asia Game Boy, the earliest printed mention of Pokemon in the US came from an issue of Nintendo Power in May, 1996. I have now one-upped them with this discovery from January of that year; and more ironically, it appears I still have yet to own an issue of NP that doesn't mention Pokemon in some way.
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