Issue #1: Nintendo Force – January/February 2013
Nintendo Power’s final issue went on sale on newsstands on December 11, 2012. Exactly one month later, on January 11, 2013, the first issue of Nintendo Force went live. Made available only through the print-on-demand service of MagCloud and set at a steep price of $17.99 per copy (print-on-demand is expensive), the debut issue of Nintendo Force nonetheless overcame that obstacle of prohibitive cost and soared to shatter all of MagCloud’s sales records – it became the most successful single issue in the history of the site, with thousands upon thousands of copies sold (and more are still being added to that number daily). The incredible reception proved that an audience still existed hungry for Nintendo games coverage in magazine form, and propelled us to pursue subscriptions and enter production on a full year of follow-up issues.
INTRODUCING THE STAFF
Our first priority for our first issue was, first, that readers would get to know who we are. The “Nintendo Force” was and is a team of the world’s most prominent Nintendo-focused journalists, designers and artists, drawn from every corner of the Nintendo fandom to come together with the common purpose of keeping Nintendo Power’s legacy alive. Our team for Issue #1 combined the talents of such sites as Destructoid, GoNintendo, Nintendo World Report, Fangamer, Brawl in the Family, NinDB, Nintendojo, The Mega Man Network, Nintendo Life, IGN and more –truly a dream team of Nintendo fans!
THE FIRST EXCLUSIVE
Having a team comprised of established, well respected Nintendo journalists worked well for us right away, as several developers took an interest in the Nintendo Force project even before our first issue went out the door. Renegade Kid‘s Jools Watsham was chief among them, as he supplied NF’s first exclusive for publication as our first-ever Download section lead story – the full reveal of Mutant Mudds Deluxe for the Wii U eShop. Prior to this, all anyone knew about the game was that it existed, and that it would be a new version of the 3DS eShop hit Mutant Mudds enhanced in some way. We were able to unveil the games’ new ghostly focus and interview Jools about all the spooky details.
THE CLAY MODELS
The cover of Nintendo Power’s first issue is an iconic image for fans of the Big N, featuring a model of Mario made out of clay running and jumping away from a clay-made Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2. NP brought things full-circle by using clay as the medium again for their final issue’s cover, and with that piece of Power’s past fresh in fans’ minds once again, we wanted to keep the momentum rolling. Fangamer‘s Camille Young joined our team to craft several clay models to adorn our pages, including these renderings of 3DS eShop heroes Eddy and Mallo. Camille became a mom shortly after the release of Issue #1 with the birth of she and her husband Reid’s first baby, so the clay work didn’t continue into Issue #2 – but we’re hoping she’ll be able to jump back in with more great models in the future.
LAYTON X WRIGHT
As not only our first issue ever but also the first issue of a new calendar year, Nintendo Force Issue #1 dedicated much of its attention to looking forward to the upcoming games of 2013. Previews covered everything from Animal Crossing: New Leaf to Pokémon X and Y, with special emphasis placed on a few key titles – like Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright. The two characters joined forces in this feature that focused on both their upcoming cross-over games and their individual sequels. (Though, ironically enough, the Layton/Wright joint adventure game ended up slipping into 2014.)
NINTENDO POWER’S LEGACY
In trying to preserve the momentum of Nintendo Power, we took two separate approaches simultaneously. First, we looked at iconic elements of Power’s modern era for inspiration – like the retro gaming screenshots blown up to cover the width of a full page and paired with commentary (which became the launching point for an all-new “Retro” section). Second, we dipped back into earlier NP eras to bring back old-school favorites – like comics! Short comic strips and long-form comic stories both marked Power in the past, and we were thrilled to be able to bring them back into the present.
FIRE EMBLEM REVIEW
As a final highlight of what can be found in Issue #1’s 80 pages, our first Reviews section was lead by North America’s first review of Fire Emblem: Awakening. The early months of each year are usually a no man’s land when it comes to notable game releases, but Nintendo’s superb Fire Emblem sequel was perfectly timed for our purposes with its release in early February, just a few weeks after our issue went on sale. It was the game that earned our cover position too, of course, and Awakening went on to such sales success that we’re sure many more Emblem installments will contend for the cover spots of our future issues, too.