Oh man, this is so hard. I know you are ending soon, old friend, and I am trying to find the right words to speak. Saying goodbye is never easy. As I reflect back to my childhood, I am remembering all the happy memories you gave to me, all those feelings of excitement, and that sense of wonder I always felt flipping through your pages, always learning something new and interesting. Every month, I was filled with anticipation, waiting for you to hit my front doorstep, and I was always ready to bring you to school, to show off to my friends, with a sense of pride that never dwindled. I was always a Nintendo fan at heart; my NES was the first game system I remember playing and loving, and when the SNES came around, you helped nurtured that love, made it grow. Thank you for that.
This was the first issue of you I received after my grandmother wrote a check out for my subscription, and I remember thinking this was the coolest cover of a book I had ever laid eyes upon. Due to the timing of my subscription, I was mailed issues 55 and 56 concurrently, but as luck would have it, 56 got to me first; its silver hotness the very first issue I owned. I had dabbled with Mega Man when I was a kid, its difficulty always getting the best of me, but it wasn't until I learned about Mega Man X that I got hooked on Capcom's Blue Bomber. After reading through your preview, looking at all the screenshots, seeing how fresh and colorful everything looked, I knew I had to own the game. I remember my parents getting me Mega Man X one holiday season, and it blew away my expectations, becoming not only one of my favorite SNES games, but one of my favorite games of all time. In subsequent issues, you shared some classified information: armor upgrades, heart and sub tank locations, and the hidden hadoken power-up; which was so hidden and secret, I knew I wouldn't have found it without you. Thanks to you, Mega Man X became one of my favorite childhood memories, and it wouldn't have impacted me as much if it hadn't been for that special, shiny issue.
Yes, I remember getting that VHS way back when. One of the coolest things about you was that you always sent your subscribers cool stuff with their subscriptions; be it a video showing upcoming amazing games (I remember the Donkey Kong Country one and having my mind blown with its gorgeous graphics and environments) or a free strategy guide (how else was I going to find all the Gold Skulltulas in Ocarina of Time?). Regarding Star Fox 64, I remember telling my cousin how cutting edge it was to have full voice acting in a game, and his response of the Playstation already being capable of that long before. Nowadays I find the advantages and disadvantages of all the current gen systems, but back then, you kindled a loyalty in me, helped make me a Nintendo fanboy. Thanks to videos like the above, I thought Sega and Sony were the enemy, trying to steal glory and money away from Nintendo. Being a member of your community and learning about everything Nintendo, that really couldn't be helped. Though I became more open-minded when I got older, I enjoyed my time as a fanboy, because you helped me feel special; like I was a part of a special club, filled with like minded individuals. I don't regret it, and to this day, my fondest memories and my favorite games are still Nintendo ones.
Issue 80 was always near and dear to my heart, because it was the first time in my life that I was learning about an upcoming system through you. I already had a NES and a SNES before I started reading you, but hearing about the Ultra 64 stirred feelings in my loins I had never experienced before. 64 bits CLEARLY meant it was better than 16, and the polygons and the newness of 3 dimensions filled me with childlike awe. Everything looked so open-ended, so free, like there was an entire world to explore. I was at my cousin's house when I got the call from home, that there was a surprise waiting for me, way back in September of 1996. When I got home, there it was in a box, the Nintendo 64, and I was filled with all the hype you had given me with your coverage. When I sat down to play Super Mario 64, heard Mario's voice, played with his face on the title screen, and started to explore all the vast worlds in the game, I was in heaven. This was the game that wrote the book on 3D platformers; every game that has come since owes their existence and their general guideline to Super Mario 64. The only game that matched and arguably exceeded Super Mario 64's sense of openness was Ocarina of Time. I remember hitting Hyrule Field and just feeling a tremendous sense of exploration. No game in my mind has ever come close to that feeling; that there was a whole world out there to explore, that it breathed and operated much like ours, going from day into night. Nothing can ever touch that first sunset you see out in the field. Old friend, I am in your debt for introducing me to these amazing games that filled me with joy and provided me with such lasting recollections.
Things are so different nowadays. News is very fast and easy to come by thanks to blogs and the internet, which is exciting in its own, unique way. But nothing will ever take away the feelings you gave me; you were my first magazine, my first mail item that I would always eagerly wait for, and my first real sense of being part of a community, a culture. Whether it was news coverage, letters from fans, tips and secrets, contests, or the occasional freebie for being a member, you were always exciting to read. I still have my old issues downstairs in my drawer; a reminder of a time that was very special to me, that I will always cherish. Goodbye, my friend. Trust me, I am going to miss you.view gallery (4 photos)