Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Rory Cocker | Founder1
Nintendo Force – a resurgence in print media?
Print media is dying. In a digital age where news is as free as it is ubiquitous, it takes a brave and ballsy outlet to charge a premium, however small, for its content.
For the past decade now, newspapers and magazines have been dropping like proverbial houseflies, and when even the biggest outlets are providing 24/7 news coverage for precisely naff all, what sort of chronically moronic sad sap is going to part with their hard-earned cash for such a widely available commodity?
Well, me, as it turns out – today, Issue #1 of Nintendo Force arrived at the offices of Write Trigger (read: my house.)
The story of Nintendo Force is an intriguing one, unless you’re more interested in canal barges or something. Nintendo Force describes itself as a ‘spiritual successor’ to Nintendo Power – the much-revered Nintendo magazine which famously closed its doors back in August of 2012. It harkens back to its predecessor in a very real sense, even retaining the striped motif of its logo throughout the 70+ pages.
After being produced in-house by Nintendo since 1988, Future took over publishing roles in 2007 for what would turn out to be the magazine’s last half-decade. In 2012, Nintendo decided to cut ties with the company and, consequently, the magazine. Issue #285 launched in December, marking almost a quarter-century of quality Nintendo coverage.
Posthaste, Lucas Thomas – editor at IGN’s Nintendo team – set about devising a sequel-of-sorts, and enlisted the help of some of the most well-known journalists, bloggers and artists ever to demonstrate a penchant for Nintendo.
From resident writers at Nintendo Life and fellow Nintendo World Report-ers, to renowned bloggers like Josh Thomas of The Bit Block, Daan Koopman (pseudonym NintenDaan) and, of course, a good friend of ours, the tremendously beardy Kevin Cassidy of GoNintendo. Truth be told, it was this dream team of writers that had me subscribe to Nintendo Force in the first place; I’d been reading these guys for years.
In truth, it’s more of a fanzine than an official publication, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; Nintendo Force’s lack of commercial ties is more of a blessing than a curse.
First off, it looks gorgeous. At Write Trigger, we place a heavy emphasis on aesthetics – we hope that comes across in our site – and, in many ways, the new magazine actually looks better than the original. Artwork is clear, colours are vibrant and the sans-serif fonts are clean and crisp. What’s more, it’s all printed at a fantastic quality on gorgeous, glossy paper. This is professional-level work, here.
Even better, there are no crappy commercials to mar the magazine’s ultra-clean look; for now, Nintendo Force is ad-free. That’s 76 pages of content, cover-to-cover, with absolutely no filler. And when you consider the fact that all proceeds from Issue #1 are being donated to charity, it’s a wonder these guys can find the motivation to write such a staggering amount of content on top of their dayjobs.
Why do they do it, then? It’s simple – they love Nintendo. Every single one of these guys is biblically well-versed in all things Ninty. It was so apparent to me upon first read, and it’s this that makes Nintendo Force worth buying to anyone who’s serious about the Big N, because, let’s face it – Nintendo are criminally underrepresented and misunderstood in the gaming press of today.
That isn’t the paltry cry of a disenfranchised Nintendo fanboy, it’s simply the truth. Whilst Nintendo Force doesn’t quite yet have the circulation numbers to alter the attitudes of the mainstream media, it does a bloody good job of replacing it.
The internet was meant to liberate us, but in many ways, it’s done the opposite. Similarly, with the web at their disposal, every man and his dog seems to be blogging about videogames, but there are only a handful of people worth listening to. For me, $5 an issue is worth the admission price simply to wade through the masses and masses of complete drivel and vitriol so often posted on the ‘net.
For Issue #1, the magazine was being published independently; there was no production quota here, and orders were printed on-demand. It felt more exclusive, sure, but it also cost more and took longer.
A subscription model has since been implemented and offers a frankly staggering level of value. Nintendo Force is a bi-monthly mag, meaning between now and December, there’ll be six issues. To get access to all half-dozen mags on your iPad or other mobile device, it’ll set you back just $19.99. The physical subscription weighs in at just $29.99, under $5 an issue. If you want the best of both worlds, it’ll cost you $39.99, a saving of $10 when compared to buying them separately.
Two-and-a-half bucks a month is an infinitesimal price for quality, knowledgeable Nintendo coverage; it’s an offer this writer simply couldn’t refuse. It’s just a shame that Nintendo fans are having to resort to such niche methods in the first place.
You can subscribe to Nintendo Force here. I highly recommend you do.