from the power-to-the-people dept
One of the wonders of a digital world is that art preservation in many forms suddenly gets much, much easier. For all kinds of art, be it video games, music, drawings/paintings, etc., at the very least an uploaded digital simulacrum of the art means that it can’t be easily lost due to the pernicious lack of care by the creators of the art itself.
I’ve spent quite a bit of ink and time discussing how this applies to video games. And, beyond just the games themselves, which are obviously digital in nature, the peripheral art and culture that surrounds those games, such as game manuals. The truly frustrating part of those otherwise very cool stories is that it really shouldn’t be left to fans and hobbyists to do this kind of preservation and archiving. Why don’t gaming companies want to preserve their own cultural output somewhere? Publishers? Developers? It’s almost never them that does the hard work. That is typically done by a small number of fans in the public, who then risk being slapped around over intellectual property concerns by those whose job they’re doing.
That certainly would be the case if I were going to upload every Nintendo Power magazine to the internet, as was done recently.
Uploaded to Archive.org today by Gumball, all 285 issues of Nintendo Power are now unofficially available in .cbr format. At just over 40 gigabytes for the whole shebang, the vast majority of the collection comes courtesy of Retromags, a community-run project dedicated to archiving classic video game magazines. A couple of remaining issues were sourced via Reddit by Gumball. Scanned in full color, the collection is a wonderful way to browse through gaming and media history.
The escalating Reddit post is gaining a lot of attention and appreciation from gamers who have either been looking to complete their own collections or to find the couple of missing issues that weren’t in the Retromags collection. “I just wanted to get every issue in one place,” Gumball says in another Reddit reply. “The ones that I could not find were issues 208 and 285. Retromags did not have them [but] a dude over in the r/DHexchange happened to have both of these [and] allowed me to complete the set.
If you’re a gamer of a certain age, Nintendo Power magazines were the absolute best. And even if you aren’t, or if you happen to think that the magazine is pointless trash, that doesn’t really matter. Those magazines are still cultural output that are absolutely worth preserving. I plan to go through them myself and just drink in the nostalgia, thinking back to when I was a child diving into these magazines.
But this is Nintendo we’re talking about. And Nintendo has never been shy about attacking anyone who remotely comes close to stepping on their IP, even if, as in this case, the company can’t be bothered to do any of this archiving or preservation itself.
Unfortunately, Nintendo’s history with these sorts of efforts isn’t exactly comforting. But as physical media, especially printed manuals and magazines like Nintendo Power, become harder to find, having access to archives like this is an essential way to preserve this history.
Hopefully Nintendo can manage to see that as well. Somehow, though, I suspect the lawyers already have pen to paper.