We’re continuing with our Nintendo Power Recaps, with issue 42 for November of 1992. Our cover story for this issue is Super Star Wars for the SNES.

Joe & Mac Guide

The first major cave man platformer has come out for the NES, and the art on this preview fails anatomy pretty badly. We get maps of the first 4 levels of the game, as well as notes for fighting the various bosses.

Crash & The Boys Street Challenge Guide

This is, essentially, a Track & Field game with a River City Ransom skin. We have Hammer Throw Golf, Water Slaughter (a swimming event, where both competitors can fight underwater if they so choose, and they do choose), Skyline Scramble (pole vault between the roofs of buildings), and Judo (straight-up fight). (more…)

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This week we’re going back to fill another gap in my archive. Specifically, issue 41 for December of 1992. Our cover story for this issue is Road Rash 2 from EA. For those unfamiliar with the series, Road Rash is a motorcycle combat racing game series. Our editorial column from this issue is from Ed Semrad, hyping the changes to EGM. Basically, the magazine is now bigger and better. No information about whether it’s more badass.

In the letters column we get several letters about whether or not there is a boss code for standard Street Fighter II. Capcom says there isn’t, but Capcom also says that there isn’t a character vs. same color character code either, and they’re running that code this issue. That said, I don’t see why you’d want to both be playing characters of the same color, because then it’d be harder to tell which character is yours. We also have a letter hoping for more Star Wars games, and another letter from a reader who figured out, entirely on his own, why the names for Vega, Balrog, and M. Bison were switched around in the American version of Street Fighter II, and he wants to check to see if he was right (he was). (more…)

Moving on with the Nintendo Power Recaps, we have issue 41 for October of 1992. Our cover game for this issue is Super Mario Kart, which would go on to spring a very long series of cart racers (and, if you really think about it, also bringing about the Wipeout series). This issue’s letters are all on the topic of how readers got the money for their NES (aside from, you know, asking your parents).

Adventure Island 3 Guide

Master Higgins is back. We don’t get complete maps of each area, but we get maps of at least half the levels in the first two areas, as well as strategies for beating the final boss (which is part of the important part, as well as notes on Stage 3 through Stage 8. (more…)

My original intention for my next EGM recap was to do a recap of issue #117, but  my copy of that issue was incomplete. So, I’m moving on to issue #120. Our cover story for this issue is WWF Attitude, and it’s autographed by Stone Cold Steve Austin even. Now, while this is EGM’s 12th year, they’re calling this their 10th anniversary issue. That doesn’t quite make any sense with me, but I’ll leave that aside.

Our editorial column for this issue reflects on another of the string of school shootings the nation was contending with in 1998 and 1999, and the worst of the shootings at that – the school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. On the one hand, while this was the worst of all the school shootings, to my knowledge any school shootings after that point either didn’t get any media attention, or they didn’t happen. However, this shooting, being the biggest, and because the shooters listened to heavy metal music and developed custom levels for Doom, brought the anti-video game hysteria to a pitch above that caused by the Night Trap hysteria, and wouldn’t be seen again until the Hot Coffee controversy. Thanks to some poorly informed and in poor taste remarks from Littleton’s sheriff that were jumped upon by the New York Times Magazine, it even threatened to resurrect the anti-D&D hysteria, that had died when Patricia Pulling had been discredited. (more…)

We continue on with the Nintendo Power recaps with issue #40, for September of 1992. The cover game for this issue is Felix the Cat for the NES. I find it interesting that so soon after the launch of the SNES, we still haven’t gotten many SNES games on the cover of the magazine. Most of our letters this issue are about where you’d like to take your Game Boy.

Felix the Cat Guide

We also get complete maps of the first 3 stages, as well as power-up notes and notes on stages 4 through 6.

Prince of Persia Guide

Jordan Mechner’s classic acrobatic game has come out on the NES. For those unfamiliar with the game, are the unnamed prince. You have one hour to rescue the Princess from the evil grand Vizier before he either forces her to marry him or kills her. We get maps of levels 4 through 14 and the end of the game. (more…)

Before going further ahead in my EGM Recaps, I’m going to fill another gap in my archive – the gap for issue #110 for September of 1998. Our cover story for this issue is Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation. The cover art isn’t too bad in my opinion.

The editorial column for this issue is by John Davidson, and addresses the semi-maturing of games, in terms of the sexuality of characters, though not necessarily the maturity of the stories or the character designs. Well, there are some ways to go until we reach some of the more mature stories we have now, in terms of Mass Effect and Dragon Age (particularly their treatment of GLBT characters), but the game industry has to get the Moral Majority to a point that you can show two men kissing in Dragon Age without having congressional hearings. (more…)

On to issue #113 of Electronic Gaming Monthly for December of 1998. Yeah, that’s another gap in my archive, but that’s okay. Our cover story for this issue is The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for the N64, which is still one of the best regarded Zelda games of all time, on par with Link to the Past. As a note, the masthead for this issue now includes James “Milkman” Mielke, Ryan MacDonald, and Mark MacDonald.

Our editorial from John Davidson for this issue is on some of the spectacular games they’ve gotten to play at EGM recently. Aside from Zelda, they’ve also gotten to play more of Metal Gear Solid, and they’ve gotten to play Virtua Fighter 3 on the Dreamcast. (more…)

On with the Nintendo Power recaps. We’re on to issue 38 for July of 1992. Our cover story for this issue is Street Fighter II for the SNES. I will not be doing a Quality Control for that game unless everything else stinks, because it’s Street Fighter, we all know it’s good. We’ve actually got some decent cover art this time, with Guile hitting a high kick. The letters for this issue are general slice-of-life stuff. (more…)

We have another gap in the EGM archives, which takes us forward almost a year, to issue #107 for June of 1998. Our cover story for this issue is Turok 2, and this issue also gives us some very nice cover art, in my opinion. Our editorial column for this issue is from John Davidson, who is now EIC for GamePro, which he has significantly re-formed. The editorial column is, as columns often are, about the shape of things to come. The Game Boy Color has been announced, and Sony has introduced some new technology to allow developers to push the PlayStation hardware even further then they had previously.

Letters

So in the several issue gap lay 1997’s April issue, and it’s April Fool’s Day joke, which was one of the most legendary jokes in EGM since the Sheng Long cheat – the All Bonds cheat. For those who are unfamiliar, the cheat was a fake cheat that let you, unlocked a series of skins for Goldeneye 007 for every single prior official James Bond – Connery, Lazenby, Moore, and Dalton. This issue has a series of responses to the “cheat” both positive and negative. (more…)

We’re continuing on to Nintendo Power #37 for June of 1992. Our cover story is Lemmings. No, not the lead singer and bassist of Motorhead, that’s Lemmy – I meant Lemmings. Clean out your ears. The call for letters this issue were for feedback about the changes in the magazine. The responses are generally favorable, though we do get a complaint about the George Column, saying that it’s wasted space that could used be for more strategy guides, adding “I don’t care about two guys opinions on video games”. I hate to bust your bubble mate, but that’s the future of games journalism. The same guy also complains about the comics too. Another letter complains about all the coverage the SNES is coverage – again, I hate to burst your bubble but despite what Nintendo was saying several CES events ago, 16-bit is not a fad. (more…)

We continue on with Electronic Gaming Monthly #98 for September of 1997. No, I still don’t have issue number #100 – I wish I did. Our cover story for this issue is Tomb Raider 2, and they’re playing up the game’s sex appeal pretty heavily. Right inside the cover we have a gorgeous two-page spread advertisement for Final Fantasy VII, of the big cutscene with Sephiroth removing the Jenova statue. While the graphics haven’t aged incredibly well, I still think it looks nice. It’s also one of the few two-page advertisements to heavily and prominently feature an actual screen-shot at that large of a scale.

Our editorial column this issue relates to the fairly heavy coverage that EGM has had of the Tomb Raider games. People are writing to complain because they think they’re, well, under-sexed. However, what Editorial Director Joe Funk brings up is that Lara Croft is one of the first really major video game franchise to feature a female protagonist. Yes, there was Final Fantasy VI – but to be frank that was more of an ensemble piece. I also wouldn’t consider the Valis series for this either, as it’s not a major franchise – as much as I wish it was. (more…)

We come now to issue #36 of Nintendo Power for March of 1992. While the cover shows that we have coverage in this issue of Contra III, the game that makes the cover is Darkwing Duck. As much as I like Darkwing Duck (in my opinion it was one of the best early 90s Disney animated TV series), I really think that Contra III would have been a better choice. For this issue’s letters column, the call is for letters asking which Nintendo character you would would want to be. (more…)

This week’s issue of EGM skips several more issues ahead due to another gap to issue #97 for August of 1997, and takes us to another Star Wars cover, for Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, the first Star Wars fighting game and the last Star Wars fighting game until the Clone Wars fighting game for the Wii. For the editorial column of this issue, we get an piece from Ed Semrad looking back at the history of EGM as the magazine approaches it’s 100th issue.

No, I don’t have their 100th issue right now, so I’m going to have to skip it. Yeah, I feel bad about it to, and trust me, as gaps are filled, I will go back and do write-ups to address the missing issues of the magazine. Anyway, the magazine is evolving, and while Steve Harris is no longer with it, and Ed Semrad is only on board as their Chief Correspondent, and there’s still the matter of being hitched to the potentially debt-ridden mess that is Ziff Davis (I don’t know if it was as debt ridden then as it was at the end of the first generation of EGM). That said, Ziff Davis still has ZDTV at this time. That has to account for something right? No, it doesn’t. Thought it would be absolutely awesome if Ziff Davis had still had ZDTV around the time they launched the 1up Brand, and the 1up Show could have been an actual TV program. Ah well, such is life. (more…)

We’re moving on to Nintendo Power issue #35 for April of 1992. Our cover story is WWF Super Wrestlemania, and for those not keeping track, Hulkamania is still running wild in the WWF, and will continue to do so for at least another year or so, before jumping ship to WCW. Our letters column asks, “What would you do for an SNES?” There responses err on the side of the insanely absurd. (more…)

So, this week we have another gap in my EGM archive, carrying us from #84 last week all the way to issue #90, for January of 1997. Our cover story for this issue is the upcoming home console release of Mechwarrior 2. We also get an ad for the home console release of Tekken 2 for the Playstation. Our editorial column for this issue is from Joe Funk, about the Battle of Hoth level in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for the N64. I cannot argue with that. I can try, but there wouldn’t be any point.

Press Start

Sony has given gamers their first look at the PlayStation Dual-Shock controller, their response to the single-analog stick on the Nintendo 64 controller. Frankly, I liked the design of the Dual Shock over the design for the N64 controller. However, I feel that the stick positioning on the later Xbox controller was superior, with the Xbox 360 being on top of the game in terms of controller design. That said, I have not had an opportunity to use the Wii yet, so I can’t compare the Wiimote and Nunchuck with the Xbox 360 controller at this time. Sony’s also putting out a new design for the PlayStation that uses the unified proprietary graphics connector that Sony has continued to use to this day. (more…)

On to issue 34 of Nintendo Power. Our cover story is, well, a game that they’ve been covering off and on for several issues now. The game is Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and since it’s probably one of the most highly regarded Zelda games up until either Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask (depending on who you ask). I frankly think it’s a step down from last issue’s rather impressive TMNT cover art. The letters being printed this issue relate to the question, “Tell me what you want, what you really really want.” Well, they’ll tell you what they want, what they really really want.

Yes, that’s right. I just referenced the Spice Girls.

Anyway, kids being rather selfish beings, they want lots of games or candy or cash, all that sort of thing. However, one reader can be trusted to be inventive – he wants Nintendo Power boxer shorts, he even came up with a design, which he sent with the letter. (more…)

Moving right along with the EGM recaps, we come to issue 84 for July of 1996. Our cover story for this issue is a series of Star Wars previews. To be specific, among other things, the big Star Wars mega-event Shadows of the Empire is coming out, in comic, novel and now video game form. Our Editorial from Ed Semrad talks about this year’s E3, which is also the second E3. Already it’s gotten really big really quick. On a bigger note, the Sendai Publication era of EGM is over. Ziff Davis has bought out Sendai Publications. I don’t want to be all cynical and grim and say that this was the beginning of the end for EGM or anything. However, the reason 1up was sold and EGM was closed, was because of the massive debts that Ziff Davis had incurred and poorly managed. Former EGM staffers like Dan “Shoe” Hsu have gone on record on podcasts about this. Unless Sendai Publications had the same debt problems (or worse), Ziff Davis hadn’t bought Sendai, EGM wouldn’t have ceased operations a year or so ago. That said, I am pleased as punch that it’s back, and that Steve Harris is back at the helm (though I should note that Steve Harris is still on the masthead as the Publisher for EGM on this issue). Anyway, with this issue, the roster of EGM that would later carry on to 1up continues to grow–Crispin Boyer is now on-board as an Associate Editor. I have no idea what he’s up to now. He left Ziff Davis in 2008, before the Great Purge. (more…)

Moving on to the Nintendo Power Recaps, we come to issue #33 for February of 1992. Our cover story for this issue is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. The art is definitely continuing the improvement in the cover art that started last issue. Our letters column features of people with their copies of Nintendo Power while on vacation across the world and by across the world I mean, across the continental US and in Indonesia. What, you couldn’t manage pictures from Canada or Mexico?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III Guide

The turtles are getting their third game, something similar to the Arcade game, but with a few differences. We get a run-down of the Turtles and their special moves. We get maps of all 6 stages, which will take you to the fight with Shredder. That one you’ll have to handle on your own. This is, currently, the only Turtles game I haven’t played yet. This makes a good qualifier for a Quality Control pick. (more…)

So, when I was recapping the last issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, I didn’t cover the issue’s editorial. That’s because it didn’t have one that I could find. However, we’re now on issue #83 for June of 1996 and we have an editorial column this issue. First, I do need to mention that this issue’s cover features Sonic The Hedgehog and the new wave of 3D platforming games. Anyway, the editorial column for this issue, unfortunately, steps into the territory of describing the stuff that’s in the table of contents, which is a little disappointing considering that EGM has had some of the best editorials in the history of video game magazines. Also, while I’m not a typography geek, I really don’t like the typeface they use to for the table of contents. If someone knows the name of that type face it would be nice to know so I don’t use it in the future.

Press Start

Sega has unveiled the Saturn 2.0 – which can best be described as a slightly cheaper version of the Saturn. We get some discussion of the changes for the system, both from the innards (including a smaller physical motherboard, and moves the I/O board onto the motherboard instead of having it on a separate board like the original, replacing some metal parts with plastic parts), as well as making the unit physically smaller. However, they dumped the CD-ROM access LED, which is in my opinion a bad move, the access LED is helpful for telling when your system locked up because of a buggy game. Also, the system is going for $199. This is opposed to the N64 which is going for $250. Let’s make this clear: the Sega Saturn, which we know through 20/20 hindsight failed, is running for less than the N64 and has a bigger software library. This says rather impressive things about the loyalty of Nintendo’s fan base. We also get a comparison of the US and Japanese Sega Saturn Controllers. In short, the Japanese Saturn controller kicks the US controller’s butt. We even have reviews – which (by the way) is the first time Dan “Shoe” Hsu gets his name on an article in EGM. By means of explanation, at this point in EGM’s history, articles didn’t have bylines, so there’s no way to tell who wrote what, outside of the Review Crew segment and stuff like this. (more…)

On to Nintendo Power’s 5th anniversary. As a reminder, this is not the fifth year Nintendo published a magazine. Prior to this they had the Nintendo Fun Club newsletter – which I will get to in due time. Our cover game is Super Castlevania IV for the SNES, which is, I believe, the first time a third party SNES game has made the cover of Nintendo Power. With the magazine’s 5th year, we’re now also getting a new comic strip, adapting the Legend of Zelda. They’re also bundling one of four strategy guide with your subscription. Hmm… I may review those. So, on to issue #32 for January of 1992. (more…)

Finally, after a stretch of hopping, skipping, and jumping across gaps in the archives, we now have contiguous issues. So, this week’s issue is #82 for May, 1996, and our cover story is Virtua Fighter 3, with notes on a preview of the “Saturn 2.0” – which I suspect becomes Sega’s last console, the Dreamcast. Also, a little notable first for this issue is the debut of Dan “Shoe” Hsu as an assistant editor. We even have his baby picture (as we get a semi-collage of the editorial staff’s baby pictures). (more…)

Cover for Nintendo Power 31The Nintendo Power train continues on to issue #31, for December of 1991. Our cover story is Metroid II for the Game Boy – the first Game Boy game to make it to the cover. The cover art is better than last issue’s art, but not by much.

Letters

The theme for this issue is what you’d want your ultimate gaming system to be. As you can imagine when a large chunk of your reader base is kids, basically they want a console that does everything–including their homework.

Batman: Return of The Joker Guide

The Joker is back, and the Batman is waiting. The guide details the new power-ups for this game: a crossbow, homing batarangs, the Sonic Neutralizer, and the Shield Star (which is a spread attack). We get maps for stages 1 through 6. I have to say that the levels look really generic. Levels 1 & 7 are the only ones which really have a look to them that feels different – though the gimmick for 5 is itself generic – it’s a sewer level. (more…)

Cover for EGM #81So, this week, with our EGM recaps, we’re skipping ahead another few months, to issue #81 for April of 1996. Our cover story for this issue is Street Fighter Alpha II, and I have to say that the cover art isn’t very good. Frankly, the mid-90s have not been kind to EGM’s covers.

Editorial

This issue Ed Semrad is taking up the pen for the editorial column. It’s been almost a year since the last issue of EGM I recapped, and the Nintendo 64 still isn’t out. That said, at the very least they have decided what they’re calling it now. Ed also has some complaints about Capcom’s inability to count to 3 with game titles, referring to Street Fighter Alpha II (and the lack of a proper Street Fighter III), and also warning Capcom that they should avoid from taking some of the mis-steps that Sega had taken with their Virtua Fighter series around this time (with Virtua Fighter Kids being singled out). The editorial column is much more stream of consciousness this issue. Additionally, they’ve taken to increasing the font size for certain words and phrases for emphasis. I don’t particularly like that. It disrupts the flow of the column, and makes it feel more like a rant. (more…)

Moving on to our Nintendo Power recaps, we come to issue #30 for November of 1994, and our cover story is Final Fantasy II, otherwise known to the rest of the world (and most gamers today) as Final Fantasy IV. Oh, and the Chocobo on the cover, even though it is black, isn’t the wrong cover. It’s flying, and in Final Fantasy II/IV Black Chocobos are the ones that can fly.

Letters

This month they were asking for letters from people asking who they’d like to play multi-player Game Boy games with over the link cable. About half of them don’t specify a game, but a few do. A few writers specify the game they’d like to play against that person – usually something in the same “field” as the person works in. For example, one person wants to play Bo Jackson’s Baseball against Bo Jackson, NASCAR Challenge against Bill Elliott, NBA All-Star Challenge against Michael Jordan, and so forth. The semi-exception being one player who wants to play multi-player Tetris against Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev because, and I quote “I would like to study his strategy and maybe even beat him.” I like that. (more…)