Old Video Game Magazines Are an Incredible Time Capsule

Claymation Mario

Thanks to the Internet and my packrat tendencies, I have a sizable collection of old video game magazines. I’ve wasted countless hours re-reading the Nintendo Power letters page or admiring old Game Players layouts. The nostalgia factor is part of the appeal, as is my interest in gaming journalism, but what really fascinates me about these magazines is the way they let me see the past.

There are things about  remember the video games of my youth with perfect clarity. I vividly recall flipping over tickets at Toys R Us, hoping that the games I could afford looked like something special. I remember being completely stuck in Final Fantasy VI and hoping the next issue of Nintendo Power would come to my rescue (it totally did). I remember reading letters page after letters page, getting enraged or elated over the results of Nintendo Power Awards, and being completely and utterly fooled by EGM‘s April Fools jokes.

But when I actually look at the magazines, I notice all the things that I’d forgotten. For a brief moment, Nintendo’s Ultra 64 was the most exciting thing in the world to me, but it’s since vanished from my brain completely. Reading about it again is slightly surreal.

Video Game Magazine Scans

And, even though I remember Nintendo Power as this bastion of sweetness and light, they could occasionally be catty. Their letters page never got as snarky as some of the other magazines did, but they weren’t above taking digs at their competitors.

Nintendo Power

Having these perfect time capsules on hand is both fascinating and frustrating. I’ve talked previously about my habit of fixating on the past, and it’s hard to avoid doing that when so many interesting things are right at my fingertips. Still, I’m grateful that I have a way to look back at these days, warts and all. Without old video game magazines, who knows what I would have forgotten?

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