Top 5 Nintendo Power Covers of All Time

At the end of 2012, Nintendo Power succumbed to evil forces of Internet Games Journalism (bastards!) and was forced to cease publication. Anyone reading this site probably has fond memories of the magazine in some way, and I’d like to pay tribute by highlighting what I believe are the best Nintendo Power covers of all time.

It was not easy to choose just five covers out of the 285 plus (some issues had multiple covers) that were printed, but I believe the ones I have chosen are indeed some of the finest.

Godspeed, old friend, and thanks for the fun.

Nintendo Power

The months of hype leading up to the release of the Game Boy Advance were extremely exciting for anyone who loved video games. Finally, portable gaming was going to emerge from the stone ages. The days of primitive graphics and chiptune music were about to end, an its place colorful, detailed sprites and dynamic, rich soundtracks.

I remember seeing the screenshots of the system’s port of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the first time and thinking, “there’s no way this can be real.” It was, and the system went on the achieve the same success it’s monochromatic predecessor had the decade prior.

The above Nintendo Power cover depicts the system as a sort of cosmic phenomenon, hurdling around the Earth’s orbit, patiently waiting to descend and completely change handheld gaming. It’s a simple cover, but it’s incredibly effective and indisputably cool.

Nintendo Power

While it may not look like much, this cover’s greatness is derives from what it represented. It’s freaking Sonic. On Nintendo Power!

It seemed unfathomable that this could ever occur after the bitterly waged console wars of the 1990s. That acrimonious rivalry split most gamers into two camps — Nintendo and Sega — and to see the Blue Blur adorning the cover of Nintendo’s flagship publication was mind-blowing to most. It was like seeing Brett Favre suit up for the Minnesota Vikings for the first time; like there were pigs flying around somewhere in a frozen Hell. It was saddening in to see a beloved console manufacturer go under the way it did, but was also exciting to ponder what sort of cool things partnership between Sega and Nintendo could produce.

Unfortunately, it amounted to little more than Mario and Sonic pole vaulting and running 100 meter dashes at the Olympics, but this cover represents a time when the possibilities were a bit more promising than that.

Nintendo Power

I actually couldn’t decide whether this was one of the best or worst, but decided that it’s over-top-cheesiness and appearance of “The Kid” himself deemed it worthy of mention as one of the magazine’s top covers.

My childhood was dominated by baseball and gaming, so this cover brings a wave of nostalgia over me in a way that no other really did. The smile on Ken Griffey Jr’s face is probably more attributable to the vast amounts of cash he would be pocketing by lending his name to Ken Griffey Junior Presents Major League Baseball, but it’s incredibly cool nonetheless. Super Nintendo, Ken Griffey Jr, backwards hats; what could be more 90s than that?

This cover stands as a monument to one of the best baseball players and gaming consoles ever (the SNES was fortunate enough not to have its career plagued by hamstring injuries) that a whole generation of gamers can look back upon and remember their childhood by.

Just like Griffey’s trademark swing, this Nintendo Power cover is just plain sweet.

Nintendo Power

Yes, that is Hulk Hogan dropping the big leg on Earthquake with a Super Nintendo controller in hand. Come on, how awesome is that?

The game the cover hypes, WWF Super Wrestlemania, turned out to be rather lame, but this Nintendo Power cover alone is enough for it to leave at least a small footprint on the console’s history.

Say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and get your game on, brother. Like Hulkamania, this classic cover rules. Enough said.

Nintendo Power

Darth fucking Vader. I feel like I don’t really need to elaborate much on this one.

The ruler of the Dark Side lent his iconic likeness to this issue of Nintendo Power to promote the release of the classic Super Star Wars for the SNES, and all other covers were, quite simply, insignificant next to the power of the Force.

What this cover lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in substance — pure, terrifying substance. I can only imagine the jubilation among Nintendo Power‘s readership when they opened up their mailboxes and found the universe’s ultimate evil adorning the cover of their favorite magazine.

It might just be the Star Wars  fanboy inside of me, but I simply could not find a more striking Nintendo Power cover than this. Seeing the classic Nintendo Power logo next to one of the most revered characters in pop culture history is a magnificent sight to behold. Over the course of 24 years, Nintendo Power certainly featured some memorable faces, but none commanded more attention than Vader.

Conqueror of the galaxy, champion of the Force, and Nintendo Power cover boy. Now that’s one hell of a resume.

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