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Lights turning off at Nintendo Power?

A cherished magazine from the heyday of Nintendo's juggernaut console generation in the 1990s reportedly is set to call it quits.

The magazine, which kicked off in the summer of 1988, first highlighted Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. Nintendo/Eoin Stanley

Before Google, many young'uns (such as myself) relied on magazines, telephone hotlines, and other old-world forms of communication to learn more about upcoming video games, hints, or cheats. One favored source of Nintendo game information for many people, Nintendo Power, will end its 24-year run this year, reports Ars Technica.

Supposedly, the magazine's parent company, Future Publishing, could not strike up a new contract with Nintendo to keep the publication going. An Ars source cites Nintendo as "difficult to work with," uninterested in expanding online content for the Nintendo Power brand, and even unwilling to retake the magazine from Future (which gained rights to the magazine in 2007 from Nintendo).

Future Publishing did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

With 281 issues under its belt, Nintendo Power held about about 475,000 readers every month. Nintendo Power derived from the Nintendo Fun Club newsletter in 1988, and turned into a full-fledged magazine full of tips and tricks, reviews, and previews (see the first issue in PDF form here). After the information boon of Google and several reboots, Nintendo officially backed away from the magazine and licensed the Nintendo Power brand to Future Publishing in 2007.

Legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto speaks directly to consumers about Pikmin 3 in a recent video featured on the Nintendo YouTube channel. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

The end of an era?
In this digital age, it's not so surprising anymore when a print publication bites the dust, especially in this hyperactive world of snarky rumormongering online gaming gossip rags. One could see why Nintendo gave up, though, as the Japanese company boasts a very healthy presence on its Nintendo Direct YouTube channel, which reaches millions of people without the complications of a print run.

CNET Senior Editor (and gaming guru) Dan Ackerman suggested to me that Nintendo Power and other similar brand magazines doubly served as lagged "house organs" serving "softball content" for those companies. "You just can't compete with Web sites and blogs for timely information when you have a four-month lead time," Ackerman suggested. "Just look at what happened to Computer Gaming World, GamePro, the print version of PC Magazine, and many others."

Regardless, at least a few sentimental tears fell today when news of the shuttering of Nintendo Power started to emerge.

"Truly the end of an era. First magazine and exposure to gaming culture I ever experienced. This is what I grew up with," said a gamer named Jackben on the NeoGAF gaming forum. "It's been years since I subscribed but I remember actually being excited to check the mail hoping to find the new issue." editor Andy McNamara shared a revelation on Twitter, saying, "Nintendo Power was the first video game magazine I ever read, and I wouldn't do what I do today without it."

Upon hearing reports of the magazine's demise, my colleague (and CNET editor) Scott Stein remarked, "I used to use Nintendo Power to envy my friends and their Nintendo systems (I was a proud Sega owner). It always felt like a little private club."