Issue 12 of Nintendo Power doesn’t feature as many well known games as past issues have but we do get the first feature look at one of the most popular NES games of all time, Final Fantasy!
While the cover of the magazine is for Super C, the under appreciated sequel to the huge NES hit Contra, Final Fantasy is the first game featured in the magazine and gets 8 pages for the feature compared to the 6 given to Super C. My guess is Super C got the cover because of the name recognition with Contra but Final Fantasy was the big push by Nintendo at the time to get RPGs in to America and they wanted to make sure people knew it was coming.
After the feature games, we get the second annual Nester Awards as voted on by the readers of the magazine. As I’ve mentioned previously, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the height of popularity at this time which translated in to everything that had the TMNT branding was considered high quality regardless of its actual merits and that can been seen here in the Nester awards as the first TMNT game for NES took the game of the year award over NES classics such as Mega Man 2, Ninja Gaiden or even Mario. A few pages later though, Mario gets the recognition you would expect as it hit #1 in the top 30 for the first time. Gameboy coverage was quickly expanding around this time and this issue covers 8 games for the system though the coverage is pretty light due to the 100 page limit the magazine seemed to have at the time.
The rest of the magazine is the normal previews, tips and hints that the magazine is known for but the additional insert book this month would be the last time a separate insert was included in the magazine. This month was a 32 page book that pretty much consolidated the classified information section from the run of the magazine up until this point. The insert was organized by type of tip that was provided which would have been useful to get the exact type of tip you needed. As I have always liked the look of the classified information section of the magazine in these early years, this is probably my favorite insert the magazine ever included.
Next month, we get the first strategy guide that Nintendo experimented with for a short time as a supplement to the regular monthly magazine. Up first is Mario 3 so get ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the best selling game on the NES. See you next time and Play with Power!