UPDATED: Now You Can’t… ORIGINAL:You Can Now Read and Download the First 145 Issues of Nintendo Power
UPDATE 8/8/16: And now you can’t read them anymore. Game Informer was the first to post about the removal today and the archivist who posted has yet to respond as to why. If you go back to Fred’s take below, perhaps Nintendo wasn’t as open to sharing as we originally thought. It’s a terrible shame. Some of us managed to download the whopping 12 GB library before it got pulled, but for legal reasons there’s no way we can post them here. Stay tuned, there may still be a way to share the great Nintendo Power content.
Original Story: Nintendo Power is one of those magazines that has forever resided in the underground of the Internet. Since Nintendo published the magazine and thus owns the rights to this copyrighted material, it is illegal to post and distribute it without Nintendo’s permission. Often times items like these are simply posted online, the reputable parties involved will go to places like archive.org to display the interest of preservation, and it’s up to the content holder to file a claim. This did happen with archive.org and Nintendo did file a claim, thus rendering the magazines unreadable without hunting down the tangible items in the wild. This all changed yesterday and it seems Nintendo is now allowing these relics of our gaming past to be read by all. You can find the archive of the first 145 issues spanning 13 years of content here.
Fred’s take: It was frustrating to know that there were quality scans of these magazines I grew up reading and had long disposed of floating around on the web and I had to visit torrent or piracy sites just to see them. Nintendo has every right, both legally and ethically, to preserve its content and I take no issue with that. If you are going to exercise those rights, however, I do think a company should make these items available to its customers. Nintendo could have charged for these magazines and distributed them in an encrypted app on your phone, Nintendo device, or simply through a web site. You may groan, but that is the way these items come back from the dead. Content often has never and will never be free without a setback. On the other hand, to ban anyone from making these items available and also to do nothing yourself is to let content die on the vine and it saddens me to think that Nintendo was willing to do this. The fact that it allowed the distribution on archive.org further back the reality that Nintendo had no plans and probably didn’t even know how it would go about getting the content to customers. It’s documented that even virtual console roms have been taken from hacked roms on emulation sites, so I’m betting that if Nintendo had decided to sell these items we would discover that they would be the scans that exist on this now live archive. If you’re going to seek financial gains for your content, you have to do the leg work, all of it. This decision instead makes these Nintendo-centric magazines that a majority of the 80s and 90s kids grew up reading readily available to all for free. I don’t like the process, but I love the outcome.