The Big Picture: Depth of a Salesman

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You know, Bob, they say we never truly die, so long as someone remembers us. You can keep that magazine alive simply by doing your job, the job it gave you. That way, its impact will still be felt by people who never even read the damn thing, like me.
Anyway, good show as ever. This continues to be one of my favorite shows on the Escapist, tied closely with Zero Punctuation.

The Simon's Quest issue was my first and maybe the most special because Simon's Quest is a favorite of mine. I'm not feeling the "vacuum" like a lot of people I know who are talking about it.

It sounds like Bob was sobbing at the end of this. Granted, it makes sense because our Bob loves his Mario games.

I feel sad about it too, since Nintendo Power had content including guides (some issues being entirely guides, I think) and mailbox sections:
I'll remember the one about Mario Party 1 and how it explained all the minigames on Minigame Island and suggested some "drinking games."
I still have the Nintendo Power strategy guides for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pokemon Crystal, and New Super Mario Bros.
I still have a copy of the Super Mario Sunshine pre-release Nintendo Power that had a nice deal for the game, a memory card, a controller, the player's guide (I lost), and a year-long subscription. I have a Youtube video about it and may show off the others too.

MowDownJoe:

faefrost:
Funny thing about that de-regulation that led to that huge surge of childrens tv shows designed to sell kids stuff. That effect of it was really very transitory. It would make a good Big Picture episode to actually look at the various standards for tv programing for kids over the years. Starting with why kids cartoons were pretty much limited to Saturday morning before noon. and how it all evolved as a result of regulatory meddling.

But here's the weird thing about that de-regulation, and that wild west of animated toy pimps that it spawned. It was very very short lived. Look a little wider. There was some craziness for a few years in the 80's. Say 82 to 87-88. But then it all went away. It was self correcting market. As you saw with the Transformers movie, people and in particular kids didn't buy it. Don't forget shortly after that surge of kids shows selling little blogs of plastic, we suddenly started to see a new wave of what can best be described as quality shows. Stuff like Disneys afternoon wave of Ducktales and Tailspin and Darkwing Duck and Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers and Gummi Bears, etc etc. Shows like Fraggle Rock. And then the surge of things like Nickolodean, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. That same de-regulation that brought those massive toy commercials into existence just as quickly killed them off as the networks figured rather than wasting whole hours selling somebody else's product, they could actually sell their own, and get other people to pay them for commercials while doing it. Instead of the product being a He Man plastic toy. The product was now teh media company itself. Disney, Nik, etc. It's a model Sesame Street had been using since the 60's. And it is the same business model that Disney or any media company has long operated safely and successfully under.

I don't think those types of shows died out in the 80s like you suggested. I still remember Mighty Max (as crappy as it was) and Beast Wars: Transformers.

By the beginning of the 90's they were pretty much gone. Yeah some of the key successful properties still had shows. But even Beast War's Transformers is a great example of the shift. The show was less about directly selling toys (virtually none of the show designs worked well as toys, and by the second series they had all but abandoned the toy lines), and more about the property itself. The studio that made it wasn't really a toy driven studio. They made reBoot and Starship Troopers. With the exception of certain Japanese imports (Pokemon), most US produced shows were no longer being produced specifically by or for the toy companies. (Power Rangers weirdly went the other way. It was a cheap Japanese import show that ended up driving toy sales and toy imports. It wasn't made to sell toys specifically. At least not originally. That was an unintended happy outcome).

Most of the companies that had been producing the toy shows and the toy companies that had been funding them were in deep trouble. Filmation went under. Mattel was almost driven under (in part because of the escalating costs of the HeMan movie, another worthy Big Picture subject). Rankin Bass (Thundercats, Silverhawks, Tigersharks, in addition to the classic Rudolf, Frosty and Bilbo Baggins) went under, and their properties were absorbed by Warner Brothers. DIC found far better success making non toy shows such as Inspector Gadget and Captain Planet. Once again pushing their own brands rather than the toy companies. By the 90's Disney had absorbed them.

And key in all of this. Disney, Warner Brothers, Nikolodean etc all had far stronger interests in their own brands and own brand cohesion then they did in pimping plastic toys, at least in the non subtle way of the 80's shows. (Disney in particular is the true master at selling stuff to kids. Just look at anything with the word Princesses. They just do it with a greater degree of subtlety.)

Joos:
What is the cartoon at the 4:00 mark called? I remember watching a lot of it as a kid, but I have no recollection what its name is. Help!

If you mean the dinosaurs in clothes its called dinosaucers. If you mean the trucks with teeth I am trying to figure that out as well

Rakor:
Was that a bunch of dinosaurs in superhero outfits?

I smell an episode.

The show was called dinosaucers and i could be wrong but i think bob already discussed it in one of the older cartoon episodes, try a search and see what you come up with.

Edit, just searched: check out the episode titled "Last Starr" http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/5711-Last-Starr

faefrost:

MowDownJoe:

faefrost:
Funny thing about that de-regulation that led to that huge surge of childrens tv shows designed to sell kids stuff. That effect of it was really very transitory. It would make a good Big Picture episode to actually look at the various standards for tv programing for kids over the years. Starting with why kids cartoons were pretty much limited to Saturday morning before noon. and how it all evolved as a result of regulatory meddling.

But here's the weird thing about that de-regulation, and that wild west of animated toy pimps that it spawned. It was very very short lived. Look a little wider. There was some craziness for a few years in the 80's. Say 82 to 87-88. But then it all went away. It was self correcting market. As you saw with the Transformers movie, people and in particular kids didn't buy it. Don't forget shortly after that surge of kids shows selling little blogs of plastic, we suddenly started to see a new wave of what can best be described as quality shows. Stuff like Disneys afternoon wave of Ducktales and Tailspin and Darkwing Duck and Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers and Gummi Bears, etc etc. Shows like Fraggle Rock. And then the surge of things like Nickolodean, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. That same de-regulation that brought those massive toy commercials into existence just as quickly killed them off as the networks figured rather than wasting whole hours selling somebody else's product, they could actually sell their own, and get other people to pay them for commercials while doing it. Instead of the product being a He Man plastic toy. The product was now teh media company itself. Disney, Nik, etc. It's a model Sesame Street had been using since the 60's. And it is the same business model that Disney or any media company has long operated safely and successfully under.

I don't think those types of shows died out in the 80s like you suggested. I still remember Mighty Max (as crappy as it was) and Beast Wars: Transformers.

By the beginning of the 90's they were pretty much gone. Yeah some of the key successful properties still had shows. But even Beast War's Transformers is a great example of the shift. The show was less about directly selling toys (virtually none of the show designs worked well as toys, and by the second series they had all but abandoned the toy lines), and more about the property itself. The studio that made it wasn't really a toy driven studio. They made reBoot and Starship Troopers. With the exception of certain Japanese imports (Pokemon), most US produced shows were no longer being produced specifically by or for the toy companies. (Power Rangers weirdly went the other way. It was a cheap Japanese import show that ended up driving toy sales and toy imports. It wasn't made to sell toys specifically. At least not originally. That was an unintended happy outcome).

Most of the companies that had been producing the toy shows and the toy companies that had been funding them were in deep trouble. Filmation went under. Mattel was almost driven under (in part because of the escalating costs of the HeMan movie, another worthy Big Picture subject). Rankin Bass (Thundercats, Silverhawks, Tigersharks, in addition to the classic Rudolf, Frosty and Bilbo Baggins) went under, and their properties were absorbed by Warner Brothers. DIC found far better success making non toy shows such as Inspector Gadget and Captain Planet. Once again pushing their own brands rather than the toy companies. By the 90's Disney had absorbed them.

And key in all of this. Disney, Warner Brothers, Nikolodean etc all had far stronger interests in their own brands and own brand cohesion then they did in pimping plastic toys, at least in the non subtle way of the 80's shows. (Disney in particular is the true master at selling stuff to kids. Just look at anything with the word Princesses. They just do it with a greater degree of subtlety.)

Damn, this is some interesting stuff. Thank you for sharing.

Well, Internet killed the Magazine Star.

I started subscribing to Nintendo Power waaaaay after Nintendo was cool. I think it was right before they released the Wii, but I still didn't have Internet. At this point, I really don't play console games anymore, so Nintendo Power seems really dated and not useful.

Ah, the good old days of Howard and NEStor... and the one they did in Gamepro.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that Bob and I are around the same age. When you're talking with an audience that is very familiar with your subject material, it's a lot easier to convey the message.

I think the most interesting thing about Nintendo Power was, if you sent them a letter with questions from a game, they would mail you back an answer. I did this in the early 90's(91-92) for Final Fantasy II(Because we didn't know it was 4 back then). My brother and I were shocked when we got a well typed answer mailed from Nintendo Power to us. It was a very nice touch for subscribers.

I picked up Nintendo Power at issue 2, and Gamepro at issue 3, so I remember the changes to the magazines from years ago. Now I don't even bother looking at them anymore. I will remember the good stuff from Nintendo Power, but I won't actually miss it.

ares556600:
No bob, you would still be a fat isolated loser pandering on about things people don't care about regardless of if the magazine existed or not. You didn't need the idea of a "gamer culture" as you say, drilled into your head with a magazine to allow you to justify the fact that you are a "fat isolated loser pandering on about things people don't care about". You would've been the same exact person regardless.

Before the Internet it was easier to live in a sheltered bubble than it is now as a kid's only connection with others would have been at school or in the neighbourhood, and 'geek culture' wasn't as saturated as it is now, so there was a possibility that not only did they not share his interests (ie "pandering about things people don't care about") but maybe bullied him over them. That magazine served to prove that others shared his interests, even if he didn't know them personally, thus demonstrating that there were people that were "pandering about thing people don't care about."

The fact that there are people who "pander things people don't care about" is enough to trash your argument because there are people who do care (or are you going to argue that Bob isn't a person?). Without that YANA proof he would have went another way, possibly become even more isolated or more ashamed of who he was. You underestimate the power media has over us. It won't make us corporate drones, but every piece in large numbers forms and shapes the culture that they were brought from.

Course, your probably a troll whose just going to call me a fat isolated cow for saying that.

As for Nintendo Power... I have their issue 114 centerfold on my bedroom wall! It was their Ocarina of Time one with Link and Sheik fighting monsters on Death Mountain. Epic! Those mags did play a role in my childhood, but I felt that I outgrew them and am not that sad to see them go.

Hutzpah Chicken:
Well, Internet killed the Magazine Star.

You sir have just won the Internet!

That moment of silence was a nice touch

i have only one thing to say about this;

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

While Nintendo DID use the magazine as a marketing tool, (The budget for the original magazine CAME from the marking dept.) they were also fiercely loyal to their reader base. Back when Mega Man X2 first got released, I got the Nintendo Power issue touting that game. It was ripped, torn, and half the cover page was missing. I sent Nintendo a letter, in the mail, (Stop laughing you trolls) saying that I valued the magazines, not just as a source of information, but as a potential nostalgia market down the line. About two weeks later, I received a certified package in the mail, sealed in a bubble-wrap envelope.

It was a second, FREE copy of the same magazine issue, with a letter apologizing about the shape my original issue came in, and that they hoped this one would arrive in better shape. They spent money to send me an extra copy of my damaged issue, because my customer loyalty was important to them.

Now THAT is respecting your customer base. Bravo, Nintendo. We'll miss you, old friend.

(I subscribed to Nintendo Power from 1990 to 2001.)

sinsfire:

Joos:
What is the cartoon at the 4:00 mark called? I remember watching a lot of it as a kid, but I have no recollection what its name is. Help!

If you mean the dinosaurs in clothes its called dinosaucers. If you mean the trucks with teeth I am trying to figure that out as well

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

We shall miss you Nintendo Power .. personally it has done a great service to society along with helping me get into Nintendo thus got into video games (especially with Pokemon Yellow, that set the deal with my love for video games overall). We'll truly wish you the best ... and hope you're doing okay Bob. Talk to me if otherwise (just offering support, this is quite moving after all).

Why do I get the feeling that Bob isnt a big fan of Reagan (he would be in a minority there, according to polls)

I was a loyal subscriber of Nintendo Power from Issue 14 to Issue 195 and stopped subscribing when the magazine truly became more of an advertisement and less about the games/strats. To this day I still have 24 of my fav centre-fold posters hanging up and I wish I didn't toss all 180 odd issue I collected over those years (I was young and didn't really take care of them very well). This video made me lament a little, like a lot of us in our mid-late 20s and early 30s our childhoods just seem to be getting smaller and smaller every year.

Fenris Frost:
Bob's right. It's good to see that consumer culture hasn't become a horrific, bloated mass; a foul god the Western world venerate alternative to or sometimes comorbid with organised religion. It's also nice to see people mourn for such a magazine. The gravity and solemnity was not bordering on the obscene. I do hope Nintendo don't go under as a consequence, being a charitable venture for the good of children everywhere and all. But seriously, this is grotesque.

WELL. Somebody is bitter because mom wouldn't pay for a subscription.

Wow. Nintendo Power covers...Muppet Babies...Other shows I only vaguely remember liking when I was little. Nostalgia overload.

When I was little I used to love going to the library and looking at Nintendo Power (I didn't have a subscription and my parents wouldn't buy them for me :( ). I don't know if it really affected which games I would end up renting for the NES/SNES (I would usually judge which games to pick based on the art on the cartridges, leading to finding some really great and really shitty games) but it is a little sad, though I haven't seen an issue in years.

You're too close to the subject you're talking about. You're making wild justifications for how messed up it is to influence impressionable children into spending all their money on worthless stuff. If you take a step back and look at the situation from the outside, you'd be singning a different tune.

By the way, it's funny how even the captcha for the forum is an advertisement.

Nalgas D. Lemur:

SnakeoilSage:
That's one hell of a bombshell to drop on a kid, it affected me more than the death of Superman (seriously, who cared about Superman in the early 90's).

I read most of the Death and Return of Superman storyline back then, but pretty much only because my barber had them. He always kept some comics around with the magazines and newspapers, usually some subset of whichever Superman/Batman-related ones were current (but occasionally other stuff like Green Lantern too), presumably to keep kids entertained/quiet. I re-read the entire thing a few years ago in TPB form, and it's aged terribly. Not that I had thought it was amazing to begin with, but I hadn't remembered it being downright awful like that...

It is terrible. It was only noteworthy for the "death of superman" nonsense and what followed after was handled about as gracefully as your typical Spider-Man arc. Lots of dramatic shocks and then the writers just throw up their arms and say "just kidding!"

Considering Doomsday's powers, though, I'm convinced this whole idea grew from a "Superman vs. the Hulk" script that no one was ready to run with, because at the time the Hulk wasn't big enough on the totem pole of Marvel characters to earn such a prestigious place. These days, maybe. I'd love to watch a live action Hulk/Superman rumble.

Caramel Frappe:
We shall miss you Nintendo Power .. personally it has done a great service to society along with helping me get into Nintendo thus got into video games (especially with Pokemon Yellow, that set the deal with my love for video games overall). We'll truly wish you the best ... and hope you're doing okay Bob. Talk to me if otherwise (just offering support, this is quite moving after all).

Yeah Pokemon Yellow was the game that got me really into video games as well

And this was quite a moving video

hentropy:
It's interesting how the deregulation of TV by Reagan in the 80s led to a bunch of things that were much more important in retrospect, such as the elimination of the fairness doctrine, which has made every hour of 24-hour news networks completely partisan opinion programming.

Oh, I don't know about that. CNN doesn't seem to have any particular bias. And by that I mean, everyone says it's biased, but Republicans say it's liberal and Democrats say it's conservative, so they're probably both reading bias into programming where there is none. Granted, CNN is also full of useless blather about stories nobody should care about, but the fairness doctrine wouldn't have prevented that anyway.

Besides, most of what passes for "fairness" on TV news is just giving a mouthpiece to whack jobs and treating it like a debate between two equally reasonable sides. "Some say it's wrong to go around lynching gay people. But others beg to differ! Let's hear what they have to say." I am only slightly exaggerating. And that's how it is now; imagine if they were all required by law to do that all the time.

SnakeoilSage:

Nalgas D. Lemur:

SnakeoilSage:
That's one hell of a bombshell to drop on a kid, it affected me more than the death of Superman (seriously, who cared about Superman in the early 90's).

I read most of the Death and Return of Superman storyline back then, but pretty much only because my barber had them. He always kept some comics around with the magazines and newspapers, usually some subset of whichever Superman/Batman-related ones were current (but occasionally other stuff like Green Lantern too), presumably to keep kids entertained/quiet. I re-read the entire thing a few years ago in TPB form, and it's aged terribly. Not that I had thought it was amazing to begin with, but I hadn't remembered it being downright awful like that...

It is terrible. It was only noteworthy for the "death of superman" nonsense and what followed after was handled about as gracefully as your typical Spider-Man arc. Lots of dramatic shocks and then the writers just throw up their arms and say "just kidding!"

Considering Doomsday's powers, though, I'm convinced this whole idea grew from a "Superman vs. the Hulk" script that no one was ready to run with, because at the time the Hulk wasn't big enough on the totem pole of Marvel characters to earn such a prestigious place. These days, maybe. I'd love to watch a live action Hulk/Superman rumble.

Yeah, the entire thing is a mess looking at it now after having read so much more stuff that's actually good in the 20 years since then. I could easily believe that it came from a Superman/Hulk story or was at least inspired by someone's idea for one, but judging by how they handled it that wouldn't've turned out well at the time either. I also forgot how much I hated the art style they used for stuff like that back then.

Really the only reason it sits on my shelf with all my other stuff is as a reminder to myself of why I generally don't read or buy anything that's part of mainstream DC/Marvel continuity anymore, because while most of it is far better than that, there's really something to be said for self-contained stories that don't have to worry about decades of history or the dozens of other books currently being published. Every now and then there's something like Superman: Secret Identity to remind me that miracles happen even with the major characters.

I'm probably one of the very few that is glad that Nintendo Power is dead.

Not that I should be but Nintendo Power was the first place I was exposed to offensive fanboyism. If you wanted a game that wasn't on N64 instead of the magazine stating "yeah we'd like that too" it went in a more dirty direction & just declared those games were bad.

By the time Game Cube came along I had became a Disgruntled Nintendo Fanboy. My last Nintendo System was my Game Boy Advance before I ended up quitting gaming as a whole.

I didn't return to Gaming till I could buy Steel Battalion: Line Of Contact. But that had more to do with Giant Robots then the urge to get back into gaming. And even then I felt like I was betraying Nintendo despite Nintendo Power's attitude that it didn't need or want me as a consumer.

So yeah I'm glad that the Fox News version of Nintendo is dead.

-

On a brighter note I don't want Nintendo to die. Deep down that still scares me. Even if their newer Hardware doesn't appeal to me at all I want Nintendo to live.

That was pretty much my reaction to hearing Nintendo Power was closing up shop.

I subscribed to Nintendo Power as a kid and looked forward to reading it cover to cover every month. It was the first magazine that I subscribed to independently of my parents and only dropped my subscription when I found myself no longer possessing a Nintendo console, but it was a big part of my childhood and helped kindle my love of gaming as much as anything else at the time. I read some of the issues to the point where the covers ripped off. I kind of regret having thrown my collection out at the request of my parents when we moved at one point. Despite it being the blatent pay-to-read advertisement that it was, it is a shame to see it go.

good episode Bob

I 'll miss NP. I used to subscribe when I was in middle school, when the N64 was still called dolphin.

Also, can anyone tell me what is the thing at 3:40-3:42 from? I have a giant toy of it, like a foot tall, and a giant green tentacle monster one too. I remember there was a giant skeleton one too, and it was from a movie I rented when I was probably 5. I have literally no idea wtf it is, but I have never thought of selling it lol.

They have plastic parts on the top of their heads that let light through and makes their fangs/horns glow. I'm sure they are probably highly collectable, but wtf are they?

I hear ya, while I never had access to Nintendo power (and despite the company bias/ownership/whatever for better or worse right there in the title) I can recognise its importance... heck, there was an Australian gaming mag called Hyper that did something similar for me for a time, and now I just can't find it. I don't even have the closure of knowing that it ceased publication, this was around the time of the Borders crash and it could be that it's still out there somewhere...

What I wrote at the MovieBob blog -

Oddly enough - Bob - and this would make a great Big Picture...

The thing about Hasbro produced children's TV is that they had one directive - showcase a single character per episode. Why? Every kid had their favorite toy. It would be wrong to make that kid feel like their favorite is excluded.

The result was more sophisticated storytelling, to the point that many on those staffs went on to notable television where focusing on characters is key - you know, Lost, BSG, Babylon 5, etc? Notice how they're all heavily serialized shows that put spotlights on different characters per episode? It's no wonder JMS and Joss Whedon come from the world of animation.

Incidentally, this was another cause of the reaction to the Transformers movie / Death of Optimus Prime, and the subsequent rewriting of the GI Joe movie to have Duke in a Coma rather than die. Further, GI Joe planned on killing off Duke first, and the neighboring room at Transformers stole the idea.

Yeah, great episode... NP's gonna be missed. Like a lot of folk commenting here I have not had a subscription for years. I think my last issue was about this new thing I didn't get into called pokeman.

But yeah, I got the free Dragon Warrior with my subscription and it started a love of RPG's and JRPG's. And just like Bob said, one other guy in my class and I had NP and we were the kings of the emerging gamer culture on the playground.

Abandon4093:
I'd never even heard of Nintendo Power before the news about it going out of print. Mustn't have been as big a thing in the UK. Or maybe just not for my generation.

Also I remember my friend actually crying over Primes death in the film. I never really watched all that much classic Transformers though, so it didn't really get me.

I am in the US and I had never even heard of it before they mentioned it was going out of print as well.

Also, I did cry over Primes death as well xD

Not ashamed to admit it either! ^.^

KoudelkaMorgan:
Also, can anyone tell me what is the thing at 3:40-3:42 from? I have a giant toy of it, like a foot tall, and a giant green tentacle monster one too. I remember there was a giant skeleton one too, and it was from a movie I rented when I was probably 5. I have literally no idea wtf it is, but I have never thought of selling it lol.

They have plastic parts on the top of their heads that let light through and makes their fangs/horns glow. I'm sure they are probably highly collectable, but wtf are they?

"The Inhumanoids," short-lived toy-line (promoted via an animated series that only ran a season or so, available on DVD) built around the three main monster bad guys. The main selling point was that they were a lot bigger than many other action figures of the time - the three Inhumanoids themselves are each about a foot tall, like you mentioned. It sounds like the two you have are Metlar (red/silver, leader) and Tendril (plant guy, tentacles); the third being D'Compose (skeleton-monster.)

The line never really took off huge, and today the figures (the big three especially) are sought-after collectors pieces.

Abandon4093:
I'd never even heard of Nintendo Power before the news about it going out of print. Mustn't have been as big a thing in the UK. Or maybe just not for my generation.

I think the UK equivalent was Nintendo Official Magazine. Or something like that...

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