So, Nintendo Gamer magazine is to close, thus ending the Future Publishing unofficial UK Nintendo magazine line that started way back in 1992 with Super Play and continued on through N64, NGC and NGamer before ending up in its current incarnation. To be honest I thought it would at least hang on until the Wii-U (do you write that with a hyphen?) hit, just in case fortunes turned around its dwindling sales figures but it was not to be.
It is, of course, a sign of the times with many gamers now getting up-to-the-second news from the net and feeling they no longer need to patronise a printed mag but those that stayed with it knew the secret; it's not just about the information.
I've been genuinely touched by all the messages commiserating the end and all their tales of gaming childhoods growing up with the mags. Knowing that I had a tiny part in some of those mags gives me an immense amount of pride and so it was really nice that I was asked to do one more cover. Well, actually two; one for the newsstand and another for the subscribers copy.
So, here's the normal one:
Yes, yes, I know that Mario should really be in his white and red Fire Mario outfit.
and here's the subscriber copy pic:
I hope they're OK (last minute etc. etc. excuses) and I do wish I'd been able to do something slightly more epic and off-the-wall but there you go. Can't imagine I'll ever get to do another games magazine cover now unless I do my own. Now there's an idea...
There's a great article on Super Play magazine over at Nintendo Life
so here's a bit more old SP artwork to celebrate.
Look! That's Lisa Nichols' (SNES fans hearts swoon) writing at the bottom telling the scanning guys what size to prep the artwork to. This was before we all had Photoshop on our desktops and had to do that sort of stuff for ourselves. The artwork was done on acetate - animation cel-stylee - and was scanned in on a big drum.
Some nice person is doing an article on one of my old video game magazines - Super Play - so I braved the dusty dimension of under the sofa and retrieved my old portfolio (you know, the one with real, physical, untouched by the hand of Photoshop, artwork) so I could scan in a few bits and bobs.
So here's Neko, the Super Play subscription tiger. Each issue he'd be put in a more perilous predicament, doomed to a hideous fate unless enough people subscribed to the magazine and saved him. Well, until the next issue, that is.
I'd forgotten quite how labour intensive some of the Neko illos were. They were done (as I also did the covers in those days - '92-'94) on acetate with the linework on the front and painted on the back; animation cel-style. Often they would be just as complicated as the covers and boy, did I get through a lot of paints back then.
Now I've opened the Pandora's Box that is the Old Portfolio (TM) expect to see more horrors from the past. Just don't ask me to post anything from the Scorpion Man comic from 1980.