Nintendo's final surprise of 2017 was the news that Nintendo Power, the official (and much loved) Nintendo magazine that shuttered in 2012 would return as a podcast. Just after the first episode released, we had the opportunity to chat with Chris Slate and Kit Ellis of Nintendo to discuss the the new show, its origins and their plans for the future of Nintendo Power.
While Kit Ellis is recognisable to most modern day Nintendo fans as the co-host of Nintendo Minute alongside Krysta Yang, Chris Slate may be a little less recognisable. Chris served as Editor-in-Chief of Nintendo Power during its final five years on shelves. So it's fitting that it should be Chris taking the helm as host of the Nintendo Power podcast. Kit will still be involved with Nintendo Power in its new form, but in more of a behind-the-scenes capacity.
Internally, employees at Nintendo Of America had been discussing the idea of a podcast during the summer of 2016. The podcast was going to be focused on stories from inside the mothership, a rare glimpse behind the curtain of one of the industry's most secretive companies. While discussion were ongoing, Steve Norman, Nintendo's head of social media came up with the idea that the podcast should carry the Nintendo Power name, and from there work began in earnest.
The first question we ask is one that's no doubt in the minds of nostalgic Nintendo Power readers across the States and abroad: Is this the beginning of a return to print for Nintendo Power? "There are no plans to bring the magazine back," Chris tells us from the off. You can hear our hearts breaking.
"It's a challenging industry to enter these days," Chris admits. The death of a number of high-profile magazines in recent years - including Nintendo Power - lends credibility to his claim. Chris wanted instead to find a more appropriate format to bring the spirit of Nintendo Power to today's audience.
But what is the spirit of Nintendo Power? "There's a tremendous number of people in Nintendo Of America that love Nintendo Power, and the podcast feels like a modern execution of the magazine concept, giving the players stories from within Nintendo in an extended, in-depth approach," offers Kit during our conversation.
It's also stressed to us that the Nintendo Power Podcast is still very much a work in progress, but the current focus is on giving long-form, in-depth stories from the people inside Nintendo Of America, as a sort of distillation of readers' favourite parts of Nintendo Power in its original form.
This new version of the beloved magazine will be monthly to start, but we're told that could change if there was demand for more. The podcast is described to us as a passion project being worked on in between other duties, but it something that folks around NOA are very committed to.
Though the main focus of the podcast is, for the next few episodes at least, will continue to be stories from within the North American branch of the Big N, with guests from both Nintendo Of Europe and Nintendo Company Limited (its Kyoto-based parent company) making appearances. With Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi appearing in the first episode, other options are still on the table for the future of the podcast.
"We're waiting for feedback. You could say we're in sort of an observation, ear-to-the-ground mode," Chris says when we quiz him on plans for upcoming episodes. Nintendo isn't only relying on fans, either, we're told they'd like to find other sections of the classic magazine to adapt to the podcast format, as they did with the Warp Zone Quiz featured in the first episode. If you haven't listened to the first episode, check it out and send an email to [email protected] with your suggestions.
Many thanks to Chris and Kit from Nintendo Of America for giving us the opportunity to chat with them regarding the Nintendo Power Podcast. You can find the Podcast on YouTube, iTunes and Google Play Music