Losing an old friend, even if it's one I haven't really seen much of lately.
If you were a kid growing up with a SNES during the 90's then it's a fairly decent bet that you've at least heard of, if not bought or subscribed to Nintendo Power. Sure, it wasn't exactly the most partisan of magazines, what with being published by Nintendo itself (at least until 2007 when Future US took over) and all that, but it was still a decent gaming magazine for strategies and previews of upcoming games. That's why it's with a small tinge of sadness that I learned recently that this will be Nintendo Power's last year of publication.
Undoubtedly Nintendo Power along with most of the other physical print magazines have been hit pretty hard by the online publication of many websites like GameFAQs, The Escapist, Destructoid, and hundreds if not thousands of others. Some magazines have moved heavily into online distribution in order to keep up, while others have simply fallen by the wayside, it seems that Nintendo Power will be one of those latter ones.
Granted, it might not just be the fact that it's a physical media publication going up against an online one. As the Forbes article points out, less and less people are willing these days to put up with what they perceive (rightly or not in some cases) as a bias towards any one system, company, developer, or even series. Nintendo Power was one of the trinity of official magazines, the other two being the Official Playstation Magazine -- although now it's known as PSM which had formerly been an independent Playstation magazine -- and the Official Xbox Magazine, have long drawn criticism from those looking for reviews that they can count on to be as unbiased as possible.
It's true that if you want a review that's going to be as unbiased as possible that you don't turn to one of the official magazines, because the pressure that advertisers tend to put on them often means that reviews can be softballed a little, that bad games get rated as good, and good rated as great. That's not to say that you can't get useful information out of the reviews or anything, but rather that you have to be careful in what you believe, especially in terms of the broad strokes.
Issues of that kind of bias aside though, Nintendo Power is definitely one of the things that I do admittedly get nostalgic about. Even if they weren't the best source of unbiased information they were still doing a fairly good job from what I remember, and it saddens me to see them fall by the wayside as quite a few other gaming magazines have done.
I guess that even though it might sound laughable, that when I originally thought of the idea of becoming a game journalist, it was one of the print magazines that I wanted to work for. Either EGM or Game Informer (both of which are still running, actually, albeit with heavy online components as well), but looking at it today I can't really imagine myself doing so unless I get extremely lucky. Is there any difference between working for one of those magazines and a gaming site? A gaming site will no doubt lead to a greater degree of publication, as well as a more active role, but there was something about seeing my name there on the list of columnists that remains undeniably a dream of mine. Will I fulfill it? It's hard to say. The road ahead is still long, and unknown to everyone, myself most of all.