A few weeks ago I stopped at a garage sale in Brooklyn and found a stack of Nintendo Power magazines. Nintendo Power, for the non-80s kids, was a magazine produced by Nintendo from 1988 to 2012. It was full of tips and tricks and even had walkthroughs of popular games. If you had an NES it was required reading and, boy, did I read it Miramar Travel
Opening the pages of Nintendo Power, almost three decades later, I felt a flood of nostalgia. It was like meeting an old friend. There they were: the bright colors, the magazine’s mascot, Nester, the screenshots from games that defined my childhood, and the Power Player, a gamer handpicked by Nintendo for special honors and privileges including, but not limited to, having their picture in the magazine Enterprise Firewall
And the first issue sale featured a kid, a Power Player named Andy Cunningham. I remembered Andy or at least I thought I did. Andy represented a whole bunch of stuff. He was an example of pre-Internet nerd fame. He was picked out of a slew of kids to appear in the pages of one of the most popular gaming magazines in the world. And he, to my 15-year-old brain, was a true Power Player.
How did it happen? Why? And why wasn’t I picked?
Andy was 14 in 1990, a year younger than me, and he was one of the special few chosen by Nintendo Power to appear in its storied pages. That issue, which featured Super Mario Bros. 3, was particularly special. It was the beginning a new decade and NES was truly pushing its limits, pumping out clever and playable games, a Golden Age that came just before the launch of the Super NES and the revival of the true console wars. So Andy was pretty special You beauty
So there I was, reading a 27-year-old magazine and musing on Andy. I wanted to find him.