Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter Explores Nintendo's Early Days by Howard Philips

Nintendo Power Mascot Howard Phillips is Kickstarting 'Gamemaster Classified,' a Book About Nintendo's Early Days

Published: February 9, 2021 4:05 PM /


Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter cover

The Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter has been revealed by Nintendo's one-time employee and superfan Howard Phillips, reviving the spirit of the Nintendo Power magazine and providing an early look at the company's history.

Howard Phillips is undeniably a huge fan of Nintendo games, so much so that he featured in many of the early issues of the company's Nintendo Power magazine. He eventually became a mascot of sorts at the company — certainly a step up from his humble beginnings of working in a Nintendo warehouse.

Phillips will be joined by webcomic artist and indie game designer Matthew Taranto. He's best known as the creator of the Brawl in the Family daily webcomic that featured classic Nintendo characters in amusing situations. Now, Taranto and Philips are teaming up to explore some of Nintendo's early history in a new book!

Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter sample

Gamemaster Classified Revives the Spirit of Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power was a magazine that brings up warm, fuzzy feelings to any fans of the early Nintendo console. It had a wonderful mix of game reviews, tips guides, interviews, and other cool articles. That classic magazine serves as the template for Gamemaster Classified.

The upcoming Gamemaster Classified book will cover 1981–1991 in yearly chapters in a total of around 150 pages. Here's what you can expect to see inside:

  • Nintendo Insider -- A glimpse at the inner workings of NOA and the ways their business had to adjust to the ever-changing game industry.
  • Howard's Now Playing -- Howard (in his classic comic form!) relives funny moments, difficulties, embarrassments and adventures while working at Nintendo. Like everything in this book, these are true stories!
  • Classified Information -- The hidden, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes controversial happenings behind the scenes! Lawsuits, cover-ups, internal disputes, it's all here!
  • Matthew's Memories -- More comics! Matthew draws on his personal perspectives as an '80s kid growing up with the NES, with each story focusing on a specific game. 
  • Year In Reviews -- Howard & Matthew weigh in on each year's biggest games and aren't afraid to call 'em like they see 'em! Ride along as Howard identifies key developments and games that propelled the industry forward. Also features "The Gamemaster Awards," where the duo choose their top picks for the year in a variety of categories. 

That's just the start, though. The first stretch goal is a "Top 30" feature, echoing Nintendo Power's lists of the most popular games. In this instance, both authors will detail what their Top 30 games from the era are should this threshold be met.

Back the Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter for a Peek Into Nintendo's History

The Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter is backed by two very talented people. Howard Phillips is well-familiar with the Nintendo of the 80s and 90s and Matthew Taranto is undeniably a massive fan of the company in his own right. The pair aim to combine their talents to create a great exploration of Nintendo's history.

If you yearn for the days of a controller with four buttons or miss out on the classic comics of Nintendo Power, you can back the Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter right now! It's just about reached its $23,000 goal with 29 days to go, so the odds are very good that this book will become a reality. You have until Thursday, March 11, 2021, at 12:00 AM EST to make your pledge before the campaign is done!

Will you back the Gamemaster Classified Kickstarter? What was your favorite thing about Nintendo Power? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
| Senior Writer

One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N