April Fools: 5 Incredible Nintendo Power Pranks

Posted by Steven Collier on Apr. 1st, 2016

Nintendo Power was the premier source for video game tips, tricks, and game guides for a generation. However, for all the useful information it offered gamers, Nintendo Power was not above pulling a fast one on its readers from time to time. So this April Fools Day, I'd like to pay tribute to the back issues of the greatest gaming magazine of all time, Nintendo Power, by listing my five favorite gags they ever published.

5. Bowser's Real Name?

The origin of Bowser's many children has been debated by Mario fans since they first appeared in the original 8-bit video game Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES. However, an especially astute player noted that one of the Koopa Kids was named "Morton Jr.," implying there is a "Morton Sr." And, since Bowser was allegedly the father, it stood to reason that his actual name must also be "Morton." The response Nintendo Power offered to this revelation in their September 2001 issue is priceless.

4. Project M

Project M was the code name of a "top secret" transportation system that Nintendo was allegedly developing. According to the 2001 April issue of Nintendo Power, Mario's warp pipes would soon be a reality. The devices first seen in 1st Super Mario Bros. video game for the Nintendo NES, were supposedly capable of instantaneously teleporting users across thousands of miles. However, the article was also quick to state that the system was not yet perfected, even offering a laundry list of health risks its testers were experiencing including "disintegration." Considering it has nothing to do with gaming, and that it was given a full, two-page spread, this one is just too weird not to make my list.

3. Yoshi in Pokemon

Back when Pokemania was unstoppable. Kids across the globe were training, trading, battling, and evolving Pokemon like mad, in an effort to catch them all. And with rumors of secret Pokemon running rampant, Nintendo Power decided to have some fun with their readers in the 1999 April issue of Nintendo Power. The magazine featured an elaborate article claiming that Mario's beloved Dinosaur friend Yoshi, from Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Console, was hidden away as a secret evolution of Dragonite. Between the expertly photoshopped screenshots, and the source of the information, more than a few kids were duped into attempting the ludicrously difficult task.

2. "L is Real 2401"

There were once literally hundreds of rumors insisting that Luigi was a playable character, cleverly hidden somewhere in the classic video game Super Mario 64 for the original Nintendo 64 console. Most of the speculation revolved around some blurry text that appears on a statue in Princess Peach's courtyard. Luigi's faithful insisted that the placard read: "L is Real 2401," an obscure clue to unlocking the Green-Garbed plumber. In reality, the text reads "Eternal Star," and Luigi is not playable, however that didn't stop Nintendo from teasing its fans with the idea that the rumors might be true. 

In the 1998 April Issue of Nintendo Power, they claimed they would discuss the "L is Real" message on page 128. The joke: the magazine was only 108 pages long. Naturally, Luigi fans were not amused.

1. Luigi 64!

Nintendo Power got so many complaints for their "L is Real" prank, that they were actually forced to make a statement. However, instead of apologizing for the gag, NP instead doubled down on it. They claimed that Nintendo was preparing to give Luigi fans exactly what they were clamoring for "yet another game that doesn't feature Luigi!" The game was to star the headless Snowman from Mario 64. Additionally the game was planned to feature literally every other Nintendo character to ever exist, except for Luigi. Read the entire article. It's absolutely vicious, and undeniably hilarious.

Those are my picks for the funniest gags Nintendo Power ever pulled. However, if you have memories of other shenanigans its writers pulled over the years, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below!

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