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1985-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019 | 2020-2024

Introduction

Shigeru Miyamoto is arguably the most accomplished and influential video game maker in the world, having created some of the most recognized characters and some of the best selling game franchises such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. He has worked at Nintendo for his entire career spanning more than 40 years. In that time he has continuously been designing, producing, and directing game development, granting him a perspective few others have been able to achieve.

But this isn’t a biography, it’s a chronological collection of interviews, appearances, writings, and other records of Shigeru Miyamoto’s words, with my own summary of each.

I have done all of this for two reasons. First, to create a nicely organized and helpful record of the words of an influential figure that has had a huge impact on the world of interactive entertainment. This is in some ways a history of Nintendo and how they make games as well as a big chunk of video game history. Second, to create an entertaining and easy to skim through history of Nintendo through the eyes of its most famous creator as he talks about his career and the creation of many of his most important works. A way to relive the history of the changing landscape of gaming while revisiting what it was like to follow the latest news updates on games you were looking forward to.

There are currently over 750 entries, including those that have not been translated to English.

 

Overview of Year Pages

1985-1989

Major Releases: Super Mario Bros., Famicom Disk System, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, Super Mario Bros. 3, Game Boy

Overview: This first page is the smallest, with the earliest entry being a conversation between Shigeru Miyamoto and The Tower of Druaga’s Masanobu Endo. There’s also a conversation with Dragon Quest’s Yuji Horii. Most of his interviews at this point are with Japanese technology and gaming magazines.

Some topics that will come up again and again in the future are covered here, such as how Mario was designed and the story of how he came to join Nintendo and start making games. Comparing movies and games is already underway.

Mr. Miyamoto already has a big reputation and has apparently been called a genius at this point.

 

1990-1994

Major Releases: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario World, F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Donkey Kong Country

Overview: Much of this material had to be translated by fans many years after the fact, and Nintendo Power starts to take an interest in interviewing Mr. Miyamoto. There are some strategy guides, a CD’s liner notes, and we get our first videos here, all taking place at Nintendo’s offices, I think. There is the beginning of some curiosity about games from non-gaming media.

Many interviewers are already asking him about game design and how Nintendo makes games.

There’s a lot of love for The Legend of Zelda series and there are already many questions about his process and motivations in making them.

He has some interest in the Super NES CD-ROM here, but he’s not sold on every game needing to be a CD-ROM.

He says he’s not famous and isn’t recognized in the street, but that he does get letters asking for photos.

 

1995-1999

Major Releases: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario RPG, Nintendo 64, Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, 1080° Snowboarding, Game Boy Color, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros.

Overview: Nintendo Power starts speaking of Mr. Miyamoto in reverent tones and interviews him many times in this period but he seems to stay in Japan other than during E3. This is the beginning of many E3 appearances whether on stage or off, doing interviews and Q & A sessions. There are almost 3 times as many entries during this period than the previous one.

There’s quite a few interviews about the Nintendo 64 and its capabilities, and he seems quite excited to be using polygons. Getting used to the analog stick is a frequent topic and he brings up the 4 controller ports quite often. At one point he says he is working on 10 Nintendo 64 games. After talking up the potential of the 64DD being able to write data it is abandoned quickly and many games he mentions never come out.

It wasn’t brand new but there’s a lot of questions about the Super FX chip in 1995 and 1996.

He talks positively about the Tamagotchi and how such a simple low tech thing can prove to be very popular.

There are several interviews about Super Mario RPG and later about Paper Mario, some of the only role-playing games he ever worked on. Several months after Final Fantasy VII’s release he says that the role-playing game market will shrink.

He’s not interested in making movies but he’s compared to Steven Spielberg several times.

When asked about online gaming his responses vary quite a bit. Sometimes they are something interesting he’d like to explore, sometimes they are too expensive and difficult for consumers, and sometimes they are mere trends that he’s not interested in chasing.

Several times he talks about how much of the N64’s power a game uses, Super Mario 64 being 40-60%, Star Fox 64 at 70-80%, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at 90%.

What dominates the latter half of this period is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game that was likely more hyped than any other in history at the time. He laments that it took 50 people to make the game, a team size too big.

 

2000-2004

Major Releases: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Paper Mario, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, F-Zero GX, DS

Overview: By this point most of Mr. Miyamoto’s interviews are with non-Japanese media, many Western magazines and various now-defunct websites interview him during this time.

The 64DD is released and there’s a lot of questions about the games coming out for it, many of which end up cancelled, including Earthbound 64/Mother 3.

There is a lot of GameCube promotion, he says it’s well balanced, easy to develop for, and that developers can do anything they can dream of with it. He’s not totally enthusiastic about moving to DVDs for games, but talks a lot about how Nintendo is making sure loading times are kept low. There’s talk of easily moving the GameCube from room to room thanks to its handle. He says he is working on 30 titles at once.

Mr. Miyamoto is repeatedly asked about online games on the GameCube and he repeatedly says that not enough people have broadband and that such games are too expensive before changing the topic to “communication games” like Animal Crossing and touting Game Boy Advance and GameCube connectivity. At one point he explicitly says he’s not interested in making online games. This view somewhat softens later to explanations that online games are exclusive to too small a group.

Mr. Miyamoto mentions Mario being more mature in Super Mario Sunshine which gets some attention, but this amounts to Mario’s look changing to be a bit less childish. He later says he regrets how hard and unfriendly Sunshine was to new players.

The biggest controversy by far is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s cel shaded graphics. There are many snide questions about them and his answer is usually to say that it will feel natural once you’re playing it. This ties in with Grand Theft Auto III’s release and huge success as many question why Nintendo isn’t making more mature games and Mr. Miyamoto responds that Nintendo does not make violent games while emphasizing that their games are for everyone, not just children.

It’s during this time that he explicitly states that he doesn’t like role-playing games because it’s not fun to be so bound, and that anyone can be good at them.

Promotion for the DS begins and the most common selling point seems to be how easy it to use because of the touch screen.

 

2005-2009

Major Releases: Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS, Wii, Wii Sports, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Fit, Wii Music, New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Overview: Nintendo begins moving towards a more casual audience as the DS becomes a hit and the Wii also launches to strong sales. Mr. Miyamoto talks quite a bit about how much his wife, who doesn’t like playing games, loves Nintendogs. More mainstream press starts to want to interview Mr. Miyamoto and talk about the DS and Wii. This era sees the start of Iwata Asks.

2005 brings the 20th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. and there is an interview once again diving into the history of its creation, but overall there is not much made of it.

As he talks about the Wii and the Wii Remote he reiterates many times that game controllers have had too many buttons and it was too confusing. This led to the gaming industry only appealing to a core audience. He starts talking about gaming’s poor reputation and how fewer people are playing games because they’re too complicated. The stereotypical image of a gamer is brought up several times, which he wants the Wii to change. Several times he mentions idea of watching someone play the Wii and wanting to join in, and the Wii being a living room device.

Many interviewers ask Mr. Miyamoto about the Wii’s relatively poor graphics and he says that not everyone has a high definition television and that it is expensive to make such games.

 

2010-2014

Major Releases: Super Mario Galaxy 2, 3DS, Steel Diver, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Wii U, New Super Mario Bros. U, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World

Overview: There are more than 180 entries here, making it the largest page. As gaming magazines wane, more and more outlets want to talk to Mr. Miyamoto and make videos with him, and Nintendo starts making use of social media and making more promotional videos with its developers. The first Nintendo Directs happen during this time and Mr. Miyamoto eventually makes appearances in them, including doing some comedic skits.

As Mr. Miyamoto becomes more of a spokesman and executive he becomes less involved with making games, acting as producer on fewer titles. At one point he says that he spends more time on ideas than content. The 3DS and the Wii U launch during this period and both have rocky beginnings, but he does a lot of promotion for them.

The big topic in this era is Mr. Miyamoto’s retirement. During a Wired interview he says that he tells everyone he is going to retire to get them used to the idea of him not being around. This causes enough worry that Nintendo’s stock price goes down and they quickly issue a statement saying that Mr. Miyamoto is not in fact retiring.

Super Mario Bros.’ 25th anniversary receives a lot more fanfare than the 20th, with multiple interviews and videos, while The Legend of Zelda’s 25th anniversary sees the release of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, which he writes the foreword for.

Many of these interviews promote the 3DS and its stereoscopic 3D. Being able to accurately judge where you’re going to land when jumping in 3D is something that’s brought up many times.

The Wii U’s promotion centers on the living room experience and providing a way to access entertainment, something that was brought up with the Wii, but not as often. Much is made about being to play the Wii U even when someone else is using the living room television, and about using the GamePad as a remote. As time goes on he admits that Nintendo took a long time to design the Wii U and that they have had issues setting up the development environment, so game releases have been slow.

Miiverse launches and he uses it to announce the beginning and ending of the Year of Luigi. There are also several posts about Pikmin 3 and its Secret Memos.

There’s quite a few Pikmin 3 interviews that took a while to get translated by fans, or were never translated at all. Meanwhile there’s a lot more promotion for Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre than you would expect.

He now describes a typical game as taking 50-60 people to make.

 

2015-2019

Major Releases: Super Mario Maker, Star Fox Zero, Star Fox Guard, Super Mario Run, Super Nintendo World, Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Super Mario Odyssey

Overview: Mr. Miyamoto continues to be less heavily involved in game development, but he still has over 80 appearances in these 5 years. Nintendo is making Treehouse at E3 videos where they interview developers. More nontraditional outlets, such as popular YouTubers, interview Mr. Miyamoto. A common theme is supporting younger developers at Nintendo.

He says he could never be a film director, and later says that Nintendo might look into making movies. The Super Mario Bros. Movie was announced in 2018, but Mr. Miyamoto only talks very briefly about it.

The Super Mario Bros. 25th anniversary event coincides with the release of Super Mario Maker and there are many retrospective looks at the series alongside promotion of the new game and discussion of how to design Mario levels.

There are quite a few Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard interviews, especially in March 2016, including a Nintendo Direct where he talks about it. He goes into detail about how intuitive the controls are and how Star Fox Zero is an authentic action game. He later has to explain why the games are delayed.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild starts to get promoted heavily. Mr. Miyamoto talks about how many little details come together to create a realistic world and how much freedom the player has, like the original game. He once again has to explain why the game is delayed.

Before Breath of the Wild comes out Super Mario Run is released in late 2016 with comparatively little advance notice, a game he hopes reaches the broadest possible audience due to its simplicity. He emphasizes that there are no microtransactions so that parents will feel safe letting their children play. He shares his thoughts about Nintendo making mobile games and Pokémon Go’s success.

The NES Classic Edition also releases in late 2016 and there are more retrospective interviews about some of the games he worked on.

Super Nintendo World is announced in late 2016, though we won’t hear more about it for a while.

He describes the Switch as a combination of different play styles that Nintendo has used, but overall he doesn’t do a lot of interviews about it.

Although he was only a “supervisor” on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle he is interviewed about it several times. He was careful about letting Ubisoft use the Mario IP, but seems quite pleased with the game.

 

2020-2024

Major Releases: Super Nintendo World, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Pikmin 4

Overview: Mr. Miyamoto is rarely interviewed to promote specific games by this time, and the big E3 roundtable Q & As are a thing of the past, though he does have two big non-game projects to talk about. During this time he serves as an ambassador for Nintendo more than he talks about the specifics of game design.

Super Mario Bros.’ 35th anniversary is celebrated with more retrospective interviews and the release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, though he seems to have barely been involved with its promotion.

Mr. Miyamoto does a tour of Super Nintendo World and there are many interviews about it as more locations open.

There are several Nintendo Directs, and eventually interviews, discussing The Super Mario Bros. Movie. After decades of hearing it he says he doesn’t like being called the Steven Spielberg of gaming.

Pikmin 4 releases and Mr. Miyamoto makes his first appearance in a Ask the Developer interview.

 

More About the Archive and its Entries

I have not included anything that someone has said about Mr. Miyamoto, or their recollections of something they heard him say. This would not only make this archive unmanageable, but such recollections are less reliable than a recorded interview. Minor appearances where Mr. Miyamoto does not speak are usually not included, but may be if they are deemed important.

Final names for games and systems are always used, even if they are referred to by code names in the interview. I also use the full name of a game, series, or peripheral at least once before shortening it. North American English names are used when possible, though not when a very specific thing like the Famicom Disk System and not the Nintendo Entertainment System is being talked about.

I generally use the earliest recorded archive of a web page possible. A surprising amount of these have additional photographs that have disappeared from the article over time.

Mr. Miyamoto uses the term “network game” or “network play” a lot and I have changed most of these to “online”. I don’t know if this is a translation quirk or somewhat old-fashioned word usage on his part, but it does consistently seem to be how he refers to online features.

Abbreviations are generally avoided to make things easier to read for those not familiar with various gaming jargon.

This archive will be updated periodically as more is found and Mr. Miyamoto continues to give new interviews, but don’t expect up to the minute reporting.

How Entries are Formatted

The publication and the title, when applicable, are on top in big blue letters. If the article is a publication reporting on another publication’s article or if the entry has not been translated it will also appear here in parenthesis.

Publication Date: This is when the entry was published, not necessarily when it took place. Magazines are listed as the month that appears on the cover, but these are often a few weeks ahead of when they actually start to go on sale. Sometimes only a year is known.

Subject(s): The major topics, including games and systems being talked about.

Format: The most common format will be a transcribed interview, where every word of an interview has been written down. Video and radio interviews are just listed as “Interview”. Q & As involve a group of people taking turns asking questions. There are also presentations, which are speeches and often include game play footage. Demonstrations involve someone playing the game in real time. There are a few essays, which refers to written works even if they are very short. There are some social media posts from Miiverse and X.

People: This field lists the people involved, including interviewers, translators, and other people people being interviewed. It generally does not include people who weren’t there when Mr. Miyamoto was being interviewed. Some interviews also include quotes from people providing further context on a story, they are not included. Sometimes it seems as though an interviewer will get to ask several people a few questions over e-mail, and those answers are mixed together in an article. In those cases only the interviewer and Mr. Miyamoto are included in this field.

Link: A link to the source in English. I always try to get the original whenever possible rather than reports about it, but it’s not always possible.

Archive Link: A link to an archived version. Many sites change how their URLs are formatted or just go offline over the years, so it’s important to keep a more permanent version.

Japanese Link: The original source in Japanese, whenever possible. Occasionally this is a language other than Japanese.

Japanese Archive Link: An archive of the original source in whatever language.

Scans: If the entry is about a magazine interview I will provide scans whenever possible.

Translator: I want to make sure the people who do the hard work of translation are explicitly credited here whenever possible. This field only applies to non-official sources, or fan translations.

Notes: Pertinent context or other information often goes here, such as what event an interview took place at.

Summary: It’s important to note that these summaries only include Mr. Miyamoto’s statements, I have not included others who are part of the interview or event and sometimes I have reworded things a bit to include enough of the question to provide context. Please do not quote from the summaries as if they are direct quotes from Mr. Miyamoto, refer to the original source.

For summaries I have tried to be concise while keeping interesting details. Always check the source if something sounds odd or doesn’t make sense.

“He” in the summary will almost always always refer to Shigeru Miyamoto, and I have tried to make it very obvious when it isn’t. “They” generally refers to Nintendo or the team Mr. Miyamoto was working with.

I generally skip over statements about not being to answer a question, thanking someone, hoping that players enjoy a game, or descriptions of how the controls work.

 

How You Can Help

If you find an interview, video, social media post, book passage or whatever else where Mr. Miyamoto speaks or writes that is not covered in the archive please contact me on twitter or e-mail me at thespritecell@gmail.com. Also feel free to contact me if you see a typo or if you spot some kind of formatting issue.

There are also still several untranslated interviews in Japanese, French, Spanish, and more, easily findable by text searching for “untranslated”. If you have the knowledge necessary consider translating one of these.

 

1985-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019 | 2020-2024

Overview

Video game magazines used to be the hub of video game discourse, with the latest news, editorials on the state of the industry, and reviews. While the internet eventually led to the demise of most of these magazines I still find it fascinating to look through them to see what was and wasn’t a big deal at the time.

I made this archive to make these magazines more accessible and to help fans of my favorite genre. I have collected as many JRPG reviews from magazines as I could find and presented them here. If you’re here you’d probably also be interested in my JRPG project, where I use a mountain of data to attempt to find the best systems for JRPGs based on review scores, price, exclusivity, and more.

These scans mostly come from RetroMags, Out of Print Archive, Datassette, and the Internet Archive (including many uploaded by Foxhack, and from this archive). I update this archive periodically, see the section below. As for the games, I am using JRPG Chronicle’s JRPG Index, which is maintained by Lucca. It’s a great website and discord channel for JRPG lovers, check it out if you’re into JRPGs.

This project includes video game magazines from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Every English language gaming magazine I could find, except for Game Informer and GameFan, which do not want scans of their magazines online. A total of 122 magazines are included:

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360Zine
64 Extreme
@Gamer
Computer & Video Games
Computer Game Review and 16-bit Entertainment
Control
Cube
DC UK
Dreamcast Magazine
Dreamcast Monthly
Electric Brain
Electronic Entertainment
Electronic Game Player
Electronic Games
Electronic Gaming Monthly
Extreme PlayStation
Fusion
GMR
Game Boy Official
Game On!
Game Players
Game Player’s
Game Zone
GameNow
GamePro
Gamers’ Republic
Games Domain Offline
Games TM
Incite
Intelligent Gamer
Maximum
Mean Machines
Mean Machines PlayStation
Mean Machines Sega
Mega
Mega Drive Advanced Gaming
Mega Play
Mega Power
MegaZone
Megafan
Megatech
Mr Dreamcast
N64
N64 Magazine
N64 Pro
NGC
NGamer (UK)
NGamer (USA)
NewType Gaming
Next Generation
Next Generation
Nintendo Game Zone
Nintendo Official Magazine
Nintendo Power
Nintendo Power Flash
Official Dreamcast Magazine
Official Nintendo Magazine UK
Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK
Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine
Official Sega Magazine UK
Official Sega Saturn
Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine
Official UK PlayStation Magazine
Official UK Xbox Magazine
Official Xbox Magazine
P.S.X.
PLAY
PS Max
PSExtreme
PSM2
Planet Game Boy
Play (UK)
PlayStation Magazine
PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Pro
Pocket Gamer
Pocket Games
Polygon
Q 64
R-Zone
Raze
S the Sega Magazine
SNES Force
Saturn Plus
Saturn Power
Sega Force
Sega Magazine
Sega Master Force
Sega Power
Sega Pro
Sega Visions
Sega XS
Silicon Magazine
Station
Super Action
Super Control
Super Gamer
Super Gaming
Super Play
Super Pro
Surge
Team Sega Newsletter
The Games Machine
Total 64
Total Control
Total Game Boy
Total Gamer
Total PlayStation
Total Saturn
Total!
TurboForce
TurboPlay
Ultimate Future Games
Ultimate Gamer
Ultra Game Players
VSIXTYFOUR
Video Games Underground
VideoGames & Computer Entertainment/Video Games – the Ultimate Gaming Magazine
Videogame Advisor
Walmart GameCenter
Xbox Live Gamer
Xbox Nation

Games are listed by their official title in North America at the time and in mostly alphabetical order without leading articles. Series with roman numerals or other inconsistencies have been put in an order that hopefully makes more sense. The order can look weird since titles can vary in length as well as where the spaces, numbers, and colons go. Games with the same name that play significantly differently on different systems are separated.

The earliest game included is 1988’s Phantasy Star, the third JRPG to reach North America or Europe, while the latest is 2022’s Soul Hackers 2. There are few reviews from after 2010, as there were few magazines left, and even fewer scans available of them. The 1992-2005 era probably has the most coverage.

There are a few anomalies worth noting. Magazines occasionally reviewed games that never came to their region, or never left Japan at all. There are a few retrospective reviews, written years after a game came out. Nintendo Power’s early days threw out review scores inconsistently, sometimes giving scores to games without a written review, or giving scores in a walkthrough. They even reviewed Brandish twice.

You can click on the images to expand them to full size. Pressing the right arrow key or clicking on the right half of the image will go to the next image, while the left arrow key and left half of the image will go to the previous. Pressing escape will close the image lightbox. You may want to open some very large images in a new tab. Filenames start with the the name of the magazine if you ever want to check.

Update Log and Totals

October 9th, 2023 Update

I expected updates to get smaller and smaller over time, yet this is the largest I have made. 1,151 new page scans have been added. This is mostly due to really going through Out of Print Archive and discovering a mysterious archive. I have also split a few more letter pages and redistributed a few split letters to be more even.

A total of 53 (or so, it became very difficult to keep track of) new magazines now have scans. One of these is WalMart GameCenter, which I wasn’t sure I should include. It is something given away for free by WalMart to entice people to buy games, but it does have the typical sections of a video game magazine, with a smaller page count. There’s typicaly a single game review per issue and they seem pretty fair and in line with other reviews so I decided to include them. This is the newest magazine included in the archive, making Soul Hackers 2 the newest game to have a review.

Fifty-nine new games have reviews:

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Azure Dreams (GBC), Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, Bomberman Tournament, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Chrono Trigger (iOS), Crimson Shroud, Crystal Defenders, Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (Wii), Dragon Force II: Kamisarishi Daichi ni, Dragon Quest 25 Shunen Kinen: Famicom & Super Famicom Dragon Quest I·II·III, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, Elden Ring, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (Wii), Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy VIII (PC), Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Fossil League: Dino Tournament Championship, Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, Genji: Dawn of the Samurai, Genji: Days of the Blade, Graffiti Kingdom, Grandia Digital Museum, Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax, Harvest Moon DS, Inazuma Eleven, Inazuma Eleven 3: Lightning Bolt/Bomb Blast, Knights in the Nightmare (PSP), Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom, The Last Remnant, The Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean, MagnaCarta 2, Monster Hunter Tri G, Monster Hunter: World, Monster Racers, Monster Rancher DS, Mother 3, Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn, Ninety-Nine Nights II, Octopath Traveler, Phantasy Star II (iOS), Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness, Remindelight, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (DS), Seiken Densetsu 3, Shining Force (iOS), Soma Bringer, Sorcerian: Shichisei Mahou no Shito, Soul Hackers 2, Spectral Force: Genesis, Valkyria Chronicles II, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix, Yakuza: Dead Souls, Ys Strategy, Zoids Assault

November 28th, 2022 Update

I didn’t expect to ever have more magazines to add, but 6 more are now included. A total of 596 new images have been added and 78 new games. A new letter has also been added: #.

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New games: 3D Dot Game Heroes, The 3rd Birthday, Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel, Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, Brave Story, Crimson Sea, Crimson Sea 2, Custom Robo (N64), Digimon World: Data Squad, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Dragon’s Crown, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, Dragoneer’s Aria, Drone Tactics, Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, Fate/Extra, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, Final Fantasy VI Advance, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2, Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel, Gods Eater Burst, .Hack//G.U. Vol. 3//Redemption, Hyperdimension Neptunia, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel, Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony, Mana Khemia: Student Alliance, Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Ninja/Zerker X Saurian, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Muramasa Rebirth, Mother 1 + 2, Metal Dungeon, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2, Orphen: Scion of Sorcery, Pandora’s Tower, Persona 4 Golden, Phantasy Star Portable, Pokémon Black Version /White Version, Project X Zone, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Radiant Historia, Record of Agarest War, Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny (PS3), Shaman King: Power of Spirit, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Soul Sacrifice, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, Summon Night: Twin Age, Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity, Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, Tales of Xillia, Tales of Innocence, Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut, Tales of Graces f, Traysia, Unchained Blades, White Knight Chronicles II, Way of the Samurai 4, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!?, Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, Yakuza 4, Ys I & II Chronicles

May 6th, 2022 Update

Instead of just using the biggest magazines I have added every English language magazine I can, a total of 46 additional magazines with at least one scan have been added. A total of 824 new images including 132 new games have been added.

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New games: Arc Rise Fantasia, Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, Astonishia Story, Blaze and Blade: Eternal Quest, Baroque, Battle Hunter, Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow, The Bouncer, Castlevania: Double Pack, Chaos Wars, Class of Heroes, Code of Princess, Crimson Gem Saga, Cross Edge, Dark Souls, Demon’s Souls, Digimon World 2, Digimon World 4, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Day, Disgaea DS, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dokapon Kingdom, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, Dragon Warrior, Dragon’s Dogma, Drakengard 2, Drakkhen, Dual Hearts, Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of the Ancient Art, Dungeon Maker 2: The Hidden War, Dynasty Tactics, Dynasty Tactics 2, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, Eternal Poison, Eternal Sonata (PS3), Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City, Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan (PS2), Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, Fossil Fighters: Champions, Front Mission (DS), Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir, Generation of Chaos, Glory of Heracles, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Guardian Heroes (Xbox 360), Half-Minute Hero, Harvest Moon DS Cute, Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar, Harvest Moon: More Friends From Mineral Town, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns DS, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns 3D, Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, Hexys Force, Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Remix, Infinite Space, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Langrisser III, The Last Story, Legaia 2: Duel Saga, Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked, Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy, Mario Tennis: Power Tour, Master of the Monster Lair, Medabots: Infinity, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Colonel/Team Protoman, Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Falzar/Cybeast Gregar, Mega Man Star Force: Dragon/Leo/Pegasus, Metal Saga, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Monster Hunter Tri, Monster Rancher Evo, Naruto: Path of the Ninja, Nier, One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, Operation Darkness, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2, Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II Plus, Pokémon Black Version 2/White Version 2, Pokémon Conquest, Pokémon HeartGold Version/SoulSilver Version, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, Ragnarok DS, Record of Agarest War, Resonance of Fate (PS3), River King: Mystic Valley, Riviera: The Promised Land, Rondo of Swords, Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny (Wii), Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, Sands of Destruction, Shaman King: Legacy of the Spirits, Soaring Hawk/Sprinting Wolf, Shaman King: Master of Spirits, Shaman King: Master of Spirits 2, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Shiren the Wanderer, Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, Spectral Force 3, Spectral Souls: Resurrection of the Ethereal Empires, Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals, Star Ocean: Second Evolution, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International, Steambot Chronicles, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Tales of the Abyss (3DS), Trinity: Souls of Zill Ơll, Uncharted Waters (SNES), Valhalla Knights 2, Way of the Samurai 3, White Knight Chronicles, Xenoblade Chronicles, Yakuza 2, Ys Seven, Ys: The Oath in Felghana, Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards, Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman, Zoids: Legacy

November 22nd, 2021 Update

26 games have had new reviews added, and 12 new games have been added: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Car Battler Joe, Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warrior, Dragon Warrior III, Exile, Faxanadu, Lufia: The Legend Returns, Metal Gear Ac!d, Mystic Heroes, Pokémon Crystal Version, Ring of Red, Star Ocean: First Departure

Totals

Total Magazines: 122

Total Images: 3,859

Total Games: 769

Total Games with a Colon in the Title: 318

# – 2 Games

A – 27 games

B Part 1 – 22 games

B Part 2 – 8 games

C Part 1 – 13 games

 

C Part 2 – 26 games

D Part 1 – 40 games

D Part 2 – 44 Games

E – 24 games

F Part 1 – 22 games

F Part 2 – 20 games

F Part 3 – 33 games

G – 24 games

H – 30 games

I – 11 games

J – 3 games

K – 20 games

L Part 1 – 24 games

L Part 2 – 22 games

M Part 1 – 33 games

M Part 2 – 36 games

N – 11 games

O – 12 games

P Part 1 – 10 games

P Part 2 – 18 games

P Part 3 – 26 games

Q – 1 game

R  – 29 games

S Part 1 – 28 games

S Part 2 – 23 games

S Part 3 – 44 games

T – 33 games

U – 5 games

V – 16 games

W – 21 games

X – 5 games

Y – 18 games

Z – 5 games

Overview

This archive aims to preserve catalog and circular ads for electronic games. These ads show how much games cost when they were new, and how quickly or slowly that price changed as they became older. We can compare prices of games across stores and see how different stores pushed different games, and we can directly compare disc and cartridge based game prices. The way games are seen and the language used to talk about them has changed significantly over the years, and how stores have tried to entice sales is a good example. Some of these have beta or mockup cover art that is not well preserved. This can also be fun nostalgia trip back to a time when you used to daydream about what games you hoped you would get for your birthday or Christmas.

To be included the advertisement has to be from a retail store and it has to feature an electronic game or an accessory for such. Electronic game for our purposes includes consoles and games that are played on a television, handhelds with or without interchangeable media, computer games, and some miscellaneous gadgets that you can play games on, such as watches. All ads are from American stores and prices are in United States Dollars. Magazine ads and catalogs made by game publishers or hardware makers aimed at retail stores are not included. The included ads come from catalogs, circulars, and newspapers.

The quality of these images will vary considerably. Some have many watermarks, some are small, some were not scanned well, and some are not scans, but pictures of a page. I am not withholding anything on the basis of not meeting a quality standard in the name of preservation. I don’t take credit for making any of these scans or taking any of these pictures, I have only collected what I have been able to find, asking permission when I am able and it makes sense to do so. I encourage you to check out the sources, many of these people make other things related to video games, or preserve many kinds of ads.

The archive currently has images from 1975 to 2023 including more than 35 different stores. The ads are organized alphabetically by store on each year page and by page number when applicable. When there are multiple catalogs or weeks of circular ads featured within a store section I have ordered them chronologically when possible. Sometimes I have had to guess what year the ad was published based on the games featured, please let me know if I have made a mistake.

You can click the images in the galleries to make them full size, either press the left or right arrow keys or click near the left or right edge to go to the previous or next image, and press escape or click outside of the lightbox to close it.

I typically update every year with the new Black Friday ads during December. For a few years in the late 2010s I was looking through every weekly circular ad but that became too much, especially for GameStop.

If you can find or scan any ads that aren’t on these pages, please send me an e-mail at thespritecell@gmail.com, or message me on twitter at SpriteCell.

Current total images: 3,770

1970s

1975 – 2 images – Montgomery Ward, Sears

1976 – 15 images – Audio Mart TV Parts Co., Child World, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, Rich’s, Sears, Spiegel

1977 – 25 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears, Spiegel, True Value, Unknown

1978 – 12 images – JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Unknown

1979 – 20 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1980s

1980 – 20 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1981 – 31 images – Bradlees, Child World, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears, Skaggs Drug Centers/Alpha Beta Food & Drugs, Toys “R” Us

1982 – 48 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Schnucks, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1983 – 84 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sam Goody, Sears, Toys “R” Us, Unknown, Woolworth

1984 – 29 images – JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears

1985 – 10 images – Child World, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, RadioShack, Sears

1986 – 11 images – Hills, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1987 – 48 images – Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, RadioShack, Toys “R” Us

1988 – 52 images – Electronics Boutique, KB Toys, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1989 – 36 images – Bradlees, Child World, JCPenneyKB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1990s

1990 – 80 images – Electronics Boutique, Hills, JCPenney, Lechmere, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1991 – 176 images – Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us

1992 – 261 images – Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Software Etc, Toys “R” Us

1993 – 236 images – Captron, Egghead Software, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, Play Co. Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Software Etc, Toys “R” Us

1994 – 134 images – Best Buy, Egghead Software, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Software Etc, Toys “R” Us, Unknown

1995 – 143 images – Best Buy, Egghead Software, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us, Unknown

1996 – 81 images – Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1997 – 198 images – Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KB Toys, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1998 – 38 images – Ames, Electronics Boutique, Hills, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

1999 – 64 images – Best Buy, CompUSA, Electronics Boutique, FuncoLand, JCPenney, KB Toys, KMart, RadioShack, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us

2000s

2000 – 32 images – Best Buy, CompUSA, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears

2001 – 101 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

2002 – 21 images – Circuit City, CompUSA, Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears

2003 – 96 images – Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, GameStop, JCPenney, RadioShack, Sears, Toys “R” Us

2004 – 66 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Electronics Boutique, Fry’s Electronics, JCPenney, KMart, Kohl’s, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2005 – 36 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, JCPenney, KMart, Kohl’s, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2006 – 73 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, GameStop and Electronics Boutique, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2007 – 64 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, FYE, GameStop and Electronics Boutique, JCPenney, KMart, Kohl’s, Microcenter, RadioShack, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2008 – 86 images – Best Buy, Circuit City, FYE, GameStop, KMart, Kohl’s, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2009 – 102 images – AJWright, Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, JCPenney, KMart, Kohl’s, OfficeMax, RadioShack, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2010s

2010 – 42 images – AJWright, Best Buy, Fred’s, GameStop, Hastings, KMart, Kohl’s, OfficeMax, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2011 – 44 images – Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, Hastings, KMart, Kohl’s, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Sears, Shopko, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2012 – 35 images – Best Buy, GameStop, Hastings, KMart, Kohl’s, Microcenter, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Shopko, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2013 – 49 images – Best Buy, eBay, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, Hastings, KMart, Kohl’s, Sam’s Club, Sears, Shopko, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2014 – 46 images – Best Buy, eBay, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Electronics, Gordman’s, Hastings, KMart, Microcenter, Newegg, Sam’s Club, Sears, Shopko, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2015 – 50 images – Best Buy, Five Below, Fred Meyer, GameStop, Hastings, HHGregg, Kohl’s, Micro Center, Rakuten, Sam’s Club, Shopko, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2016 – 40 images – Best Buy, BJ’s, Circuit City, Fred Meyer, Gordman’s, HHGregg, Kohl’s, Rakuten, Sam’s Club, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

2017 – 79 images – Best Buy, BJ’s, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, Kohl’s, Newegg, Sam’s Club, Shopko, Target, Walmart

2018 – 230 images – Best Buy, BJ’s, eBay, Fry’s Electronics, GameStop, Kohl’s, Newegg, Shopko, Target, Walmart

2019 Part 1 – 215 images – Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Best Buy, BJ’s, Fred Meyer, GameStop

2019 Part 2 – 213 images – Gamestop, Kohl’s, Newegg, Sam’s Club, Target, Walmart

2020s

2020 – 63 images – Best Buy, BJ’s, Dell, Five Below, GameStop, Kohl’s, Newegg, Sam’s Club, Target, Walmart

2021 – 31 images – Best Buy, GameStop, Meijer, Newegg, Staples, Target, Walmart

2022 – 67 images – Best Buy, BJ’s, BrandsMart, Costco, Fred Meyer, GameStop, Kohl’s, Meijer, Microsoft Store, Navy Exchange, Newegg, QVC, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target, Walmart

2023 – 35 images – Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Amazon, Best Buy, Electronic Express, Fred Meyer, GameStop, Meijer, Navy Exchange, Newegg, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Ollie’s, Staples, Target, Walmart

 

Sources

Christmas Catalogs & Holiday Wishbooks has hundreds of text searchable catalogs.

Hughes Johnson has personally scanned a number of catalogs for his site and blog. His scans are available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license . No changes were made to his scans.

WishBookWeb has a number of Christmas catalogs.

Video Game Art & Tidbits has personally scanned a number of catalogs, as well as other art & tidbits. The individual tweets are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Black Friday Archive has many ads from many stores from late November.

Weekly Ads has many weekly circular ads from many stores.

RadioShackCatalogs specializes in RadioShack catalogs. Some of their scans credit AlliedCatalogs.com.

Totally Target has many Target weekly ads.

Archive.org has all sorts of miscellaneous items. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 , 9

GottaDEAL has a lot of ads, especially for Black Friday.

BFAds has a lot of ads, especially for Black Friday.

Plaid Stallions has scans of catalogs from the 70s and 80s.


Kotaku by way of reddit user Sketchbreaker.

BassGuitari from AtariAge contributed the Spiegel 1977 scans.

Bored Panda

Retro Junk

AusRetroGamer

BuzzFeed News

Twisted Sifter

Brad’s Deals

Consumerist

Warosu

TecheBlog

Nintendo Times

Mental Floss

Mother to Earth on Twitter thinks that this image is from Earthbound Central, but I couldn’t find it there.

Earthbound Central via “a fellow by the name of Mother_fan”

Vintage Computing took credit for scanning a Toys “R” Us ad which I got from somewhere else.

Vintage Ads from Target’s Holiday History

Victory Pellet

The History of How We Play

Retroist

IGN

NFM

The Chive


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