Tales from Counselor’s Corner

Anyone raised in the Nintendo Generation like myself remembers “Nintendo Power” magazine. We didn’t know then that NP was just a propaganda magazine to push Nintendo games down our throats, but hey…we didn’t care…we just loved Nintendo games! But Nintendo Power was more than just a preview for new games, it was the life line for players both on and off those glossy pages.

Getting help from the masters

I didn’t have a lot of Nintendo games growing up, but the ones I did have I thought were the best…and some of them were really hard. Some were so difficult at the time that I needed a little help from The Man. So in time of I need I did what many kids did, I wrote a letters to Nintendo Power asking for some help.

All the letters Nintendo received asking for help were directed to the so-called Game Play Counselors. These were the game experts. These the people that got paid to play games. These were the people I wanted to be. These were the people that were featured in the magazine in the Counselor’s Corner section. Counselor’s Corner was often the best part of the magazine, as it was the section that had the obscure “hardcore” tips and tricks, usually very in-depth.

Nintendo Game Play Counselors during their heyday

Nintendo Game Play Counselor’s during their heyday

Now we’re playing with power

Nearly 15 years after I sent my letters to Nintendo Power asking for help, I posted an article about them. By pure luck, one of the actual Game Play Counselor’s that had replied to a letter found my post and my blog and left a comment. What are the chances?! So I took the opportunity to interview one of my career idols.

If you asked me then, that was a once in a blue moon interview. It was a lot of fun and a great trip down memory lane, I think for the both of us. But little did I know that wouldn’t be the last Game Counselor I’d cross paths with. Not long after I posted the inteview with Kirk, another GPC came across my interview and left a comment. I couldn’t pass another chance like this up, so I interviewed him as well.

Lightning is never supposed to strike twice, right? Turns out it hit three times! After posting the Kasey Curtis interview, yet another GPC came across the articles and shared some of his experiences as well. At this point it sort of felt like a class reunion, only it wasn’t my class or even people I knew. So I had another chance to interview a GPC, and I did.

In the fourth interview in the series I ask Matthew Glidden about how the SNES changed Nintendo and we find out what games the Counselor’s played to settle the score.

Thanks to Matthew, another counselor agreed to share his stories from the Big N in grand detail…from binders to databases.

 

The never-ending story

This series stands at five interviews right now but you never know when another former GPC will fall out the sky and take us back in time once again.

And if you’re a former counselor and want to join the list, leave a comment on theĀ Tales from Counselor’s Corner Facebook page, or message me on Twitter.

I want to thank all the guys that took some time to answer my questions. It might seem silly to them that I even wanted to to interview them about their job from more than 20 years ago, but when I wrote those letters asking for help, my dream job was their job – playing video games. And even after I interviewed them, it still sounded like a job any person would love to have. Those were the days…the glory days, for all of us from The Nintendo Generation.

7 replies »

  1. Wow, nice collection of interviews! Oddly enough, I also spent 4 years as a GPC, 1989 to 1993, and just came upon this site while looking for old Counselor’s Corner pictures. It’s no longer “a secret to everyone.”

    Just read through some of your letters–cool that the folks answering questions also complimented your game artwork (written on the letter? on the envelope?) as part of their response. People–mostly kids–sent it some truly amazing stuff and the NOA call center kept a bulletin board of standout examples. When critics complained that video games dulled players’ minds, I just thought of that board. Really, guys? That six-color, full-page portrait of Mega Man and Dr. Wily came from a brain that lacked imagination and enthusiasm? :-)

  2. Another GPC falls into my trap! Muhahaha…awesome! You’ll be next to join the list. If I get anymore GPCs on the record it might warrant a CounselorsCorner.com or something. Ha.

  3. Great interview Brian, you really capture through Matt the feel of the place.

    Great memories Matt, it was a special place and you remind me of it well. I also remember you being more than just any GPC, by the end you were one of our most senior memebers and despite my own quest to be a font of useless game knowledge you certainly bested me and most of us.

  4. I was a GC from 90-92. My Counselors Corner pic was in vol. 26 (Robin Hood).
    Just wanted to say its great to see all the people i used to work with here, haven’t see anyone scince i left. Thanks for the great postings.

  5. Thanks for stopping by Bruce, I’m glad the interviews brought back some good memories. I’m in the process of interviewing Thomas and then hopefully Paul Skavland too, so more is on the way.

  6. First day training as GPC 12-12-1989, 104,000 calls later as game play counselor and super agent (you need help hooking up your system no problem how can i help) and filling orders for Nintendo power same time, with only my green binder of maps, and knowing the games of Zelda, link, willow, and many many more on the N.E.S, I went live as a Game Play Counselor, at Nintendo of America the morning of 12-26-1989, 20 yards from my supervisory staff, and a green 3 in notebook.

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