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The first Player's Guide was simply called The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, featuring dozens of different NES games. Games covered in some detail with enemy guides, item guides and maps are as follows:
It was followed in the early 1990s by a number of guides which were produced under the slightly different moniker of Nintendo Power Strategy Guides. These were sent between the then bi-monthly magazine issues to subscribers or mailed alongside them. NES games covered by their Strategy Guides included:
Nintendo ceased production of these bimonthly Strategy Guides due to a lack of important game releases in the pre-holiday seasons of the year.
After converting Nintendo Power to a monthly format came the more well-known mainstay of Player's Guides. Early guides covered groups of games in one book. These books covered strategy for:
Outside of offering an optional Player's Guide as a free gift for a Nintendo Power subscription or subscription renewal, Nintendo Power did not include Player's Guides with the magazine. They were, however, made available separately, both through mail-order and at book and video-game shops. Nintendo did also once offer a subscription motive that included four of the aforementioned Player's Guides instead of only one.
Following these four Player's Guides, a fifth was released to Nintendo Power subscribers entitled Top Secret Passwords, containing passwords for a wide variety of NES, SNES, and Game Boy games. While initially billed as a subscriber exclusive, this guide was eventually sold at retailers.
In its later years, each Player's Guide published features one specific game, much like the earlier Nintendo Power Strategy Guides. These Nintendo Power branded Player's Guides are available only for Nintendo-published games, but the concept is now emulated by other publishing companies such as Brady Games or Prima for major releases on all video game consoles. Almost all major video games released today will have one or more official Guides associated with them.
While the rise of the World Wide Web and the increasing availability of free on-line FAQs and walkthroughs has taken away some of the need for commercial strategy guides, there is still a market for them. Guides often feature extensive picture-by-picture walkthroughs, maps, game art, and other visual features that cannot be provided by a bare text online walkthrough.
Among the games that have been given Nintendo Player's Guides:
Around mid-2007, Nintendo discontinued the series after the publication of the guide for Pokémon Battle Revolution. Guides for popular games, including recent releases, are going out of stock at the Nintendo Online Store. No guide was published for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, or Endless Ocean, and none have been announced for soon-to-be-released major Nintendo projects.
This end of guide production was apparently due to the impending switch from in-house publication of NP to publication by Future US, which occurred in November 2007.
In a recent issue of Nintendo Power, an NP subscriber wrote to Nintendo, asking about the status of the Player's Guide series. Nintendo replied that the series is indeed discontinued indefinitely. They also pointed out that Prima Games was their official partner for making strategy guides, which they have been making for the aforementioned recent releases. Additionally, Prima made special strategy guides for The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Mario Kart Wii. These guides were released exclusively as bonuses for Nintendo Power subscriptions or renewals. These guides even carry the label "Special Digest Version: Supplement to Nintendo Power Magazine".