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Nintendo Power

How much do you like videogames?

Nintendo Power Redesign

Around 2004 we pushed for a re-design of the magazine editorial.

Official Nintendo Strategy Guides

Designers would play and become expert in a game (or 2-3) every month

How much do you like videogames?

From 2000-2006, I worked for the company V-Design which was a partner in founding the seminal magazine Nintendo Power. V-Design worked for Nintendo almost exclusively, producing pages for Nintendo Power every month and designing special projects like Nintendo Power Official Strategy Guides.


Designers needed to master the game, and design the strategy

The work was unique and pioneered in Japanese videogame magazines before being imported to the US along with Nintendo of America. They hired graphic designers who also loved videogames.

The job was two-fold, you played and completed the game to 100%, and then figured out strategies and tactics to show someone else how to do the same.

This could include drawing vector maps of the levels, icons for the powerups, creating infographics, and taking tactical screenshots. This strategy went into Nintendo Power as a preview for the game, 5-6 pages, and sometimes became an Official Nintendo Strategy Guide.

Some of the many games I played for guides included: Advance Wars, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Eternal Darkness, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Resident Evil 5 and many more. I was promoted to Senior Designer and then Strategy Guide Coordinator, overseeing the art direction, illustration and production schedule. We produced 5-6 guides each year in addition to Nintendo Power each month.


Nintendo Power: A mix of old and new techniques

We partnered with writers, art directors and print production specialists at Nintendo, but we were responsible for the game strategy and design.

Many of the games had been released in Japan previously, so there was some documentation and Gamefaqs was a helpful resource as well. But ultimately there was always the pressure of needing to finish as quickly and completely as possible, and stand behind the strategy you created. For instance The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask takes about 32 hours to complete and I had to complete it three times for the article.

While I loved the work at V-Design (it was easily one of the most unique jobs I've ever had), I was very interested in pursuing more interactive and web design. We did some small interactive projects for Nintendo (we produced all the dungeons in Flash for the The Legend of Zelda the Master Collection), but those were exceptions.

The legacy of V-Design combined my love of videogames with information visualization. To this day this left me with a strong bias for condensing complicated, obtuse matter into simple to understand infographics.

I could see the print industry moving in new directions and I wanted to pursue that. In that service I taught myself HTML, CSS, Flash and semantic web-design, picking up freelance projects and side jobs. I eventually built up enough of a portfolio to make the switch from print design to web design with Lawgistix, with a big pay cut, but the possibility of doing something new.


In 2004 the designers pushed for a re-design of the editorial design of Nintendo Power

Gamers were older than before, and the designers and writers wanted to push it to be more modern (see examples). Initially they divided everyone into working groups, but they pulled the plug after just two weeks and hired an outside agency.

This is a pattern I’ve seen a few times now, when you want to re-invent your brand, do you look inside at your own people, or outside at the industry and experts? If you use internal folks you’re in danger of getting group think and consensus; if you use an outside expert it alienates your own people.


  • Nintendo Power
  • Official Nintendo power Strategy Guides
  • Manual and Box Art
  • Advertisement and marketing
  • Interactive micro-sites
  • Print production & prepress
  • 3D Art creation


Project One

I worked on improving the user experience of Bing Maps on desktop.


  • UX/UI
  • Web design
  • Interactive design
  • Research

Project Two

Working with a VP we built a destination for custom games, Bing Fun & Games, including Sudoku, 2048, sliding image puzzle games driven by image search results. 


  • UX/UI
  • Web design
  • Interactive design
  • Research

Project Three

This was an experiment to drive traffic from Pinterest to Bing, using bing search terms and curated content collections.


  • UX/UI
  • Web design
  • Interactive design
  • Research

Project Four

I worked on the global action framework, ensuring system actions like sharing and saving content were easy, consistent and intuitive.


  • UX/UI
  • Web design
  • Interactive design
  • Research

Concluding thoughts

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