Gamemaster Classified

Created by Matthew Taranto

An Insider's Guide to Nintendo's Coming of Age

Latest Updates from Our Project:

An update from Howard, and some clarification on Player's Pulse!
27 days ago – Sun, May 01, 2022 at 08:36:18 PM

Hi everyone! First off, my apologies since I now realize the last update could be a bit confusing. The title mentioned the artwork was "due at the end of April," but the comment below said to wait for the survey. That actually was a mistake on my part, so here's the deal: we'll just have you guys e-mail us instead! You have until the end of May to e-mail us your Player's Pulse letters and art! Simply include the term "Player's Pulse" in your message title (this helps with organization), and send it to Sorry again for the confusion!

I also have a message from the Gamemaster himself. Take it away, Howard!


Hi everyone,

I thought it time I gave you all an update - Matthew and I are making great progress!

I had no idea it was going to take so long to research things I consider critical to the book's value. I very much want this book to give credit where credit is due and I didn't want to rely on my limited memory alone, as there is quite a bit of inaccurate info out there that has made fact checking and detail capturing difficult and time consuming. At the same time, there are numerous illuminating interviews by various front-line folks that are buried deep in the internet (Thank-you Wayback Machine!) My research folder has over 11,350 links and files and is 17.46GB(!) in size while my reference library has grown to over 50 books.

I'm enjoying the work (most of the time ;) as I'm learning interesting details that were previously unknown to me and I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you.

I also want to say that I'm getting a big kick out of reliving my years at Nintendo, especially the process of re-experiencing in chronological order each year's new game and product releases. What an amazing decade the '80s was.

Thx for your support and patience. Stay tuned!

- Howard

Player's Pulse letters and art due by the end of April!
about 2 months ago – Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 10:53:08 PM

Hi everyone. The following update is specifically for those who backed a tier that included the rewards of your name in the book, as well as the art or comment/question in Player's Pulse.

As GAMEMASTER CLASSIFIED is approaching it's final stretch, we're gonna need your own input in it pretty soon! Now is the time, if you haven't yet, to prep your comment or art for Player's Pulse, as well as the name you want displayed in the book--if you've backed those tiers, of course.

Your Name in the Book: This one's simple and shouldn't take long: just decide on what name you want in the book and whichever NES game title you'd like your name to appear alongside.

Art for Player's Pulse: Show off your artistic side with some NES-specific art like in the good ol' days! The dimensions don't really matter, although it'd be cool to have a few NP-callback envelope-shaped art pieces mixed in. Keep in mind that your art will be displayed on about 1/10th of the page or so, so avoid things with tiny text or what-have-you. And please keep in mind that readers of all ages will be checking out the book.

Question/Comment for Player's Pulse: Keep in mind that these are largely going to be quick, punchy snippets of text, so broad and in-depth questions may not be ideal for this kind of section. As for content, anything video game related is ideal. But do keep in mind that this book is meant for readers of all ages, so let's keep it E10+! Comments are fine too (shout outs for your favorite games, quirky brief memories, etc) if you don't have a particular question. A few sentences is fine; similar to the length of this paragraph!

Lastly, for the Player's Pulse reward, please remember that it's either a piece of art or comment/question that will be incorporated from you, not both.

We'd like to start collecting these submissions from you guys by the end of this April to incorporate in the book, so now's the time to start if you haven't already! When you're done with your content, just hang tight and we'll reach out to you soon for it.

And of course, if you didn't back a tier that included one of these rewards, feel free to disregard.



Character Art Part 2
3 months ago – Tue, Mar 01, 2022 at 03:46:29 AM

It's time for another round of Guess the Game! Guessing the following characters taken from our Year-in-Reviews section of the book will range from bogglingly simple to just plain boggling (in no particular order). See how many you recognize...

 1. No prizes for guessing where this familiar rogue's gallery hails from! One of my goals in these drawings is capturing the characters' designs as they appear in the game we're discussing, rather than how they look when they show up in later works. Hence, the red fellow on the far left and the dark-green plant foe.

2. Stealth is key if you want to survive in this Konami NES title. While we don't want to lean too heavily into meme/trend territory, a few classic, weird moments have to be represented occasionally!

3. Speaking of classic and weird (and Konami), this imagery wasn't technically part of the game itself but has a major bit of history with Howard and Nintendo Power. Apologies in advance for anyone traumatized.

4. and 5. Let's turn up the heat by going back a little further. This anachronistic showdown never actually happened, but arcade junkies of the early '80s were very familiar with this pair of games.

6. 7. and 8. Not old enough for you? Here's another meetup that never actually happened, likely because it'd be impossible to win. Can you name the trio of Game & Watch classics represented here?

9. This NES arcade-style platformer was quite obscure before it got a new lease on life thanks to a smash hit fighter.

10. It ain't Lolo, and it ain't Kirby's Dream Land. All I'm saying!

11. Last but certainly not least, there's this trio of beloved mainstays. You might be used to seeing all these characters in different colors, but I wanted to more accurately reflect their appearances by this point in the game. As long as you're thorough, anyway!

Until next time,


Book Spotlight: Matthew's Memories
4 months ago – Mon, Jan 31, 2022 at 11:16:28 PM

And now, a true story that's still with me today:

While the Howard's Now Playing comics will focus on behind-the-scenes stories related to Howard's work at Nintendo, the Matthew's Memories strips will instead offer a gamer's perspective at the time. As such, they're more personal anecdotes about what games had an impact (in every sense of the word!) on myself. These blue-hued comics will not be as frequent as the Howard's Now Playing ones, but I hope you'll find them relatable when they pop up. Maybe they'll remind you of your own favorite memories of playing games as a kid!


Onward to 2022
5 months ago – Sat, Jan 01, 2022 at 12:22:28 PM

2021 is wrapping up! It was a big year for Howard and myself, and 2022 promises to be even wilder with the book’s official release.

While we’d hoped to start firing off copies of GAMEMASTER CLASSIFIED to you guys starting in February of ’22, this year has been anything but predictable and it’ll take a bit more time in the oven to get it all ready. We apologize for the delay, but are very proud of the hundreds of unique illustrations drawn and paragraphs written already.

The book’s main chapters are very steadily taking shape, and the bulk of the remaining work at this point is in that laundry list of stretch goals that we managed to hit after the estimated Feb ’22 date was suggested.

And this is where you guys come in: if you backed a tier that included a Player’s Pulse letter or art, now’s the time to get cracking! Well, the art in particular since I know firsthand how taxing that can be. We’ll be sending out the surveys within the next few months (and I’ll let you know for sure the month prior, so stand by), and one of the categories will ask for your art or question/comment. And unlike most of the things in the survey, we need this art/comment before the GMC’s completion so that we can incorporate it into the book itself.

This also applies to anyone with a game in the Wall of Fame, but this shouldn’t be the type of contribution that requires a lot of prep work beforehand, so no worries there. (And if you didn’t back a tier with either of these things and have no idea what I’m talking about right now, you can just sit tight)

Until then, back to work we go! Thanks for the support, and have a Happy New Year!