- Though I'm not as much of a collector as our very own MagWeasel, I've been known to hop on eBay from time to time to pick up some gaming magazine memorabilia, even if shipping for all that dead wood is a little bit excessive.

In fact, Gamasutra contributor Jason Dobson and I [EDIT: Uhoh, grammar fiend commenters object!] recently fought through a fierce bidding war to each pick up a few mid-'80s issues of arcade/amusement trade journal RePlay Magazine, and boy, there's some pretty amazing stuff in there.

RePlay stood alongside rival Play Meter magazine as the only trade chroniclers of the arcade industry as it grew up, crashed, and was reborn in the '80s, and there are some stand-out looks at the Japanese arcade biz in 1986 and in-depth interviews/site visits with Capcom and Konami's U.S. divisions in the issues that I managed to purchase.

However, we obviously wouldn't reprint these articles without permission (something we're currently talking to RePlay about - we'll see what happens!). But in the meantime, there was one Nintendo-supplied press photo from the August 1986 issue of the magazine I wanted to scan in for you all, because I'm pretty sure it's never been available online before, and it shows the beginning of a seminal relationship in the history of video games (click through for hi-res version):

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This picture was taken on the first-ever signing of an outside software developer, Rare, to produce titles for Nintendo's VS. System, the NES-based arcade setup. So, from left to right, there are some people you may have heard of - Joel Hochberg of (Rare's U.S. business partner) Coin-It, Chris Stamper of Rare, and Nintendo's Frank Ballouz, Howard Lincoln, and Minoru Arakawa.

What happened from there? Actually, a Steve Kent article for Screenager Central (!) has much of the skinny. Skiing title Slalom, at least, made it out for the VS. System, and also for the NES itself. And obviously, Rare went on to a much closer relationship with Nintendo, creating RC Pro-Am, Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, GoldenEye, and a host of others - and Lincoln and Arakawa were key figures in Nintendo's rise to power in the West, too. And this is where the Nintendo/Rare relationship all started - which makes it an important image.