Nester was created by Howard Philips, "President" of the Nintendo Fun Club and an editor of Nintendo Power, to be the supporting character in his comic strip (though not actually drawn by Philips), Howard & Nester. (The Howard of the title is a cartoon representation of Philips.) The comic strips generally advertised new games, often by dream sequences where Nester was actually a given video game character. In various strips, Nester has been Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Link, the Lone Ranger, the main character of Dragon Warrior, and many other characters. He has also met the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scrooge McDuck, Luke Skywalker, The Tasmanian Devil, and Bill and Lance from the Contra series. In addition, the name "Nester" was almost always used in screenshots for games where the player named their character during the strip's run.
From 1989 to 1993 The Nintendo Power Awards (Nintendo's yearly reader-selected list of the best video games) featured Nester-shaped trophies and were referred to in the magazine as the "Nesters" as a reference to the Oscars.
In the early 1990s the real-life Philips left the company for JVC. Though Nester stayed in the strip, now retitled Nester's Adventures, he was gradually phased out as mascot in favor of Mario, already a more general Nintendo mascot. Nester's Adventures ended in Volume 55 (December 1993). Notably, a few issues following the name change (to be more exact, in November 1991), Nester aged from the pint-sized kid he originally appeared as to a fully-grown teenager, and would remain this way for the rest of the comic's run.
A short tribute to Nester, now as a college student, appeared in Nintendo Power issue #100. He would be seen again in issue #231 (which marked the magazine's twentieth anniversary), here a grown man with a son new to Nintendo.
The first Howard and Nester strip features Howard Phillips introducing "my good friend, Nester." It is soon clear, however, that Nester does not return Howard's fondness for him and in fact seems to be resentful of Howard's intelligence and gaming prowess. Within three issues, the strip had developed a reliable formula, which it would keep for its entire run: each strip began with Howard and Nester inside the world of a recent Nintendo game (typically a game that had gotten a feature review in the previous issue). The duo would run into a problem, usually one that was also present in the actual game, and the egotistical Nester would come up with a plan by which he would solve the problem and one-up Howard in the process. Howard would then politely point out a flaw in Nester's plan and offer an alternative (which usually came in the form of a tip for the game in question; since Nintendo Power had a strong focus toward game strategies at the time, it was required that every H&N strip contain at least one game tip.) Nester would dismiss Howard's plan (and usually hurl an insult at Howard in the process) and then proceed to implement his own plan, which would fail miserably. The strips usually ended with Nester humiliated by his own hand and Howard inadvertently triumphant. Despite his unbroken losing streak, however, Nester never truly admitted defeat.
An important element of the strip was that Howard was not aware of Nester's animosity towards him. Any sort of competition between the two existed entirely in Nester's mind, which just added to the humor when Howard would invariably win without even realizing he was competing with Nester.
When Howard Phillips left Nintendo, his likeness was dropped from the comic, and it became Nester's Adventures. At first, the stories took place "back in the real world," featuring Nester involved in real-life situations which only had vague connections to video games. This format was soon dropped and Nester, now growing from a child to a teenager, found himself back in the game world again. The formula changed as well - now, without Howard to compete with, Nester was more of a smart-aleck, sometimes berating characters from the games he appeared before dropping a hint for the game in question. Nester's Adventures was soon cut down from two pages to one in 1992, before being canceled altogether after 1993.
Aside from his Nintendo Power comic strip, Nester has appeared in various other Nintendo products:
During the release of Star Fox 64, Nintendo Power published a new comic strip in issue #100 promoting the game featuring Nester. In this strip he is attending college and is recognized by someone. Apparently he hasn't been playing video games much and is floored by the advent of the Rumble Pak.
The 2nd and 3rd pages of Nintendo power's 20th issue anniversary features a grown up Nester and his unnamed son, a Nester's Funky Bowling reference and even a version of the issue itself. Nester even makes a reference to his old pal Howard as well; after his son tells him a little strategy to use in Mario Kart Wii, Nester checks his son's neck to make sure he doesn't "see a bowtie" (Howard's most identifiable piece of clothing).