Super Mario: The Next Generation

Claire

For Thanksgiving this year my girlfriend and I had dinner with her family and, as part of the festivities, I was asked to bring my Super NES Classic console to the house so that her nieces, Talia (age six) and Claire (age three), could try a Super Mario game for the first time.  I took this as an honored responsibility.  When I was first introduced to Super Mario Bros. at the age of six, it was a life-changing event that rippled outward into the rest of my childhood and beyond into my adult years.  I owe my career to an early start with computers and video games, particularly games with Mario and friends.  Who knows what impact Super Mario could have on these children if I introduced the game correctly?  There's no telling what positive impact they could later have on society as a result of it.  I had to get this right.  The future was counting on it.

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Power Button - Episode 254: Dumb Moments In PR History

Power ButtonHuman meat.  Balloons.  Armed robbers.  Animal sacrifice.  Brass knuckles.  Sure, these sound like ingredients for an unforgettable weekend, but they're also tools of the trade for video game public relations firms for use in advertising campaigns.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I look at some of the dumbest, most irresponsible (and in some cases illegal!) moments in game advertising and promotions.  From Homefront to Mass Effect 3 to Resident Evil 5 and beyond, we have a list of astoundingly bizarre and dangerous campaigns that will boggle your brain. Also, our annual News of the Year and Game of the Year episodes are coming up and we want you to get in on the fun!   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. Next Week: It's a cavalcade of Capcom as we celebrate announcements regarding Mega Man 11 and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.


Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Announced

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Capcom's venerable Street Fighter franchise so it's only right that the publisher bundle up the most important games in the series for a new compilation.  Coming to the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC in May 2018, get ready to revisit the original Street Fighter (not properly seen in many, many years), Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter III: Second Impact, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike.  That's a lot of street fighting!  Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike will also include online multiplayer modes, leaderboards, and other fun online stuff.  Here's the announcement trailer.

This is far more a complete package than I'd have expected from Capcom.  It's developed by Digital Eclipse (who brought us the first Mega Man Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection) so I'm already comfortable with their track record.  Expect plenty of fun museum inclusions.  Not included are all of the home port off-shoots of these games.  For instance, the Sony PlayStation Portable version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 was entitled Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX and included extra characters not seen in the arcade game, while the Game Boy Advance version was Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper and featured different bonus characters.  The last special anniversary iteration of Street Fighter II, Hyper Street Fighter II for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, is missing in action, as is the HD incarnation Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  Will any of that matter?  Probably not!  There's more than enough to play in this compilation, particularly for Switch owners.  Kinda makes that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers launch window title seem redundant now.


Somebody Set Us Up Even More ROM Hacks

DuckTales 2

Back in August I brought your attention to John's Harris's book about ROM hacks, Somebody Set Us Up The ROM.  How Harris back with the sequel that dives into ingenious hacks from the worlds of Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda, and beyond as part of the Winter Wonderland Game Story Bundle on sale for the next two weeks.  If you missed the first installment, then you can pick it up as well in this bundle.  I had the pleasure of reading a pre-release copy and it's just as interesting and informative as the first volume.  Here's a taste:

It's Ducktales 2! Woo-hoo! Supporting two players simultaneously! Again I say, Woo-hoo!  I can't say that the game works flawlessly. You're going to have to make special allowances for two-player play. Player 2 is, entertainingly, represented by the hero of another Capcom Disney game, Darkwing Duck. His gas gun has been traded for another Pogo Cane (even if it doesn't look like he's pogo-ing). At least it gives the Terror that Flaps in the Night a second opportunity to spread his 8-bit wings.

Yet, there is still something unquestionably fun about this hack! It's just a blast running through the game with Darkwing tagging along, something which never happened in the cartoons. Maybe this is a bit of fan opinion sneaking in? Fun is a very subjective thing, heavily reliant on personal context. At least there's a chance that, for whatever reasons I find it to be fun, you might find it to be fun too. And there are places where it can be helpful to have a Player Two around, specifically during boss fights, where having two attackers participating can make fights easier than they'd be otherwise, provided that both of you are good at dodging attacks, that is.

That's right!  Someone melded Capcom's classic DuckTales sequel and Darkwing Duck for the Nintendo Entertainment System together into one glorious quack pack attack.  There's your real Disney Afternoon collection.  There's also a special section of the book devoted to fan translations of interesting and notable games that never left Japan in their original format such as Wrecking Crew '98 and Seiken Densetsu 3. It's another fascinating read and I recommend it.


Power Button's End Of 2017 Podcasts Need You!

Power ButtonWith 2017 coming to an end in just a few weeks, Blake Grundman and I are preparing our traditional year-end podcast episodes and we want you to be a part of them.  As usual we are going to record an episode focusing on the big gaming news of the year and then another episode in which we name our Game Of The Year picks.  Get involved!  Call the podcast voicemail hotline at (720) 722-2781 and leave a message discussing either of these topics and you may just hear your call on the show.  You can also reach out via the comments section below, through Twitter at @ThePowerButton, or send an e-mail to with your thoughts.  Help us close out the year and recap the highs and lows of 2017 in gaming.


Mega Man's Ten Greatest Moments

Mega Man

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the original Mega Man for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and so on this special occasion it's only right to take a look back at the ten greatest moments in the franchise's history. From the initial burst of releases in the early days of the series to its 16-bit and 32-bit reinventions to its unfortunate lull in the 2000s and then back in action with new sequels and compilations, there are many moments from which to choose and so many games to replay. While time does not permit spotlighting all of the best moments, there are some that demand attention.  Read on for everlasting peace!

10: Mega Man - Versus Yellow Devil


Mega Man

While later games in the series would refine what became a familiar formula, the original 1987 Mega Man game established the basic framework of what a Mega Man game would be, and while the game threw plenty of (sometimes unfair) challenges at players, those challenges were largely built around stage design or dealing with enemies roughly the same size as Mega Man himself or smaller.  That's why it's such a surprising shock when, in the first Dr. Wily stage, Mega Man enters what appears to be an empty boss arena (a gateless one, in fact; a first for the game).  As new intense music starts to play, a stream of flying fragments zip into the dead-end room one by one, catching players off guard, inflicting damage, and quickly forming the monstrous Yellow Devil (aka Rock Monster).  Today we know that a single bolt of the Thunder Beam and the game's infamous pause glitch will take out the Yellow Devil in seconds, but encountering this boss for the first time without warning or foreknowledge is a moment of breathtaking panic.

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Power Button - Episode 253: Super NES Classic Plays It Loud

Power ButtonWhile the Nintendo Switch is stealing the show in fandom circles, let us not overlook the Super NES Classic (assuming you can find one).  On this week's podcast episode, Blake Grundman and I discuss whether or not it's just like old times playing our favorite games from two decades ago, if Star Fox 2 holds up to the legend behind it, and cover what's going on in hacking circles as some players are cramming additional games into the console.  Join us for an hour of fun.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Dirty Coding Tricks Fix Glitches

Mega Man Legacy CollectionEven the most polished game can hide a variety of odd glitches and quirks under the surface.  Over at Gamasutra, Brandon Sheffield has compiled an entertaining list of all of the outside-the-box ways that developers have solved their glitch issues.  Super Time Force is prepared for your madness, an undisclosed multiplatform racing game performs better with a frame rate counter, and Mega Man has to scream at you in silence before his game can begin.  Here's Keith Kaisershot from Digital Eclipse explaining that last one:

When working on Mega Man Legacy Collection for 3DS, I encountered a sound bug I couldn’t track down. Basically, the first sound would either get garbled or not play properly, no matter what sound it was. 

Basically-- 9 out of 10 times when you launched the game, the stinger sound that accompanies the Digital Eclipse [developer of the collection] logo would glitch in some way-- it'd stutter or just not play at all. This was the first sound you’d hear in the game, and I discovered it always affected the very first sound played-- subsequent sounds were fine.

When loading the game before playing that first stinger, play a second of silence. And that shipped.

I love stories like this.  Sometimes a project comes down to the wire, there's an outstanding issue that just can't be properly solved in the time allotted, so something has to give and creative hacks and kludges can achieve the same basic end goal as a time-consuming code teardown.  I wonder what kind of quick fixes are hiding under the surface of my favorite games.  If you can't get enough of this stuff either, there's a discussion happening at MetaFilter that lists more examples.


Power Button - Episode 252: Thanksgaming

Power ButtonAs Thanksgiving approaches it's only right that we spend an episode of the podcast discussing all of the things that Blake Grundman and I are thankful for as filtered through a gaming lens.  Join us as we kick off the holiday season in style with some sentimental thoughts.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. Next Week: We kick the tires on Nintendo's Super NES Classic and discuss whether or not it's worth the trouble of tracking one down.


Jump Up For The New Donk City Festival

New Donk Festival

The New Donk City festival sequence in Nintendo's recent Super Mario Odyssey is the signature scene of the game, so it's only right that it be immortalized as artwork.  This new piece by Mikaël "Orioto" Aguirre entitled "New Donk Festival" combines the classic elements from Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. with the festive elements from Odyssey such as Pauline's billboards and Mario's white wedding suit.  Add in some fireworks and spectators on high towers off in the distance and all that is missing is the "Jump Up, Super Star" song.  For more on Super Mario Odyssey, check out Episode 251 of the Power Button podcast.