Power Button - Episode 269: Remonikered Mavericks And Other Updated Re-releases

Power ButtonCapcom has taken a bold step in its re-release of Mega Man X5 as part of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection by relocalizing the game to change the names of the Mavericks from the out-of-place monikers such as Duff McWhalen and The Skiver to the more proper Tidal Whale and Spiral Pegasus.  It's certainly not the first time a beloved game has been tinkered with for a re-release, and on this episode of Power Button we spend an hour discussing other games that have changed over the years across iterations.  Donkey Kong, Halo Anniversary Collection, Super Mario 64 DS,,Tomb Raider Anniversary, The Secret of Monkey Island, and more round out the conversation.   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.


Power Button - Episode 268: Surfing Channels

Power ButtonLicensed video games based on childrens' television properties have been with us for decades, but sometimes a game publisher reaches deeper into a media catalog and comes up with a game based on a primetime sitcom or syndicated drama.  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I spend an hour discussing games based on TV shows such as ALF, Happy Days, Home Improvement, Time Trax, Stargate SG-1, Dallas, Dark Angel, and many more.  Take off your sneakers and stick around for awhile.  We've got it all on Power Button.   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.


Let's Go Talk About Pokémon With Rob Alsbrook

Let's Go PokemonProving that we really do live in a small world, a few weeks ago I was eating lunch at my favorite local pizza joint when who should walk up and say hello but Robert Alsbrook.  Long-time PTB readers may remember back in late 2010 when, in conjunction with a now-defunct local Internet television operation that predated homemade YouTube shows and Twitch livestreaming, Rob and I launched the tragically short-lived and ahead-of-its-time The Press The Buttons Show where for thirty minutes each week we would offer up gaming news, commentary, and reviews.  We produced eight episodes (six of which aired), after which the owner of the network ended the operation and moved out of state on to new opportunities.  Rob and I lost touch soon after, but now here we were in the same pizza place, so we got to talking and ended up having a conversation about Nintendo's upcoming Let's Go! Pokémon pair of titles based around Pikachu and Eevee.

Matthew Green: How long have you played Pokémon?  I can't say I ever really got into it.  I pretty much missed the boat in the beginning; Red and Blue were just coming out when I was first driving in high school, so I wasn't sitting in the backseat with my Game Boy like I had done for years on family road trips.  I didn't really get to know Pikachu until Super Smash Bros. Melee, and then the other Pokémon that were in that game as well.  I can recognize a Squirtle from a Charmander, but any of the newer or more obscure Pokémon?  Not a chance.  My first actual Pokémon game that I played was Pokémon XD for the GameCube when I was assigned to review it for Kombo years ago, and not knowing much about the world, I was totally lost.

Robert Alsbrook: I did most of my Game Boying outside before I got a Game Boy Pocket (that poor contrast in early Game Boy screens!).  I couldn't play for too long in a car before I got car sick.  I started playing Pokémon shortly after Red and Blue came to the USA.  At the time I was in high school and I baby-sat these two boys who loved to play video games (an easy job).  They were both very much into Pokémon and they eagerly showed me the game.  I watched them play and I thought to myself, "This isn't a bad game at all!"  The rest is history!  Short answer: 20 years.

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Power Button - Episode 267: Living In A Box

Power ButtonAs my girlfriend and I prepare to move in together, we've been packing up our video games into boxes and plastic totes, so I've been thinking a lot of about packaging lately.  Over the years we've seen boxes with instruction manuals and occasional bonus freebies such as posters and stickers give way to plastic cases which eventually dumped the manuals as a cost-cutting measure, and then we lost packaging altogether as digital distribution has become a modern reality.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, we're talking about video game packaging past, present, and future.  Pull up a box and let's talk.   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. Apologies for my mic's audio quality this week. I had a hardware issue that wasn't discovered until after we finished recording, although I guess it's thematically appropriate that it sounds like I'm recording from inside a box.


Power Button - Episode 266: E3 2018 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs we do each E3 we have brought in our special E3 correspondent Ross Polly live from the loading dock of the Los Angeles Convention Center for an exclusive discussion about the happenings and events of the week that was in big gaming news and press conferences.  Join us for a super-sized two hour episode of the Power Button podcast in which we run down the highs and lows of the Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Square-Enix, Sony, and Nintendo press conferences and digital showcases for conversation about games such as Anthem, Halo Infinite, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Fallout 76, Just Cause 4, The Last of Us Part II, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate plus so much more.   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.


The Running Of The Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. BrawlSometimes on certain windy nights, if you listen hard enough and believe fervently enough, you can still hear the sounds of E3 2006 reverberating through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  One of the last great E3s of days gone by before the expo contracted into the airplane hanger years for a while, 2006 gave rise to Nintendo's big Wii debut and Sony's lackluster PlayStation 3 introduction.  Nadia Oxford of USgamer was there, and her story about seeing the first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer reminded me of one of my own favorite E3 2006 stories.

Meanwhile in Nintendo territory, we saw the reveal for Super Mario Galaxy (charming and highly unique at the time of its reveal, and still one of the greatest 3D Mario games of all time), a playable version of Metroid Prime 3, and the incredibly crowd-pleasing trailer for Super Smash Bros Brawl. I still smile a bit at that Snake reveal at the very end: It set a standard for the surprise Smash character reveals that have evolved into tiny, potent packages of fan-crack. The Mega Man reveal for Smash Bros on the Wii U and 3DS at E3 2013 set a fire under a property that was nothing but cooling ashes at that point, and I don't think I'll ever be over the Cloud reveal.

I was also at that fateful E3 as part of the Advanced Media Network team, the crew that would later go on to become the now-defunct Kombo.  AMN had drastically scaled back its 2006 presence at the expo from around fifty representatives in 2005 to a more manageable and hard-working twelve people.  Nintendo was still holding live stage show press conferences back then, but the company also always saved a little something to show off later in the week.  Super Mario Galaxy stole the press conference and the show floor, but it was the first look at Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii behind closed doors later in the day that really turned heads.

Allow me to remind you of the technology scene of the era.  No YouTube.  No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No iPhone or Android.  Certainly no Twitch.  WiFi was a rare and expensive commodity in public settings when it worked at all.  Large files were still distributed by discs instead of cloud services or streaming video sites.  I was still carrying around a digital camera strapped into a belt holster at the show that year and my primitive cell phone only made calls.  AMN had sent two of our team to the closed door showcase and we all had to wait patiently to find out what was being announced in Nintendo's room.  Finally, the boss got the call: Nintendo had shown off the new Smash title and had given out discs with the trailer on them.  Whichever site could get that video online first and start the link spreading around the Internet through Digg and the like would win all of the gaming community traffic.  Our guys had a disc in their possession, but no way to get it on the Internet from the convention center.  So began the great Smash Bros. run of 2006.

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Power Button - Episode 265: E3 2018 Predictions: The New Batch

Power ButtonE3 2018 is a week away and we're gearing up to enjoy all of the new announcements and reveals.  This week on Power Button we're looking ahead to what we think the publishers and developers at the big show may announce and throw in a little bit of personal wishlisting while we're at it.  Join us for an hour of discussion.   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.


You Are Kirby's Hero

Kirby Star Allies

It's amazing how much a simple message can be such a great help.  I've had an especially rough time lately with my health and longtime readers will remember my decades-long fight with Crohn's Disease and its accompanying issues.  Earlier this year my pancreas joined the party with its own problems, and now for the past few weeks I've been pushing myself through extra pain and difficulties with digesting enough nutrition.  Just making it through a regular day or work and daily responsibilities is a physically overwhelming prospect sometimes.  I've spent a lot of time resting in bed, usually with my Nintendo Switch within reach.  Kirby Star Allies has taken up my Switch time over the past few months off and on, and I found a surprising boost in an unexpected place.

Kirby has access to so many power and abilities over the course of the game that it's easy to forget how to control him sometimes, so the game's pause screen includes a recap of what Kirby can do in his current state: fire, ice, electric, ninja, etc.  Whenever Kirby is just plain ol' Kirby, however, there's not much to say about him, so instead the developers included a short message about how Kirby believes in the player no matter how tough things are.  I was surprised by how much a little encouragement from a fictional character helped boost my spirits when I was up in the middle of the night with pain and unable to sleep.  If Kirby believes in me, how can I lose?


Power Button - Episode 264: Sealing The Pact With Batman: The Enemy Within

Power ButtonWe're fans of both Batman and Telltale Games here on Power Button, so it's natural that when the publisher debuted the second season of its Dark Knight adventures, we had to discuss it.  We have a supersized conversation about Batman: The Enemy Within for you this week and it's packed with spoilers, so settle in with your favorite dark corner and enjoy.   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.


A Brief History Of The PS4 Share Button

DualShock 4One of the most significant additions to the DualShock 4 controller compared to its predecessors is the Share button which allows players to quickly and easily share screenshots and video clips of PlayStation 4 games with social media.  Over at Polygon, the people who created the Share button reminisce about the creative process of making the Share button a reality and discuss some of the challenges they faced.  For instance, some developers were mortified by the idea of players sharing snippets of their games with the world at large.

As Sony began to fully embrace the Share button as one of the “killer features” of the PS4, many game developers began to express concerns about the potential for spoilers, the details of their immaculately-drawn worlds and stories spilling out across social media in an unruly mess of trolling and outrage. Aoki recalls one long meeting with first-party Sony developers that resulted in a compromise — in order to prevent their precious ships from leaking, developers got the authority to block sections of the game from broadcast, up to and including the entirety of the campaign.

“It was one of our main concerns,” he says. “On a system level, it’s really hard for us to understand what the game wants to do, so what we ended up doing was giving game developers the power to select what to block, when to block, or whether to block at all. When we would say we wanted to share everything, some developers would reply with: ‘We don’t want to share! ‘We don’t want to share!’” Aoki recalls, laughing. “[...] At the beginning, some teams were really nervous. They’d block the whole recording until you finish the game, and you could only do it on the second playthrough,” he says. “Of course, that got some negative feedback from the player side. I think the game team now realizes the potential and meaning of having a lot of players sharing the cool content out, and how that represents a positive for the game.”

It's fun to be in the middle of a game like Assassin's Creed Origins or Uncharted 4 and  quickly dash off a fun or exciting moment to show friends and followers.  While some developers resist the idea, it's just not possible to keep restricted footage off of social media.  Even if the Share button is blocked, external capture boxes have been around for years and certainly don't respect a game's internal restrictions.  It's frustrating when that little box pops up proclaiming that recording is prohibited.  I recall wanting to show off a piece of the Marvel vs Capcom Infinite demo last year and discovering that the entire demo was blocked from recording, sharing and streaming.  This was a free demo meant to whip up excitement among the fans and Capcom went and blocked those same fans from being able to directly share memorable moments.  Sometimes I just don't understand corporate decisions.