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October 2008

Enjoy The Silence Of The Daylight

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Halloween has come again which means that I cannot let the day pass without referring you to some quality Castlevania-related lore or element.  This year I want to point you towards my favorite song from the entire series.  Yes, spanning from the original Castlevania in 1987 all the way to this month's new Order of Ecclesia, there's a single musical tune that sticks with me time and time again, and chances are that it's not what you're expecting.  Put away the "Vampire Killer" and "Bloody Tears" tracks that come up time after time.  We're going back to 1988's Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and "The Silence of the Daylight", also known as the background tune heard when game hero Simon Belmont walks through a town during daylight hours.

It's a timeless classic, although not one that we've heard much from over the years.  While plenty of other Castlevania melodies make their way across several games in the series, "The Silence of the Daylight" just doesn't see the light of day all that often.  Leave it to the fans, however, to bring this tune out of the dark for some extra time in the spotlight.  Dedicated game music remixers from have taken this song for an interpretive spin several times, so let's take a few minutes to enjoy their hard work.

Continue reading "Enjoy The Silence Of The Daylight" »

One Last Mega Man 9 Secret

Bass Capcom's Mega Man 9 continues to impress, but even after we think we've seen it all (including the ninth Robot Master, Fake Man) there's still one last little secret hidden away that Capcom claims is still undiscovered.

Yesterday Seth, who is the Community Manager over at Capcom had the following to say about an undiscovered secret within Mega Man 9.

"There's only one undiscovered Mega Man 9 secret that I know about… I don't predict anyone will discover this one for quite a while yet…" -- Seth Killian, Capcom Community Manager

My guess?  Mega Man's rival Bass is locked away somewhere in the game, either as a playable character or another boss.  We've already seen his schematics in the background of Dr. Wily's Skull Castle in a seemingly random appearance just for the sake of fan service.  I believe that has to be a pointer towards something special.  Why go to all the trouble of designing an 8-bit version of Bass and then not actually use him somewhere in the game?  Now, for a different theory, The Mega Man Network notes that there are some unused sprites for both Mega Man and Proto Man in the game data that depict the characters throwing something and that there's still that one last empty slot in the weapons select screen.  Could there be a tenth Robot Master with a new acquirable weapon waiting in the wings somewhere?

My second guess?  Playable Dr. Light. 

One Last Adventure With The Tenth Doctor, Please?

Doctor WhoThe BBC has announced that when Doctor Who returns as a series in 2010, actor David Tennant won't be back.  The Tenth Doctor is on his way out after next year's four specials.  Where do we go from here?

Russell T Davies, executive producer, said: "I've been lucky and honoured to work with David over the past few years - and it's not over yet, the Tenth Doctor still has five spectacular hours left!

"After which, I might drop an anvil on his head. Or maybe a piano. A radioactive piano. But we're planning the most enormous and spectacular ending, so keep watching."

Before we move on to the Eleventh Doctor, do you think we can finally get a real Doctor Who game featuring the Tenth Doctor?  Not that card battle game, either.  I want a full-on action/adventure game at last.  If some enterprising developer gets started now, maybe we can get it out into stores just before the new guy takes over and the BBC marketing machine focuses its energies on the next doctor. 

(via io9)

Castlevania Formula Needs Fresh Blood

CastlevaniaI've been pleasantly surprised with the new Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the Nintendo DS in that it breaks the ongoing Symphony of the Night gameplay formula into little bits, turning the experience into something more Simon's Quest than Dawn of Sorrow.  The storyline is nothing new though, as it falls somewhere on the Castlevania timeline during the period where the Belmont clan is missing from action and the duty of slaying Dracula falls to little splinter groups that think they have what it takes to take up the Vampire Killer whip (or its mystical equivalent).  We've been down that road a number of times in recent years and it's starting to get a little stale.  I've felt for a while now that we need a Castlevania plot that really shakes things up and I believe that I have finally figured out the missing element.

We need to see the epic results and hilarity that ensues when an evil force more powerful than Dracula crashes the vampire resurrection party, forcing the era's Belmont to team up with Dracula to take out the trash.  That's right; I want a Castlevania game where the hero and the villain have to put their little blood feud on hold for a while to slay something more powerful and threatening than either of them.  One wouldn't tag along with the other over the course of the game (as hero team Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin did in 2006's Portrait of Ruin), however.  There would be a set of Belmont missions and a set of Dracula missions, their paths would cross often with interesting results, and only when the big horrible evil has been handled do they finally turn against one another for the fated grand finale.

Failing that, well, I guess we could always pursue a Castlevania medieval stagecoach racing game of some sort, or maybe a soccer game where a Medusa Head fills in for the ball.  But let's try the buddy cop formula first, alright?

Big DS and PS3 Sales At Again

Buy somethin' will ya!Amazon loves to offer up gaming-related stuff for limited time discounts every now and then, so it's time for another big sale.  Today's focus is on the Sony PlayStation 3, but there's also a separate unrelated Nintendo DS deal going on as well.  You all know the routine by now on the Lightning Deals concept: sales come and go throughout the day for a limited time or while supplies last.  The PS3 side of the deal includes sales on the PlayStation Eye camera and games such as Haze and Soul Calibur IV among others, while the DS sale involves a 3-for-2 deal on games like New Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Mario Kart DS, Clubhouse Games, a slew of Nintendogs titles, some Pokemon material, and titles from the brain and vision training genres.  Buy early, buy often, and help support Press The Buttons with each purchase via one of these fancy green links.

Save Those Boxes!

DS game case We spend a lot of time focusing on the game developers and publishers that help drive the gaming industry, but let us pause for a moment to give thanks for the folks who design and manufacture the packaging that our beloved games wear as a stylish and protective jacketDavid Oxford waxes philosophic re: boxes over at Kombo.

In the eras of 8 and 16-bit gaming, there was a common practice amongst gamers in which, upon getting a new game, they would proceed to discard every single thing that came with it. The instruction manuals were fortunate if they weren't cast to the curb with the rest, waiting for the cold Thursday-morning embrace of the garbage man's gloves to take them to their final resting place.

I never got this, personally. I kept my stuff intact. Hell, it pissed me off whenever I got a game that didn't have a box to sit alongside the rest.

In any event, it seems that the time of wasteful discarding of boxes and booklets has passed, as now more gamers are wisely holding on to the cases in which their games come.

I'm with David on this one.  I've been saving boxes and cases from the very start of my video gaming adventures all the way back to Bubble Bobble for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  In fact, my driving need for original boxes and cases is part of why I looked down on buying used games for years and years.  No original case?  No sale!  I've been able to move past that restriction in recent years though thanks to printable replacement cover art and a cube of empty DVD cases snagged from Best Buy.  That reminds me; I need to print out a cover for that used copy of Wario World I bought a while back. 

Weekly Poll: HDness

Weekly Poll for 10-20-2008 Like I've said before, as much as I love a solid 3D adventure game, my heart belongs to 2D.  Plenty of you out there seem to feel the same way.  I'm not sure why a well-designed 2D world can outshine a comparatively impressive 3D environment, but I like to think that is has something to do with the 2D world sparking imagination more than a 3D counterpart.  In 2D sometimes you have to fill in the gaps imposed by the medium, while 3D worlds usually have every last detail spelled out for us.

Speaking of seeing every last detail, how is your television holding up these days?  Have you jumped into the HDTV pool yet?  How HD is your television?  Are you holding firm with 480i and a RF connection?  Perhaps you're from a region that uses that wacky 576p standard for some reason.  Is 720p good enough for now?  Or do you top out at the eye-melting 1080p?  Let's hear your thoughts and/or dreams about owning a big box with pretty pictures on it.

E3 2009 Not Open To The Public

E3 Media and Business SummitAh, the proper balance has been restored.  It turns out that next year's Electronic Entertainment Expo will not be open to the general public after all, but getting past the velvet rope will be easier to do than in the past two years.  If you have a legitimate reason to attend the show and have a knack for influencing others, then you may have a shot at getting into the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Kombo sums it up.

Okay, Mr. Gallagher, so what about Joe the Gamer with his small enthusiast-run gaming blog? Or Jill the Gamer, who starts up a blog a few months before E3 in order to get the proper credentials to attend? Will they be able to get in?

They'll be absolutely the target, one of the target audiences will be that group. The ESA will credential them on a case-by-case basis, but in a manner that those that influence others, and those that are opinion leaders in the video game space, they'll be able to get in.

Short answer:  No, they probably won't be able to get in, but we'll see.

Here's hoping this a return to form for E3 with its large booths and bright lights and games on display that aren't casual-focused letdowns.  I did get a lot more work done than usual during E3's slender years, but I do miss the excitement.  Perhaps in 2009 we can find a happy medium where productivity and playfulness come together.

The Great PlayStation Caper

PoppleAttention all units: be on the lookout for a stolen big rig hauling a few thousand Sony game consoles.  The truck went missing early Monday morning in the Melbourne, FL area and despite the GPS unit in the truck broadcasting a signal for a little while, it's still missing. has the story.

A tractor-trailer that was reported stolen Monday by its driver was loaded with 5,000 Sony PlayStation game consoles worth an estimated $750,000, Melbourne police said on Tuesday. Robert Arden Fisher, 61, told Lopez that he parked the rig in the rear parking lot of BJ's Wholesale Warehouse, located at 1155 Palm Bay Road in Melbourne, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and then went to visit a friend in Palm Bay. Lopez said Fisher told him that when he returned at 7:15 a.m., he found that the rig was missing and immediately contacted his company and authorities. Fisher told Lopez the trailer was secured with a U.S. Customs lock and a personal padlock. He said the truck itself also was locked. The trailer was loaded with 28 pallets, each containing 250 PlayStation game consoles, Melbourne police said.

The story is missing a very important detail: just what kind of PlayStation are we talking about here?  The article fails to specify if we're talking about PS2s, PSPs, or PS3s.  Maybe we can get some answers if we put our math skills to the test.  We know from the article that the missing PlayStations are valued at $750,000 and that there are 28 missing pallets of 250 consoles each for a total of 7,000 consoles.  That works out to an approximate value of $107 per missing console.  That's much too low to be anything but a PS2 (assuming wholesale prices, of course).  However, the same article also says that there were 5,000 consoles in the truck (not 7,000 as implied elsewhere in the same article), which gives us a value of $150 each which could indicate a cargo of PlayStation Portables instead.  So which is it?  We may never know unless the police find Schrödinger's Truck intact.

Of course, if these are PSPs that were stolen, then the joke may be on the thieves: assuming those are the new PSP-3000 units in the truck, they've just stolen themselves a few thousand consoles with inferior, scanline-laden screens!