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May 2010

Metroid Prime Meets Rifftrax

Rifftrax meets Metroid The former stars of TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000 have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with Rifftrax in which modern Hollywood movies are put through the sarcastic remarks wringer.  Fortunately, the trio of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett have now made enough of their riffs available that it's easy to slice their statements into out-of-context samples and then set them against relevant material.  Consider this fan-created mashup of Rifftrax performances of the Star Wars saga and Twilight mixed into material from Nintendo's Metroid Prime Trilogy.  While these jokes were never meant to pair with Samus Aran's adventures, the end result is still just as entertaining.

(via Reddit)

Check Out Red Dead Redemption's Graphics!

Tim the Bear It seems that just about everyone is turning up in the town of New Austin in the recently released Red Dead Redemption for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.  On this week's installment of "Check Out This Game's Graphics!" over at Kombo we've captured photographic proof of out-of-towners turning up for photo ops and daring duels.  Sharp-eyed viewers will see such notable characters as Mitch Robbins, Dusty Bottoms, and even Tim the Bear loitering around town.  There's an out of place car tooling about nearby as well as a plumber-turned-cowboy causing trouble.  Yes, this is one of our silliest Friday features yet, but we had a blast working on it.  I really do need to play this game and see what all the fuss is about.

Power Button - Episode 11: In Which Super Mario Galaxy 2 And Red Dead Redemption Consume Our Nights

Power ButtonIt takes a special kind of video game to grab the attention of all three of us in a single week, but Nintendo's new Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii has done the trick, so it's only proper that Brad Hilderbrand, Joey Davidson, and I discuss our respective returns to space.  We hit the game's high points, ponder on whether or not it's a proper sequel, and compare notes on the experience.  Then, turning away from the Mushroom Kingdom drama, Brad and Joey go on about Rockstar's new Red Dead Redemption for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 while I ask questions and basically demand to be won over by the western adventure people love to praise.  The whole show clocks in at just under one hour of fun and frolics. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes (and we're still working on fixing the issue where iTunes only offers the latest episode), and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach all three of us via  and you can even follow on Twitter at @PressTheButtons or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. Next week: friend of the show Dan "Shoe" Hsu of Bitmob joins us to discuss the oft-cozy relationship between publisher PR departments and video game journalists.

Power Button - Episode 11: In Which Super Mario Galaxy 2 And Red Dead Redemption Consume Our Nights

The Color Of The Game

The Legend of ZeldaA whole generation of gamers grew up believing that gray is the only color for game cartridges thanks to Nintendo's choice of striking yet drab color pallete, but as GamesRadar points out, sometimes the gray's gotta go.  Nintendo had a knack for giving their game paks a little color when a special title burst forth into the world, but they're not the only ones that knew how to change the color of their plastic.  Sega got into the act as well, as did third-party publishers such as Electronic Arts.  Here's a piece of the article that fondly remembers a certain golden Nintendo Entertainment System title:

A dazzling gold Legend of Zelda immediately set it apart from every other game on the market, let alone the NES. When struck by sunlight it seemed to radiate energy like the Triforce itself, a feat that managed to make the lifeless plastic feel as integral to the Zelda experience as the groundbreaking gameplay.

Aside from special Zelda games (I preordered Ocarina of Time to be certain that I would own a golden game pak), I was always disappointed when I opened a box to find a non-gray cartridge inside.  That gray shade is just so iconic in my mind that paks such as the tiny yellow Donkey Kong Land just do not seem right, and don't even get me started on how much of an eyesore the massive banana-tinted Donkey Kong 64 looks next to my nine standard gray Nintendo 64 game paks.

Super Mario Galaxy 2's Little Ray Of Sunshine

Mario Nintendo's new Super Mario Galaxy 2 is turning a lot of heads partly because of its nostalgic love for older Super Mario levels and music.  The game includes a return to environments from the original Galaxy, the beloved Super Mario 64 (hello, Throwback Galaxy!), and - if you play long enough and collect enough Power Stars - the bright Super Mario Sunshine.  While everyone's favorite plumber doesn't return to Isle Delfino, he does pay a visit to the Twisty Trials Galaxy in which the favored "FLUDDless obstacle course" flavor is recreated anew.  There are a few minor changes from the source material (a lack of poundable nails is notable, the music is a little different, there's a Power Star instead of a Shine waiting at the end, and of course the Cloud Suit and Star Bits weren't in Sunshine), but the inspiration is unmistakable. Have a look at this video in which I take a quick run through the level.

Promising Games Lost To History

Nintendo Pennant Chase Baseball For as many games that reach the market each year, there are a few projects that slip through the cracks and die unsung deaths.  Some games just don't make it to stores and are left uncompleted and unloved.  Who will speak for these lost games?  Who will throw some light into the dark corners to reveal potentially promising titles featuring characters both new and notable?  Leave it to's Jeremy Parish and Frank Cifaldi to look back at games you may have seen in magazines way back when such as Bean Ball Benny, Bio Force Ape, Duelin' Firemen, Earth Bound (née Mother; also, two words), Final Fantasy Extreme (X-TREEEEEME level grinding, yeah!), Magical Vacation, and many more.  One of the games on the list is one that I've been fortunate enough to see for myself: Nintendo Pennant Chase Baseball.

Nintendo was poised to make an unusual foray into sports -- real sports, not the kind where Mario and pals offer a creative take on events -- with the Exile-developed Pennant Chase Baseball, even going so far as to host a hands-on media event with the game at Safeco Field at the Mariners' 2005 season opener. And then, quite unceremoniously, the game simply... vanished.

According to a few sources, including Unseen 64, Pennant Chase Baseball simply fell prey to the complicated, hands-tying snafus surrounding Major League Baseball rights and licensing. Despite being a perfectly solid game and reportedly being more or less complete, the complexities of rights and likenesses and franchise branding quietly rained out this ball game before opening day.

Pennant Chase for the GameCube turned up proudly at E3 back in 2005 alongside the Mario Party 7, Mario Baseball, and Mario Strikers displays where, true to form, I ignored it for being a realistic sports game.  I would have played it if only I'd known it was doomed to rot in the vault.  Funny how something suddenly has value when it becomes lost to history and obscurity.

See, these are the kinds of stories that you can only get here at Press The Buttons.  I once was in local proximity to a game that ended up canceled.  Exciting stuff!

Sega Working On Sonic Colors

Sonic Colors The recently delayed Sonic the Hedgehog 4 isn't the only game that Sega has in the works.  A trailer for the oddly-named Sonic Colors for the Nintendo Wii and DS has popped up online, and aside from showing Sonic and Tails charging ahead at full speed, a few strange critters floating around, and the title, there's really nothing in the trailer to elaborate on what this game is supposed to be.

GameSetWatch notes that it need not be a traditional action game, however.  It could be something more in line with 1993's Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.

I was a bit disheartened when I saw all the strange alien creatures flying alongside Sonic and Tails, thinking to myself, "Great. More of Sonic's, uh, stupid friends," but someone pointed out to me that this could be a puzzle game, and those weird looking bits could be the blocks that make up the puzzle. With a title like Sonic Colours, it makes sense!

But then from Tiny Cartridge:

Looks like Sonic Colors isn't a puzzler, just a regular Sonic game with aliens that give you Color Powers.

Which leads us straight to the hedgehog's mouth:

Sonic Colors sees Sonic accelerating to adrenaline-pumping super speeds and blasting through obstacles in ways never before seen in a Sonic game. The alien Wisps featured in the game each have a unique “Color Power” that, once freed, Sonic is able to absorb while speeding through the various theme park inspired planets. The Wisp energy enables Sonic to create new paths through the stages by drilling through the ground (Yellow Drill) for example, or speeding through the stage as a laser (Cyan Laser). Stringing the Wisp power-ups together creates a combo that increases Sonic’s boost gauge even more quickly. Exclusive Wisp power-ups will be available for both Wii and the Nintendo DS versions, ensuring a unique and super speedy gameplay experience for Sonic fans everywhere.

With E3 on the way, I bet we'll hear more about this title soon.  I go into vague Sonic games with no expectations these days, so the worst this game can do is cause apathy instead of disappointment.

I Got Those Low Down World 2-2 Blues

CheepcheepSometimes a man hurts inside.  Hurts so bad.  Hurts because a persistent turtle king has abducted his special someone.  And when that happens, a man just has to sing the blues.  It's happened to OverClocked Remix artist Brent Black, so he's put together a bluesy piano rendition of the Underwater theme from the original Super Mario Bros. and combined it with clever lyrics that relate Mario's ongoing trials to create "The 2-2 Blues".  I'm not a fan of video game music remixes adding lyrics where they don't belong, but this piece works for me.  It honestly surprised me how much I liked it.  Hopefully you'll like it as well.

Premium PSN Rumors Continue To Build

PSN green with moneyRumors about Sony's supposed paid version of its PlayStation Network continue to build in advance of an alleged announcement at E3, and the list of what subscribers will get has changed since we last saw it.  Joystiq has the list of features, some of which are long overdue in any capacity, some of which would be nice to have but aren't major purchase incentives, a few which seem to benefit Sony more than the rest of us, and one of which will probably anger non-paying customers when they find out that they can't have it.

Many of the features included in the premium service mimic those featured in a supposed survey released late last year. Sources tell us that subscribers will have access to a rotating list of PSP Minis and PSone Classics, exclusive in-game DLC, discounts to the PlayStation Store and "first hour" demo access to full retail titles. Following the first hour of gameplay, players will have the ability to purchase the full title; however, demo access will only be available once the entire title has been downloaded.

As PSN+ subscribers, gamers will also receive protection for their consoles with the recently announced PlayStation Protection Plan, as well as exclusive access to the long-awaited cross-game voice chat. Additional features are said to be in the works following the launch of PSN+, including the previously rumored cloud-based saving system.

Joystiq has been informed that PSN+ subscribers will also have the ability to enable an auto-patching feature, which will detect, download and install updates for recently played PS3 titles on the system.

That's a much better offering than the pitiful list we saw last week.  The price for all of this is listed at $9.99 per month which at just under $120 is steep.  Locking away the cross-game voice chat isn't going to win over anyone on the fence about this premium plan (dubbed PSN+), but that cloud-based game save system would be invaluable should your PlayStation 3 quit once and for all.  As for me, I could see myself going for this on an annual basis if the price came down.  Suddenly that $70 price tag mentioned with the last wave of rumors doesn't seem so bad.