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May 2011

A Little Zelda Jazz, If You Please

Helmasaur KingThere is something missing from your day.  You need more jazz based on Nintendo's famous The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  Why not fill your daily requirement of such things with this selection from the OverClocked Remix vault?  "Darkworld Jazz" from Gux goes the extra mile with an actual soulful trumpet rendition of the Dark World theme from the 1992 adventure accompanied by a lounge piano and acoustic bass.  This is real music performed by actual humans and not techno wizardry, although you're free to picture a moblin, a zora, and an octorok performing the piece as a kickass Hyrule jazz trio if that helps you. 


Sony Patents Portable Use For PlayStation Move

PSP MoveUsing your PlayStation Move is all well and good with your PlayStation 3, but what if you want to wave the motion controller around in front of a small portable system while on the go?  BYTE has uncovered a Sony patent that aims to bring the Move experience to the PlayStation Portable for some reason.  Sure, there's a camera missing from the equation that the Move needs in order to work, but common sense has never held back the true innovators.  Here's BYTE:

Currently, the PSPgo can actually make use of the PS3's Dualshock 3 controllers via Bluetooth. The only thing restricting it from functioning with PlayStation Move is the lack of a camera. Sony has killed off the PSPgo since the application was originally filed, but the idea was rather interesting, if you don't mind standing a few feet from a 3.8-inch screen. Though this stand was designed to move in order to keep the player within the camera's boundaries.

My guess is that the PSPgo in the patent is just a stand-in for the upcoming NGP which does, as you'll recall, include that vital camera.  Now, why you'd want to play a Move game on a PSP or NGP is beyond me, as it seems to me that either system's screen would be too small to be much fun when Move wands are shifting around in front of it.  Still, I'm glad to see that Sony is tinkering with new ideas regardless of rather or not they're actually practical.


Power Button - Episode 50: Take This Genre Behind The House And Shoot It

Power ButtonIt's milestone time!  This week's episode of Power Button is our fiftieth episode, so Joey Davidson, Brad Hilderbrand, and I decided to ask Michael White and Erik Norris of Crave Online's Next Gen News to join us for sixty-six minutes of discussion regarding which game genres are so overly overdone and overplayed that they need to go away for a while.  Survival horror is scared out of town, zombies are buried once and for all, first-person shooters are within our sights, and a few other surprises are tossed around as we come to bury the kinds of games that have overstayed their welcome.  Note that this episode skews a little bluer than usual.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, 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 all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons, @aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 50: Take This Genre Behind The House And Shoot It


Weekly Poll: PSP Revisited

Weekly Poll for 5-16-2011More than half of you have never bought a video game that requires an online pass.  As time goes on, I'd expect that number to decrease at the rate the industry is adopting the codes.  I have one game that requires the pass — Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit — and punching it in was painless.  However, had I not bought the game and rented it instead, I'd have been pissed at having core gameplay features locked out.  This is why I never bothered to rent the new Mortal Kombat or any other recent game that I have a cursory interest in playing, but am not going to kick in $60 to play on blind faith.  I'd rather not play the game at all rather than muddle through a purposely broken version of it.  If I miss out on something awesome, so be it.

Moving on, Sony has announced that it is launching a new banner under which select PlayStation Portable games will be remastered in high definition for use on the PlayStation 3.  First out of the gate?  Monster Hunter Portable 3rd from Capcom.  Assuming that there are more titles ahead for this program, are you generally interested in playing PSP games reworked for the PS3?  Let's hear your thoughts. 


Sony Hacked Yet Again

Picard facepalmAnother setback for Sony today as it's been announced that hackers... you know what?  You don't need my little summary.  Without any explanation I'm sure you already kind of know what's happened.  Let's just jump right to the Reuters article.

So-Net, the Internet service provider unit of Japan's Sony, alerted customers that an intruder broke into its system and stole virtual points from account holders worth $1,225.  "What we've done is stopped the So-Net points exchanges and told customers to change their passwords," So-Net said in a statement to customers on its website in Japanese.

At least this time the damage is fairly localized, but still... enough!  No more of this!  The hackers have made their point.  Disrupting Sony services and stealing customer information have taught us all the true meaning of Christmas.  Can we get things back to normal now, please?


Acclaiming Of The Q

Panasonic QIt's not uncommon for video game console manufacturers to release special hybrid hardware in Japan.  There's the Famicom and Famicom Disc System combination unit created by Sharp, the PSX PlayStation/DVR, a IBM compatible PC grafted to a Sega Genesis, and so much more.  Today Kotaku has a look back at the Nintendo GameCube's turn at the specialization machine co-created by Panasonic, the mighty Q.  Part GameCube and part DVD player, this only-in-Japan box aimed to bring parity with the Sony PlayStation 2's movie-watching abilities.

[I]n addition to its regular GameCube components also boasted more advanced features like an optical out port (for true 5.1 surround sound support), a swish front-loading disc tray, a neat little LCD display panel at the top, a separate subwoofer output for the Q's "Bass Plus" feature and, best and most badass of all, a polished glass front with a stainless steel chassis.

Despite this more advanced feature set, and a price tag of around USD$450 (which wasn't that expensive), the Q remained something of an oddity, an ugly stepsister, and sadly never really took off in Japan. It was discontinued only two years later, in December 2003, and was never officially released outside Japan.  Because of its unique appearance and capabilities, though, the Q remains a favourite of hardware collectors, and can be had quite easily online for anywhere between $300-$600.

How can you not like the Q?  It looks like it comes from the future!  All shiny and glowy... There was even a specialized Game Boy Player add-on for it that fit the Q's unique footprint.  Just for fun, buy a Q with Game Boy Player and connect it to a Sharp SF-1 television that sports a built-in Super Famicom for the ultimate Nintendo convergence experience.


New PSN Exploit Allowed Unauthorized Password Changes

Picard facepalmNow things are just getting ridiculous, as Sony is dealing with another security issue related to last month's PlayStation Network breach.  PSN is back up in most places now, but as part of the restoration process, all users must change their account password.  That's good.  Passwords can be changed via the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable systems (which most people will probably use for this) or on PlayStation.com and Qriocity.com.  The new problem is that there's a security issue on the websites used for changing one's password that allows anyone that knows your account's e-mail address and your date of birth (which, as you'll recall, were stolen in the initial hack attack) to change your password without your authorization.  That's very, very bad.  Eurogamer has the infuriating story.

Eurogamer has seen video evidence that verifies reports that Sony's PlayStation Network password reset system suffers from an exploit that allows attackers to change your password using only your PSN account email and your date of birth – information compromised in the PSN hack of 20th April.

Sony today made PSN sign-in unavailable for a number of its websites, including PlayStation.com and the PlayStation forums. All PlayStation game titles are also unavailable.

Crucially, the website users are directed to by password reset emails is now down.

"Unfortunately this also means that those who are still trying to change their password via Playstation.com or Qriocity.com will be unable to do so for the time being," Sony said. "This is due to essential maintenance and at present it is unclear how long this will take.

I wonder what free game Sony will offer up to apologize for this issue.  But seriously, at least the web-based password changing method is unavailable now, so no additional accounts can be swiped with this method.  Y'know, Sony, some of us are willing to move forward from the PSN attack and try this whole PlayStation thing again, but you're really making it difficult when things like this password exploit happen.  Get your house in order and fix the problem.  Better yet, don't let the problem happen in the first place.  The damage has been done, but my hope is that Sony's management and technicians have learned from this experience.  Some good has to come out this in the end no matter how little. 


Big Gaming Sale At Amazon.com Today Only

Buy somethin' will ya!If you're looking to pick up some recent video game releases at discounted prices, then Amazon.com has you covered today with another of its one-day-only Gold Box and ongoing Lightning Deal sales offerings.  All throughout the day the online retailer will have a variety of critically lauded games on sale at tempting prices.  Crysis 2 for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC is on sale all day for a mere $34.99, while titles such as Dead Space 2, Dragon Age II, a pair of Final Fantasy adventures, Pilotwings Resort, Rift, Madden, and more will be offered for cheap as the day goes on.  Best of all from my perspective, a portion of every purchase you make via the green link above goes to help support Press The Buttons. 


Sonic Unleashed Speedrun Redefines Blast Processing

Sega's Sonic Unleashed for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii has its share of issues (most of them occuring at night if you know what I mean), but that doesn't mean that speedrunners haven't maxed out what the game is capable of offering.  Here we have a quick trip through one of the game's stages from the high-end version of the title that brings the old blast processing gimmick to mind as Sonic zooms through obstacles and, at times, outside of the expected confines of the environment.  It's impressive stuff, but just be sure to turn that off awful music playing in the background that's not part of the game.  Why people feel the need to dub crappy music over a game's actual soundtrack in YouTube videos remains a mystery to me.

(via Reddit)


Entitlement Culture Slams Free PS3, PSP Games

SackboySony is making good on its promise of a "Welcome Back" program now that the PlayStation Network is semi-operational again.  The company has announced a selection of free games that will be available via the PlayStation Store soon, and surprisingly there are some real winners on the list.  The cynical side of me had assumed that the company would offer up a free download some other underwhelming title, but Sony has actually gone the extra mile here.  Via the PlayStation Blog, here's what North American PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners will be able to access for a limited time (European players have access to a slightly different selection):

All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • Dead Nation
  • inFAMOUS
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Super Stardust HD
  • Wipeout HD + Fury

For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers
  • Pursuit Force
  • Killzone Liberation
  • A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon.
  • 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers.
  • Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription.
  • Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription.
  • Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members.
  • To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.
  • Infamous and LittleBigPlanet alone are a great deal if you don't already own those games on a retail disc.  Moreover, the PSP versions of LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers aren't too shabby either.  Unfortunately, this is not enough for some people.  Pete Davison over at GamePro reports on the malcontent rage:

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