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June 2011

Power Button At E3 2011 - Episode 4: So Very Tired

Power ButtonAs our week in Los Angeles covering E3 came to a close, those of us who were left standing on Thursday evening — myself, Blake Grundman, and Ross Polly — convened one last time in the same room for a last podcast.  We were all so very tired and extremely punchy with exhausted delirium, so this edition of Power Button At E3 2011 is more out there and scattershot than any other episode.  We're all over the map with topics such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, both new Kirby titles, Rayman Origins, Star Trek, Saints Row: The Third, Spider-Man: Edge Of Time, Prototype 2, and more.  I can't promise that it all makes sense, but we had fun recording it.  Fun fact: after this episode wrapped, I slept for three hours before forcing myself awake in order to catch my flight home.  Sleep is a precious, undersupplied commodity at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.  Download today'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 At E3 2011 - Episode 4: So Very Tired

E3 2011: Hands-On With Star Fox 64 3D

All these years later, the recognized high point of Nintendo's Star Fox franchise is still the Nintendo 64 entry in the series, Star Fox 64.  Nobody has been able to make lightning strike twice in quite the same way, however, so it's only fitting that for the next installment in the franchise, Nintendo is going back to the last great success for Fox McCloud.  Star Fox 64 is coming to the Nintendo 3DS later this year with new sharpened visuals and gyroscope tilt controls.  The demo was at E3 last week and I had a chance to fly an arwing over Corneria for a few brief minutes. 

It felt great to slip back into Star Fox 64 after all these years, although the demo on display did little to show off the new features promised for the full version.  The multiplayer battle mode with camera functionality was unavailable.  I'm told that tilt controls were featured, but I didn't notice them and instead went for the traditional control stick method of steering the arwing.  Worse, the demo's controls were inverted, so I continuously crashed into the ground when I intended to aim skyward.  The final version of the game will offer properly oriented controls, I'm told.  One neat new touch that I noticed involves the touchscreen; while it was largely dormant during the demo, it did have a place on its simulated arwing control panel to indicate the current time and remaining 3DS battery life.

Basically, in the end this is Star Fox 64 all over again for new and older generations of franchise fans to enjoy.  This one is an automatic purchase for me, as the original game was one of the top titles of the Nintendo 64 era and looks to translate nicely to the 3DS even if the demo had some rough spots that need ironing out (again, looking at you, inverted controls).  While it's not a new Star Fox game, it is a retread in the right direction that will ideally get the series back on track. 

Weekly Poll: Winner Takes It All

Weekly Poll for 5-31-2011None of you are interested in paying for Activision's Call of Duty: Elite premium service.  I know I'm not.  It's rare to see an overwhelming result like this in a poll here, so I can only imagine what will happen when the service launches later this year.  Just how many Call of Duty players will go for it?  I'm genuinely curious.

Moving on, now that E3 2011 is in the history books, everyone has an opinion about which of the major hardware producers — Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony — "won" the event and came out on top in terms of future products and public perception.  Which company do you believe had the best E3?  Did Microsoft win you over with its Kinect-heavy lineup?  Did Sony's PlayStation Vita capture your attention?  Is Nintendo's Wii U destined for your home?  Let's hear your thoughts.

E3 2011: Mars Attacks In The War Of The Worlds

The War of the Worlds

I have to give credit to Paramount Digital Entertainment.  While most publishers with a catalog of films would only pursue subpar video games based on the latest summer blockbuster, Paramount is mining its back catalog for quality films that would make for slamming video gaming experiences.  While last year's Top Gun and Days Of Thunder adaptations hit below the mark, this year's crop shown at E3 looks like a much better harvest.  I've already told you about Star Trek, while the other game in the works is based on the 1953 film adaptation of H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.  Aping the 16-bit platformer genre expanded by old school titles such as Flashback, Out of this World, and Prince of Persia, The War of the Worlds wants to be a love letter from the developers at Other Ocean Interactive to the original film.  And it has Patrick Stewart in it, too!

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E3 2011: Kirk And Spock Team Up In Star Trek

Star Trek

Considering how long it's been around, the Star Trek franchise has never really produced a fantastic video game.  Star Trek: 25th Anniversary has its moments, sure, and Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force is a decent shooter built on the Quake III engine with Trek wrappings, but no Star Trek game has found the spark that makes a true Star Trek title.  At E3, however, I had the opportunity to have a look at the upcoming Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and PC title entitled simply Star Trek which follows on from the 2009 J.J. Abrams film of the same name.  Digital Extremes has been hard at work on this new adventure for Captain Kirk and Commander Spock for the past year and a half alongside publisher Paramount Digital Entertainment and God of War writer, Marianne Krawczyk,
in collaboration with the writer/producers of the 2009 Star Trek films, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, as well as Damon Lindelof.  Players are cast into a two-player cooperative mission via local splitscreen play or online multiplayer.  Although the finished product is still a year away, it looks like we're in for quite the experience.

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E3 2011: Sega Has A Sonic The Hedgehog Museum

Sonic the HedgehogSega is marking Sonic the Hedgehog's twentieth anniversary in a big way at its E3 booth in South Hall with a special Sonic Generations enclosure that includes a small Sonic museum of memorabilia, products, and miscellaneous stuff that the marketing machine has produced since 1991.  It's interesting stuff and definitely worth a look.  If you can't make it to the Los Angeles Convention Center today (or, later, if the booth no longer exists), then you'll have to live vicariously via these photos I snapped.


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E3 2011: Day Three

Today is meant to tie up some loose ends and pick up the last of what I want to see before everything comes to a close.  I'd like to get around to seeing Wii U and PlayStation Vita if the lines are reasonable as well as Saint's Row: The Third, Batman: Arkham City, Rayman Origins, and the inevitable things I know I'm forgetting but will remember when I stumble on them while wandering the convention center. Today's appointment is with Paramount to see the new Star Trek game. After that is just for exploring. It's been a great week, but it's time to move into the endgame.

E3 2011: Hands-On With The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

LinkWith all of the fuss over Nintendo's new Wii U and 3DS, a comparatively lowly Wii title risks getting lost in the shuffle.  Even though the clock is winding down on Nintendo's current home console, there's still one more major release to come as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword closes out the Wii era near the end of the year.  This latest adventure of Link has a new demo on display in West Hall at E3 this week and I took advantage of the short line to check it out.  The good news is that I still have my serious Zelda skills, as the booth attendant told me that I was the first person she'd seen at E3 who finished the demo before time expired.  On a more general note, the other good news is that Skyward Sword looks to continue the Zelda tradition.  Hopefully it's still enough.

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E3 2011: Hands-On With Kirby For Wii And Kirby Mass Attack For DS


A long time ago (the GameCube era, to be exact), Nintendo and HAL announced a Kirby title that involved co-op multiplayer.  Then that game quietly disappeared.  It's back at E3 this year finally, now reborn for the Wii.  Up to four players take control of Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight, and a lowly Waddle Dee armed with a spear in order to go on an adventure together.  I took the controls of Waddle Dee in West Hall this afternoon and joined the fun only to come away feeling as if I'd played this experience before.  This is basically New Super Mario Bros. Wii with a Kirby coat of paint, although that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.  It's a solid if familiar concept, but coming off of last year's absurdly charming Kirby's Epic Yarn, the new Kirby feels trapped in the past (which, considering that it was basically announced in 2005, I suppose it is).

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Power Button At E3 2011 - Episode 3: A Brief Tour Of West And South Halls

Power ButtonThe first official day of E3 sent me and the Evilcast crew scrambling all around the West and South Halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, but by day's end we returned to regale each other with stories and share experiences regarding our hands-on time with all of the recently announced titles that we could get to in a single day.  Lucky for you, we had these conversations near an open microphone.  On this installment of Power Button at E3 2011, join me and Blake Grundman as we talk with Keri Honea, Ross Polly, and Michael Migliacio about what was seen and what was played.  We talk about Nintendo, Capcom, Sony, Square-Enix, Paradox Interactive, and much more in this massive episode.  Download today'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 At E3 2011 - Episode 3: A Brief Tour Of West And South Halls