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December 2012

2012 Box Art Walk Of Shame

Trash PackThe end of another year brings us another installment of GamesRadar's annual feature in which 365 days of terrible, cringe-inducing video game box art is held up for a cheap laugh.  Let us gather in this familiar tradition to point and gawk at hideous CGI faces, twisted creatures that we're assured are meant to be cute, characters that do not respect expected lines of sight, questionable layout choices, and so very much more.  This year's crop doesn't yield quite as many hilarious horrors as previous years, but as long as there are graphic artists working without a reasonable budget and without enough time to complete the job, there will be plenty of new material for us to "enjoy" at the end of 2013.

Amazon Celebrates Christmas With Big Gaming Sale

Buy somethin' will ya!Did Santa Claus let you down this morning?  Was Hanukkah Harry not aware of your wish list?  Are you just looking for a deal on video games?  No matter the reason, has you covered with a special Christmas Day set of gaming lightning deals and Gold Box sale.  Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is the big sale item today with the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 versions of the game on offer for just $19.99 while the Nintendo Wii version costs $25.00.  You can also pick up the Nintendo 3DS side game, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, for $25.00.  Two Disneycentric Just Dance titles are also discounted to $15.99.  Then there's your lightning deals which include limited time sales on games and accessories such as NBA 2K13, a new owners kit for the PS3, headsets, a Skylanders pack, a fightstick, and much more.  A portion of every purchase made anywhere on Amazon via the green link above goes to help support Press The Buttons which is very important this holiday season and, as always, I thank you for that. Merry Christmas!

The Legend Of Luigi: Ocarina Of Time

Luigi’s Holiday VacationWe all know how The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time played out.  A young Link accepted the duty of saving Hyrule from evil forces by plucking the Master Sword from the Temple of Time, traveling ahead seven years into a world turned desolate by the spread of darkness and conquered Ganon at long last.  What if, however, it was another hero in green who saved the day?  In this special installment of A Brawl in the Family, Luigi travels to Hyrule to finally prove that he's nobody's sidekick or Player 2.  The execution in this webcomic is a true love letter to both Ocarina and Luigi himself.  The Brawl comic continues to impress.  Oh, and for more crossover craziness, be sure to check out what happens with Zelda's Ganondorf ventures to Dream Land in search of new lands to rule.

We Are Rock-Men! 2 Rocks Out

We Are Rock-Men! 2Following on from 2011's We Are Rock-Men! album of arranged Mega Man music comes the sequel, We Are Rock-Men 2!, which includes more awesome remixed tunes from the world of the blue bomber.  More of your favorite songs are here including stage themes from Mega Man 5 (Napalm Man), Mega Man 4 (Skull Man), Mega Man X3 (Blast Hornet), Mega Man 2 (Dr. Wily Stage 1), and even Mega Man 3 (Snake Man) as well as music from later spin-off titles like Mega Man Battle Network, Mega Man Legends, and even the only-in-Japan iOS adventure Rockman Xover.  While I think the previous album was more mindblowing, this edition contains some great stuff and is worth a listen.  Check out the Snake Man theme for evidence of that!  I think that my feelings towards this album are tainted by the inclusion of music from Mega Man titles that I have little connection with; I was never much of a Battle Network fan and I've never played Xover, so I can't say those tracks interest me.  Give me Classic series music any day!

Capcom Turnaround Strikes Back

Capcom TurnaroundPTB readers may remember my exhaustive examination of a recurring Capcom level design element that I dubbed the Capcom Turnaround back in 2010 in which a character (usually Mega Man) drops into a room from above and must turn to the left, drop slightly, and proceed to the right to continue.  I've been chronicling as many uses of the Turnaround that I can find, and while playing the company's new officially sanctioned Street Fighter X Mega Man fan game, I was elated to discover another use of the classic design.  You'll find yet another Turnaround in Blanka's stage in the underwater area.  Watch out for the electric eels and spike trap!  It's great to see that the Capcom Turnaround lives on in new Mega Man productions (even those created by fans).  The new game isn't perfect, but it includes my favorite part of Mega Man stage design, so it's OK with me.

Rejected Robot Master Roundup

Honey WomanIt feels like just yesterday that Capcom opened its vault to allow for the publication of the Mega Man: Official Complete Works tome which elaborated on the process behind creating the video game franchise's famed Robot Masters.  The book was released prior to Mega Man 9's release, so now the book has been republished with new material to fill the franchise's recent history.  The Mega Man Network has scans of some of the rejected Robot Masters sketched up as part of Mega Man 9's development process that show the evolution of classic bosses.  You know Plug Man and Splash Woman, but what about Plasma Man and Ocean Man?  Weather Man?  Diamond Man?  Honey Woman?

Hornet Man began as Honey Woman (though she still possessed the Hornet Chaser). But apparently with some “one woman rule,” Ocean Man becoming a woman meant Honey Woman had to become a man. The redesign was named Sting Man for a time, before finally settling on Hornet Man.

Some of the rejected designs are actually kind of interesting.  I wouldn't mind seeing Ocean Man turn up in some future Mega Man game, and Plasma Man has potential.  Weather Man definitely needed more work though, and his eventual change into Tornado Man was a wise decision.  It's always intriguing to see this window into the development cycle and for all the trouble that Capcom has had with the Mega Man brand lately, I'm glad that they approved this updated version of the book.  Hopefully we'll see it outside of Japan sooner or later.  I own the original volume, but I'd happily buy the new revision to see additional sketches and artwork.

Street Fighter X Mega Man Soundtrack Combines Memories

Street Fighter X Mega ManCapcom's Mega Man series of video games is known for its stellar 8-bit chiptune music.  Similarly, Capcom's Street Fighter series of video games is known for its memorable action-packed tunes.  Mix them together and you get the soundtrack to the new free (and officially sanctioned) Street Fighter X Mega Man which brings favorite Street Fighter music into Mega Man's Nintendo Entertainment System-inspired world.  The full soundtrack is available as a free download starting December 18, 2012, but today you can listen to this sampler provided by the game's artist, A_Rival.  I'm very impressed with the quality of these songs, as I recognized memorable bits of music from both franchises.  There's some good stuff happening here, and for the first time in what feels like forever, it's great to be a Mega Man fan. 

(via The Mega Man Network)

Power Button Wants Your Game Of The Year Picks

Power ButtonAs 2012 comes to a close, it's time for the Power Button podcast to have a look back at the year that was and name our top choices for the coveted Game Of The Year honors.  Brad Hilderbrand, Joey Davidson, and I are making our picks to be discussed on an upcoming episode of the show, but we also want to hear from all of you out there.  What are your selections this year for the annual honor?  You can leave your comments here or, better yet, give the Power Button hotline a call at (720) 722-2781 and leave a message for us in which you talk about your own personal Game Of The Year choices.  It can be a blockbuster smash or an indie darling, a retail boxed product or a downloadable title, a console masterpiece or a mobile quickie.  The only rule is that it has to have become available for play this calendar year.  Call now and share your thoughts!  You may just hear your message on the next episode.

Related Listening:

Weekly Poll: Hiatus

Weekly Poll for 12-10-2012Nearly all of you out there save your video game boxes and cases.  I certainly do; in fact, I still have my old Nintendo Entertainment System game boxes and the boxes and cases for every game I've purchased since the dawn of Super Mario Bros.  They're all stored in a pair of large boxes on a shelf at the top of my closet.  Nicole wonders why I hang on to them.  I say that they add to the value of the game.  She asked if I ever planned to sell them, but I value my game collection too much to part with it.  Catch-22?  Maybe.  The collector mentality that I have demands that I keep the boxes though.  They are, after all, part of the collection.  I imagine a lifetime of collected games ending up in a museum someday after I'm gone and I want to be sure that the collection in the Matthew Green Wing of Collected Gaming is as complete and thorough as possible.  Egotistical?  Definitely.

There is no poll for this week as my polling provider, Vizu, has decided to close up shop effective this week.  I'm looking for a new polling provider, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.  Thanks for any tips you can provide!

A Brief History Of Console Revisions

Genesis 3With all of the recent talk of Nintendo's latest Wii hardware revision, it's only natural that there would be some curiosity in the gaming community regarding other video game consoles that have shed a few pounds and a few features as their lifespans play out.  Dan Ryckert over at Game Informer has put together a brief look back at key consoles that have molted over the years spanning from the original Nintendo Entertainment System to the Sega Genesis to the Sony PlayStation and the Microsoft Xbox 360.  Here's the quick take on the Genesis's redesign:

Sega made several changes to the casing of the Genesis between the first and second versions, from changing the power switch to a button to omitting the volume slider. When the Genesis 3 (far right) was introduced in 1998 (well into the Playstation/Nintendo 64 era), it featured the low price of $49.99 and a dramatically smaller frame. Unfortunately for cheaters, this version was the only one that wasn't compatible with the Game Genie.

This piece leaves out the extensive details regarding just which features and capabilities were removed from all of these machines.  Yes, the Genesis 3 did not support the Game Genie, but it also was incompatible with the Sega CD, 32X, Power Base Converter, and a few games that relied on hardware tricks made possible by the removed Z80 processor.  Not only that, but there were many more Genesis revisions than the few presented in the article.  Let this Game Informer piece be your introduction to the world of console revisions, and I'd recommend doing further research on your own if what you see really interests you.  There's a lot to learn about just how hardware developers were able to make these devices more cost efficient at the expense of little-used or pricey components.  I think it's a fascinating topic.