With another year behind us it's time for the Power Button crew to take its annual look back at the best games released in the previous 365 days. I have my selections for the Game Of The Year honors, Blake Grundman appears with his list of favorites, and special guest podcast veteran Brad Hilderbrand returns to share his top picks from 2013. Spanning a variety of platforms and genres, we take you through the highlights of our gaming year with looks at titles such as Saints Row IV, MLB 13 The Show, Grand Theft Auto V, Tearaway, DuckTales: Remastered, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Gone Home, and many more. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.
On this Christmas Day let us pause for some winter fun. Sure, we're experiencing record heat waves in my native Florida this week, but for those of who buried in ice and snow, it's perfect weather for a sleigh ride. It's too cold to actually go outside though, so instead let's jam with The OneUps and their OverClocked Remix release from 2002, "Super Mario's Sleigh Ride". This track mashes up traditional holiday songs like "Sleigh Ride" with bits of the soundtrack from Nintendo's own Super Mario World to create something unique and special. You heard a bit of it recently at the opening of Episode 118 of the Power Button podcast, but I have to share it in its entirety because it's just that awesome and festive. Credit goes to Dale North, Mustin, Nate Cloud, The OneUps, and William Reyes for this one. There's some real talent happening here. Merry Christmas!
Video game strategy guides that have the blessing of the game's publisher are often packed with useful information and gorgeous artwork of the game's characters and settings, but one doesn't have to actually have approval to release a strategy guide. Before the Internet largely made such things an unprofitable waste of time, there were entire lines of unauthorized guides for the most popular games like Final Fantasy VI and Super Mario 64 that were created by writers who slammed through Japanese copies of games before they reached the west. These guides had to rely on weird, off-model artwork that did not infringe on the publisher's assets or creations. That led to all kinds of strangeness. VGJunk has taken a look back at a handful of some of these kinds of guides and mocked their unusual appearances.
Most of the time, this is what you'll get on the cover of an unofficial guide - Microsoft Word text effects and sub-clip-art levels of design. This dragon gets off lightly by remaining in shadow, although I'm not sure that is a dragon. I think it's a garden hose lying next to pigeon that's been hit by a truck.
There's a discussion happening at MetaFilter about this article that digs a little deeper into the whole TOTALLY UNAUTHORIZED schtick surrounding these kinds of guides and tears up the whole "the man doesn't want you to know" aura. The hubris and marketing angle behind that attitude always mystified me. We're talking about where to find hidden trinkets, not who really took down Nixon.
Also, as the title of this post implies, I love the ones where "Unauthorized" is used as a positive thing, like, stuff THE MAN doesn't want you to know. You got the BradyGames Totally Unauthorized strategy guide for Super Mario 64? Oh shit, man, won't that put you on a CIA watchlist or something? You rebel, you -- totally unauthorized. Shit man. That's serious business.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:39 AM on December 23
Yeah, I always liked that there was the "Official Guide to FFVII" and "The Totally Unauthorized Guide to FFVII". Like you can't just be unofficial, you have to be TOTALLY UNAUTHORIZED! Like you just chugged a Mountain Dew, ate a bag of Doritos, and then snowboarded off Midgar.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:51 PM on December 23
Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyous Festivus, and a general Happy Holidays to all! This episode of the Power Button podcast is our holiday seasonal gift to you as I'm joined by my fiancee Nicole and my pal Blake Grundman to reminisce about our favorite Christmas and Hanukkah gaming memories. From tales of waking parents long before dawn to unwrap Super Mario World to puzzling through the dancing fried foods of Monster Party on a cold winter's morn to playing GoldenEye 007 with cheating family members, this episode will fill you with holiday cheer and fuzzy digital memories. We have a lot of stories to share and a lot of joy to spread, so gather your loved ones by the fire, pour your favorite hot drink, and settle in for an hour of storytelling. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. Next Week: We close out the year with our annual Game Of The Year discussion.
As we head into the end of another year it's time to start looking back and recapping news and events. 2013 was packed with interesting happenings that deserve a second look, so on this episode of the Power Button podcast we turn our attention to revisiting moments such as Microsoft's Xbox One policy reversal, Valve's Steam Machine reveal, Sony finding success with the PlayStation 4, Nintendo surprising us all with the 2DS, LucasArts closing down, Electronic Arts facing legal issues over buggy games, the Year of Luigi, Grand Theft Auto V breaking sales records, OUYA melting down, and much more. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. Next Time: Join us for the Power Button Christmas Special!
Condensing a complex, detailed video game down into a single descriptive sentence can be a challenge. How do you relay the true depth and meaning of something like Final Fantasy, EarthBound, or Portal in one line? Sometimes ad writers nail it though. Consider this advertisement seen on Reddit for the new The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS which is described thusly:
Link's new ability gives access to locations he could otherwise not reach.
The blurb is referencing Link's power to become a 2D sketch and travel on flat planes, but, really, that line actually does encapsulate the entire Zelda experience over the past several decades. It's a simple type of brilliance, I think. Pack it in, folks. You'll never describe Zelda better than that.
Most of you aren't interesting in watching livestreaming gaming events which means that Sony and Microsoft have some work to do to punch up interest in their streaming partnerships with various online services with their new consoles. I've yet to try streaming anything from my PlayStation 4, but it's on the to-do list. Perhaps over the holiday I'll beam out some of my gaming exploits. Or maybe not because there's not a lot of interest in watching livestreams. If there's no interest, why broadcast? And why would there be interest if nobody's broadcasting? It's a real chicken and egg scenario except with more corporate money and mindshare at stake.
And speaking of video game consoles, are you planning on buying one this season? If so, is it a new shiny toy like a PS4, Xbox One, or Wii U? Or do you stick behind a generation and are finally jumping into the PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii pool? Maybe your staying put with what you have? Let's hear your plans.
Joining other characters from the world of Super Mario such as Mario and Princess Peach in the roster for the next Super Smash Bros. sequel for Wii U comes Super Mario Galaxy's Rosalina. Armed with her trusty Lumas and plenty of attitude, the lady in blue is ready to make a name for herself in the fighting circuit. Nintendo announced the addition with a new trailer to show her in action. Check out her moves! While I never turn away a new character, I think that the Mario side of Nintendo has been adequately covered on the roster. Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser are already confirmed and Yoshi is a sure-thing for inclusion. I'd hope to see Wario back again, too. Rosalina seems to have jumped the line of characters who deserve to be in the game, although I bet someone at Nintendo must just like her since she keeps showing up in new places. Besides, the company needs more strong female protagonists and while she's no Samus Aran, she has potential for greatness.
The next time we see Link on Nintendo's Wii U, he won't be appearing in a new Legend of Zelda title. Everyone's favorite jerkin-clad hero is headed for the next Super Smash Bros. sequel, sure, but he's also bound for the newly announced Hyrule Warriors. A cooperative production from Nintendo and Tecmo Koei, Hyrule Warriors mashes up former's The Legend of Zelda with the latter's Dynasty Warriors. I don't know anything about Dynasty Warriors, so I'll let Pete Davison at USgamer explain what we can expect from this title:
Did you guess that it was a take on the long-running Warriors series starring Zelda characters and monsters? If so, take a cookie -- that's exactly what it is, and it looks fantastic, with Link taking on hordes of enemies and huge bosses with spectacular special effects and comedically exaggerated physics models as the bodies go flying.
This could be very interesting. If nothing else, seeing Link lashing out at enemies in glorious high definition is a wondrous sight after all this time. Hyrule Warriors is due out in 2014. I'm sure it'll find an audience among fans of both franchises. Check out the teaser trailer to see what all the fuss is about.
Sega's Sonic Lost World for the Nintendo Wii U racked up some lackluster reviews upon release, but the company is working to revive interest in their star mascot's latest sequel. Continuing to bridge the gap between the publisher and the game's host console, the latest Lost World downloadable expansion turns Sonic loose on Yoshi's Island to spin dash into Shy Guys and snag the familiar Yoshi eggs. It's as if Sega and Nintendo teamed up to bring us one of those dream crossover ROM hacks. It's free and available today. There's even a trailer to whet your appetite and make your inner Sonic and Yoshi fan cry out to play this game despite your most likely not owning it. I know I'm interested and I don't have the game or the console to play it on. Guess I'll add it to the to-do list and get around to it somewhere down the line. Additional crossover DLC is expected next year which (rumor has it) will combine Sonic with The Legend of Zelda. Now that will be worth seeing in action!