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September 2017

October 2017

Power Button - Episode 250: A Dish Of Gaming Comfort Food

Power ButtonIn times of trouble and strife it's nice to be able to reach for that special video game that is always there for you to help cheer you up and take your mind off of your problems.  On this, our two hundred and fiftieth episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss the games that have been there for us when we're down.  All of our favorites are here from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening getting me through a prolonged winter storm power outage to Blake and his father competing at Zen Pinball.  We have over an hour of clicks n' bloops for the soul (is that pun too labored?).  Also, it's the final week to help support Blake in his Extra Life charity campaign, so you'd best get involved with that.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 249: Great Minds Think Alike

Power ButtonSometimes, through no fault of their own, rival video game developers independently stumble into the same idea.  On this week's episode of Power Button, we look back at games that competed based on similar concepts: Infamous versus Prototype, Split/Second versus Blur, and so on.   We also look at smash hit games like Street Fighter II and Super Mario Kart and inspired a glut of also-ran imitations.  It's an hour of great minds thinking alike or following the leader.  By the way, why not check out Blake's Extra Life charity goal and see if you can help him out?   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Nintendo's Wrecking Crew '98 Translated Into English

Wrecking Crew '98It's been a long time since Nintendo has done anything new with its Wrecking Crew property.  There's a Nintendo Switch port of the arcade version, VS. Wrecking Crew, on the way later this year and the original NES version of the game has popped up on the Virtual Console for the Wii, 3DS, & Wii U, but there's a missing piece of the series that has yet to show up outside of Japan in any form.  1998's aptly titled Wrecking Crew '98 updated the formula for the Super NES era, crossing it with the aesthetics and puzzle-type nature of Tetris Attack.  Now the game has been translated into English for the first time by fans, so if you're up for emulating the game, here's your chance to enjoy the full experience.  There's even an updated version of the classic Wrecking Crew included.  Romhacking.net tells you how it's done.

A Mario game, never brought over-seas, exclusive to Japan and without an english translation?!

Yes, for as hard as it is to believe, this obscure Mario title never saw the light of day in any country outside of Japan, thanks to the weird distribution method of kiosks back in ‘98, and thanks due to Nintendo’s International Division shutting down sales of all SNES games in ‘97.

This neat little package includes not only one, but 2 games! That’s right, the original Wrecking Crew for the NES was ported and included alongside its sequel, Wrecking Crew ‘98!

Now you can enjoy the flexibility of having both games in one single ROM, now in full english text thanks to the incredible work of the RomHacking community!

The game is fully playable, from start to finish, without any major hiccup or bug! Finally, a long forgotten game will see the light of day overseas, thanks to hackers doing what Nintendon’t!

I dabbled with the Japanese version over a decade ago, but never really knew what was going on thanks to my Japanese illiteracy.  I'm glad to have a reason to revisit the game and understand it now.  Say, come to think of it, hacking additional games into the Super NES Classic is coming along fairly well.  Perhaps these are two hacks that taste great together.


Free Games Now Available From My Nintendo

Nindie GamesAfter a booming start giving out free Virtual Console games to users who ponied up the points, the My Nintendo loyalty program has received boos and mehs ever since it almost immediately scaled back to offering desktop wallpaper and minor discounts on full prices eShop titles.  Gold and platinum points have been going to waste ever since, but now the program is ready to offer up free games once again.  For a limited time, My Nintendo is offering four indie titles for Wii U or 3DS in exchange for gold points.

  • BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U): 90 Gold Points
  • Zen Pinball 3D (Nintendo 3DS): 50 Gold Points
  • Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo (Nintendo 3DS): 60 Gold Points
  • Art of Balance (Wii U): 70 Gold Points

I've already cashed in some points for Zen Pinball 3D.  Now I know these aren't free downloads on the magnitude of Super Mario Bros. 3 or Mega Man 2, but don't look a free game in the mouth here.  If you're a Nintendo fan, chances are you have some points going to waste in your My Nintendo account, so why not partake and try something new?  Step outside your comfort zone and see where it takes you.  You may just have some fun along the way.


Let's Try To Buy A SNES Classic From Amazon

Amazon Treasure TruckI was fortunate enough to be awake during the four minute window that Amazon.com offered preorders of Nintendo's Super NES Classic mini console somewhere around 4:30am back in August, so I felt confident that I would be happily playing Star Fox 2 and all of my other favorite 16-bit games come release day last week, but then Amazon let me down when they seemingly diverted their preorder allotment stock to their roaming Treasure Trucks.  There's still no estimated shipping date for my preordered console, but those folks who tracked down a Treasure Truck were able to score, right?  Let's go to Platypus Comix's Peter Paltridge who braved the Treasure Truck scheme to try and give Amazon money in exchange for a console and see how well that worked out for him.

The Amazon Treasure Truck was exactly the kind of truck you would expect an SNES Classic to come from. It was a giant, glowing, blaring, gaudy carnival attraction, flashing with lights on every corner. A circular LED display in the center cycled through bright images of the SNES while dual speakers blared out classic Nintendo tunes. As if to say "too much is never enough," a bubble machine sat below the van, blowing out a stream of perpetual bubbles that constantly filled the area.

I approached what looked like a sales counter and casually said to the lady behind it, "They're probably sold out, right?" She said back "No, they aren't!" and pointed to the large table covered by a canopy on the far end. It was covered with glossy bags sporting the Treasure Truck logo, each neatly filled with one SNES Classic machine. There had to be over two dozen!

"I'LL TAKE ONE!"
"Do you have the Amazon app?"
"No, but I brought money--"
"You need the Amazon App to buy a Super Nintendo Classic."

"I can only buy it here with the app?"
"That is correct. But I'll show you where to download it. Do you have your phone?"

"....No."

Amazon made him jump through additional hoops and then, in a frustratingly nightmarish Catch-22 situation, left him starring at consoles on the truck that they would not sell him.  Amazon disappointed a lot of people with their handling of Super NES Classic sales.  I don't know what went wrong or why the company made it so difficult to buy this item from them, but I hope that they get their act together soon and start shipping out consoles to people who ordered them.  To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, Amazon knows how to take the preorders, they just don’t know how to fulfill the preorders and that’s really the most important part of the preorder, the fulfilling. Anybody can just take them.


Pinball FX3 Goes Back To The Future

Back To The FuturePinball FX3 from Zen Studios launched last week and while I've imported all of my old Zen Pinball 2 tables into the new platform, I've been spending most of my FX3 time with the Back To The Future table out of the Universal Classics Pinball pack of tables.  The team at Zen has given me just about everything I wanted from a BTTF table including multiple time periods.  There are six different versions of this one table available, one for each time period from the film trilogy: 1985, 1955, 2015, Biff Tannen's corrupt 1985A, a revisit of 1955 from the sequel, and 1885.  Soundalikes for Doc Brown and Marty McFly call out memorable lines from the film during play and there are multiple multiballs available if you hit the right targets.  Check out a recent run on the table to see it in action.  I still have a ways to go at improving, but I like to think I'm off to a good start.