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Power Button - Episode 266: E3 2018 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs we do each E3 we have brought in our special E3 correspondent Ross Polly live from the loading dock of the Los Angeles Convention Center for an exclusive discussion about the happenings and events of the week that was in big gaming news and press conferences.  Join us for a super-sized two hour episode of the Power Button podcast in which we run down the highs and lows of the Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Square-Enix, Sony, and Nintendo press conferences and digital showcases for conversation about games such as Anthem, Halo Infinite, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Fallout 76, Just Cause 4, The Last of Us Part II, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate plus so much more.   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.


The Running Of The Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. BrawlSometimes on certain windy nights, if you listen hard enough and believe fervently enough, you can still hear the sounds of E3 2006 reverberating through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  One of the last great E3s of days gone by before the expo contracted into the airplane hanger years for a while, 2006 gave rise to Nintendo's big Wii debut and Sony's lackluster PlayStation 3 introduction.  Nadia Oxford of USgamer was there, and her story about seeing the first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer reminded me of one of my own favorite E3 2006 stories.

Meanwhile in Nintendo territory, we saw the reveal for Super Mario Galaxy (charming and highly unique at the time of its reveal, and still one of the greatest 3D Mario games of all time), a playable version of Metroid Prime 3, and the incredibly crowd-pleasing trailer for Super Smash Bros Brawl. I still smile a bit at that Snake reveal at the very end: It set a standard for the surprise Smash character reveals that have evolved into tiny, potent packages of fan-crack. The Mega Man reveal for Smash Bros on the Wii U and 3DS at E3 2013 set a fire under a property that was nothing but cooling ashes at that point, and I don't think I'll ever be over the Cloud reveal.

I was also at that fateful E3 as part of the Advanced Media Network team, the crew that would later go on to become the now-defunct Kombo.  AMN had drastically scaled back its 2006 presence at the expo from around fifty representatives in 2005 to a more manageable and hard-working twelve people.  Nintendo was still holding live stage show press conferences back then, but the company also always saved a little something to show off later in the week.  Super Mario Galaxy stole the press conference and the show floor, but it was the first look at Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii behind closed doors later in the day that really turned heads.

Allow me to remind you of the technology scene of the era.  No YouTube.  No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No iPhone or Android.  Certainly no Twitch.  WiFi was a rare and expensive commodity in public settings when it worked at all.  Large files were still distributed by discs instead of cloud services or streaming video sites.  I was still carrying around a digital camera strapped into a belt holster at the show that year and my primitive cell phone only made calls.  AMN had sent two of our team to the closed door showcase and we all had to wait patiently to find out what was being announced in Nintendo's room.  Finally, the boss got the call: Nintendo had shown off the new Smash title and had given out discs with the trailer on them.  Whichever site could get that video online first and start the link spreading around the Internet through Digg and the like would win all of the gaming community traffic.  Our guys had a disc in their possession, but no way to get it on the Internet from the convention center.  So began the great Smash Bros. run of 2006.

Continue reading "The Running Of The Smash Bros." »


Power Button - Episode 265: E3 2018 Predictions: The New Batch

Power ButtonE3 2018 is a week away and we're gearing up to enjoy all of the new announcements and reveals.  This week on Power Button we're looking ahead to what we think the publishers and developers at the big show may announce and throw in a little bit of personal wishlisting while we're at it.  Join us for an hour of discussion.   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.


You Are Kirby's Hero

Kirby Star Allies

It's amazing how much a simple message can be such a great help.  I've had an especially rough time lately with my health and longtime readers will remember my decades-long fight with Crohn's Disease and its accompanying issues.  Earlier this year my pancreas joined the party with its own problems, and now for the past few weeks I've been pushing myself through extra pain and difficulties with digesting enough nutrition.  Just making it through a regular day or work and daily responsibilities is a physically overwhelming prospect sometimes.  I've spent a lot of time resting in bed, usually with my Nintendo Switch within reach.  Kirby Star Allies has taken up my Switch time over the past few months off and on, and I found a surprising boost in an unexpected place.

Kirby has access to so many power and abilities over the course of the game that it's easy to forget how to control him sometimes, so the game's pause screen includes a recap of what Kirby can do in his current state: fire, ice, electric, ninja, etc.  Whenever Kirby is just plain ol' Kirby, however, there's not much to say about him, so instead the developers included a short message about how Kirby believes in the player no matter how tough things are.  I was surprised by how much a little encouragement from a fictional character helped boost my spirits when I was up in the middle of the night with pain and unable to sleep.  If Kirby believes in me, how can I lose?