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Bring Metal Man To Your Desktop

Metal Man Room by Orioto

I am in ongoing awe over Mikaël "Orioto" Aguirre and his video game art.  Suitable for framing, it has been a mainstay of my desktop for years.  One of his latest creations showcases Mega Man and Metal Man locked in combat from Capcom's beloved Mega Man 2.  The detailed background sparks the imagination and brings some color to your display, so it's just the thing you need to start the week.


It Belongs In A Museum!

Mega Man for four hundred damned dollarsWe were on the road again this past weekend and, while wandering a mall, my girlfriend and I came across another local used video game store.  This one was smaller than last week's find, but it was stuffed with cartridges and discs spanning the late 1970s to present.  It didn't take long for my attention to drift to the lit glass case at the front of the store which contained boxed copies of Super NES games and loose Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy cartridges, but what really leapt out at me were the price tags.  I'm accustomed to seeing high prices for the Super NES games of my youth, but this place wanted $400 for Mega Man 7 which is, last I checked, available for $8 on Nintendo's Virtual Console service across three different consoles.  Now yes, that is like comparing dollars to downloads, but c'mon — four hundred damned dollars for Mega Man 7?  Seriously?

I had to ask, so I dug down deep and channeled my late father who had a habit of asking shopkeepers if they were serious about this kind of thing.  "I have to ask," I said to the clerk, "Do people actually pay this kind of price for Mega Man 7?"

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Support Your Local Game Shops

Ice LuigiMy girlfriend and I like to take trips around the state on weekends.  One of our favorite places to go is the touristy shopping areas of Orlando like Disney Springs, Universal Citywalk, and the Artegon Marketplace.  Unfortunately, on our last trip out there this past weekend, we discovered that Artegon has been shuttered, and while the big movie theater remains, the fun little local shops inside are long gone including our favorite small used video game shop.  This was a problem because my girlfriend had brought a stack of some used Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii games with us to trade in.  Purchased from a variety of GameStop locations over the years, the pile of Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and assorted anime-of-the-week games from the past decade were just taking up space on her shelf, and as the used game lifecycle tells us, that meant it was time for them to go.  We had planned to trade them in at Artegon, but with it no longer an option, what's a couple with a handful of nearly worthless games to do?  Take them to GameStop and trade them back for less than a pittance?  After all, a good local game shop is hard to find and nobody likes to feed the beast more than one absolutely must.

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Now You Can Play The Unreleased Primal Rage 2

Primal Rage 2Back in the 1990s glory days of Mortal Kombat and its many imitators (I'm looking at you, Tattoo Assassins), Atari Games took a run at the fighting game crown with Primal Rage, an arcade game in which players battled not as ninjas, damned souls, or gods, but as mighty dinosaurs.  With Jurassic Park still wildly popular, this combination proved to be... eh, not a runaway hit per se, but surely one of the better remembered Kombat klones, and even then mostly just for the novelty of mixing dinosaurs with a fighting game.  Primal Rage made the rounds on the home consoles and computers of the day and sparked a little marketing empire of its own with comics and toys.  It's only natural that a sequel would follow, and while Primal Rage 2 was in development for a short while with a targeted release date of 1996, it was canceled before completion and quietly buried.  Only one playable arcade cabinet has surfaced in recent years, but now thanks to a custom version of the popular arcade emulator MAME, it's possible to bring Primal Rage 2 home.  Here's Hardcore Gaming 101 to explain how the sequel changed the formula and why that likely contributed to its demise.

The game was left unfinished, and was presumed lost. While the ROMs would eventually surface, no version of MAME put the game into a playable state. Some time later, an actual cabinet would eventually surface at Chicago's Galloping Ghost Arcade, letting people experience the game for the first time. For those of us who weren't local or lacked airfare, however, we had to make do with Youtube videos filmed by camcorder. Until recently, that is, when Gruntzilla94, someone who had been researching the game heavily, made a special version of MAME capable of fully running this mysterious game.

Since the game was never finished, any real faults of the game should be given with that in mind. While there's plenty of glitches, unfinished animations, and things that are straight up broken, it should be assumed that all of these would have been fixed for release. Even if the game had come out, it's likely there would have been further revisions, much like the original Rage. Still, considering its early state, it's fairly playable, if not particularly amazing. Given the vast strides fighting games had made since 1994, PR2 had a lot more to go up against, and it can't really compete.

For a game built around brawling dinosaurs, Primal Rage 2 commits the greatest sin it possibly can: it sidelines the brawling dinosaurs.  The game's lore outlines that humans have begun to rise up and worship dinosaurs as gods, so in the sequel the dinosaurs choose humans to wage their wars for them.  If I wanted to brawl as a human, there were plenty of other, better games I could choose.  The whole point of Primal Rage is to see dinosaurs rip each other apart, and without the dinosaurs, the whole endeavor is revealed as the hollow experience it really is.  Presumably Atari realized this too late in the development process to change course, and as the Kombat craze started to wane, the company likely just pulled the plug and walked away.  A few toys and even a novel based on the expanded lore of Primal Rage 2 made it out to stores anyway, although today the whole franchise is, pardon the pun, extinct.


Power Button - Episode 236: The Strength Of Length

Power ButtonVideo games have ballooned into very lengthy experiences in the past few generations, so this week on Power Button we take an hour to discuss some of the longest games we've played, the optimal length of a well-structured game, why players are looking for longer games, and if developers can continue this trend.   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.


Collecting Games The Cheap And Pitiful Way

ET and the Cosmic GardenIt can be expensive to collect video games.  Sealed copies of beloved classics like EarthBound or Chrono Trigger can sell in the used market for hundreds of dollars, while copies of rare titles like Stadium Events can command prices that most assign to cars or down payments on housing.  Who needs all of that stress and expense when you can collect the cheapest, most worthless games in gaming history?  Platypux Comix gets you started on your new valueless buying spree with a look at some of the cheapest games out there.

There have been a lot of lists written about the most expensive video games collectors can buy. But if you were just starting out, you probably wouldn't start with one of those, would you? Today we focus on the other end of the spectrum and track down the absolute, bottom of the barrel, can't-go-lower CHEAPEST game to collect for each system. These were gathered from figures displayed at PriceCharting.com, which calculates the average prices old games are selling for on the auction market.

All of your, ahem, "favorites" are there like Monster Truck Wars for the Game Boy ($0.99), F-1 World Grand Prix for the Nintendo 64 ($2.25), and DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises for the Sony PlayStation 2 ($0.01).  I was all set to tell you the story of the time I bought Virtual League Baseball for the Virtual Boy off of eBay in 2001 or so for a pittance and the seller threw in a second sealed copy for free just to get rid of his stock because the game was considered so worthless, but today on review I find that a new sealed copy of the game sells for as high as $20.  My investments are accruing in value!  So I suppose the lesson here is to take a chance on that cheap copy of DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises.  Who knows what tomorrow plus fifteen years will bring?


Power Button - Episode 235: Scalper's Paradise

Power ButtonWe gather here today to bid farewell to the Classic NES console, a Nintendo nostalgia item too beautiful for this world and gone far too soon.  As we say our goodbyes, we also dip back into history to discuss some of the most expensive and rarest video games spanning from the Atari 2600 era through the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.  Best and worst alike, some of these older games fetch absurdly high prices, and we explore some of our favorites.   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.


Face The Wrath Of... Metal Beak?

The Disney Afternoon CollectionIt's such a minor error in the grand scheme of things, but one thing that grinds my gears in when support material for video games, movies, television, etc. fail to properly identify key characters.  While I'm impressed with Capcom's recently released The Disney Afternoon Collection, I involuntarily blurted out "Are you kidding me?" when I saw that Darkwing Duck's villainous nemesis Steelbeak, top agent of the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny, has been misidentified as "Metal Beak" in the Darkwing Duck music player.  I look forward to taking down Metal Beak along with the rest of Darkwing's rogues gallery including Megawatt, Jester Jack, Leafroot, and Liquidog.


Power Button - Episode 234: Another Pass At Season Passes

Power ButtonWhen is a complete game not complete?  When season passes are involved.  We've tackled the practice of buying DLC in bulk before, but with the recent changes to Watch Dogs 2's season pass plans, we felt it was time to take another run at increasingly expensive add-on content.  Are passes a good deal or just a very expensive microtransaction?  It's time for some debate.   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.


Meet Bobson Dugnutt And The Other Players Of Fighting Baseball

Bobson DugnuttThe 16-bit glory days offered many sports titles from the world of baseball, some of which licensed the names of actual Major League Baseball players to add realism and authenticity to the experience.   1994's MLBPA Baseball from Electronic Arts, for instance, uses the names of players based on the 1993 season's major league players.  The game's Japanese version, released in 1995 as Fighting Baseball for the Super Famicom, is not one of those games.  You see, the team behind Fighting Baseball did not have any arrangements with the Major League Baseball Players Association or Major League Baseball or pretty much anyone related to baseball at all and had to come up with their own original player names, but it would seem that staff wasn't up to speed on what makes an North American name a proper name and not nonsense that almost sounds like it could be a proper North American name if only you turned it sideways.  And that's how we end up with hilarious names like Bobson Dugnutt taking the field.  Enjoy this little slice of absurdism.