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Power Button - Episode 205: Favorite Fresh Features

Power_buttonThe current generation of consoles have introduced multiple new features and refined capabilities introduced last generation, so it's only right that this week on Power Button we discuss our favorite of those features.  Share buttons, live streaming, YouTube sharing, screenshot capturing, off-TV play, backward compatibility, Remote Play, 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.


Mortal Kombat Imitators Are Sincerest Form Of Battery

Blood WarriorSuccessful media always spawns imitators, but sometimes the imitators go on to become highly successful entities of their own.  Super Mario led to Sonic the Hedgehog.  Grand Theft Auto inspired Saints RowStreet Fighter II spawned Mortal Kombat.  And what did Mortal Kombat spawn in response?  Mostly trash.  Hardcore Gaming 101 has a listing of Kombat clones each more dismal than the last, most of which use words like Battle, Warrior, Ninja, or Blood in the title.  Here's one that nails two of those words: Blood Warrior.

From Kaneko, the folks who brought you those Chester Cheetah games, Blood Warrior is another Japanese take at a Mortal Kombat style game, even though it's kind of a sequel to the 1992 game Shogun Warriors, which predated Mortal Kombat. When it comes to gameplay, it does all right, even if it's not exceptional. There's nothing particularly unique about its mechanics, although it at least plays well enough. The presentation, however, feels like a particularly low budget sentai show, with characters like a kappa and some kind of Buddhist statue as part of the cast. Despite its goofy look, it's also surprisingly bloody, with characters frequently exploding into piles of organs. The same developer would go on to make the Jackie Chan fighters, which were much better games all around.

The only game on the list with staying power is Killer Instinct.  The rest are forgettable or, worse, doomed to only be remembered as laughingstock fodder for an hungry Internet.  It's interesting to read through the list and be able to tell which games actually had some devoted, talented people behind them and which were just cranked out as quick, cheap cash-ins on the current hot property of the year.  One of the games, Way of the Warrior, was created by Naughty Dog who would later go on to major fame with Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted.  I suppose everyone has to start somewhere.

 


Let's Enjoy Animated Video Gaming GIFs From The Simpsons

ThrillhouseThe Simpsons has given us so many classic video game jokes and gags over the years from the days of the humble 8-bit boxing game to the modern Funtendo Zii.  The Frinkiac search engine allows users to created animated GIFs from screengrabs of the first seventeen years of the series combined with text from the subtitle track, so I couldn't resist creating some short animations of my favorite gaming-related scenes.  Enjoy these clips of Sonic the Hedgehog encouraging shoplifting, Dash Dingo saving the Down Underverse, Donkey Kong scratching himself, and the mighty gore of Bonestorm.

Meet Donkey Kong

Bonestorm

Continue reading "Let's Enjoy Animated Video Gaming GIFs From The Simpsons" »


Power Button - Episode 204: Disney In-finish-ity

Power_buttonBlake Grundman has a problem.  He's invested a lot of time and money into collecting Disney Infinity figurines and video games and now Disney has canceled the entire product line.  He needs some time to air his grievances and openly weep, so on this week's episode of Power Button we hold a farewell for the biggest Toys To Life product that somehow didn't make enough money.  Also, knowing that Disney is going back to licensing its properties to other publishers again, we pitch some ideas for Disney-owned properties we'd like to see become new games.  A dream is a wish your heart makes (unless you fail to turn a profit).  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.


Take A Leap Of Faith On Assassin's Creed Movie Trailer

Major Hollywood movies based on video games seldom turn out well, but I have hope for the upcoming Assassin's Creed film based on the Ubisoft game of the same name. Featuring new characters but based on franchise lore, the Creed film sends its modern day protagonist back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition. I certainly wasn't expecting that. The first trailer for the film gives us a look at all kinds of classic Creed elements such as the Animus, lots of climbing & parkour, hooded robes, and the iconic leap of faith. I'm optimistically excited! Assassin's Creed opens in theaters in December 2016. I really hope there's a scene where the Assassin kills a civilian and desynchronizes from the simulation as a result. "Assassins did not kill civilians," the Animus attendant would say. "Try it again."


Disney Exits Console Publishing, Disney Infinity To Be Discontinued

Disney InfinityFailing to definitively conquer the video game console publishing market, Disney Interactive is exiting the business and taking its Toys To Life game platform Disney Infinity with it.  The game will shut down in June following the release of the final two character packs (based on Alice Through The Looking Glass and Finding Dory) and the studio behind it all, Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios, the Just Cause folks), is now out of business.  It's a grim day for Infinity fans as despite performing what any other company would consider to be successful in this business, it's not enough for Disney.  USgamer has the report.

Disney Infinity probably made a good deal of money, but for Disney, the licensed Star Wars Battlefront represented the future moving forward. Pachter estimated that Disney Infinity made $200 million in revenue last year, while Star Wars Battlefront earned $660 million. The $200 million estimate put Disney Infinity ahead of Lego Dimensions and Skylanders, but Disney is a huge company and its perspective on 'successful' is vastly different.

By licensing the Star Wars brand to Electronic Arts, Disney doesn't have to have developers on hand to make titles. It reaps the rewards and the risks are all Electronic Arts. At some point, management looked that the gulf between Infinity and Battlefront and wondered why it was publishing games in-house. You can probably expect to see more licensing of Disney properties, but most of that will probably lean on the mobile side.

If you're still interested in the Infinity figures, watch for clearance sales at your favorite retailer over the summer.  It's disappointing to see Disney exit the business, but now that the company is switching gears back to a licensing model, perhaps we'll see some creative ideas based on Disney properties from other companies.  Yes, there will always be a place for Star Wars games, but where are the Arkham Asylum-like Avengers game, Darkwing Duck Remastered, and of course my biggest, most wanted pipe dream of them all...

It's a shame that being merely successful at a business like this isn't enough for Disney which has an "engulf and devour" mindset in the video game industry as it engages in a repeated cycle of buying established studios, pushing them to deliver, closing them when they fail to quickly produce top selling sensations right out of the gate, and then withdrawing from the business altogether before trying again a few years later.  I don't understand why anyone would spend so much time and money to build a platform that is successful by standard metrics and then throw it away just became it makes only some money and not all money.


Power Button - Episode 203: Aliens Vs Podcast

Power ButtonAliens are among us!  Specifically, aliens in video games.  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I take you through Zen Studio's Aliens vs Pinball pack which leads into a discussion of our favorite video game aliens.  From the denizens of SR388 to Lavos to Halo's Flood and beyond, we're going past the stars and beyond the moon.  You cannot comprehend the true form of this show, but try it out anyway.  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.


The Lost Moves Of Street Fighter II

KenCapcom's famous Street Fighter II has been through a number of upgrades and spawned several sequels and spin-offs, and while the original arcade release has long been eclipsed by revisions containing words in the title like "Turbo" and "Super", the story behind that first iteration is exceptionally interesting.  Shmuplations has a translated interview with director/designer Akira Nishitani from 1991 in which he lays out all kinds of information about ambitious material that the team had created, but was forced to cut from the final release.  Here's a little of that, and I encourage you to read the entire interview to see it all:

There we were, one month to go before the final deadline. When you’ve come this far, time limits what you can do. With a calm and collected judgment (actually, it was really all my own selfishness) I had to decide what would be cut due to time constraints. Here is a list of some of the plans we had that got abandoned (man, I really wanted to do these!)

  • Add weak points depending on whether you hit someone in the head, body, or leg. If you hit someone there, they’d take more damage.
  • Add other special weak points outside of those listed above (you can see remnants of those in Blanka’s Rolling Attack, or Vega's Flying Barcelona)
  • The computer would change its tactics depending on who it was fighting against (it does do this a little bit, but we wanted to do something more detailed, like the AI knowing how close to stand to each individual opponent, etc)
  • Players would take more damage than normal when dizzied.

There's also mention of the original backstory for the game (though it doesn't compare to what the actual saga actually became), and what's especially amusing is that a typo crept into the game's subtitle and nobody noticed it until the very end of development.  If Nishitani hadn't been able to work some last minute graphic layering magic, we'd all have been playing Street Fighter II: The World Warrier [sic].  While I like the later Street Fighter sequels, there's something about that original arcade release that feels most pure before all of the high-level combos, complicated super moves, and other such things that make the game popular with pros were added.  I can do a Hadouken into a Shoryuken without fail, but some of the extended moves from Street Fighter V are way beyond me.


Power Button - Episode 201: Gone, But Not Forgotten

Power ButtonIt's always a terrible shame when a video game development studio goes under, and while companies such as Lionhead and Sega Technical Institute may be gone, they are not forgotten.  On this episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I remember some of our favorite shuttered studios and pay tribute to some of the industry's best, worst, or most memorable releases from studios that are no longer with us.  We have an hour of fond remembrances for you.  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.


Power Button - Episode 199: Benched

Power ButtonVideo games have ceased to be singular items and have become mass franchise universe worlds, and with great worlds can come great exhaustion.  On this week's Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I take a trip down Repetitive Lane and single out a few franchises that we believe are due for a break.  Some are annualized titles such as Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, while others just annoy us personally on one level or another.  Is your favorite due to be benched?  Listen and find out!  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.