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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.


Power Button - Episode 231: No Sir, I Don't Like It

Power ButtonFor as much as we love video games, admittedly there are some very famous and popular franchises that, for one reason or another, just do not appeal to me or Blake Grundman.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, we shine a light on our antipathy for games like Final Fantasy, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil.  We want to like them, but they just make it so difficult for us!  Find out why in an hour of conversation.   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 Bomberman Recap

BombermanIn advance of Bomberman's glorious return to the console world stage later this week in Super Bomberman R for the Nintendo Switch, it's worthwhile to review the bomber king's mighty legacy across the console, handheld, and mobile gaming spaces.  Chris Scullion at Tired Old Hack looks back at Bomberman's many appearances and variations over the years from his early days in Dynablaster to becoming one of the gaming heroes to appear on a high definition television to the rise of sidekick Pommy to the unfortunate misstep that was Act Zero and beyond.  I hope that Super Bomberman R lives up to expectations.  I would love to be able to introduce my girlfriend to the wonders of the traditional Bomberman style of co-op play.  The franchise has been gone for so long and flown under the radar so low that she's never played one.  I really want to fix that!


Blue Bomber Music Break With Knight Man And Mega Man 10

Wp_02_1600x1200You all should know by now how much I love the talented artists at OverClocked ReMix.  Their remixes and rearrangements of classic video game music make up the bulk of my playlist these days, but I'm always looking to add more music to my archive.  The latest addition is a rocking remix that intertwines music from Mega Man 10's Dr. Wily stages with the Knight Man stage theme from Mega Man 6, and the resulting combination sounds like it would be perfectly at home in one of the early Mega Man X game.  Check out "Chivalrous Medicinal Murder" from Liam Charalambous if you day needs a little energy kick.


Castlevania Is Coming To Netflix

CastlevaniaNetflix is getting into the Castlevania business with a new original series based on the once-thriving video game series due out later this year.  The project has been gestating for a very long time (and even predates Netflix's original programming initiative itself) and promises a dark and gory tale of vampire lore.  Mike Williams at USgamer explains who is behind this project.

Netflix has announced that it has greenlit an original animated series based on Konami's Castlevania. The animated series is being developed by Adventure Time producer Fred Seibert's Frederator Studios, with writing from Warren Ellis, the comic book author behind Transmetropolitan, The Authority, Netwave, and Iron Man: Extremis. Castlevania will be produced by Adi Shankar, the guy behind the Punisher: Dirty Laundry and the Power/Rangers fanfilms that everyone loved for being grimdark, alongside Ellis, Seibert, and Kevin Kolde.

There's certainly a strong mix of talent working on this.  Unfortunately, it sounds like the show will not use the established Belmont family protagonists such as Simon, Trevor, or Richter but will instead feature a new character from the slayer bloodline.  I'm feeling some early hesitation with a mix of impending pessimism here because it always bugs me when someone licenses a property and then doesn't use the characters from that property. Why not just make your own thing instead? The long-dead Castlevania movie had the same problem when it was supposed to be a "Dracula Begins" kind of movie instead of a Castlevania tale. I hope this show is worthwhile and I'll definitely tune in (and it's not the first time a game-inspired production has diverted from the source material), but it's a peeve of mine.  Shankar promises that this will be "the western world’s first good video game adaptation", and knowing that the creative team has already blocked out two seasons, I'm hopeful that this will work out after all.  Some of the iconic Castlevania soundtrack must make it into the show though.  It's just not Castlevania without "Vampire Killer" or "Beginning". 


Power Button - Episode 230: The Best That 2016 Had To Offer

Power ButtonThis week on Power Button we finish closing the door on 2016 with a discussion about our favorite games of the year as well as honorable mentions and a few stand-out disappointments.  Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, BoxBoxBoy, Street Fighter V, Overwatch, and The Witness are all here, but were they top tier or something to fear?  Spend eighty minutes with us to find 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.


The Oral History Of Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man

Namco's smash arcade hit Pac-Man was all the rage in 1980, but could it be even better?  What if the game featured multiple mazes?  What if the bonus fruit could move?  What if the ghosts could potentially catch our protagonist when he hid in that one corner?  A few enterprising young students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found out in 1983 when they created an add-on kit for Pac-Man that added these elements called, er, Crazy Otto.  It wasn't long before American Pac-Man distributor Midway heard about Otto and made an offer to the team that would change the arcade scene forever as Benj Edwards chronicles in his oral history of Ms. Pac-Man

Macrae: As soon as Midway said, 'Let's make a sequel out of it,' we no longer had to avoid the Pac-Man name. They originally said, 'Let's make it into Super Pac-Man.' I think that was the first game that they suggested.

We looked at the intermissions. Even on Crazy Otto, in the first intermission, a yellow Pac character with legs called Otto meets a red Pac character with legs, which obviously had to be a female Otto, because a heart goes above their head. They chase each other, and eventually a baby is brought to them by the stork.

We were looking and going, 'Wow, we've got a whole storyline here about how a character meets a red character that's female. Why don't we turn this into a male and female Pac character, and build a bit more personality into them?'

It's a fascinating tale full of twists, clever programming, lawsuits, and a walking pretzel.  You should definitely make time to read this one in full.  I had no idea what this team went through to make their vision a commercial product and that they occasionally need to remind Pac-Man owner Namco that they did, in fact, create Ms. Pac-Man and are entitled to a piece of the merchandising pie.  I'm so glad that someone is collecting and telling these kinds of development stories.  Every major cultural milestone video game needs an oral history article like this one.


Power Button - Episode 229: 2016's Biggest News Revisited

Power ButtonEach year around this time we like to take a look back and recap the biggest video gaming news of the previous year.  It's time to put 2016 to bed as we remember big moments such as Sony and Microsoft announcing their next generation not-next-gen consoles the PlayStation 4 Pro and the unnamed Project Scorpio, Nintendo teasing us with the NX console, Disney Infinity saying farewell, overhyped games leading into a letdown upon release, and so much more.  Join Blake Grundman and I for an hour and a half of discussion.  Do you have your preorder in yet?   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 227: Watch Dogs 2 And Other Open World Favorites

Power ButtonWhile recovering from my recent surgery I've spent a lot of my rest time exploring the world of Watch Dogs 2.  It's a fantastic open world adventure, so on this episode of Power Button I talk a lot about the game and some of its best moments.  That leads into a discussion with Blake Grundman about our favorite open world games of all time.  Join us for a conversation about Watch Dogs 2, Crackdown, Destiny, Sleeping Dogs, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, Assassins Creed SyndicateFar Cry Primal, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and many 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.


Health Update

MarioI've been away for a few weeks, but I wasn't on a relaxing holiday vacation.  Long-time PTB readers are familiar with my ongoing difficulties with Crohn's Disease and my multiple surgeries over the years, and while I'm happy to say that my Crohn's is in remission, unfortunately I do have other organs that can fail.  For instance, this time around it was my gallbladder which was kicking out gallstones into my pancreas, causing an excruciatingly painful infection.  What was supposed to be a simple outpatient laparoscopic surgery to remove my gallbladder turned into what my surgeon called the most challenging surgery of his year as he discovered that all of the organs on the right side of my abdomen — gallbladder, liver, etc. — were fused together into a single mass along with the major blood vessels that serve those organs. 

My surgeon spent several hours carefully separating everything and then removing my gallbladder which, as it turns out, was  difficult to identify because it was lost in the organ mass.  He eventually found it and removed it leaving me with a twelve inch-long horizontal incision wound and four small puncture wounds.  Five days in the hospital over Christmas later and I was back at home where I've been resting ever since.  Naturally, you can understand why everything here at PTB came to a halt.  I'm back up and moving around the house now though, my surgical staples have been removed, and I'm able to sit at the PC for a while, so I intend to get back to writing and podcasting.  Thanks for your patience as I recover from my fifth surgery.  There can't be many more of these in my future; I'm running out of removable parts!