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Give Up Your Appellations, Technical Monkey

Gradius 3There's a long line of confusing video game mistranslations out there spanning from the basic "Conglaturations" from Ghostbusters to "A Winner Is You" in Pro Wrestling to the infamous "All your base are belong to us" from Zero Wing.  You can typically deduce the original intent of the bad localization, but sometimes a game throws you such an odd statement that it takes several leaps of logic to arrive at the proper translation.  Consider the arcade difficulty mode of the Super NES version of Konami's Gradius 3 which, if you can finish all of the game's levels, offers up the praise "I'm give up your appellation's Technical Monkey".  What on earth could that possibly mean?  ReyVGM has solved the puzzle and, like all good mistranslations, there's a fun story of design decisions behind it.  I won't spoil it here, but the answer makes perfect sense.  Well, as much sense as a bizarre localization ever makes.  Appellations all around!


Annual Christmas Special Encore! Power Button - Episode 158: Christmas In Videoland

Power ButtonSpecial Christmas encore of our popular holiday episode! It's the holiday season which means that it's the perfect time for us to dedicate an episode of Power Button discussing video games that include Christmas elements such as music remixes, holiday weapons, festive missions, and appearances from Santa Claus himself.  There's some deep cuts mixed in here with the mainstream titles; we cover everything from Christmas trees in Sonic Adventure's Station Square to the special Christmas cheat code in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble to Banjo-Kazooie's Freezeezy Peak to the special holiday demo of Jazz Jackrabbit to Sega's limited edition Christmas NiGHTS to the hard-to-find Daze Before Christmas from Sunsoft.  Settle in with some egg nog and spend eighty minutes with us this holiday season.  We also sidequest off into NES Remix, adorable amiibo, and much more.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!    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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 225: Pinball Fever

Power ButtonIt's been a busy time for pinball fans with real world events and new digital releases coming furiously like an assortment of metal balls all flipping around an area at once in some kind of multiple arrangement.  As we like to do from time to time here on Power Button, this week is another of our in a series of episodes focusing on pinball experiences.  First I talk about the fun of going to the Free Play Florida arcade and pinball event where I was able to play new tables like Ghostbusters and classics like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and 24, then Blake Grundman takes us on a journey into the new Stern Pinball Arcade Collection for modern game consoles and we wrap things up with a look at the new Zen Studios release of Bethesda-based pinball tables based on Skyrim, DOOM, and Fallout.  Bump out for an hour and join us.   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 224: Hilarity Ensues

Power ButtonVideo games are often held up for their action sequences, set pieces, and visuals, but how often do you hear someone remark about hilarious writing?  On this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I spend an hour and a half discussing our favorite funny games.  From Portal 2 to Saints Row IV to Maniac Mansion and beyond, we have some hilarious moments to share.  Before that happens, however, Blake takes us on a sidequest with Pokémon.   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.


Dr. Wily: Portrait Of A Madman

Dr. WilyI know that hindsight is 20/20 and all, but when I see the gradual mental decline of Mega Man villain Dr. Albert Wily laid out in image after image, I think we should all have realized early on that the erratic scientist was not to be trusted and was very likely become a larger threat to us all.  Just because a man can create Robot Masters does not mean that he's well-balanced.  Take a look at this series of official Capcom character artwork that spans the classic Mega Man series from Mega Man (1987) through Mega Man 8 (1996) and you'll see his physical behavior and manner of dress start to show signs of the troubled soul within.  We really should have found help for him sooner beyond sending Mega Man in to clean up the mess again and again.

Continue reading "Dr. Wily: Portrait Of A Madman" »


The Fall And Rise Of Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic the HedgehogSega's Sonic the Hedgehog has suffered through some rough times for most of his existence.  While enjoying success on the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, the franchise began a downward slide during the Dreamcast era after rushing to meet deadlines and staff attrition caught up with the company behind it.  Game Informer's Brian Shea chronicles all the ways that Sonic went wrong from the canceled Saturn-exclusive Sonic X-Treme to Sonic Adventure 2 being developed by a staff of just eleven people to unrelenting holiday shopping dates to get 2006's disappointing Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 out the door on time.

Despite this fragmentation and turnover, Iizuka asserts that the real problem with Sonic 2006 was the deadlines. "We missed out on that really important time to polish and tune and manipulate the map and make sure that the world really felt good and the gameplay felt good," he says. "Because it didn't have that, it didn't turn out as good as the development team wanted."

The lack of polish is evident. Sonic 2006 is full of visual and audio glitches, environmental clipping, and imprecise gameplay. The title has become synonymous with the struggles the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise had faced in recent years. Sonic 2006 was meant to be a return to the series' roots, but it ended up damning the franchise in the eyes of many. The series had taken obvious turns away from what made it great in the first place.

It sounds like Sega may have finally learned a lesson after years of middling sequels.  The company delayed its latest Sonic Boom title for a year to allow the developers time to turn it into a polished product, and the upcoming Sonic Mania finally reaches back to the Genesis-era design that made the franchise popular in the first place.  Instead of hearing "oh, we'll fix it next time" from a Sonic Team spokesperson and then nothing happens to follow up on that halfhearted enthusiasm, we're actually seeing some behavioral changes behind the scenes with the delays and design decisions and even choice of staffing.  Let's hope that Sega finally has this whole Sonic the Hedgehog thing figured out.


PTB Tip Jar Now Available

LuigiOver the past few months, several of you out there asked if there was any way for generous folks to kick a few dollars into a tip jar to help keep Press The Buttons running.  I'd always said no because I didn't want to charge you for content or lock any of it away behind a paywall.  Ultimately, PTB is my fun hobby job that I pursue in my spare time.  For years I ran banner advertisements on PTB to help pay the bills around here, but as the online advertising market turned more and more towards annoyance and malware, I dropped the banners, depriving the site of its key source of income.  I figure if the ads are so irritating that even I want to block them on my own site, there's no way I could or would expect any of you out there to deal with them either.  People keep asking about the tip jar though, so who am I to keep turning down the idea?  I've set up a PTB tip jar through PayPal at https://paypal.me/pressthebuttons where, if you like, you can send me a few dollars to help cover my efforts here.  Thank you all so much for your continued support of Press The Buttons through reading, commenting, sharing links, and now the tip jar.  I have the best audience on the Internet and it's because of all of you that doing this work is so much fun and fulfilling.


Power Button - Episode 222: Mike Haggar For President

Power ButtonAs Election Day 2016 looms in the United States it's as good a time as any for us to take an episode of Power Button and discuss our favorite gaming political leaders.  From Final Fight's Mike Haggar to Saints Row IV's President boss to Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond, we speak truth to power.  As a fun sidequest, we also take a little time to fill the US Cabinet with our favorite gaming characters who are best qualified for the job.  Who will be appointed as Secretary of Education?  Listen and find out, then go vote, Americans!   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.


OverClocked ReMix Hands Out Candy Corn

Candy CornFamed video game music remix community OverClocked ReMix has released a new album just in time for, er, next Halloween at this point in the form of Candy Corn, a collection of remixes sourced from Castlevania sequels such as Portrait of Ruin and Symphony of the Night, Chrono Trigger, and Pokémon Red as created by YoshiBlade.  It's more than just music though.  There's a spooky throughline happening here.

So this project is the progeny of those anthology-style movies and TV shows, a la Tales from the Crypt, Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside. In that vein, every track I consider a story leading into the next one, with the radio-style dramas serving as the reset button, the point of mental collection, then starting a new section.

It's a free download and an enjoyable listen, so why not rush the Halloween season for 2017 and check it out?


Power Button - Episode 221: My Pet Monster

Power ButtonVideo games and monsters go hand in hand, so on this Halloween episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I spend an our discussing some of our favorite video game monsters.  From Gergoth to gremlins and beyond, we're going to scare the hell out of you.   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.