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Tales From Tales From The Borderlands

Tales From The BorderlandsTelltale's Tales From The Borderlands is a unique mixture of Borderlands, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a dash of Sam & Max.  It shouldn't work, but it does.  After reading this new oral history of Tales compiled by Duncan Fyfe, I realize that it really shouldn't have worked at all.  Two years in development with lots of last-minute changes and a destinationless journey ahead of the team led to a critically acclaimed but poorly selling series that is unlikely will see a continuation anytime soon.  Consider how the team nearly killed off the beloved Loader Bot in the first episode:

[What] I remember being a huge problem was [on] Episode One, like literally three days before we weren’t allowed to touch the project anymore, Pierre comes to me — I think Guardians of the Galaxy had just come out. There’s a moment in the first episode where your friend Loader Bot can explode, and it’s based on a player choice. Pierre comes to me and says, “I don’t think we should let Loader Bot die.” I’m just like, “Well, okay. We’re 36, 48 hours away from this thing going live, what are you talking about? That choice is there.” And he said, “I think we might be blowing up our Groot.”

Tales From The Borderlands will always be special to me because my girlfriend and I basically built the ground floor of our relationship upon it.  Not long after we met we realized we both were fond of Gearbox's looter shooter, and I offhandedly mentioned that I had this new Borderlands game sitting on my Sony PlayStation 4 that wasn't a shooter, but something different.  She was intrigued and it wasn't long before we were sitting up evenings working our way through each episode one after the next together, passing the controller back and forth and choosing paths as a team.  Telltale may consider it a failure, but my girlfriend and I think it's their greatest success yet.


Power Button - Episode 244: Underrated All-Stars

Power ButtonFor every Call of Duty or Super Mario powerhouse that fills up best-of lists and tops sales charts, there are dozens of other games that have plenty of potential to be all-time greats, but you never hear about them.  They fall into the memory hole or are used as target practice by aspiring Internet idiots picking at low fruit based on reputation alone.  We say it's not fair that fun games are passed over, so on this week's podcast we're dusting off some of our favorite underrated games of the past thirty years.  From Spec-Ops: The Line to Yo Noid! to The Godfather to, yes, my beloved Aero the Acro-bat, we have a list of titles you need to explore.   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.


Back To The Future Coming to Pinball FX3

Back To The Future

Zen Studios has announced a new pack of pinball tables due to launch with the upcoming Pinball FX3 and I'm happy to see that the company continues to take my pinball advice as alongside tables based on films Jaws and E.T. comes my beloved Back To The Future.

The Universal Classics Pinball pack will release as a part of the launch of the highly anticipated Pinball FX3 platform on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam and Windows 10. The themed tables will also release as individual in-app purchases for Zen Pinball on the App Store and Google Play.

Players can get behind the wheel of the DeLorean time machine and travel through different eras of Hill Valley to fix the space-time continuum on the Back to the Future table, take on the terrifying great white shark on the Jaws table, and go on an adventure with Elliot as he helps E.T. contact his spaceship and return to the stars on the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial table!

Keep 'em coming, Zen!  Let's go with Ghostbusters or Mega Man next.  I will have much more on the Back To The Future table as its released because, honestly, how could I not talk more about it?  I hope there are bonus points for knocking Biff Tannen into a manure truck.


Mini-Review: Infinite Minigolf

Infinite Minigolf

Well known for its digital pinball tables, Zen Studios is revisiting another of its key releases with the release of Infinite Minigolf for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, VR platforms, and PC.  Following on from 2010's PS3-exclusive Planet Minigolf, this updated take on the concept brings the course creation tools that helped make Planet stand out to a wider audience in a fun mix of the creativity tools of Sony's LittleBigPlanet and the trick shots found in Nintendo's Kirby's Dream Course

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Power Button - Episode 243: Betrayal Most Foul

Power ButtonRipped from the headlines!  On this week's episode of Power Button we shine a light on the selfish, shameless, or otherwise misguided behavior of some of video gaming's most reprehensible traitors and colluders.  Join us for an hour of shocking betrayals, plus we're also giving away a free eShop code for the Nintendo Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass DLC.  Listen to this episode and the send the answer to the contest question to  before the end of the day Monday, July 24, 2017.   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 240: E3 2017 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs another E3 draws to a close it's time to review and recap the year's biggest week in gaming.  Join us with annual guest Ross Polly to discuss all the news and excitement including Microsoft's new Xbox One X console; classic Xbox games arriving on Xbox One; Blake's excitement for Crackdown 3, Sony hitting trailers hard with teases for the new Uncharted, Spider-Man, and Days Gone; Ubisoft's ambitious Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and Assassin's Creed: Origins; and Nintendo's big showcase featuring Super Mario Odyssey, Metroid Prime 4, Metroid: Samus Returns, Yoshi, Kirby, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, and much more.  We have a supersized two and a half hour episode for you, so settle in and prepare for some fun.   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.


Do You Need The Xbox One X?

Microsoft Xbox One XMicrosoft formally announced the finalized version of its Project Scorpio experiments at E3 2017 this week, the result of which is the Doomsday Device Xbox One X console.  Designed as a 4K-capable beast of a machine, Microsoft is boasting that it's the most powerful home console ever.  It has gigaflops and liquid cooling!  Certainly sounds advanced to me.  So do you need one?  Should Xbox One owners upgrade?  Or is the X1X a PlayStation 4 Pro-like optional step up?  Stephen Totilo at Kotaku explains your options.

“We’re all about 4K, as you know,” Microsoft’s Moore said near the kickoff of my demo. He pointed out that Xbox One S supports 4K streaming and Blu-Ray, but the X is the machine for doing 4K gaming. He pulled up a still shot of the eight million pixels that can fit in a 4K image, compared to the two million pixels you can see on an HD TV running a game in 1080p. Yep, it was definitely four times as many pixels. Xbox One X will do “supersampling” for people who connect the machine to a non-4K TV, which they say will crunch those eight million pixels into something that’ll still look better than 1080p.

Basically, my takeaway on all this is that if you're the kind of player who demands top visual fidelity from your gaming experience and you have the expensive hardware (4K television, Atmos surround sound, etc.) and expendable income to back it up, upgrading to the X1X is probably a no-brainer.  Those who are unable or unwilling to throw down $499 just for extra pretty pixels and are happy with their existing television (which, by now, is most likely a 1080p or 720p set), then there's nothing essentially missing from the Xbox One ecosystem.  There are no truly exclusive X1X games that will buzz in anger if you try to run them on a regular Xbox One.  Like PS4 owners who haven't jumped up to the PS4 Pro, you're fine.

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Classic Xbox Games Coming To Xbox One

XboxAching for something to play on your Microsoft Xbox One and feel like reaching into the past?  Grab your old original Xbox games and prepare to party like its 2001 all over again because Microsoft has announced that its extended the Xbox One's backward compatibility past the Xbox 360 into the realm of the original Xbox console.  Jeremy Parrish at Retronauts points out how big a deal this is from the game preservation perspective.

Xbox 360 backwards compatibility has often been a selling point for the machine in the past, often with the arrival of something legendary that’s not easily played elsewhere such as Red Dead Redemption, and Microsoft’s learned friendliness towards backwards compatibility is in direct contrast to Sony — who have not really cared about it much since taking PS2 compatibility out of the PS3, and are instead content to offer a limited range of older games through their PlayStation Now streaming service…still, highlighting the OG Xbox for backwards compatibility now is a surprise, considering there’s games on there that are now old enough to take their GCSE exams.

Peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin is even getting in on this action by offering a resurrected original model Xbox controller for the Xbox One.  Backward compatibility is, despite what executives at Sony would insist, an important part of a console's backbone.  Yes, we're all spending more and more money on the latest and greatest new releases, but sometimes you want to revisit an old favorite without having to dig out dusty cables and searching for lost memory cards.  Microsoft is playing catch-up this generation, and offering easy, affordable access to those original Xbox games is something that its chief competitor just isn't interested in doing.  Keep pushing this angle, Microsoft.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is the first classic Xbox game to be playable on the X1 later this year with more to follow. 


Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Announced

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2Capcom brought back the original six Mega Man games for the Mega Man Legacy Collection last year, but right away people began to ask why the other numbered sequels in the series did not make the cut.  Now the company is back with Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 which offers Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, and Mega Man 10 with all of the usual museum modes and new challenge options included.  It's due out in August 2017 for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC for $19.99 both digitally and at retail in a box.  All of the downloadable content for the latter two games are included, too.  Here's the trailer:

I was very pleased with the original Legacy Collection (so much so that I bought it twice; once for PS4 and again for 3DS) and I'm definitely interested in this second collection as well.  There are a few classic series Mega Man titles still unaccounted for here.  Most egregiously, 1998's Mega Man & Bass for the Super NES is missing in action.  Perhaps Capcom is choosing only to use the numbered sequels in these collections or perhaps the company does not want to bother with translating the Japanese-exclusive title into English for international release.  The game was translated when it was ported down to the Game Boy Advance in 2002, but that version is notoriously difficult to play thanks to challenging controls and a notoriously cropped screen.  Trust me, you don't want that version back again!  We're also missing the five Game Boy games, the Wily Wars set for the Sega Genesis (which could be redundant, I suppose), and Mega Man Soccer for the Super NES.  Why, there's enough additional Mega Man titles left to bundle together in a third collection...


Power Button - Episode 238: Gothams And Guardians: The Telltale Discussion

Power ButtonTelltale Games is having a prolific period lately with last year's Batman: The Telltale Series and this year's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.  On this week's podcast episode, Blake Grundman and I are picking up where we left off from Episode 212 in which we covered the first Batman episode by finishing off our discussion of the series.  We also talk a bit about Telltale in general including their history and their aging game engine.  That leads us into talking about the first episode of the new Guardians series.  As you can imagine, there's a spoiler warning for all of this, so consider yourself warned!  Join us for ninety minutes 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.