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Soak Up The Little Details Of Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Castlevania: Symphony of the NightKonami's classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night originally for the Sony PlayStation is packed with all kind of small details and nice touches that are very easy to miss if you're blasting through the game at top speed.  Take some time to explore the haunted castle and really soak in the atmosphere.  VGJUNK has a list of little moments and quirky additions in Symphony that you may have missed if you weren't paying attention.  For instance, are you familiar with the list of field notes for each monster you'll find in the castle?

As is customary amongst lords of the night, Dracula's castle is packed with a menagerie of monstrous creatures including, but not limited to: bats, larger bats, skeletons, larger skeletons, ninja skeletons, demonic puppets from Hell, Great Old Ones, angry tables and, in the Sega Saturn version, something called the Human Face Tree, which is even creepier than it sounds. Once you've killed a monster, its information is added to the game's bestiary for you to peruse at your leisure, and I suggest that you do so because Symphony of the Night's monster list is an absolute joy to read.

Just take a moment to bask in the glorious phrase "specially trained war-goose." Not one of your regular war geese, oh no, it's one that been specially trained. Nothing but the best for Dracula's castle. It makes sense that a goose would be chosen for this military role, because geese are the most naturally aggressive and remorseless birds on the Earth.

Symphony and its sequels are full of these kinds of things, although you can tell that this game was especially crafted with love, creativity, and care.  This is a game where a vampire flicks peanuts into his mouth to restore health, where skeletons run away in delight when you slay their slavedriver master, and there's an optional shoe item that makes Alucard one pixel taller as its sole function.  Keep an eye out when you're stabbing demons and jumping across platforms.  You just might be entertained in the middle of all of that entertainment.  It's an absolute creative crime that Konami no longer makes games like this one.


Let's Watch A Pinball Bug Hunt With Aliens vs Pinball From Zen Studios

Aliens vs PinballZen Studios continues to acquire some amazing licenses for use in its pinball tables.  Following on from FOX's Family Guy and American Dad comes a trio of tables based on the Alien franchise.  Relive the excitement of Aliens, run in fear from Alien Isolation, and get caught in the crossfire of Aliens vs Predator. Combined as the Aliens vs Pinball pack, the new tables arrive for Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, PS Vita, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire on April 26.  In the meantime, you can check out the Alien pinball action in this video in which I run through the three tables and explore them.  These aren't amazing scores as I'm only just learning the ins and outs of the tables, but it'll show you a little of what to expect. Thanks to Zen Studios for providing early access to the tables.


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.


Power Button - Episode 197: Power Button Conquers The World!

Power ButtonVideo games thrive on evil masterminds plotting global conquest, but what would they do if they succeeded?  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I discuss some of our favorite would-be despots such as Dr. Wily and King Koopa, ponder why their plans were doomed from the start, and wonder what would happen if they actually succeeded in their goals.  What does Dr. Robotnik plan to do with a planet of robot animals?  Some questions just don't have answers.  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 195: The Great Prognosticus Predicts Again!

Power ButtonAs 2016 is underway, it's only right to look back at the predictions that Blake Grundman and I made in 2015 way back in Episode 162 to see just how many of our gaming wishes came true.  We keep score as we revisit last year's hopes and dreams, then we go on to make a new round of predictions that we'll revisit in 2017.  It's the endless cycle of dreams and we invite you to join us as we look both back and forward.  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 194: The Best That 2015 Had To Offer

Power ButtonIt's time to kick off 2016 by discussing our top picks for the best video games of 2015!  Join Blake Grundman and I as we count down our favorites from last year (along with a few honorable mentions).  Does Destiny: The Taken King take all?  Will Yoshi's Woolly World wow us?  Might Super Mario Maker reach the top spot?  What about indie gems like Her Story and Tales From The Borderlands?  Join us for two hours of ranking and discussion.  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 193: 2015's Biggest News Revisited

Power ButtonAs we do at the end of every year, it's time for us to spend an episode of the podcast looking back at the biggest gaming news of the year.  We're joined by our old friend Ross Polly for this one, too.  2015 brought us the hideous treatment of Hideo Kojima, Destiny's ongoing changes, Club Nintendo closing up shop, lots of fan service, the death of Nintendo's Satoru Iwata, Microsoft adding Xbox 360 compatibility to the Xbox One, Nintendo announcing its NX and mobile app projects exist, and much more.  Close out the year in style!  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 192: The Games Of Star Wars

Power ButtonAs Star Wars: The Force Awakens prepares to launch into theaters this week, we're joined by guest Ryan Olsen to discuss our favorite games from the Star Wars universe.  Super Star Wars, Shadows of the Empire, The Force Unleashed, and Battlefront take the stage among others.  I have a good feeling about this.  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 191: Open Minded About Open Worlds

Power ButtonThe average size of your average AAA+ open world video game continues to grow larger and larger as time goes by and hardware capabilities advance.  Yesterday's explorable island fifty square miles in size seems downright quaint compared to today's landforms several hundred miles in size.  Is there such a thing as too big when it comes to adventuring?  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I discuss the intimidating size and scope of games such as Just Cause 3, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Fallout 4, and many more.  Is there a point where so much is too much?  Let's find out together.  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.