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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.


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.


The Time Has Come For Mega Man Pinball

Mega Man PinballI've been asking digital pinball table publishers like Zen Studios to develop a Mega Man pinball table for years now, but I completely missed out on the fact that Capcom authorized such a table in 2004 exclusively for pre-smartphone mobile devices.  Frank Cifaldi dug it up on Twitter yesterday evening and really started me thinking again about how Mega Man needs to star in a pinball table right away.  Can you imagine this little mobile idea blown up large for consoles?  Here's how the Mega Man Knowledge Base wiki describes the game:

The game features three Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 (Air Man, Bubble Man and Quick Man) in pinball stages that are modelled after their stages from the game. Each stage has two screens, the first having a door protected by a Lightning Lord and the second with the boss inside a door that must be hit to be destroyed, and once open the player can hit the boss. After defeating the three bosses Dr. Wily appears, his stage resembling Crash Man's stage.

If digital Mega Man pinball isn't quite enough for you, then check out Kevin Richardson's project to convert a 1979 Flash table from Williams into an actual Mega Man table.  It's slow progress, but surely worth every moment of work.

C'mon, Capcom.  If you can give Mega Man his own soccer game, you can bring him back to pinball for modern consoles.


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.


Telltale's Guardians Of The Galaxy Brings The Humor

Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale SeriesI'm a big fan of the creative works of Telltale Games.  I was a fan as back as Sam & Max and Back To The Future, but what really made me take notice was when Tales From The Borderlands became the backdrop to the early weeks of my girlfriend and I starting to date each other.  Whenever Telltale takes on a favorite franchise, I'll be there, so when the company sent over a download code for Guardians of the Galaxy, I eagerly joined up with the Milano crew.  I'll have a lot to say about Episode 1: "Tangled Up In Blue" on an upcoming episode of the Power Button podcast, but for today I want to share three moments from the first episode that, without spoiling any plot points, encapsulates while I enjoy both Telltale products and the Guardians characters.

Continue reading "Telltale's Guardians Of The Galaxy Brings The Humor" »


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!


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.


Join The Rebellion With Rogue One Pinball

Rogue OneZen Studios continues to crank out enjoyable pinball tables from the world of Star Wars, this time turning attention to the recent film Rogue One to bring the rebellion to a variety of console and mobile platforms.  I was recently provided an early copy of the new table and took it for a test drive which you can see over at YouTube.  It's another fun table from Zen, and by this point it's safe to say that if you've enjoyed the other Star Wars tables that the company has created, you'll enjoy this one too.  Zen has become a consistently reliable developer that always brings its A game.  I look forward to the inevitable Episode VIII: The Last Jedi table.  Want more Rogue One?  Check out this interview at StarWars.com with table designer Zoltan Vari.


Mega Man Stumbles To Mobile Platforms

Mega Man 3

Capcom's classic Mega Man titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System have certainly been around through most of the past twenty years in different formats (and were just re-released last year as the superb Mega Man Legacy Collection for modern consoles), so it makes sense in a "tick off the checkboxes" sort of way that the company would want to bring the games to mobile app stores for iOS and Android.  The problem with this idea is that Mega Man titles demand pixel-perfect precision and controls that a touch screen interface just cannot provide.  A number of critics have weighed in on the mobile ports and the verdict is seemingly in: avoid, avoid, avoid (or maybe tolerate).  Here's Shaun Musgrave at TouchArcade being savage:

Do not buy these. Just don't. Not even for a laugh. Not even because they're only a couple bucks a pop and what harm could it do? I am sitting here trying to imagine how these ports of the 8-bit Mega Man games could have been worse, and I'm coming up dry. Nothing is right about them. Nothing. It's like someone was given the graphic and audio assets of the games and were told to re-create everything else on their own. The gravity is off. Enemy behavior is off. Hit detection is weird, and even the recoil from getting hit doesn't work properly. The games are crash-prone. The framerate is awful. The default speed is absurdly slow and choppy, and while the faster speed setting makes things a little better, it's too fast, still choppy, and messes with the games' fundamental workings even more.

I'm sure there's a way to bring the Mega Man franchise to mobile, but porting these old games (beloved as they may be) is certainly not it.  I'll stick with the Legacy Collection on my Nintendo 3DS when I need a blue bomber fix when on the go.  Some games just require a control pad and actual buttons, and no two dollar quickie touch-based port can provide that.  Capcom should take a page from Nintendo and develop a new game based around touch controls, not try and cram an unsuitable game into the touchscreen mold.  I'd be up for a hypothetical Mega Man Run over these sloppy ports.

(image via The Mega Man Network)


Power Button - Episode 226: Let's Go For A Super Mario Run

Power ButtonNintendo has brought out the big guns for its first non-Miitomo app as Mario and friends come to iOS in Super Mario Run.  Blake Grundman and I have been enjoying the game and have some thoughts on how it plays, what it means for Nintendo, what we like about it, and what we do not.  Come for the Mario, stay for the sidequest into the madness of the holiday season.   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.