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New Bethesda Pinball Pack Sure To Please Fans

DoomI love what Zen Studios has accomplished over the years with the Zen Pinball 2 / PinballFX 2 suite of pinball tables, but while there are many properties that I know and love that become tables, sometimes the company takes me into unfamiliar territory.  The latest release in that style is a triple pack of new tables built around popular properties from Bethesda featuring DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  Everything I know about DOOM I learned in DOS back in the 1990s and I've never been interested in the latter two franchises, so I went into this new pack pretty much blind.  I don't know anything that's going on here, nor do I fully understand how the tables work.  The fun references and continuity nods are lost on me.  I still enjoyed myself just the same as you'll see in these quick videos of me experiencing the DOOM and Fallout tables for the first time, learning the ropes and trying to figure it all out.  I expect that Bethesda fans will get more out of this pack than I do, but I suppose part of the fun is learning something new.



Super Mario Run Launches On iOS In December

Super Mario Run

Nintendo is almost ready to release its first true 100% in-house game for iOS following social networking app Miitomo and a partnership with Niantic for Pokémon GoSuper Mario Run launches on iPhone and iPad on December 15, 2016 in 151 countries as a free-to-start game.  After playing the free content and getting a taste of the endless platformer action, players can pay the $9.99 fee to unlock the full game for unlimited, unrestricted access.  Here's some of the press release which reminds us all of what Super Mario Run is all about:

Super Mario Run is the first Super Mario Bros. game developed specifically for mobile devices. In the game, Mario runs forward on his own, but relies on the tap of a single finger to jump over obstacles, avoid enemies, pull off stylish moves, collect coins and reach the flagpole to complete courses.

Browsing around the online gaming community already shows some sticker shock for the $10 price tag, but so long as the game is fun on its own merits and isn't bogged down by in-app purchases for consumable tokens and items ($1 for a 5-pack of Super Mushrooms, $5 for a bundle of 560 coins - best value!), I have no problem paying actual game prices for an actual game.  I still trust Nintendo to get this right and I will definitely start with and evaluate the free content before I put any money down, but I'm open to paying for the game if I enjoy it and intend to keep playing it.  I've paid for other iOS games before (mostly Sega's stellar Sonic the Hedgehog ports) and would rather pay a single price one time for a game rather than bother with coin packs and item bundles. 

Super Mario Run - November 15 screenshots


Manos: The Hands Of Fate Game Takes Care Of The Place While The Master Is Away

Manos: The Hands of FateBack in 2012 we were teased with an indie game for iOS based on the "classic" film / Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Manos: The Hands of Fate.  The game has come and gone now and Hardcore Gaming 101 has given us a look at what it ended up becoming and how it fared in the transition from dare to finished product for mobile platformers and PC.  There's even mention of the 2015 upgrade to the game that added a new level and Torgo as a playable character.

The fundamental flaw of Manos is that it mimics an NES knock-off too well. All the issues with unpolished titles of the era are mirrored here: slippery controls, cheap hits, bad enemy placement, and more. The graphics also don't rise above early NES game appeal, nestled into the blocky tilesets from 1986-87 releases. However, the music does an admirable job replicating the film's meager score into 8-bit sound channels. The playthrough is also very short, being over at a runtime quicker than the film it's based on -- which for many is a perk. Difficulty levels are available, but they only increase or decrease the amount of powerups and health packs.

This is one of those games I meant to pick up, but it was lost in the shuffle and the talk of frustrating difficulty and poorly placed elements are a turn off.  Still, I love the idea of turning MST3K films into little indie games and would love to see more games made with that idea in mind.  Give me games based on The Incredible Melting Man, Soultaker, and Mitchell.  The possibilities go on and on!


Power Button - Episode 217: Let's Go To Virtual Reality (Plus: Blake Meets PlayStation VR)

Power ButtonThe virtual reality revolution is on!  At least, that's what the marketing departments at HTC, Samsung, Oculus, and Sony tell us.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss our journeys into the world of VR as I play around with a Samsung Gear VR and Blake travels to the world of VR to take a PlayStation VR unit for a test drive with early press access to third-party VR experiences.  Pinball, space travel, haunted houses, and fighter jets: VR has it all!   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.


Check Out The New A-Force Marvel Pinball Table

Marvel Women Of Power: A-ForceZen Studios has another pair of Marvel Pinball tables for us to enjoy.  Due out next week for all major Zen-supported platforms, the Marvel Women Of Power tables feature Black Widow and Madame Masque trapped in an alternate reality in the "A-Force" table while Ms. Marvel and her friends Spider-Gwen and Squirrel Girl team up on the "Chronicles" table.  Zen was kind enough to supply me with early access to the two tables and I've been impressed yet again with their work.  My Marvel knowledge basically extends through the cinematic universe and some simple familiarity with rising stars like Spider-Gwen, so I've learned about some fun characters that are new to me through these tables.  Take a look at one of my early plays through the A-Force table for a taste of what the new release has to offer and be sure to check it out when it's released.


Power Button - Episode 214: Big Changes From Nintendo, Apple, And Sony

Power ButtonThis week's new product announcements from Nintendo, Apple, and Sony certainly turned heads and sparked anger.  Ranging from Nintendo's Super Mario Run for iPhone to the new iPhone 7 ditching the reliable headphone jack to Sony introducing the 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro that doesn't quite play 4K things as you'd expect, there's a lot of news for Blake Grundman to rant and rave about.  If you like Blake on the soapbox, then you'll love this week's episode of Power Button.   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 212: Shake Hands With Danger In Episode 1 Of Batman: The Telltale Series

Power ButtonTelltale Games has brought its talent from Tales From The Borderlands and The Walking Dead to Gotham City with the recently released first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series.  This first installment, "Realm of Shadows" is the focus of this week's new episode of the Power Button podcast in which Blake Grundman and I discuss the events of the game, our favorite moments, trying to live up to the characterizations of our respective favorite Batman incarnations, why shaking hands with a notorious mobster at a party is a bad idea, how playing as Bruce Wayne is remarkably different than playing as the Dark Knight, and so much more.  We spoil "Realm of Shadows" quite thoroughly, so if you haven't played the game and want to keep up, be sure to watch my playthrough of the game.  Oddly enough, Blake and I each chose different paths through the game, so between the two of us, we have a fairly complete view of the entire picture.   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.


Let's Watch Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows

BatmanTelltale Games is taking a different approach to its new Batman game by casting players more as Bruce Wayne than as Batman.  I wrote last month about how much I was looking forward to this idea and now that the first episode of the game, "Realm of Shadows", has been released, you can watch me guide Bruce through his first adventures as he throws a fundraising party for Harvey Dent's mayoral campaign and works with Selina Kyle to solve the mystery behind mobster Carmine Falcone's criminal empire.  I'll have more on Batman this week including a review of this installment of the game and a Power Button podcast episode in which Blake Grundman and I talk in-depth about this new Batman adventure.


Telltale's Batman Trailer Shows The Burden Of Being Bruce Wayne

BatmanFor as long as I can remember, the primary focus of the Batman franchise has been, well, Batman (with a side order of Joker), but lately there's been a renewed push on exploring the man under the mask.  Batman comics took a jaunt into showing us Bruce Wayne unburdened by the Bat legacy, TV's Gotham has given mixed results showing us Gotham City in a pre-Batman world, and now Telltale Games has a new episodic Batman game coming August 2 for many platforms including the Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, and mobile that, judging by today's new trailer, gives us plenty of Bruce Wayne action as well. 

I've been a Batman fan since I was first exposed to Batman: The Animated Series in 1993 as a preteen, and it wasn't until later that I backtracked to the Tim Burton films for a larger picture of what the character was all about outside of the comics.  His iconic rogues gallery always steals the spotlight and Batman himself is always good for some daring action scenes, but Bruce Wayne is often the more interesting character.  I think that's because (as has been so often cited) Batman is the man and Bruce Wayne is actually the mask.  Consider how Kevin Conroy portrays Batman's voice in The Animated Series, for instance.  His Batman voice is deeper and more intense (not as far as Christian Bale's guttural growl from The Dark Knight trilogy) befitting a costumed vigilante and his Bruce Wayne voice is casual, friendly, and general lighter.  When Conroy's Bruce is with people in his inner Bat circle, he speaks in his Batman voice.  They know who he is.  There's no need to hide it.  Batman is who he really is. 

Continue reading "Telltale's Batman Trailer Shows The Burden Of Being Bruce Wayne" »


Power Button - Episode 211: Pokémon Go And New NES Classic Console Bring The Joy

Power ButtonIt's been a big week for Nintendo fans who like excitement thanks to the arrival of the Pokémon Go mobile sensation and the announcement of a new small classic Nintendo Entertainment System packed with HDMI output and thirty of the best games that the NES era had to offer.  We're talk about both of these on this week's Power Button, so join us for a conversation that spans from Pikachu to Punch-Out!!, Meowth to Metroid, and Zubat to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.   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.