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Power Button - Episode 230: The Best That 2016 Had To Offer

Power ButtonThis week on Power Button we finish closing the door on 2016 with a discussion about our favorite games of the year as well as honorable mentions and a few stand-out disappointments.  Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, BoxBoxBoy, Street Fighter V, Overwatch, and The Witness are all here, but were they top tier or something to fear?  Spend eighty minutes with us to find out.   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 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.


Power Button - Episode 228: Nintendo Switch Finally Revealed

Power ButtonNintendo finally showed the world what its upcoming Switch console has to offer in a full hardware and game announcement showcase last week, so naturally Blake Grundman and I are here to talk all about it.  Spend an hour with us as we discuss the hardware, its launch price, launch window games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, games coming later such as Super Mario Odyssey and Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, the paid online service, and much more.  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.


Nintendo Outlines Differences Between Wii U And Switch Versions Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildPlenty of people who skipped out on owning a Nintendo Wii U but want to play the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild  are ordering the new Nintendo Switch in order to play the game which, as previously promised by the company, will launch on both platforms in March.  However, if you own a Wii U and are wondering if you're better off playing Link's latest adventure on hardware that you already own, IGN has a list of the differences between the Wii U and Switch versions of the game.  Unlike the last time a Zelda game launched on two generations of hardware back in the days of the GameCube to Wii transition with Twilight Princess, it looks like Breath of the Wild is essentially the same game regardless of platform with just a few minor enhancements for Switch owners.

In a statement provided to IGN, Nintendo explained the following “key facts” about each version:

  • Both launch on the same day, March 3.
  • Both have a frame rate of 30fps.
  • Both versions of the game offer the same content.
  • On a TV, the Nintendo Switch version of the game renders in 900p while the Wii U version renders in 720p.
  • The Nintendo Switch version has higher-quality environmental sounds. As a result, the sound of steps, water, grass, etc. are more realistic and enhance the game’s Open-Air feel.
  • The physical copy of the Wii U version will require 3GB of available memory on the Wii U system or an external drive.
  • Some icons, such as onscreen buttons, differ between the two versions.
  • A Special Edition and Master Edition of the Wii U version are not available.

I own a Wii U and have ordered a Switch, so while I could go either way with my Zelda choice, I opted for the Switch version.  I have no plans to retire my Wii U any time soon (I still need to play Paper Mario: Color Splash, for one), but I would like to take advantage of the Switch's portability to be able to play the game around the house or on my back deck.  The Wii U GamePad just doesn't have the range to reach the furthest corners of my house.  For instance, if I sit in my bedroom, I can play Super Mario 3D World just fine, but the moment I lay back on the bed, I back ever so slightly out of range of the Wii U console and the GamePad loses the signal.  Yes, I'm paying $360 to be able to play Zelda lying down.  Nobody ever said that comfort came cheap.


Switch Over To The Nintendo Special Big Band Concert

MarioIt's time to add some jazz performances of classic music from Donkey Kong Country, Fire Emblem, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Pokémon, and Super Mario Bros. to your day.  The Nintendo Special Big Band performed at the company's Nintendo Switch presentation in Japan a few days ago and the one-hour concert has now become available for your listening and viewing pleasure over at YouTube.  Spend an hour grooving to Nintendo's greatest hits.  Don't miss the Mario medley that begins in classic Nintendo Entertainment System territory, crosses over into Mario Kart 64, and finishes with Super Mario 3D World.  Nintendo periodically produces these kinds of concerts in Japan and it's a shame that they're never made commercially available on a wide scale.  I'd happily part with some money or even a few of those increasingly worthless MyNintendo points for properly mastered and labeled MP3 downloads of these tracks from this show and others like it.

(via Polygon)


Get Screwed With Drill Dozer

Drill Dozer

You'd think that when a video game has "from the makers of Pokémon" as an attribute, it would garner lots of attention, but Nintendo / Game Freak's 2006 Game Boy Advance release Drill Dozer failed to attract as large an audience as Pikachu and company.  Featuring a built-in rumble pak motor in the game cartridge, Drill Dozer follows the adventures of benevolent thief Jill Dozer and big drill mech on her journey to rescue her father from a rival gang of thieves.  Along the way she'll use her drills to tighten and loosen screws in a platformer puzzle adventure that really should have caught on more than it did.  Hardcore Gaming 101 reviews Drill Dozer's case.

The eponymous Drill Dozer is exactly as it sounds: a walking tank with arms that form a huge screw bit. While far from a stealthy vehicle, the simple straightforwardness of its design and mechanics finds a plethora of uses. Sure, it serves as your sole means of offense as well as a great way to reek destruction of walls, but the heavy drill proves its versatility as a means to deflect projectiles, turn cranks, bore through tunnels, and even twist the tumblers in safe locks. The drill arms can spin clockwise or counter-clockwise with the press of the L or R buttons, with many puzzles based on the "righty tighty, lefty loosey" mnemonic; they're even color-coded with blue/red for L/R respectively. This leaves the game rather unique as the B button is placed as a secondary passive role like entering doors or answering messages from your crew. Those shoulder triggers will get quite the workout as every obstacle Jill faces is solved with either jumping, drilling, or the combination of both.

I love a solid platformer so I eagerly bought Drill Dozer when it was released and played it on my Nintendo DS.  It builds a wonderful framework for future titles that never came to be.  There's so much world-building happening in this game that it's impressive that it doesn't derail the actual game experience.  This is a game packed with levels and challenges.  Establishing all of the characters and their motivations complements the entire experience and I was eagerly awaiting a Wii sequel that never came.  Drill Dozer is available now on the Wii U's Virtual Console, so if you overlooked it over a decade ago, I recommend you try it now.  You won't be disappointed.


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.


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!


A First Look At The Super Mario Bros. Super Show

MarioNintendo felt it was burned in the early 1990s when it licensed Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda out to Hollywood for film and animation projects and didn't like the eventual end result, but for a while there the company really was trying to make it work.  1980s powerhouse DIC turned both games into the animated/live-action hybrid syndication smash The Super Mario Bros. Super Show in 1989 and Nintendo Power was there to promote it.  After all, what better way to spread awareness of the new program than through the game publisher's own in-house publicity publication? Over on Twitter, @VGArt&Tidbits has a scan of the single-page tease from the July/August 1989 issue. 

The main piece of art doesn't represent the visual style used on the cartoon at all, but I remember seeing it on licensed products such as TV trays and notebooks back in the old days, so I don't know if it's just an unrelated piece of art used here as filler or cartoon concept art that changed direction.  Either way, it's an interesting look into the past.  Who's that white-haired Mario ancestor in the photo on the wall?


Nintendo Outlines Vision For Universal Studios Attractions

Mario and friendsNintendo and Universal Studios announced a partnership a while ago to bring the former's beloved characters to the latter's theme parks and resorts.  Today the two companies released a teaser video in which Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Universal Creative's Mark Woodbury outline what they expect to accomplish at the Universal Studios parks in Osaka, Orlando, and Hollywood.  It looks like a Super Mario attraction is up first!

The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

It's easy to get carried away with dreams about an F-Zero rollercoaster and an interactive Kid Icarus quest, but let's be honest: the big guns will be out first.  Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon have to be on the shortlist of Nintendo properties to develop.  As much as I want an EarthBound ride or a Chibi-Robo adventure, the company has enough trouble selling games based on those properties that I doubt they're willing to sink millions into a flashy theme park debut for them right up front.  I would expect to see them represented elsewhere in the experience though much the way that the Walt Disney parks hide instances of Mickey Mouse in rides and attractions.  Either way, I can't wait to visit the Nintendo area of Universal Studios and see what the teams create.