Hey, you! Yeah, you, the person reading this. You wanna listen to a video game podcast? This week on Power Button, we're talking about games that reach out to break the fourth wall and directly address or interact with the player rather than the protagonist. Eternal Darkness, Sonic the Hedgehog, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Super Mario 64, Deadpool, Metal Gear Solid, The Simpsons Game, and other favorite games are brought up and discussed all for the benefit of you, the audience. We hope you enjoy this dive through the fourth wall. 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. Next Time: We celebrate gaming's best relationships on our Valentine's Day special.
After years of hearing about Nintendo's refusal to license its characters out to Hollywood following the financial disaster that was 1993's Super Mario Bros. film, imagine how shocked we all were today to learn that Netflix and Nintendo are working on a live-action television series based on The Legend of Zelda. Everyone's hungry for details, but here's all the Wall Street Journal can tell us so far:
The video streaming service is in the early stages of developing a live action series based on Zelda, about an ordinary boy named Link who must rescue a princess named Zelda and save a fantasy world called Hyrule, said a person familiar with the matter. As it seeks writers to work on the show, Netflix is describing it as Game of Thrones for a family audience, this person said.
As it is still seeking a writer to work on the series, Netflix has a long road to travel before a Legend of Zelda series actually becomes a reality. It’s also possible that Netflix or Nintendo will kill the project before it gets off the ground.
So this could either end up as an award-winning smash hit or a dead project that never sees the light of day. There's so many unknowns here that it's dangerous to get too excited, but it's so difficult not to feel at least a little jazzed. A Zelda TV show! There's so much potential here, although if you take the sex and brutality out of Game of Thrones, there's not much left. Netflix's Zelda series will have to find its own way separate from that quick pitch line, but there's a lot of source material from which to mine. Maybe we'll finally see this classic scene in live action!
Yeah, I never pass up a chance to remind you that happened. Anyway, hardcore fans are surely working up dream ideas as we speak, but it would be in Netflix's benefit to keep it simple at the start. Base the plot around the original Nintendo Entertainment System game or A Link to the Past. Jumping right into a flooded Hyrule (Wind Waker) or werewolf antics (Twilight Princess) could be dangerous. Or, with Nintendo's assistance, maybe the development team should just right into a plot based off of the upcoming new Wii U game. Creative cross-promotional synergy! Can you feel it?
If you think it's difficult to track down regular amiibo figurines, just wait until Nintendo releases special gold and silver variants of beloved characters like Mario. A little snooping around Nintendo's website today revealed the existence of the special edition versions, although there's no word on when or where you'll see them available (and Nintendo has removed the PDFs that revealed all of this in the first place). I've heard speculation that these are everything from contest prizes to extremely limited edition items for sale to retailer exclusives to the final Club Nintendo platinum and gold level prizes for this year. Here's what Engadget knows:
An eagle-eyed NeoGAF poster dug up the furtive figurines on Nintendo's site, but it looks like the box art is all the info we've got so far. We've asked Nintendo what's up, but for now you can start prepping your riot gear to ensure you make it out of the store alive when the bloodbath for these toys begins. Nintendo's already sold more than 2.6 million Amiibo, and the demand doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon.
I'm sure the eBay scalpers are salivating even as we speak. Personally, I'm hoping that these become the final Club Nintendo prizes. That seems to be the only way that average folks like you and me will ever have a chance to own one of them. If they're contest prizes, someone will cheat the leaderboards or flood the contest with bogus entries; if they're for sale somewhere, scalpers will snatch them all up before the rest of us even know that they're available. It's just the way the amiibo market works, sadly. If figurines like Marth and Wii Fit Trainer represent an uncommon allotment, I can't imagine how rare the gold and silver figurines could possible be. Is it somehow possible to manufacture a negative number of an item?
Sony has been pushing its streaming cloud music service Music Unlimited for years now, but offering has failed to gain any significant traction in the market, so the company is shutting it down later this year. In its place comes a new partnership with Spotify to bring that service to the PlayStation 3, PS4, and select Xperia devices under the guise of PlayStation Music. Here's the PlayStation Blog with the news:
The new service will launch initially on PS4 and PS3, as well as Xperia smartphones and tablets. You’ll of course be able to listen to your favorite playlists – including existing playlists from current Spotify users as well as Spotify curated playlists – and enjoy the service on all of Spotify’s supported devices.
Prior to the launch of Spotify on PlayStation Music, the Music Unlimited service will close in all 19 countries on March 29, 2015. Nearly all of these countries will be among the 41 markets where PlayStation Music featuring Spotify will be available at launch, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil. From February 28, 2015, Music Unlimited users with active subscriptions will receive up to 30 days of free access through March 29, 2015.
I subscribed to Music Unlimited for a year back in 2013 and while I liked the service, it was never going to overtake the major players in that space. I loved the idea of using the MU app on PS4 to play games while my favorite songs replaced the terrible licensed music used in games like Need For Speed: Rivals, but the app was unstable and crashed often. Sometimes it would get stuck in an endless buffer. It offered a lot of my favorite artists, but the catalog was clogged with MIDI synthesizer karaoke versions of "real" songs. Search for The Eagles, for instance, and the only "Hotel California" you'd find sounded like it came from a poorly made Sega Genesis game. So: great idea, poor execution. These days I just use Amazon's Prime Music service to stream songs to my PCs and mobile devices, so I'm not really in the market to pay for another music service, but I know that Spotify is popular and will surely be welcome in the PlayStation ecosystem. I just hope the app is more stable than Music Unlimited.
It's time to cash out your last lingering coins in the North American Club Nintendo now that the final prizes have been revealed. A few new physical items are available including a messenger bag and a jigsaw puzzle both featuring artwork from The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask as well as new posters centered around Super Smash Bros. There's also dozens of downloadable games available including Virtual Console classics, eShop exclusives, and full retail releases for Wii U and 3DS. Some of these games have never been offered on Club Nintendo before or were previously Platinum or Gold level prizes. Funny how in its final days, Club Nintendo finally becomes the loyalty program we wanted all along. I'll miss earning coins, but hopefully the next loyalty program due later this year will be better. And yes, you can still waste 200 coins on Ice Climber or Urban Champion if you really want.
It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to the departing Joystiq on this week's episode of the Power Button podcast as we discuss the changing world of the video game media business. Long ago magazines were the big upstarts, then those gave way to blogs, then podcasts muscled in, and now everything is Let's Plays and unboxing videos. Those who can't keep up risk being closed down by their corporate masters ever in search of rising quarterly profits. And speaking of rising profits and Lets Plays, we also dip into the recent controversy surrounding Nintendo's YouTube partnership program. There's something for everyone to feel cheated about! 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. Next Time: We break through the fourth wall to talk about all of the times our favorite games reached out to directly address the player.
The Mortal Kombat series has always been [in]famous for its shocking brutality, but the next game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X, takes things to a level that horrifies even Super Bowl all-stars. Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski join Conan O'Brien for the latest Clueless Gamer segment of Conan in which the two tough guys and the talk show host sit down to play the in-development Kombat and react to the violence. I found it interesting that two athletes who have found success by being professional tough guys were aghast at the new Fatalities and would rather be playing Mario Kart instead. In fact, neither athlete seemed to know much about the cast of Kombat, but they knew their Mario Kart characters and mechanics. Seeing them reject the hardcore gore of Kombat in favor of racing as Toad and Bowser made me smile. Mortal Kombat X is due out in April for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Back in Episode 154 of the Power Button podcast we reminisced about our favorite Nintendo-based comics, and one of the stories held up for discussion was the multi-part comic adaptation of 1992's The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that was published over the course of 1993 in Nintendo Power. Written and drawn by manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori, the comic has been out of print and long gone for years now (save for scanned images found online). Now Viz Media is due to bring it back. It's due out in North America on May 5. Here's Comics Alliance with the details:
As for why they’re doing it now, it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, the Zelda-themed Hyrule Historia from Dark Horse was one of last year’s biggest selling comics projects, topping the New York Times best-seller list, and while Viz published Akira Himekawa’s Zelda comics a few years ago, none of them had the mix of Nintendo Power nostalgia and a legendary manga creator that you get from Ishinomori’s comics.
UDON Entertainment was interested in reprinting these Zelda comics, but when they looked into getting the rights to do so, they were told that someone else had beat them to it. Now we know the rest of the story. I wasn't much of a fan of the Zelda adaptation, but I'm glad to know it's coming back for those who want to own it in print. Modern audiences deserve to read shocking twists like this one all over again:
Sony's PlayStation Vita has had a tough time cracking into major mainstream success. For a console that launched with a bang of 3G mobile access and AAA franchise titles like Uncharted, it's withered on the vine since the bottom fell out of the handheld gaming market and been left to subsist on PlayStation 3 ports and digitally distributed indie darlings. Now Sony is about to remove a few features from the system, shutting off the lights on three seldom-used apps. The built-in Maps app and the downloadable YouTube app are due for retirement, while the confusing Near app is going to be stripped down. Here's Game Informer with the news:
The Maps app, which provided access to navigation services on the device, is being phased out. This will be removed in the March update. Sony also says that some aspects of its ‘Near’ social suite will no longer function at that time. Sony has not yet specified which of the Near functions will cease to work.
Sony will also be eliminating the YouTube app from its portable console. It will no longer be supported as of April 20, and will be unavailable to download as of today, January 28.
Maps and YouTube have long-since been replaced by more convenient, more manageable mobile apps in the smartphone market (and Maps was really only useful if you own a 3G-capable Vita). Few people ever really knew was Near was all about beyond being a poor man's StreetPass-type of experience. Will you miss these apps? While YouTube may have been nice to keep around just because it's always nice to have options (my guess is that it's being removed because somebody at Sony didn't want to pay the license fee for continued access), I can't say that I'll miss any of these. I hate to see functions removed from hardware, but in this instance, these changes won't really impact how I use my Vita.