Power Button - Episode 237: Back To The Wild With The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Power ButtonIt's been a few weeks since we checked in with my progress in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so it's time to dip back into the action as I explore Death Mountain with the help of a stupid Goron guide, attempt to ride an electric dragon, and stumble through a ninja hideout where the locals love their bananas.  Join Blake Grundman and I for an hour of discussion.   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.


Will You Buy Street Fighter II Again?

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final ChallengersCapcom's Street Fighter II has been ported to all kinds of game consoles and computers.  You can find it on the Super NES and Sega Genesis, of course, where it premiered as one of the best selling arcade ports of the 1990s, but it's also available on the Game Boy, Commodore 64, Amiga, Master System, Saturn, TurboGrafx-16, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, PlayStation Portable... my point is that it's widely available on just about every platform out there.  You most likely own one if not multiple options for playing Street Fighter II in one form or another.  Now Capcom is about to release it yet again, this time for the Nintendo Switch as Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers at a MSRP of $39.99.  That feels very steep for a game that has been around the block this many times, but Capcom has added some new features to the game for its Switch debut.  Nintendo UK offers up the complete list, while Javy Gwaltney at Game Informer summarizes the details

The standout addition is the Way of the Hado, a motion control first-person action game that's goal is to make the player "feel what it’s like to be Ryu." Staple modes like Arcade and Versus will also be included alongside Buddy Mode, a tag team battle mode, and Fight Requests as well as the ability to save replays of your matches.

There's also a digital art book included.  While I would like to have Street Fighter II on my Switch, I have to admit that I'm on the fence about it over the cost, but as I think about that, I wonder if I'm not actually the target market for this version of the game.  I first played Street Fighter II on a neighbor friend's Super NES back in 1992 and have kept up with the latest updates to it over the years.  I bought it on PS2 as part of an anniversary compilation, I own it on PS3 as the HD Remix upgrade, and I carry it in my pocket on my iPhone as a decently playable app.  I also own Street Fighter III on PS3 and Street Fighter IV on PS3, PS4, 3DS, and iOS.  I even have the underwhelming Street Fighter V on my PS4.  Clearly my Street Fighter needs are met.

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Zelda: Breath Of The Wild's Yiga Hideout Drove Me Bananas

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I was doing very well in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild until the time came to infiltrate the Yiga Clan's mountain hideout.  In my travels across Hyrule I had run into members of the Yiga Clan a few times out on the trails.  They are the game's ninjas; secretive folks trained in sword combat who have turned against goodness and light with a pledge to serve Calamity Ganon which means that they are gunning for Link and are eager to take him down.  As part of my quest to find the Divine Beast of the desert, I had to recover the stolen Thunder Helm for the leader of the Gerudo tribe, and since the Yiga had stolen it, that meant I had to storm their base.  That's when everything went to hell for me and I had to take a three week break from the game because, Hylia help me, I just couldn't do it.

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The Legend Of Zelda Escape Room Sounds Like A Letdown

The Legend Of ZeldaI've never participated in an escape room (one of those new business ventures popping up around the country in which players must solve puzzles to physically escape a room before time expires), but it sounds like something I'd like to try.  When the news broke that Nintendo had teamed with escape room company Scrap to create an encounter based on The Legend of Zelda, my interest shot way up, but after reading about Kotaku's Jason Schreier's experience at Defenders of the Triforce, I can't say that I'm that intrigued anymore.  It's less of an escape room and more of a shared environment full of brain teasers.

The event opened with a quick video presentation, as we learned (via N64-era, Ocarina of Time-style graphics) that Ganon had successfully destroyed Hyrule and trapped both Link and Zelda in crystallized prisons. A charismatic, bearded actor took the stage and gave us the rules: each table (of six) would have 60 minutes to solve the game’s puzzles. Beating Ganon would require us to figure out a series of Zelda-themed brain-teasers, like forming a map out of puzzle pieces and converting Hylian symbols into numbers.

I was expecting something with higher production values and with only a single team running the event at a time, although that may be impractical for an event that breaks apart quickly to travel to a different city.  This is a traveling attraction, after all.  Frankly, when I hear about escape rooms, I imagine something like this segment from Conan in which Conan O'Brien tries to escape from a detective's office while solving a mystery.

Give me something like this themed around Zelda and we're all set!  I want a small interactive Zelda dungeon, not worksheets at a table in an auditorium.  To Scrap's credit, buried in their website's FAQ section is the explanation "this is NOT a traditional escape room (i.e. locked inside a room). It is a fully hosted, story-based escape event designed for puzzle fans and fans of the Zelda franchise. There will be multiple teams in the event space all participating at the same time, and each team will have their own table to work at when not exploring," but the event still reads as underwhelming.  They didn't even have enough green hats for all of the paying customers.  How disappointing.


Support Your Local Game Shops

Ice LuigiMy girlfriend and I like to take trips around the state on weekends.  One of our favorite places to go is the touristy shopping areas of Orlando like Disney Springs, Universal Citywalk, and the Artegon Marketplace.  Unfortunately, on our last trip out there this past weekend, we discovered that Artegon has been shuttered, and while the big movie theater remains, the fun little local shops inside are long gone including our favorite small used video game shop.  This was a problem because my girlfriend had brought a stack of some used Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii games with us to trade in.  Purchased from a variety of GameStop locations over the years, the pile of Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and assorted anime-of-the-week games from the past decade were just taking up space on her shelf, and as the used game lifecycle tells us, that meant it was time for them to go.  We had planned to trade them in at Artegon, but with it no longer an option, what's a couple with a handful of nearly worthless games to do?  Take them to GameStop and trade them back for less than a pittance?  After all, a good local game shop is hard to find and nobody likes to feed the beast more than one absolutely must.

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Nintendo PlayStation Whirs To Life

Nintendo PlayStationFollowing the unlikely discovery at an estate sale, enthusiasts have been able to restore a prototype Nintendo PlayStation (that is, a Super Famicom merged with an unreleased CD-ROM attachment created as part of a short-lived Nintendo/Sony alliance in the early 1990s) to full working over.  Kyle Orland at Ars Technica tells the story of how the device was brought back to life and what it's future holds.  The big question about all of this is: since there is no official software for it, what can one play on a Super NES with a CD drive?

"I should really loan this to one of the emulator writers," Heck says in the video. "The bootstrap code to load games needs to be tweaked now that programmers know how actual hardware works... now it's down to the programmers learning what the hardware can actually do versus what they thought it could do."

As a practical matter, getting the Nintendo PlayStation "fully functional" isn't much more than a historical oddity. There's no known "official" software floating around for the system, and even homebrew games play pretty much identically to regular SNES cartridges (just with lots of additional storage space for music, levels, and the like).

It would be interesting to see homebrew game developers craft new Super NES games that take advantage of the extra storage space that a CD can offer, although anything they create could only be played on this one console.  Of course, then we get into emulation which would expand those games to the masses if Super NES emulator creators add the CD-ROM expansion to their software.  This could revitalize the Super NES emulation community.  It would be great to see well-crafted hacks and expansions of familiar games like, just spitballing here, a Super Metroid iteration featuring multiple planets or a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past adventure with more than just a Light and Dark world available.  Beyond that, I'd love to see actual original games made for this console's capabilities.  Just kick out the back wall of the stock Super NES's limitations and go nuts with the extra CD power.  Of course, I've wanted to see that since 1992 when a CD-ROM expansion for the Super NES was first rumored!


Mini-Review: Chrono Trigger

Chrono TriggerThis article was originally published at Kombo.com on December 16, 2008. 

Once upon a time (say, 13 years ago) famed RPG powerhouse Square released Chrono Trigger for the Super NES. The game's engrossing tale of a spiky-haired young man, his platonic inventor friend, a rebellious tomboy princess, a humanoid frog knight, a clunky robot from the dim future, and a spunky cavegirl with reptile issues that team up to travel across time to defeat an evil planet-devouring parasite from outer space became a 16-bit classic. The game has commanded high prices on the used game market and an ever-growing legion of loyal fans over the years, and now the adventure is back for the Nintendo DS for a whole new generation of fans to discover (and for the rest of us to enjoy all over again).

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Now You Can Play The Unreleased Primal Rage 2

Primal Rage 2Back in the 1990s glory days of Mortal Kombat and its many imitators (I'm looking at you, Tattoo Assassins), Atari Games took a run at the fighting game crown with Primal Rage, an arcade game in which players battled not as ninjas, damned souls, or gods, but as mighty dinosaurs.  With Jurassic Park still wildly popular, this combination proved to be... eh, not a runaway hit per se, but surely one of the better remembered Kombat klones, and even then mostly just for the novelty of mixing dinosaurs with a fighting game.  Primal Rage made the rounds on the home consoles and computers of the day and sparked a little marketing empire of its own with comics and toys.  It's only natural that a sequel would follow, and while Primal Rage 2 was in development for a short while with a targeted release date of 1996, it was canceled before completion and quietly buried.  Only one playable arcade cabinet has surfaced in recent years, but now thanks to a custom version of the popular arcade emulator MAME, it's possible to bring Primal Rage 2 home.  Here's Hardcore Gaming 101 to explain how the sequel changed the formula and why that likely contributed to its demise.

The game was left unfinished, and was presumed lost. While the ROMs would eventually surface, no version of MAME put the game into a playable state. Some time later, an actual cabinet would eventually surface at Chicago's Galloping Ghost Arcade, letting people experience the game for the first time. For those of us who weren't local or lacked airfare, however, we had to make do with Youtube videos filmed by camcorder. Until recently, that is, when Gruntzilla94, someone who had been researching the game heavily, made a special version of MAME capable of fully running this mysterious game.

Since the game was never finished, any real faults of the game should be given with that in mind. While there's plenty of glitches, unfinished animations, and things that are straight up broken, it should be assumed that all of these would have been fixed for release. Even if the game had come out, it's likely there would have been further revisions, much like the original Rage. Still, considering its early state, it's fairly playable, if not particularly amazing. Given the vast strides fighting games had made since 1994, PR2 had a lot more to go up against, and it can't really compete.

For a game built around brawling dinosaurs, Primal Rage 2 commits the greatest sin it possibly can: it sidelines the brawling dinosaurs.  The game's lore outlines that humans have begun to rise up and worship dinosaurs as gods, so in the sequel the dinosaurs choose humans to wage their wars for them.  If I wanted to brawl as a human, there were plenty of other, better games I could choose.  The whole point of Primal Rage is to see dinosaurs rip each other apart, and without the dinosaurs, the whole endeavor is revealed as the hollow experience it really is.  Presumably Atari realized this too late in the development process to change course, and as the Kombat craze started to wane, the company likely just pulled the plug and walked away.  A few toys and even a novel based on the expanded lore of Primal Rage 2 made it out to stores anyway, although today the whole franchise is, pardon the pun, extinct.


First Wave Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Expansion Pass Content Revealed

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildAfter teasing two waves of additional content for those who purchased the $20 Expansion Pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo has revealed exactly what buyers will get this summer in the first wave of add-ons.  A new "cave of trials"-type challenge, new armor, new tools, a new hard mode that boosts enemy strength, and a new option to track Link's progress on the map.  Zelda.com lists everything in great detail.  Here's the bit about the Trial of the Sword challenge:

When you get to a certain sacred location, you can take on the new "Trial of the Sword" challenge. Face an onslaught of enemies, one wave after another. Link starts the challenge without any equipment or weapons. When all the enemies in a room are defeated, Link proceeds to the next. Clear all the trials (about 45 rooms in total), and the true power of the Master Sword will be awakened, and it will always be in its glowing powered-up state while usable.

That sounds like a worthwhile upgrade to me, although you just know that the final room of the trial will be filled with silver Lynels or something else frustrating.  Perhaps Guardians that fire on you while you fight silver Lynels.  Better bring some extra fruit and mushroom skewers just to be safe.  The new armor invokes past Zelda adventures such as Twilight Princess (Midna's helmet), Majora's Mask (the actual Majora's mask which could have some, um, interesting side effects), and even a Tingle outfit if you're into that sort of thing.  I expect to be finished with Breath by the time this expansion releases (if I can ever finish the Yiga clan's hideout section), so it'll be a great excuse to revisit the game and pick up the new additions. The second wave of DLC (including the new story content) is slated for release toward the end of the year.


Power Button - Episode 236: The Strength Of Length

Power ButtonVideo games have ballooned into very lengthy experiences in the past few generations, so this week on Power Button we take an hour to discuss some of the longest games we've played, the optimal length of a well-structured game, why players are looking for longer games, and if developers can continue this trend.   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.