Retro/Classic Feed

Power Button - Episode 250: A Dish Of Gaming Comfort Food

Power ButtonIn times of trouble and strife it's nice to be able to reach for that special video game that is always there for you to help cheer you up and take your mind off of your problems.  On this, our two hundred and fiftieth episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss the games that have been there for us when we're down.  All of our favorites are here from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening getting me through a prolonged winter storm power outage to Blake and his father competing at Zen Pinball.  We have over an hour of clicks n' bloops for the soul (is that pun too labored?).  Also, it's the final week to help support Blake in his Extra Life charity campaign, so you'd best get involved with that.   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 249: Great Minds Think Alike

Power ButtonSometimes, through no fault of their own, rival video game developers independently stumble into the same idea.  On this week's episode of Power Button, we look back at games that competed based on similar concepts: Infamous versus Prototype, Split/Second versus Blur, and so on.   We also look at smash hit games like Street Fighter II and Super Mario Kart and inspired a glut of also-ran imitations.  It's an hour of great minds thinking alike or following the leader.  By the way, why not check out Blake's Extra Life charity goal and see if you can help him 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.


Nintendo's Wrecking Crew '98 Translated Into English

Wrecking Crew '98It's been a long time since Nintendo has done anything new with its Wrecking Crew property.  There's a Nintendo Switch port of the arcade version, VS. Wrecking Crew, on the way later this year and the original NES version of the game has popped up on the Virtual Console for the Wii, 3DS, & Wii U, but there's a missing piece of the series that has yet to show up outside of Japan in any form.  1998's aptly titled Wrecking Crew '98 updated the formula for the Super NES era, crossing it with the aesthetics and puzzle-type nature of Tetris Attack.  Now the game has been translated into English for the first time by fans, so if you're up for emulating the game, here's your chance to enjoy the full experience.  There's even an updated version of the classic Wrecking Crew included.  Romhacking.net tells you how it's done.

A Mario game, never brought over-seas, exclusive to Japan and without an english translation?!

Yes, for as hard as it is to believe, this obscure Mario title never saw the light of day in any country outside of Japan, thanks to the weird distribution method of kiosks back in ‘98, and thanks due to Nintendo’s International Division shutting down sales of all SNES games in ‘97.

This neat little package includes not only one, but 2 games! That’s right, the original Wrecking Crew for the NES was ported and included alongside its sequel, Wrecking Crew ‘98!

Now you can enjoy the flexibility of having both games in one single ROM, now in full english text thanks to the incredible work of the RomHacking community!

The game is fully playable, from start to finish, without any major hiccup or bug! Finally, a long forgotten game will see the light of day overseas, thanks to hackers doing what Nintendon’t!

I dabbled with the Japanese version over a decade ago, but never really knew what was going on thanks to my Japanese illiteracy.  I'm glad to have a reason to revisit the game and understand it now.  Say, come to think of it, hacking additional games into the Super NES Classic is coming along fairly well.  Perhaps these are two hacks that taste great together.


Go Back In Time With Sonic CD For Nintendo DS

Sonic-cd-usaSega has made a good practice of bringing its classic Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the Genesis to as many platforms as possible over the past decade, and while you can play the prime Sonic trilogy (& Knuckles) on the Nintendo DS, there's a piece of key Sonic history missing from that platform.  The premiere Sega CD title Sonic CD could've ended up on the DS as part of a project from Simon Thomley, and if that name sounds familiar it's because he went on to bigger things with the recently released Sonic Mania.  Back in 2009, Thomley was contracted to work on a pitch to Sega regarding Sonic CD for DS, and though the project never materialized in any official capacity, the DS proof of concept is out there and freely downloadable from Thomley's company, Headcannon.  Want to play a piece of the Sonic port that never was?  Thomley explains:

Primarily, I was to dissect and explain the Palmtree Panic Zone boss, which is pretty complex in design by comparison to how effortlessly it can be beaten, so that he could reproduce it flawlessly. During this time, I personally reconstructed the boss myself using my existing port of Sonic 1 to GBA/DS to make certain that I was understanding it correctly. At the same time, I also had a personal interest in Sonic CD's Special Stage, which I had also been dissecting, and continued my work with it in order to both provide assistence (though not direct) with Christian's Sonic CD build, and to attempt my own with the DS.

As both projects continued, I saw merit in the idea of pitching the concurrent development of a DS version of the game, which would require such a low-level remake as mine due to the fact that the DS wasn't powerful enough to support a scripting-based game engine like Retro Engine. Given that, I set out to make a complete POC, which was taken pretty much to completion.

Unfortunately, once Christian's version was formally accepted and he was under contract, I would no longer be able to associate with the project and was therefore without a means to get the concept off the ground. I had no other contacts, and with this being Christian's first project with the company, he understandably couldn't take the sort of risk that would have been involved in attempting to take care of it himself.

You can run this software on a real Nintendo DS using a flash cart or in a DS emulator.  Be sure to read and follow the instructions.  Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are all playable in Palmtree Panic Zone Acts 1-3 (in all three time periods) which is especially interesting since Knuckles did not make the playable cut in the eventual conversion of Sonic CD that was released in 2011 for other platforms.  I love to see developers release their cutting room floor scraps for fans to explore and wish more would do it, although I understand why they don't.  This is just one of several similar projects that Thomley has released and I encourage you to check them all out.


Power Button - Episode 246: Jump, Jump, Slide, Slide Into Mega Man Legacy Collection 2

Power ButtonCapcom recently sent Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 out into the world for Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC, so with the combined efforts of Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, and Mega Man 10 back on our radar, it's the perfect time to discuss how these games have aged and what we learned while revisiting them.  All of that nostalgia leads us into our secondary topic for the week in which we discuss franchises that have earned the right to come back in similar legacy collections.  From Castlevania to Contra and beyond, we're ready to look forward to the past.   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 245: Off The Ramp With Mel Kirk And Pinball FX3

Power ButtonWe're very excited here at Power Button about the upcoming Pinball FX3 from Zen Studios.  The latest (and possibly final) pinball platform for modern hardware, the new title carries over many of our favorite tables from the Zen Pinball 2 / Pinball FX2 era and will launch with new licensed tables from the Universal vault of beloved properties.  New original tables from Zen are also due out before the end of the year.  It's an exciting time for pinball fans, so it's also a perfect time for us to invite Zen's VP of Publishing, Mel Kirk, back on the show to discuss the new features in FX3, what we can expect from the new tables, when we will get to play FX3 for ourselves, and how the last generation platform of ZP2/FX2 has been sunsetted.  Join us for an hour of conversation that will answer all of your burning pinball questions (seriously; we collected questions from the Twitter crowd and answered all of them).  Want to know about Nintendo Switch availability?  Game of Thrones tables?  Support for PSVR?  We cover it all.   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.


Catch The Mania With A Sonic Medley

Sonic the HedgehogThe new Sonic Mania is stirring up lots of nostalgia for the original Sonic the Hedgehog games from the Sega Genesis era, and what better way to celebrate those timeless classics than with a Video Game Live performance off the group's Level 2 album of the credits theme from the original Sonic the Hedgehog?  The credits theme is a medley of songs from each zone of the game, turning this track into a tour through Green Hill Zone, Star Light Zone, Marble Zone, and beyond.  Looks like Video Games Live got them all.


Power Button - Episode 244: Underrated All-Stars

Power ButtonFor every Call of Duty or Super Mario powerhouse that fills up best-of lists and tops sales charts, there are dozens of other games that have plenty of potential to be all-time greats, but you never hear about them.  They fall into the memory hole or are used as target practice by aspiring Internet idiots picking at low fruit based on reputation alone.  We say it's not fair that fun games are passed over, so on this week's podcast we're dusting off some of our favorite underrated games of the past thirty years.  From Spec-Ops: The Line to Yo Noid! to The Godfather to, yes, my beloved Aero the Acro-bat, we have a list of titles you need to explore.   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.


Sonic X-Treme Radio Revealed

Sonic radioThe legendary lost status of Sonic X-Treme for the Sega Saturn is a well-tread item of Internet lore.  I'm sure you know the story: Sega's big 1996 holiday release for the Saturn is canceled after internal struggles between the development team and the publisher, leaving a high profile hole in the console's library.  While the game never released, some tie-in merchandise did.  We covered the retitled X-treme animated Christmas special, Sonic Christmas Blast (previously titled A Sonic X-Treme Christmas), once before on PTB, and now we have photos of an AM/FM radio branded with the X-treme name.  You see, kids, FM radio was... oh, never mind.  Take a look.

TIL Sega began producing promotional items for the canceled Saturn game Sonic X-Treme

I searched around for other merchandise meant to help promote Sonic X-Treme and wound up at an old Angelfire page that, in addition to the radio, lists a cassette player and ice cream.  How did this X-treme stuff make it out the door if the game never did?  What was the point of promoting a dead release?  Tgunter at Reddit sums it up:

The logo matches the one used in early promotion for the game, and the copyright date on the back says 1997, while Sonic X-treme was originally slated for Christmas 1996, but delayed multiple times before being canceled. So everything points to this being a tie-in.  Manufacturing takes time to line up. It makes perfect sense that merchandise got made for Sonic X-treme, considering it was supposed to be a big release.

Makes sense to me.  I'll allow it.  It's always interesting to see the range of products used to promote other products.  Did Sonic need a radio or a cassette player that had nothing in common with the game other than the logo on the box?  Of course not, but it helped keep the game in the collective consciousness of children and gave cheap radios and other such things a level of appeal.  I ate a lot of tasteless fruit snacks as a kid just because Mario was on the box.  Hell, we're talking about this radio right now because it says Sonic X-Treme on the package.  This licensing strategy must work.


The Wonderful World Of ROM Hacks

Somebody Set Us Up The ROMSince the heady days of the original NESticle emulator for DOS, video game fans have been hacking games such as Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man 2 to change level layouts and alter graphics.  What began as crude and tasteless shock value hacks (naked Mario, racist Mario, etc.) eventually grew into worthwhile creations that turn familiar classics into entirely new games.  John Harris has written a new e-book, Somebody Set Us Up The ROM, that chronicles some of the best hacks that the Internet has to offer.  Part One focuses mainly on games from the worlds of Super Mario and Metroid, while the upcoming Part Two aims at Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man.  It's available exclusively in the Summer Smash Game Bundle.  Here's a note from the curator, Simon Carless:

Some people think, with some justification, that romhacks are mostly about seeing how many dongs someone can fit into a single game. But the best ones are far from that. Sometimes they add major features to beloved games to make them playable for a new generation. Sometimes they greatly improve game graphics, or present new worlds to explore. Sometimes they correct terrible design decisions. And sometimes they translate game into other languages, allowing them to be read and appreciated by new audiences.

This book is a collection of good romhacks, small and large, simple and incredible. And without a single dong to be found.

I had the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of this book and I am impressed by the depth of exploration.  Harris dives into interesting ideas such as adding a day/night cycle to Super Mario Bros. 3, integrating an auto-mapping system into the original Metroid, changing the villagers in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest into truthful helpers instead of lying bastards, and so much more.  This is an interesting read that will give you plenty of new twists on old favorites to try.  I eagerly await Part Two.