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Power Button - Episode 240: E3 2017 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs another E3 draws to a close it's time to review and recap the year's biggest week in gaming.  Join us with annual guest Ross Polly to discuss all the news and excitement including Microsoft's new Xbox One X console; classic Xbox games arriving on Xbox One; Blake's excitement for Crackdown 3, Sony hitting trailers hard with teases for the new Uncharted, Spider-Man, and Days Gone; Ubisoft's ambitious Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and Assassin's Creed: Origins; and Nintendo's big showcase featuring Super Mario Odyssey, Metroid Prime 4, Metroid: Samus Returns, Yoshi, Kirby, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, and much more.  We have a supersized two and a half hour episode for you, so settle in and prepare for some fun.   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.

Spider-Man Swings To PS4 In 2018

Spider-ManThe collaboration between Insomniac Games and Marvel Entertainment continues to develop as Sony debuted new gameplay footage of Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 at the company's E3 media briefing last night.  Coming off as Spider-Man: Arkham City with shades of Uncharted thanks to the takedowns, quicktime events, and seemingly linear story, Spider-Man closed out the show and had everyone hungry for more.  Here's the clip:

I was excited when Marvel announced it was getting back into the gaming business and was teaming with top talent to create the big budget games their characters deserve in addition to the smaller fare.  Licensing characters like Iron Man and Captain America out to any publisher that wanted them to turn a quick shovelware buck did nothing good for anybody in the end.  Actually being a bit choosy about who gets to play in the Marvel sandbox boosts property profiles, will surely make a lot of money for everyone with a financial stake in the games, and ideally leads to the creation of all-time classics that will be fondly remembered for years to come. 

Best of all from a fan perspective, Marvel's gaming licensing is free from the restrictions of its cinematic and television deals, so we get to see Spider-Man and Wilson Fisk interact rather than relegating the former to films and the latter to Netflix's Daredevil series where, despite supposedly existing in the same universe, they can never meet.  Even Miles Morales gets in on the fun, so it's going to be so much fun to play the game and see who else from the Spider-verse appears that we may not expect.  Spider-Man is due out in 2018 and I say that Insomniac should take all the time it needs to get this right.  Polish, polish, polish.  When it comes to games like this, I'm very patient. 

Bubsy Returns In The Woolies Strike Back

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back!

In the 1990s when video game publishers everywhere were searching for their own radical mascot to star in a 16-bit platformer adventure, many characters answered the call to compete with Sonic the Hedgehog.  There was Awesome Possum, Radical Rex, Plok, my beloved Aero the Acro-bat, and poster child of them all: Bubsy the BobcatDebuting in 1993's Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, he would later go on to sequels in Bubsy 2, Bubsy: Fractured Furry Tales for the Atari Jaguar, and Bubsy 3D for the Sony PlayStation which was so poorly received that it killed the franchise dead and, not long after, saw publisher and rights holder Accolade go down too.  In the years since, Bubsy has become something of a gaming punchline, a shorthand for "lazy bad radical game", and a meme star.  There's also that aborted cartoon pilot kicking around online that he'll never live down.  He deserves much better, so I'm glad to see that Bubsy is returning in a new game for the Sony PlayStation 4 and PC.  Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back! is due out later this year.

Bubsy: the Woolies Strike Back! is an all new Bubsy adventure featuring Bubsy in a bevy of exotic locations as he travels the planet looking for the beloved Golden Fleece. Bubsy must use all of his classic moves and a few new ones to dodge and out bobcat a battalion of Woolies, not mention the gnarliest UFO bosses to ever grace a Bubsy adventure. The wisecracking lynx also adds over a 100 new one liners to his lexicon to keep fans guessing what he’ll say next.

You'll find many other gaming websites covering this news with cynical ho-hum trying hard to not care attitudes such as "why is this happening?", "nobody asked for this", and so on, but just the idea of Bubsy coming back has me excited.  It's popular to hate the character and his games, but the original two 16-bit titles are enjoyable and offer some fun challenges once you get past the learning curve and beef up your patience stamina.  This new Bubsy title comes to us from a reborn Accolade, although it's just a revived name owned by Chinese firm Billion Soft out of Hong Komg and is developed by Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams studio Black Forest Games.

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Power Button - Episode 239: Destiny 2 Is Coming

Power ButtonWith the excitement building for Destiny 2 coming to consoles and PC later this year, it's a good time for me to turn to Blake Grundman and ask him to try and sell me on this new sequel and answer some of my questions about things that have come up since I first played (and walked away from) the basic pre-DLC version of Destiny.  Spend an hour with Blake as he busts loose and tells us all the reasons he's excited about the game and where we think the series will go in the future.   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.

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Announced

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2Capcom brought back the original six Mega Man games for the Mega Man Legacy Collection last year, but right away people began to ask why the other numbered sequels in the series did not make the cut.  Now the company is back with Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 which offers Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, and Mega Man 10 with all of the usual museum modes and new challenge options included.  It's due out in August 2017 for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC for $19.99 both digitally and at retail in a box.  All of the downloadable content for the latter two games are included, too.  Here's the trailer:

I was very pleased with the original Legacy Collection (so much so that I bought it twice; once for PS4 and again for 3DS) and I'm definitely interested in this second collection as well.  There are a few classic series Mega Man titles still unaccounted for here.  Most egregiously, 1998's Mega Man & Bass for the Super NES is missing in action.  Perhaps Capcom is choosing only to use the numbered sequels in these collections or perhaps the company does not want to bother with translating the Japanese-exclusive title into English for international release.  The game was translated when it was ported down to the Game Boy Advance in 2002, but that version is notoriously difficult to play thanks to challenging controls and a notoriously cropped screen.  Trust me, you don't want that version back again!  We're also missing the five Game Boy games, the Wily Wars set for the Sega Genesis (which could be redundant, I suppose), and Mega Man Soccer for the Super NES.  Why, there's enough additional Mega Man titles left to bundle together in a third collection...

Power Button - Episode 238: Gothams And Guardians: The Telltale Discussion

Power ButtonTelltale Games is having a prolific period lately with last year's Batman: The Telltale Series and this year's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.  On this week's podcast episode, Blake Grundman and I are picking up where we left off from Episode 212 in which we covered the first Batman episode by finishing off our discussion of the series.  We also talk a bit about Telltale in general including their history and their aging game engine.  That leads us into talking about the first episode of the new Guardians series.  As you can imagine, there's a spoiler warning for all of this, so consider yourself warned!  Join us for ninety minutes of conversation.   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.

Is It Too Soon For The PlayStation 5?

InterocitorI know people who have just recently joined the Sony PlayStation 4 generation of gaming, but Eurogamer is postulating that it's almost time for Sony to unleash the PlayStation 5.  Is it time for the next-next generation of gaming?  Here's Richard Leadbetter on the possibilities as spread out by a Wall Street Journal article.  Basically, it's analysts all the way down.

We can add some additional flavour to the speculation as we spoke to PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny last year, where he was very specific about how PS4 Pro was not a next-gen console, sharing with us the criteria he has for what constitutes a new console generation. Games hardware is years in the making - work on PS4 began in 2008 - so we can safely assume that his words do have some bearing on what to expect from the next PlayStation, which is almost certainly in the works now, even if a 2018 launch does seem unlikely.

"Each new generation brings with it a new set of capabilities: CPUs, GPUs and the like but also controllers and new types of display devices. If you go back to the 1970s, it was colour TV. That was the new display device," Cerny told us. "These capabilities unlock new potential for the type of games that can be created. For example, increased CPU power might not seem like a game-changer but it actually allows for much better enemy AI, more enemy characters, better world simulation and a whole host of other evolutions in the game experience."

So, is it too soon for a PlayStation 5?  I say a resounding DEAR GOD YES.  PS4 games are just hitting their stride.  The console is still selling well.  Sony just launched a mid-generation upgrade last year.  Some of the most anticipated PS4 games such as the recently-delayed Red Dead Redemption 2 and the new God of War aren't even released yet.  Why this rush to move on to a new generation already?  I certainly believe that Sony is working on a PlayStation 5, but these new consoles take years and years of research and development before they are ready to become a product.  Just because Microsoft is prepping its Xbox Scorpio does not mean that Sony needs to rush another new console to market just to leapfrog the competition.  The PS4 is a solid console.  It's best days are just beginning.  Let's all just enjoy it for a few more years before we latch on to the next big thing, shall we?

Telltale's Guardians Of The Galaxy Brings The Humor

Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale SeriesI'm a big fan of the creative works of Telltale Games.  I was a fan as back as Sam & Max and Back To The Future, but what really made me take notice was when Tales From The Borderlands became the backdrop to the early weeks of my girlfriend and I starting to date each other.  Whenever Telltale takes on a favorite franchise, I'll be there, so when the company sent over a download code for Guardians of the Galaxy, I eagerly joined up with the Milano crew.  I'll have a lot to say about Episode 1: "Tangled Up In Blue" on an upcoming episode of the Power Button podcast, but for today I want to share three moments from the first episode that, without spoiling any plot points, encapsulates while I enjoy both Telltale products and the Guardians characters.

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Mini-Review: Mega Man X: Command Mission

Mega Man X: Command MissionThis article was originally published at on October 13, 2004. 

Capcom's futuristic take on the blue bomber has resulted in some of gaming's most memorable side-scrolling platformer games, but in recent years Mega Man X has begun to slip somewhat. His more recent adventures have been half-hearted misfires, containing more frustrating moments than actual fun. Poor localization/translation has also dogged the series in addition to some rather dismal voice acting. The Mega Man X storyline has also been circling the drain for some time, as one game in the series contradicts another (the end of Mega Man X6 proclaims that X's Maverick Hunter partner Zero has gone into a deep sleep for one hundred years so that he can star in the spin-off series Mega Man Zero, and yet Zero appears alive and well in Mega Man X7 and X8) and, on occasion, one game will contradict itself. When Capcom announced that an RPG starring X and friends was in development many fans shuddered at the thought of the company that seemingly couldn't tell a consistent story in an action game taking a stab at a plot-intensive RPG. It would seem those fears are misplaced, as X's first RPG — Mega Man X: Command Mission for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2 — actually tells a coherent story and features voice acting from actors who can actually, well, act. Add in a deeply customizable battle system and plenty of playable characters and it would appear that if this is Capcom's attempt at bringing some cohesion to the Mega Man X saga, than they look to be successful.

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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!