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Check Out The New A-Force Marvel Pinball Table

Marvel Women Of Power: A-ForceZen Studios has another pair of Marvel Pinball tables for us to enjoy.  Due out next week for all major Zen-supported platforms, the Marvel Women Of Power tables feature Black Widow and Madame Masque trapped in an alternate reality in the "A-Force" table while Ms. Marvel and her friends Spider-Gwen and Squirrel Girl team up on the "Chronicles" table.  Zen was kind enough to supply me with early access to the two tables and I've been impressed yet again with their work.  My Marvel knowledge basically extends through the cinematic universe and some simple familiarity with rising stars like Spider-Gwen, so I've learned about some fun characters that are new to me through these tables.  Take a look at one of my early plays through the A-Force table for a taste of what the new release has to offer and be sure to check it out when it's released.

Power Button - Episode 216: Another Year Of Destiny

Power ButtonWith the next major expansion for Destiny, Rise of Iron, energizing players today, it's only appropriate for Blake Grundman and guest Chris Nitz to take a look back over the past year of Destiny's updates and expansions.  Join us as they explain what they liked and did not like about the second year of Destiny content and look forward to what's coming up in Year 3.  For more on Power Button's coverage of Destiny, check out Episodes 146, 151, and 181.   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.

Power Button - Episode 214: Big Changes From Nintendo, Apple, And Sony

Power ButtonThis week's new product announcements from Nintendo, Apple, and Sony certainly turned heads and sparked anger.  Ranging from Nintendo's Super Mario Run for iPhone to the new iPhone 7 ditching the reliable headphone jack to Sony introducing the 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro that doesn't quite play 4K things as you'd expect, there's a lot of news for Blake Grundman to rant and rave about.  If you like Blake on the soapbox, then you'll love this week's episode of Power Button.   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.

PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming Soon

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony officially announced its Neo upgrade for its flagship PlayStation 4 console today as an actual product you can soon buy rather than a mysterious project currently in development.  Now known as the PlayStation 4 Pro, the upgraded console boasts a faster CPU, expanded hard drive space, an upgraded GPU, 4K and HDR capabilities, and a $399 price tag.  This is exciting news for people with a 4K television and some expendable income to spend this holiday season as the console is due out in November 2016USgamer explains what this all means for you and includes a list of upcoming PS4 games that will look better on a Pro console.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Mass Effect Andromeda were among the games shown for the console, with Andromeda showing an intriguing - but ultimately lightweight - gameplay sequence.

Here are the rest of the games that support the PlayStation 4 Pro:

  • Spider-Man
  • For Honor
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Days Gone
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Farpoint
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  • FIFA 17
  • Battlefield 1
  • Dishonored 2
  • Final Fantasy XV

Netflix and YouTube apps that support 4K visuals will also be available.  This looks like a solid list and if you're hungry for 4K gaming and are already invested in the PlayStation ecosystem, the upgrade may not be such a bad idea.  On the other hand, people like me who are still holding fast to "only" a regular high definition television that tops out at 1080p will see an even steeper price tag to make this upgrade totally worthwhile.  Sony boasts that on the Pro, "all games will run in 1080p resolution, and some will even run in a higher or more stable framerate" which, to me, sounds like the kind of promises we first heard about the original model of PS4 back in 2013 when it was preparing to launch.

I'd imagine that if and when I get a 4K television, I would be interested in maximizing what it can do and could surely talk myself into a PS4 Pro.  However, as I said this morning about buying a New Nintendo 3DS, I'm not one to toss out a working console so long as there's life left in it.  My PS4 would have to die a horrible death before I'd eagerly replace it when it is already meeting my current needs to my satisfaction.  I know there's a market out there for the Pro, I'm very curious to see just how large it actually is, and I hope that everyone who wants a Pro is able to get one, but I also see more popularity for the also-announced PS4 Slim console that takes everything people already enjoy about the existing PS4 hardware and redesigns it to fit a smaller price at $299.  Sure, an extra one hundred dollars isn't that much of a leap if you're already buying or have bought a 4K television, but if you don't have 4K in your home and don't expect to any time soon, what's the incentive to spend money on extra features you'll primarily never use? The short version of all of this: wait for the reviews before you buy.

Slim PS4 Reviewed Despite Not Being Announced Yet

Sony-ps4-logoSony was seemingly planning a stealthy "surprise, you can buy it today!" announcement for its upcoming redesigned PlayStation 4, but the new slimmer console has been spotted out in the wild prior to its official announcement.  Despite not officially existing yet according to the company line, the new slim PS4 is coming and Laura Dale at Let's Play Video Games has acquired a unit to review.  The short version is that it's the same PS4 but slightly smaller, quieter, and cooler with minor features added and one feature removed, but there's nothing here that fundamentally changes the PS4 experience.

The PS4 Slim model is, simply put, a smaller PS4. It doesn’t perform any better or worse than the previous model, but does run cooler and quieter. It has a slightly improved controller, but the box itself doesn’t run any better. Don’t expect Xbox One S-style HDR and 4K blue-ray support. This is still a basic PS4 model with no internal upgrades over the previous iteration, and is not the upcoming PS4 Neo. It does not make games run better, or upscale them to 4K.

It's good to see that Sony hasn't fundamentally changed the console in such a way that it renders existing PS4s obsolete (that'll come later with the Neo hardware revision).  The real news tagging along with this review is that Dale had to basically disown possession of the PS4 lest she incur Sony's wrath.  Her review opens with a few paragraphs spelling out that she does not own the PS4, nor does she still have it and that it came from a store manager who broke a street date, but did not steal it.  Moreover, numerous large gaming sites had shown interest in publishing the review, but all of them backed off.  Preemptive intervention from Sony warning those sites not to get on the company's bad side by running a review of a product they didn't want "out there" prior to an official announcement?  Sure seems that way.  Here is where Sony learns the hard lesson that it's not possible to keep a secret in our current age of information and social media.

Power Button - Episode 212: Shake Hands With Danger In Episode 1 Of Batman: The Telltale Series

Power ButtonTelltale Games has brought its talent from Tales From The Borderlands and The Walking Dead to Gotham City with the recently released first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series.  This first installment, "Realm of Shadows" is the focus of this week's new episode of the Power Button podcast in which Blake Grundman and I discuss the events of the game, our favorite moments, trying to live up to the characterizations of our respective favorite Batman incarnations, why shaking hands with a notorious mobster at a party is a bad idea, how playing as Bruce Wayne is remarkably different than playing as the Dark Knight, and so much more.  We spoil "Realm of Shadows" quite thoroughly, so if you haven't played the game and want to keep up, be sure to watch my playthrough of the game.  Oddly enough, Blake and I each chose different paths through the game, so between the two of us, we have a fairly complete view of the entire picture.   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.

Mini-Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

This article was originally published at on September 9, 2009.

When the Joker goes on a rampage in Gotham City, Batman intervenes and apprehends him. After delivering him back to Arkham Asylum, the clown prince of crime escapes custody and flees, forcing Batman to intervene yet again. This is no escape attempt, however. The Joker is putting his latest mad plan into action this night, and the other residents of Arkham - Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and a few others lurking in the shadows - are eager to take a swing at the Dark Knight. As Batman, players must not only use his formidable combat skills to bring down Joker and his henchgoons, but also his sleuthing skills to save the Arkham staff from Joker's mad plot.

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Let's Watch Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows

BatmanTelltale Games is taking a different approach to its new Batman game by casting players more as Bruce Wayne than as Batman.  I wrote last month about how much I was looking forward to this idea and now that the first episode of the game, "Realm of Shadows", has been released, you can watch me guide Bruce through his first adventures as he throws a fundraising party for Harvey Dent's mayoral campaign and works with Selina Kyle to solve the mystery behind mobster Carmine Falcone's criminal empire.  I'll have more on Batman this week including a review of this installment of the game and a Power Button podcast episode in which Blake Grundman and I talk in-depth about this new Batman adventure.

It Looks Like Sega Has Finally Rediscovered Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic ManiaSega's Sonic the Hedgehog has taken plenty of knocks in his post-Genesis career.  His transition into 3D was bumpy and it seems that the further away we get from those Sega Genesis glory days, the less that Sonic Team and its partners seem to know how to handle the franchise.  Sonic Generations was the best thing to star Sonic in a very long time and long-time fans practically cried out to Sega that it was the Classic Sonic elements that made that game work so well.  Sega followed up that title with the poorly received and rapidly developed Sonic Boom series, so it seemed that hope was lost for the company to learn the right lessons from Generations.  Thankfully it now looks like good things come to those who wait as Sega had announced two new Sonic games that look like they know what they're doing.  For me, the one to be most excited about is Sonic Mania coming in 2017 from Sega, Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and PagodaWest Games for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC which follows on from those excellent conversions of Sonic the Hedgehog for iPhone and Android as a 2D (actually 2D, with sprites!) side-scrolling title feature new zones and reimagined classic levels.  Just look at this trailer and try not to smile.  I don't think you can resist.

Remember a few years ago when Sonic fans said that Sonic Team should go back to the Genesis roots with a side-scroller for consoles and Sega responded with Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and everyone kinda felt like we'd made our wish on a monkey's paw?  I'm just judging by the trailer here, but it looks like Sonic Mania is the game we all thought we would be getting during that interval between hearing that Sonic was going back to pure side-scrolling and actually seeing how Sonic 4 ended up.  Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are the only playable characters just like nature intended.  I know I'm risking being caught up in the Sonic Cycle again, but I really want this game to be solid and the title that fans have wanted for such a very long time.

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Telltale's Batman Trailer Shows The Burden Of Being Bruce Wayne

BatmanFor as long as I can remember, the primary focus of the Batman franchise has been, well, Batman (with a side order of Joker), but lately there's been a renewed push on exploring the man under the mask.  Batman comics took a jaunt into showing us Bruce Wayne unburdened by the Bat legacy, TV's Gotham has given mixed results showing us Gotham City in a pre-Batman world, and now Telltale Games has a new episodic Batman game coming August 2 for many platforms including the Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, and mobile that, judging by today's new trailer, gives us plenty of Bruce Wayne action as well. 

I've been a Batman fan since I was first exposed to Batman: The Animated Series in 1993 as a preteen, and it wasn't until later that I backtracked to the Tim Burton films for a larger picture of what the character was all about outside of the comics.  His iconic rogues gallery always steals the spotlight and Batman himself is always good for some daring action scenes, but Bruce Wayne is often the more interesting character.  I think that's because (as has been so often cited) Batman is the man and Bruce Wayne is actually the mask.  Consider how Kevin Conroy portrays Batman's voice in The Animated Series, for instance.  His Batman voice is deeper and more intense (not as far as Christian Bale's guttural growl from The Dark Knight trilogy) befitting a costumed vigilante and his Bruce Wayne voice is casual, friendly, and general lighter.  When Conroy's Bruce is with people in his inner Bat circle, he speaks in his Batman voice.  They know who he is.  There's no need to hide it.  Batman is who he really is. 

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