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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.

Continue reading "Telltale's Guardians Of The Galaxy Brings The Humor" »


Mini-Review: Mega Man X: Command Mission

Mega Man X: Command MissionThis article was originally published at Kombo.com 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.

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Mega Man X: Command Mission" »


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!


Collecting Games The Cheap And Pitiful Way

ET and the Cosmic GardenIt can be expensive to collect video games.  Sealed copies of beloved classics like EarthBound or Chrono Trigger can sell in the used market for hundreds of dollars, while copies of rare titles like Stadium Events can command prices that most assign to cars or down payments on housing.  Who needs all of that stress and expense when you can collect the cheapest, most worthless games in gaming history?  Platypux Comix gets you started on your new valueless buying spree with a look at some of the cheapest games out there.

There have been a lot of lists written about the most expensive video games collectors can buy. But if you were just starting out, you probably wouldn't start with one of those, would you? Today we focus on the other end of the spectrum and track down the absolute, bottom of the barrel, can't-go-lower CHEAPEST game to collect for each system. These were gathered from figures displayed at PriceCharting.com, which calculates the average prices old games are selling for on the auction market.

All of your, ahem, "favorites" are there like Monster Truck Wars for the Game Boy ($0.99), F-1 World Grand Prix for the Nintendo 64 ($2.25), and DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises for the Sony PlayStation 2 ($0.01).  I was all set to tell you the story of the time I bought Virtual League Baseball for the Virtual Boy off of eBay in 2001 or so for a pittance and the seller threw in a second sealed copy for free just to get rid of his stock because the game was considered so worthless, but today on review I find that a new sealed copy of the game sells for as high as $20.  My investments are accruing in value!  So I suppose the lesson here is to take a chance on that cheap copy of DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises.  Who knows what tomorrow plus fifteen years will bring?


Sony To Shut Down Multiplayer Servers For Games You Are Not Playing

Modnation Racers: Road TripIt's always sad when a video game publisher chooses to shut down the servers that make multiplayer modes possible, and once again the Grim Reaper has come for a handful of Sony PlayStation titles.  The sadness is mitigated by the fact that you probably won't even notice the loss of these games as you likely were not playing them anyway.  Prepare to say farewell to the multiplayer functionality of games such as Sports Champions for PS3 and Modnation Racers: Road Trip for the PS Vita.

As of 1 July 2017 you will no longer be able to use the online features of the following games:

PS3

High Velocity Bowling
Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest
Sports Champions
Sports Champions 2

PS Vita

Modnation Racers: Road Trip

PS4

Kill Strain

These games will join our honored dead such as MotorStorm, Calling All Cars, PAIN, and Resistance: Fall of Man.  Yesterday's "Available Now!" is tomorrow's "We regret to inform you".  Trophy hunters and game archivists should get busy before it's too late, while the rest of us will go back to whatever hot new game is today's big deal.  Ashes to ashes, bytes to bytes.


Power Button - Episode 234: Another Pass At Season Passes

Power ButtonWhen is a complete game not complete?  When season passes are involved.  We've tackled the practice of buying DLC in bulk before, but with the recent changes to Watch Dogs 2's season pass plans, we felt it was time to take another run at increasingly expensive add-on content.  Are passes a good deal or just a very expensive microtransaction?  It's time for some debate.   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.


Uncharted 4 DLC Balloons Into Full Game, The Lost Legacy

Uncharted: The Lost LegacyThe previously announced single-player expansion to Naughty Dog's hit Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has ballooned up so much that it's become a stand-alone release that does not require Uncharted 4 to play.  Subtitled The Lost Legacy and starring Uncharted 2's Chloe Frazer, this new chapter in the Uncharted story is due to release August 22 for the Sony PlayStation 4 at a price of $39.99 as announced this morning by the PlayStation Blog.

In December we said that we’re approaching this project as a true Uncharted game — complete with its own deep narrative with complex character development, all-new destinations, refined gameplay, and blockbuster cinematic moments. We’re especially excited to have Chloe as our new protagonist and explore more of her story as she and Nadine venture across India in search of the fabled Tusk of Ganesh.

I trust Naughty Dog, but let's be clear here.  At $40 and functioning as a separate work, this is not DLC for Uncharted 4.  This is a new game built off the back of Uncharted 4 which, assuming its  narrative and length hold up, is priced accordingly.  Perhaps Naughty Dog and Sony sense your sticker shock because the two are offering bonus material for those who preorder the game.  Preordering the physical release comes with the downloadable PS4 version of the PS2 adventure Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.  Preordering the downloadable version of Lost Legacy from the PlayStation Store also includes a new Uncharted theme. 

Two games for $40 is easier to swallow, although if I were Sony, I would play up the notion that this is a new Uncharted title and distance myself from the idea that this is "just" DLC.  If anything, Lost Legacy sounds like it's headed down the road of Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty or inFamous: First Light in that it's a stand-alone mini-sequel created using the underlying technology of the previous main game in the series.  There's nothing wrong with that, but the messaging is important to prevent turning away players who would balk at $40 DLC, but would embrace a $40 complete title.


Capcom Relaunching Beloved NES Disney Afternoon Classics

032253078a3e2237563d6a5e9fdb14b0Capcom had a knack for turning the cartoons of the Disney Afternoon into fun video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System back in the 1990s, and while the company did revive DuckTales for a modern high definition remake a few years ago, this time it's bringing back the original 8-bit versions of games like Darkwing Duck, DuckTales and its sequel, Tale Spin, and Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers and its sequel in their classic pixel glory for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC along with some extra modes and bonus features.  It's developed by the team that worked on the Mega Man Legacy Collection, Digital Eclipse.  Capcom Unity has the details.

REWIND! So it’s probably been a while since you’ve played these games, or maybe it’s your first time diving into them. Either way, some of those jumps and surprise enemy attacks can really throw a wrench into an otherwise perfect run. Enter the Rewind feature: just hold down a button, go back in time, and rewrite history by nailing those sick pogo tricks and crate throws.

TIME ATTACK! Race against the clock and use the online leaderboards to compare your best times with other players across the web. Note you cannot use the Rewind feature here, so make sure you practice beforehand!

BOSS RUSH! Just looking for a quick way to challenge your reflexes? Good news: we have some pretty intense boss battles waiting for you. Just like in Time Attack mode, it’s a true test of your skills, so no help from the Rewind feature here either.

But wait, there’s more! On top of these retro classic games and the new game modes, we also dug really deep and found tons of awesome material from when the original games were still being made back in the 80s and 90s! We’ve got concept art, sketches, music, and other fun extras.

Anything that brings Darkwing Duck back for another round is incredibly appreciated.  These were all great games in their prime and they still hold up today.  The original DuckTales is an outright classic, DuckTales 2 and Rescue Rangers 2 were hard to find even when they were new, and Darkwing Duck is basically a Mega Man game thanks to its shared development lineage.  The Rescue Rangers games even include the original co-op two-player modes.  There should be something here for everyone.  The Disney Afternoon Collection releases digitally on April 18, 2017 for $19.99.  Surprisingly, there are no plans for a release on any Nintendo platform at this time.


Power Button - Episode 231: No Sir, I Don't Like It

Power ButtonFor as much as we love video games, admittedly there are some very famous and popular franchises that, for one reason or another, just do not appeal to me or Blake Grundman.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, we shine a light on our antipathy for games like Final Fantasy, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil.  We want to like them, but they just make it so difficult for us!  Find out why in an hour 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.