Power Button - Episode 313: Paper Mario, The Origami Killer

Power ButtonWe can't resist a new Paper Mario title (except for when we do), so on this week's episode of the podcast we're discussing the first half of Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch.  There are lots of spoilers in here for the red and blue streamer areas plus a little bit beyond, so hold off on joining us for this one until you reach the Monty Mole village if you are concerned about spoilers.  We'll pick up the second half of the adventure when Blake gets around to finishing it. 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. 


Williams Pinball: Vol. 6 Coming To Pinball FX3

Williams Pinball Volume 6Zen Studios has gone quiet over the past few months when it comes to new pinball table announcements for Pinball FX3, but the company is back on track with the upcoming Williams Pinball: Volume 6 which includes three more classic Williams tables coming to the usual platforms Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10, and Steam. Mobile users can play through the Williams Pinball app on iOS and Google Play.  This pack includes 1990's infamous FunHouse (with Rudy!),  1987's Space Station, and 1990's Dr. Dude and His Excellent Ray.  There's no announced release date yet, but the tables will include the usual FX3 features including challenge modes and leaderboards.  You know, the usual.  If it ain't broken, don't fix it.  Check out the trailer.


PS5 To Be Compatible With Some PS4 Accessories, But Not All

DualSenseAllowing a previous console generation's accessories to be compatible with a new generation of hardware can be a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it's great for players if those nice arcade sticks, steering wheels, and cameras bought last generation work with the next one because there's no need to replace perfectly functional equipment.  On the other hand, forcing a clean break with accessories allows the console manufacturer to better control their messaging and draw a line in the sand regarding what does and does not work with the new hardware.  I'm reminded of when Nintendo made their Wii controllers compatible with the Wii U which sounded like a great idea at the time but ultimately confused customers in just what accessory worked with what piece of hardware.  Now with Sony preparing to launch its new PlayStation 5, players are wondering if anything from the PS4 era will carry forward.  This morning the company clarified that information

Which existing PS4 peripherals/accessories will work on PS5?

  • Specialty peripherals, such as officially licensed racing wheels, arcade sticks, and flight sticks, will work with PS5 games and supported PS4 games.
  • The Platinum and Gold Wireless Headsets, as well as third-party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack, will work on PS5 (the headset companion app is not compatible with PS5).
  • The DualShock 4 wireless controller and PlayStation officially licensed third-party gamepad controllers will work with supported PS4 games. 
  • Both the PS Move Motion Controllers and the PlayStation VR Aim Controller will work with supported PS VR games on PS5.

Please note, not all PlayStation officially licensed or third-party peripherals/accessories may work on PS5. We recommend checking with the manufacturer to confirm whether a product will work on PS5 and specific titles. 

Will DualShock 4 work with PS5 games?

No, we believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller.

Is the PlayStation Camera for PS4 compatible with PS5?

Yes, PlayStation Camera will work with PS5 for playing supported PS VR games. It will require a PlayStation Camera adaptor that will be provided at no additional cost to PS VR users. More details on how to get the adaptor will be announced at a later date.

I'm very glad that most of my PS4 gear will work with the PS5, particularly the PS VR equipment.  It's also above and beyond for Sony to send out free adaptors for the PS Camera, so that is greatly appreciated.  As for the DualShock 4 controller, I understand why that will not work with PS5 games.  Sony is showcasing new technology in the DualSense controller that comes with the PS5 and players may be unable to properly play those new games with a controller not built to support them.  Just imagine playing a PS4 game with a DualShock 3 controller from the PlayStation 3 era.  Sure, you'd have your basic buttons, but add-ons like the touch pad, light bar, and audio jack would be missing, and regardless of how you feel about those features, some PS4 games require them and will assume you have them on the controller.  Sony is not going to allow players to use older controllers that will negatively impact the experience of their new console, particularly in the launch window when people will show off their new purchases to friends and family.


Power Button - Episode 312: Xbox Series X Xhowcase

Power ButtonMicrosoft broadcast a special hour-long look at upcoming games for its Xbox Series X console recently, so on this week's podcast we spend eighty minutes discussing the showcase and talking about which games interest us the most.  We also dig into the console's Smart Delivery promises and touch on how Microsoft buying up a whole slate of developers is about to pay off for them.  We'll leave a light on for you, Battletoads! 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 311: 2 Destiny 2 Furious

Power ButtonDestiny 2 continues to expand as developer Bungie recently outlined its revised roadmap for the ongoing development of its popular shooter, so on this week's podcast it's only natural that Blake Grundman would want to discuss it.  I'm not a Destiny fan, but my fiancee is, so Corey is back for her second appearance on the show to talk all about Vex and the Warmind or whatever it is that goes on in Destiny.  I'm glad they know what they're talking about because, in this case, I certainly don't. 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. 


Hedgehog Under Construction

Sonic CrackersOne of the best parts of the Internet gaming community involves watching fans of a beloved franchise dig into games and discover remnants from the development process.  For whatever reason, Sega's 1990s archives of development materials is wide open to the right people and a bunch of unfinished versions of Sonic the Hedgehog titles have escaped to the Internet over the years.  Over at Kotaku, Heidi Kemps showcases seven such prototypes that each show us something interesting about the finished product by virtue of not being in it.

One wonders if Sega in the 1990s was just an exceptionally leaky company, because there are quite a few classic Sonic prototypes floating about. Many of them are simply incremental builds of the same game, each one featuring a little tweak to a stage design, maybe a handful of edits to the sprites. But several of the early builds that have been found are far more interesting: featuring cut stages, discarded gameplay elements, placeholder graphics, and wildly different soundtracks. Taken together, they paint a vivid picture of how these games were made: what the developers prioritized, what didn’t work, what needed to get the axe, what could have been.

Some of these prototypes are kind of well-known in certain circles such as the Sonic Crackers demo that would go on to become Knuckles Chaotix for the Sega 32X and the in-progress version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that still includes the Hidden Palace Zone in a playable state.  Others are a little more esoteric such as a Sonic CD version dated from December 1992 (which predates the version I mentioned in April that was sent out to magazines).  It's an interesting article about what could have been, what eventually happened, and what was never meant to be.


Hallmark NES Ornament Is The Real Deal

NES ornamentHallmark has done it again with its recently released Keepsake ornament of a classic Nintendo Entertainment System.  I ordered mine last week when it became available and happily received it yesterday.  Sculpted by Rodney Gentry, the little NES is incredibly detailed and includes tiny little video and audio ports plus antenna connector, channel switch, and power input.  The control deck door even flips open to reveal a Super Mario Bros. game pak inside.  Underneath the ornament is a small compartment for batteries (representing the infamous unused expansion port on the real console).  Press the Power button and the red LED lights up and the ornament plays the overworld theme from Super Mario complete with flagpole tune and end-of-level fireworks.  It's a must-own ornament for all NES fans.  I'm not even saving it for a Christmas tree.  It's taking a place of honor on my game room shelf.  Check out the embedded video below to see and hear it in action.


Power Button - Episode 310: The Big Borderlands Show

Power ButtonOn his fifth attempt to get into Borderlands, Blake Grundman is finally making progress on his way to open the vault thanks to playing the Borderlands Legendary Collection for the Nintendo Switch.  Now that he's ready to talk about his experiences on Pandora, we brought in our resident expert vault hunter, my fiancee Corey, to join the discussion.  We have an our of conversation about all things Borderlands for you, so catch a ride to Moxxi's bar and pull up a seat. 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. 


Street Fighter Begins

Street FighterCapcom's Street Fighter II and its various upgrades tend to get most of the attention in the gaming world, but when telling the story of the game that revived the arcade market in the early 1990s, it's important to go back to the very beginning.  While the original Street Fighter hasn't aged well and doesn't have much replay value today, at the time it was the start of something big.  Polygon is on a mission to chronicle all of the Street Fighter history over the next several months starting with the first game in the series that was greatly overshadowed by its successors.  Here's a piece of the detailed oral history that describes the game's original control method that involved pneumatic sensors that players would physically pound with fists instead of the traditional buttons.

Takashi Nishiyama (Street Fighter director, Capcom Japan): The problem was, during location tests, we realized that it was very tiring to hit the sensor over and over. It was basically like exercising. The whole point of monetizing this business was to get people to become repeat customers, where they would put in 100 yen coins over and over again so we could make money. And when you're getting tired from playing the game, that's not going to happen.

Todd Cravens (son of Bill Cravens, Street Fighter vice president of sales and marketing, Capcom USA): You had to beat the hell out of it. I remember playing it for the first time and being absolutely exhausted. Everyone was kind of like, "Oh my goodness. It's gonna be hard to get the second and third quarter on this." [...] They were doing a big unveiling of this at a gym in Philadelphia for the U.S. distributors, and they had boxers there who [played the game], and even those guys were tired afterwards.

Street Fighter was ported to the TurboGrafx-CD and a handful of computer platforms of the time, but an easily accessible console version was never produced (the game was apparently slotted for the Nintendo Entertainment System once upon a time, but was never released). The easiest way to play Street Fighter today is the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection which includes it and all of its sequels through the II, Alpha, and III branches.  I played through it once for the experience but see no need to go back to it.  Unlike the depth of II or the dazzle of the Alpha games, there's just not much going for it.  Animation frames are limited and the playable characters (Ryu and Ken) are identical, but there's definitely the seed of an idea in there.  It's important to play from a historical perspective of understanding how the series began.  Such importance, but don't forget there are many games like these all over the world!


The Cats Of Borderlands

Emma mouth siren

My fiancee and I love Borderlands, we love artwork, and we love our cats, so of course we found a way to combine them all.  Thanks to @Natashagalyaart we have commissioned artwork of two of our cats in Borderlands settings.  First we have Moxxi the cat styled after her namesake, Moxxi the bartender.  We even have a little Moxxi costume for her to wear for special events.  Our local GameStop invited us to bring her to their Borderlands 3 release event last year and she was very popular.  Next there's the loudest cat in the clowder, Emma, who we refer to as a Mouth Siren thanks to her emergency siren-like volume.  She's drawn as an actual Siren, cribbing Amara's summoned extra limbs for her tail.

This is turning into an entire series of artwork of our cats crossed with Borderlands, as last week we adopted a little cat just out of kittenhood that we've named Tiny Tina Athena (merging the names of two Borderlands characters), so it's a safe bet we will commission art of her as her namesakes.  Reach out to the artist if you'd like art of your pet as a video game character.  She does wonderful work!

Continue reading "The Cats Of Borderlands" »