Sonic Mania Developer Shares Darkwing Duck Pitch

Darkwing Duck

Capcom's Darkwing Duck for the Nintendo Entertainment System found new life for modern hardware in The Disney Afternoon Collection this generation, but many fans of the classic cartoon character hoped for a full-on DuckTales Remastered type of experience that could revitalize the brand.  One of those fans, Simon "Stealth" Thomley from Headcannon who was part of the team behind Sega's acclaimed Sonic Mania, had the chance to discuss the idea with representatives from Capcom at a recent E3 and worked with his team as well as Darkwing Duck writer Aaron Sparrow and artist James Silvani on an example pitch for a new Darkwing Duck adventure that would bridge the gap between the end of the 1990s cartoon and the relaunched storyline from "The Duck Knight Returns" comic book series.  Steelbeak, Taurus Bulba, and the Fearsome Five would have been featured as the game's villains.  Unfortunately, Thomley met with dead ends and silence after that initial interest, but that didn't stop him from releasing the pitch as a free single level demo of a reworked take on Liquidator's sewer level from the original game.  Check out these YouTube videos in which Thomley tells the story of the pitch and then plays through the entire level.

 

There are new elements in this pitch that set it apart from the original NES game.  The most significant inclusion has to be Darkwing's grapple gun that was a fixture of the cartoon, but not seen in the original game.  It's a shame that Capcom passed on this idea and that, accordingly to Thomley's sources, Disney is not interested in pursuing anything like this.  With Darkwing now reworked as a fictional character within the world of its DuckTales reboot and the cancellation of Darkwing's monthly comic book set in the continuity of the original cartoon, I fear the old Darkwing is well and truly gone.  That's a terrible shame, because I would have bought something like this without hesitation.


Power Button - Episode 282: The Best That 2018 Had To Offer

Power ButtonWith 2018 behind us we say a final farewell to the year with a look back at our top picks for Game of the Year.  Once again we're joined by our friend Ross Polly as we count down the best games that came our way last year.  With so many contenders such as God of War, Spider-Man, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kirby Star Allies, Mega Man 11 and beyond it's a challenge to narrow the field and pick an absolute best, but somehow over the course of an hour we managed to do it.  Send 2018 out in style with us!   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 281: 2018's Biggest News Revisited

Power ButtonAs another year draws to a close we have invited our old friend Ross Polly back to the show to help us recap the biggest gaming news of 2018.  Classic mini consoles rise and fall, games as a service also means games with advertisements, a major console producer hoovers up smaller studios, and so much more this year it's a wonder that we can fit it all into a little over an hour, but we do.  Join us to help wrap things up.   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. 


Annual Christmas Special Encore! Power Button - Episode 158: Christmas In Videoland

Power ButtonSpecial Christmas encore of our popular holiday episode! It's the holiday season which means that it's the perfect time for us to dedicate an episode of Power Button discussing video games that include Christmas elements such as music remixes, holiday weapons, festive missions, and appearances from Santa Claus himself.  There's some deep cuts mixed in here with the mainstream titles; we cover everything from Christmas trees in Sonic Adventure's Station Square to the special Christmas cheat code in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble to Banjo-Kazooie's Freezeezy Peak to the special holiday demo of Jazz Jackrabbit to Sega's limited edition Christmas NiGHTS to the hard-to-find Daze Before Christmas from Sunsoft.  Settle in with some egg nog and spend eighty minutes with us this holiday season.  We also sidequest off into NES Remix, adorable amiibo, and much more.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!    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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 280: The Ultimate Smash!

Power ButtonNintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has overtaken all gaming in both the Green and Grundman households, so of course we're going to spend this week's podcast discussing unlocking characters, World of Light, throwing King K. Rool's crown, and whipping it good with the Belmonts.  Join us for an hour of smashing 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. 


Power Button - Episode 279: Nintendo 64 Classic Wishlist

Power ButtonSony's recent release of its PlayStation Classic has the gaming community talking about a hypothetical Nintendo 64 Classic console that Nintendo swears is not happening at this time, but we've never let something like that stop us from dreaming and wishlisting.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss the games we believe would need to be included in a N64 Classic console should Nintendo ever decide to create one.  From easy inclusions like Super Mario 64 and Super Smash Bros. to some third party surprises like Mischief Makers and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, we take a tour around the 64-bit space.   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. 


Unreleased Sonic the Hedgehog Game Leaks Out

SegaSonic Bros.Once Sega realized they had captured lightning in a bottle with 1991's Sonic the Hedgehog, the company commissioned all kinds of additional games that used the Sonic branding.  Aside from sequels, we've seen plenty of spin-offs that use Sonic in unexpected ways such as Sonic Spinball and Sonic Shuffle, but one of those games - a block-dropping puzzle title for arcades - went unreleased and is only just recently seeing the light of day.  Created by the mind behind Taito titles such as Bubble Bobble and Syvalion, the oddly named SegaSonic Bros. casts Sonic and his differently colored brothers as falling blocks that must be lined up on a 2D grid in a certain way in order to score big points.  While still unavailable for sale, the game leaked out to the Internet earlier this year and is playable in the MAME arcade emulator.  Hardcore Gaming 101 explains it.

SegaSonic Bros. was never released because it failed the location tests, held in late 1992, and Sega deemed it unfit for wide release. And after playing the game for a round or two, it’s easy to see why. For starters, the rules are a little complicated and difficult to explain, even though the pictures in the game’s tutorial mode makes it seem easy. The game also increases levels, and therefore speed, very quickly, which doesn’t give you much time to learn the game before becoming overwhelmed. One of the other issues is that the 2×2 blocks make it difficult to create straight lines – most of the time you’ll have two of the same color next to each other, so you’ll need to prioritize that color when building towards a loop. Standalone colors are useful for finishing loops, but otherwise will just become blocked with the color next to it.

The game seems complicated and not much fun for the arcade setting, plus it doesn't really need to use Sonic at all.  Just about any brand could have been jammed into the basic game without impacting how it plays.  It feels like it would have been more at home on the Game Gear as a competitor to Nintendo's Game Boy pack-in title, Tetris.  Still, hindsight in always 20/20 and Sega made the right call by canning this one.  Fortunately, the game is around now if you're eager to try it and explore another lost corner of Sonic history.


It's A Claptrap Kind Of Christmas

Claptrap2

As my girlfriend and I worked out our holiday decorating plans for the season, we had plenty of our favorite video gaming and sci-fi franchises represented, but one key ingredient was missing.  Due to what I'm assuming is a careless oversight at Gearbox Software, there are no Borderlands ornaments for Christmas.  We have Super Mario and Star Trek on our Christmas tree, but the theme just isn't complete without a little taste of Pandora.  Luckily we came up with a solution. 

It all started several weeks ago when we were out shopping for decorations.  Earlier in the year we rented a house together, and this is our first holiday season in our new home, so we need new decorations to fill it.  We were browsing the aisles at a holiday home store when I saw stocking holders with gift boxes mounted on top.  The interesting thing about the little gift box was that the sides of the package were sloped inward slightly, giving it a very familiar shape.  "Hon," I said to her, "Doesn't this look like of like Claptrap?", and that's when the idea first took shape.  I'm in love with a creative genius.  She took those gift boxes and using paint, glitter, and some custom-built props, transformed them into little Claptraps straight out of the Hyperion factory.  Now we have a little bit of Borderlands in our holiday season.  Happy Mercenary Day, travelers!


Power Button - Episode 278: Matt Buys A PSVR

Power ButtonBlack Friday offered deals on Sony's PlayStation VR headset that were too good to pass up, so I took the plunge and bought a PSVR set with the camera, Move controllers, and pack-in games.  I haven't kept up with PSVR developments since I hadn't really been in the market for one until Borderlands 2 VR was recently announced, so now I have this headset and no idea how to get the most out of it.  Fortunately, Blake Grundman has owned a PSVR since launch and is ready to answer all of my questions about the device and offer some tips and advice on how to have the most fun with it.  Join us for an hour of PSVR primer, and rest assured that we will follow up on this topic once I spend some quality time with some VR games.   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. 


Nostalgia For A Non-Existent Memory

Electronic Gaming MonthlySomething strange happens around this time of year when darkness falls earlier in the evening and the cool winds blow as I get the craving to play classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, particularly the Sega Genesis titles (including spin-offs like Sonic Spinball and Sonic 3D Blast) and even the lesser Master System/Game Gear titles.  That's not entirely unusual, but the desire to play is rooted in memories of growing up with my game systems and taking time off from life to relax over the holidays, so you'd think that I'm trying to recapture a bit of my youth through Sonic, but here's the twist: I never owned any Sega hardware or Sonic titles when I was growing up.  The first Sonic game I owned was Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 midway through my college years, and then Sonic Mega Collection shortly after that.  I've never been able to figure out why I equate playing Sonic with this time of year until just recently when I finally made the mental connection that explains it all.

When I wasn't playing video games as a kid, I was usually reading about them in the magazines of the day such as Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro which were both publications that leaned heavy on Sonic coverage.  The speedy hedgehog was all over those issues in the early 1990s, first as pre-release rumor, then preview, then review, then maps/guides, then finally as part of a year-end recap.  I followed Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, Sonic Spinball, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles through this printed path year after year, wanting to play them all but never owning the hardware required to do it.  The nostalgia I feel for these games isn't for playing them, it's for vicariously experiencing them through print! 

Now, thanks to retro compilations, I own the classic Sonic catalog several times over across a few different platforms, so the old games are never far from my reach, but I do still think back on the magazines from time to time and the thrill of finding a Sega Genesis demo station in a store like Sears where I could play a round or two of Emerald Hill Zone in the Funtronics section while my parents were shopping.  I've been playing Sonic games lately to scratch that old memory itch, but maybe I should be reading about them instead.