Nintendo has come to save the day during lockdown with a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini which announced a variety of new games coming to the Switch. Borderlands Legendary Collection, Burnout Paradise Remastered, a new fighter from ARMS for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and many more titles of interest were featured in the broadcast, and on this episode of the podcast we take an hour to discuss which announcements we are more interested in. Plus there's also a rumor floating around that Nintendo is remaking/remastered a whole slew of 3D Super Mario titles, and we take that topic on as well to talk about our hopes for such a project if it turns out to be real. 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.
Have you ever seen lots of people talking about a video game series that they absolutely love but you just can't see the appeal? On this week's podcast we're discussing games that everyone else adores but just aren't for us. From Animal Crossing to LittleBigPlanet to Borderlands to Persona, nothing is safe. Remember that we're not overly negative or angry people, so we fully understand that these games just aren't for us, and we're alright with that. 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.
The Borderlands series has done very well for itself in the past decade, but surprisingly it hasn't come to a Nintendo platform until today's announcement of the Borderlands Legendary Collection which bundles the modern console remasters of Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel with all included expansions (minus Commander Lilith and the Fight For Sanctuary) and new optional motion controls. The physical game card version of the set will require a hefty download, too. It's coming in May 2020 for $49.99 along with a bunch of other Switch releases of existing 2K Games titles including BioShock and XCOM, but my fiancee and I are all about the Borderlands.
It's a shame that it took this long for the series to arrive on a Nintendo platform. I can imagine under difference circumstances that there would have been a Borderlands spin-off game for the Nintendo 3DS that reworked the action into a 2D action sidescroller with 3D rendered visuals like just about every other platformer on that system. The worlds would have been smaller, the storyline created as an "also this happened" tale that spins around the stories from the other games in the series (and in the end it may not even really be canon), and so forth. Following on from the precedents set by these kinds of games, it practically designs itself. Of course, on Switch the Borderlands franchise is free to be portable for the first time in a way that really matters. We don't talk about Borderlands 2 for the PlayStation Vita, no...
Borderlands is coming to Nintendo Switch May 29! Experience Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in the Borderlands Legendary Collection! #BorderlandsSwitch— Borderlands 3 (@Borderlands) March 26, 2020
Learn more: https://t.co/gF8tuqqN5a pic.twitter.com/t7lZpcAGfc
Sega's Sonic CD is remembered today for many things including its divisive soundtracks and the time travel mechanic that turned every stage into three stages, but I would say that the most memorable addition to Sonic's world is the creation of Metal Sonic. Sonic's robotic rival gave him someone he could evenly spar against with speed versus speed. The character is designed to look menacing and just plain painful to touch with his sharp edges and glowing red eyes. What went into designing Metal Sonic? Over at Shmuplations there are translated interviews with Metal Sonic's creator. No, not Dr. Robotnik, but Designer Kazuyuki Hoshino as originally presented in the liner notes to the game's soundtrack album.
When I first heard the words “Sonic’s Arch-rival” and “Sonic’s Doppelganger” in the design notes, an image for that character’s design immediately came to me, in almost complete form. Metal naturally fit into our key visual concept for Sonic CD as well, and from the first moment that I imagined his red iris set against the darkness of his black eyes, I knew he would become a character with real, lasting appeal.
This was something I thought about later when I designed Shadow the Hedgehog, too, but seeing as Metal Sonic was a rival character to Sonic, I knew the best way to show that off would be with an in-game scene where Sonic and Metal Sonic directly compete with each other—and I designed Metal Sonic with that scene in mind.
The race through Stardust Speedway Zone 3's bad future area is the most memorable moment in Sonic CD, so much so that it's recurs several more times over the course of the franchise including in games like Sonic Generations, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, and Sonic Mania. Metal Sonic is my favorite of the Sonic villains because he's singular in purpose, doesn't care to perform long angsty monologues, and is driven to exceed his limitations while simultaneously holding himself to Sonic's example. He wants to match Sonic, but also surpass him. It's an interesting duality.
As the world takes a lockdown pause to deal with COVID-19, this week on the podcast we're talking about self-isolating and spending that extra time on playing video games such as Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. This week has been such a long month. 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.
Out here in the real world people across the planet are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as the coronavirus has us all practicing social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, and/or working from home depending on your circumstances. Traditionally packed highways are nearly empty, people are starting to lose their jobs as business close for an indefinite shutdown, and we're all left to stay at home and avoid public spaces and gatherings so as not to contract the illness. These are uncertain and perilous times. You'd think you could escape into a video game for a while and leave it all behind, but our favorite gaming properties are dealing with the virus just as we are. The World Warrior tournament has been postponed, the shopkeeping moblin has to limit the sales of toilet paper, and Slippy Toad can't believe how empty the roads are now. I've had some fun on Twitter lately posting these mock-ups of characters reacting to the virus. It's a little bit of levity in this serious atmosphere and, for me, joking about aspects of our current reality helps me keep the anxiety and fear under control. Try making your own. It's fun!
The coronavirus has been spreading around the world and inciting fear and anxiety in everyone who keeps up with the news of the pandemic, so while it's understandable that many video game players were looking forward to some escapism with the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, this year's E3 has been called on account of COVID-19. Yes, the latest major gathering of people to be cancelled because of the coronavirus is E3. Jason Schreier at Kotaku has the story.
“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry—our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners—we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles,” the Entertainment Software Association, the video game lobbyist group that runs the trade show, said in a statement to press this morning.
The ESA added that it will be looking “to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.” Traditionally, E3 has two parts. During the first few days of the show, from Saturday through Monday, major video game publishers like Microsoft and Ubisoft hold press conferences to showcase trailers announce their latest games, while from Tuesday through Thursday, the show floor opens for business deals and video game demos. The first part will be far easier to replicate than the second. Microsoft has already announced an Xbox digital event for this year, as has Ubisoft.
While E3 will be missed, there is honestly just too much money tied up in the business around video games to expect that everyone will just quietly go home and sit in the dark (although, seriously, during this pandemic you really should just go home! Avoid large gatherings! Wash your hands!). Most of the action will shift into the online space where a number of game publishers have been thriving for years. Nintendo hasn't done a traditional live press conference in a while, for instance; expect the other big industry names to follow that example now. As for the show floor and the meeting opportunities that come with it, some of that can be replicated with telecommuting, but so much of the action at E3 happens through serendipity and random chance. How many stories have we heard over the years about a game that comes about because Famous Developer A bumps into Major Talent B on the show floor, get to talking, and decide to work on a project together? That won't be happening this year. So while I mourn the lost opportunities for creative people to mix and mingle, I'd rather that they all stay healthy so they can come up with the next great idea next time around.
On this landmark 300th episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I explore the impact of Super Mario Bros. 3 on its thirtieth anniversary launching in North America, and while that's all well and good, we start off with a sidequest into a long-awaited event that I'm excited to share with all of you. 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.
Sega has taken an active hand in the past decade in keeping its popular Genesis titles available for increasingly modern platforms, both as part of multi-game disc collections and à la carte downloads. The latest game to make a return appearance is 1992's Sonic the Hedgehog 2, one of the best titles in the franchise and in which Sonic joins with his new pal Tails to take down Dr. Robotnik's plans of world domination using his Death Egg weapon. While originally meant to spur sales of its 16-bit console, now that Sega is platform agnostic, anyone with a game system can take a crack at it. And I mean anyone! Without even especially trying to do it, I already own Sonic 2 for the Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire TV, and Sega Genesis Mini. That's a lot of Death Egg! Chance are that, in some format, you already own it too. Now that Sega has brought it back again for the Nintendo Switch as part of its Sega Ages revival series, it's simultaneously an easy impulse buy and seemingly unnecessary if you already own it in another format. Yet, as I played through the game one more time and explored some of the new additions to the package, I found that this may be my favorite of the re-releases yet.
ROM hacks of classic retro games have come a long way in the past two decades as fans have reworked old favorites into new creations. Capcom's 1989 hit DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the console's classics, and while it was given a modern upgrade in 2013 for DuckTales Remastered on then-modern platforms, it remains based on the original game which in turn is based on the 1987 animated series. Now that the 2017 DuckTales reboot is solving its own mysteries, it's only fair that someone would rewrite Capcom history by replacing the game's protagonist, Scrooge McDuck, with the new show's lead female protagonist, Della Duck. Thanks to Garrett Gilchrist, Della can take on the Moon stage's challenges in the original DuckTales game with a clever graphics replacement hack meant for use in the Mesen emulator. Garrett says:
It wasn't that hard to redraw the graphics for use in Mesen, but I'd drawn Della in slightly different positions than Scrooge, mainly her head positions, which got me in trouble later. The NES programming reuses graphics tiles constantly, and any inconsistency was immediately obvious, requiring some tweaking. I would recommend that anyone redrawing NES graphics for Mesen keep their characters either identically positioned to the original sprite or changed consistently on every frame ... just in case!
Trapped on the moon for years, the series features her return to Earth as a running storyline. The writers even found a clever way to integrate the Capcom game's Moon stage theme into the show's narrative as not just background music, but an in-story lullabye. It's fun to see her here where she technically doesn't belong, zipping around the NES game decades before her inclusion in any televised DuckTales production. She's using Scrooge's pogo cane since this is just a graphics update, but imagine a further iteration of this idea that includes Della in a new proper DuckTales video game as a playable character alongside Scrooge, Donald Duck, and the rest of the crew. I'm certainly interested!