Power Button - Episode 285: We Must Prepare For The Coming Of Bowser

Power ButtonThere's been a lot of Nintendo news in the last few weeks from Reggie Fils-Aime announcing his retirement to the reveal of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, so it's only natural for us to spend this week's podcast episode catching up on the happenings.  Join us for an hour of discussion.   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. 


Xbox Live Coming To iOS And Android

Xbox LiveMicrosoft is showing just how dedicated it is to bringing its services to what have been historically considered rival platforms with the announcement that Xbox Live is coming to iOS and Android.  While you won't be playing Xbox One games on your mobile device just yet, soon you'll find mobile games using the XBL services that run underneath apps to make the magic work.  Here's Tom Warren at The Verge to explain:

Microsoft is bringing its Xbox Live network to iOS and Android devices. The software giant is launching a new cross-platform mobile software development kit (SDK) for game developers to bring Xbox Live functionality to games that run on iOS and Android. Xbox Live features like achievements, Gamerscore, hero stats, friend lists, clubs, and even some family settings will all be available on iOS and Android.

It’s all part of a bigger push from Microsoft to make its Xbox games and services available across multiple platforms. Game developers will be able to pick and choose parts of Xbox Live to integrate into their games, and it will all be enabled through a single sign-in to a Microsoft Account. Microsoft is using its identity network to support login, privacy, online safety, and child accounts.

I'm reminded of Apple's now-moribund Game Center initiative that basically sat on top of certain iOS games for a while, awarding achievements and tracking leaderboard scores that were quickly gamed and that nobody cared about when all was said and done.  Now, however, considering that Xbox Live has some cachet in the industry and a proven record of providing a variety of useful services, this could be just the kick that mobile gaming needs to take things to the next level.  A wide variety of XBL-like services for mobile games have come and gone over the years, most of them startups jumping on the next big thing and wiping out spectacularly.  Microsoft has the staying power to make this work provided that they actually stick with it.


This Just In: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Is Pretty Great

Nintendo Switch pro controllerWhy didn't anyone tell me how great the Nintendo Switch pro controller is?  I mean, sure, the Internet at large has been going on about it for two years now and just about everyone I know with a Switch has suggested it, but how did nobody specifically tell me to buy one and then stick with that persuasiveness until I did so?  Yes, after two years of plugging away at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I finally broke down and bought a pro controller.  Co-op Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe made me do it.  You see, my girlfriend gave me the game as a birthday present and at the first available opportunity we were all set to play some co-op mode which marked the first time we had tried to play anything together on the Switch.  I slipped the joy-cons out of their controller shell and handed one off to her, and that was when we had our first inkling that, as adults, playing a platformer with a controller sized for small hands isn't exactly a fun time.  Trying to play a game like Super Mario with a single joy-con (especially the right joy-con where the control stick is practically in the center of the controller) is like shaking hands with a cat.  It's hard to get a satisfying grip and even if you do it right, it's not as much fun as it sounds.  We needed a real second controller.  I ordered the pro controller that evening.

We haven't had time to revisit Super Mario together yet, but I took the new controller for a test drive that began as "just one level" and turned into playing all the way through Frosted Glacier.  The buttons are larger, the control pad is an actual pad, and the controller itself is more comfortable to hold than the joy-cons.  I also received Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and started that game with the pro controller, so now I can't imagine playing it any other way particularly with that game's reflex requirements.  The joy-cons have their place and they work decently enough for a single player, but I'm completely sold on the pro controller now.  It's a must-own for anyone intending to do some serious gaming on the Switch.


Power Button - Episode 284: Activision Layoffs And Nintendo Direct

Power ButtonThis week on the Power Button podcast we're discussing bad news (layoffs at Activision following record earnings) and good news (a new Nintendo Direct brings us news on all kinds of upcoming Switch games).  Join us for 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. 


Power Button - Episode 283: Wii Shop Channel Ends, Bungie Meets Its Destiny, and Anthem Performs

Power ButtonWe took January off due to busy schedules and terrible illnesses, but we're back and ready to go again by catching up on three big happenings from last month that we have talked about had we been producing new episodes.  First off we bid farewell to the recently closed Wii Shop Channel and cover one last run through the store's virtual aisles.  Next we hit Bungie and Activision calling it quits as Destiny returns home to its creators.  Finally, Blake Grundman takes us behind the scenes to discuss the Anthem preview event he recently attended at an Electronic Arts facility.  It's an hour of catching up on things.   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. 


Video Games Live Covers EarthBound

EarthboundWhen you weren't paying attention late last year, Video Games Live released a new album, Level 6, that covers a variety of songs from games such as Tomb Raider, classic arcade titles, Pokemon, Final Fantasy X, and lots of other fan favorites, but if you want a track off the album that will give you chills, then you'll have to turn to the medley of songs from Nintendo's classic EarthBound.  Featuring a rousing start with Onett's theme before segueing into "Smiles and Tears" with an operatic element then beyond, this track is going places.  First you'll smile, then you'll get a little misty-eyed.  I mean, "Smiles and Tears" does kind of warn you that will happen.  "Local survey shows most popular career among kids in Onett is adventurer."


Nintendo Scraps Metroid Prime 4 Development And Restarts

Metroid Prime 4Nintendo is not happy with the current progress of Metroid Prime 4 for the Nintendo Switch and despite the game being years into development, the company has decided to essentially scrap the existing progress and turn development over from an unnamed third-party studio back to the original creators of the Prime series, Retro Studios.  It's such shocking news that Nintendo published a video of Shinya Takahashi, Senior Managing Executive Officer, explaining it all.

Don't expect to see Metroid Prime 4 for another few years now.  I wouldn't even be surprised if it became the next The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and launched on both the Switch and the Switch's eventual successor.  Progress on the game must have been abysmal for Nintendo to can it after years of work.  Of course, now I can't help but wonder how bad it was, who was working on it, and how hard Nintendo's team tried to help save it before giving up on it.  Maybe if we're very lucky, we'll learn the rest of the story someday.


The Art Of/Is Pac-Man

Pac-Man art

My girlfriend has been creative again, this time taking a Uniqlo Pac-Man t-shirt with the famous maze on it from the company's collaboration with Namco and harvesting it for its fabric, then combining it with some Pac-Man and Ghosts pins that I've had in my collection for years but never used for anything.  The result is this fun framed artwork depicting Pac-Man (in fabric) and Ms. Pac-Man (as a pin; note the bow) on the run gobbling up pellets and avoiding the Ghosts.  She has plenty more ideas for gaming-related art and I can't wait to see what goes up on our walls next.


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.