Local Cat Enjoys Super Mario Play Tower

Cat MarioThe old saying goes: you can pick your cats, and you can pick your toys, but you can't pick your cat's toys.  Buy a cat a fancy new toy and she'll prefer to play with the cardboard box that it came in instead.  Set out a tower for a cat to climb, and they'll stare at it and then walk away unimpressed.  My wife had an old, scratched-up cat tree that has put in many years of service that, after all this time, the cats in our clowder have grown bored of playing in and sleeping on.  We had it set up in the living room where it was ignored with prejudice.  How do we make it more appealing?  My wife gave it a Super Mario makeover, covering the ratty carpet with new fabrics invoking the familiar Mushroom Kingdom bricks, pipes, and piranha plants.  Now we can't keep the cats off of it!  Check out this brief video of Moxxi playfully batting around a Starman.


Power Button - Episode 329: Ten Years Of Playing With 3D Power

Power ButtonHere on the Power Button podcast we pride ourselves on being topical and current, so this week's episode is a discussion celebrating the Nintendo 3DS's tenth anniversary which happened back in March.  Better late than never! Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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 328: A Love Letter To The Delisted

Power ButtonSony made some waves in the gaming community recently when it was announced that they were closing the PSN stores for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita.  There was such a loud uproar of resistance to this news that Sony doublebacked on the plan and will leave the PS3 and Vita stores open while the PSP is still closing down.  This led us to start talking about our favorite video games that have been delisted from online stores, never to be seen again.  This week's podcast is all about those lost games that we still love and may or may not have had a chance to buy such as The Simpsons arcade game, Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth, ModNation Racers, Noby Noby Boy, and many more.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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. 


Castlevania Resurrection For Sega Dreamcast Resurrected

Castlevania ResurrectionSega and Konami had trouble making a partnership involving the famed Castlevania franchise work.  Despite releasing Bloodlines for the Genesis in 1994, plans to produce Castlevania titles for the 32X and Dreamcast never did come to fruition as those hardware platforms went down in flames in the market.  One of the more intriguing cancelled games is Castlevania Resurrection for the Dreamcast which focused on the then-origin of the Belmont family line, Sonia Belmont from, 1997's Castlevania Legends, as she embarked on a 3D adventure that was to be a step up from what the 3D Castlevania titles on the Nintendo 64 offered.  While a few screenshots have made it out over the years since the game was canned in 2000, it's only now that a playable demo from E3 1999 has made it into eager fans' hands.  Playable in emulators and real Dreamcast hardware, it's supposedly 25% complete and includes four playable areas that were shown to the press behind closed doors.

Castlevania Ressurection, dans sa version prototypale de l’E3 99, comporte ainsi 4 stages (et un cinquième accessible via émulateur). En sachant que le titre, selon les rumeurs, n’est pas allé au-delà des 25 % de développement, cela laisse envisager qu’il subsiste peut-être une autre version mais si c’est le cas, elle ne doit pas être beaucoup plus avancée. Les intentions étaient là, la réalisation n’a rien de spectaculaire pour une Dreamcast mais il y a tout de même de jolis effets et certains décors sortent du lot. Le titre de Konami aurait pu être un très bon jeu mais il semblerait que des dissensions entre la maison-mère japonaise et la filiale américaine (tiens, ça me rappelle un autre éditeur) aient eu raison du projet. C’est dommage car le potentiel était là.

I've never felt satisfied playing a Castlevania game in 3D and I don't know if Resurrection would have changed my opinion, but it certainly looks sharper than the games that would come after it for the Sony PlayStation 2, Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness.  We'll never know if the finished game would have lived up to expectations, but at least now fans can have a taste of what was in in development.


Ratchet And Clank And Rivet Trip The Rift

Ratchet and Clank: Rift ApartSince buying a Sony PlayStation 5 last November I have played a number of games on the console, and while they've been impressive to experience, save for the pack-in Astro's Playroom, every game has felt like a dressed-up, boosted version of a PlayStation 4 game.  In truth, many have been exactly that: PS4 games with increased texture detail and more impressive lighting.  Sony and Insomniac Games revealed a new trailer for the upcoming Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart this morning that has me feeling that the next generation we've all been promised in interviews and marketing is finally about to begin.  This game looks impressive!  As a big Ratchet fan since the PS2 days who has recently replayed the original trilogy on PS Vita, I'm very excited to experience a new adventure in that world.  After the past few months, I think we can all use a break for something fun like this.  I know I do.


2021 Hallmark Gaming Ornaments Revealed

Caped MarioOver the past few years Hallmark has produced a variety of its popular Keepsake ornaments for a range of video game franchises, and while we started out with just a handful of Super Mario ornaments, this year the product line as revealed early by Keepsake fan site Digital Dream Book has expanded to include a little something for everyone from Caped Mario's famous Super Mario World appearance to a pair of 8-bit pixelized Link and Princess Zelda ornaments to commemorate the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda with Sonic the Hedgehog and his pals showing up for the Sega crowd.  There's even ornaments from Mario Kart, Pokémon, Mortal Kombat, Fortnite, Kingdom Hearts, and Minecraft.  Oh yes, and I can't forget to mention the little Super NES replica following on from last year's Nintendo Entertainment System ornament that will light up and play sounds.  You can see all of these and more in the Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments Dream Book when it's officially released later this month.  It's going to be an expensive holiday season.  I love collecting these ornaments, getting my start as a young teenager with the Star Trek line and continuing on through the years.  Here's the complete lineup with pricing and release dates.

  • Caped Mario (Super Mario World) - $17.99, 7/10/21
  • Donkey Kong (Mario Kart) - $18.99, 7/10/21
  • Link (The Legend of Zelda) - $8.99, 10/2/21
  • Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda) - $8.99, 10/2/21
  • Super NES console - $19.99, 7/10/21
  • Charizard (Pokémon) - $17.99, 10/2/21
  • Sonic and Tails (Sonic the Hedgehog) - $19.99, 10/2/21
  • Knuckles (Sonic the Hedgehog) - - $17.99, 10/2/21, Limited Availability
  • King Mickey (Kingdom Hearts) - $17.99, 10/2/21
  • Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat) - $17.99, 7/10/21
  • Crackshot (Fortnite) - $17.99, 10/2/21
  • Enderman (Minecraft) - $18.99, 10/2/21

 

Donkey Kong, Super NES, and Charizard 2021 Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

Continue reading "2021 Hallmark Gaming Ornaments Revealed" »


Power Button - Episode 327: Twenty Years Of Playing With Advance Power

Power ButtonNintendo's Game Boy Advance turns twenty years old in month, so it's the perfect time to reminisce about one of the strongest handheld libraries that only use a single screen.  On this week's episode we're sharing GBA stories, covering the usual suspect games like Super Mario Advance, and recommending some obscurities such as Drill Dozer, marveling at unusual accessories including motion sensors, rumble paks, TV tuners, media players, and the e-Reader.  Join us for an hour of conversation about the popular handheld.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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. 


New Nintendo Switch Pro Rumors Solidify

Nintendo SwitchIt feels like we've been talking about an upgraded Nintendo Switch Pro model for almost as many years as we've talked about the existing Switch, so when rumors about a more powerful version of the console start to circulate, I usually disregard them.  When Bloomberg is the source though, I tend to pay a bit more attention.  Today's report is that Nintendo is working on a new Switch model destined for release later this year that will display 4K visuals when docked to the television and sport a larger screen (but not 4K) when played in handheld mode. 

The new Switch iteration will support Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling, or DLSS, a novel rendering technology that uses artificial intelligence to deliver higher-fidelity graphics more efficiently. That will allow the console, which is also set for an OLED display upgrade, to reproduce game visuals at 4K quality when plugged into a TV, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan is not public.

The U.S. company’s new chipset will also bring a better CPU and increased memory. DLSS support will require new code to be added to games, so it’ll primarily be used to improve graphics on upcoming titles, said the people, including multiple game developers. Bloomberg News previously reported that the new Switch is likely to include a 7-inch OLED screen from Samsung Display Co. and couple the console’s release with a bounty of new games.

Nvidia and Nintendo representatives declined to comment.

I have absolutely no doubt that Nintendo is working on a Switch upgrade and the only real question is when to release it.  The company feels that the existing Switch is halfway through its life-cycle which is about the time that, in the past, we've seen updated hardware such as the New Nintendo 3DS overtaking the basic 3DS.  That said, I can't believe that the only new thing a Switch Pro would have to offer is 4K.  Nintendo hasn't chased graphical parity with the competition in years now because it's not the secret of their success.  I have to believe that a new Switch model would bring something else to the table in terms of user experience or gameplay yet remains backward compatible with the existing Switch.  If all it does is add 4K, I can't see myself buying one because I'm still getting the most out of my 1080p television (which, yes, is due for an upgrade, but I have issues tossing out working hardware so long as its working) and I mostly play my Switch as a handheld.  On the other hand, if a new Switch does something exclusive that would require me to get one to play the next Super Mario or Legend of Zelda game, then of course I would have to buy it. 


Power Button - Episode 326: Nintendo/Pokémon Direct Q1 2021 Recap

Power ButtonNintendo has started to come out of announcement hibernation with a recent Nintendo Direct presentation loaded with new games and remakes of favorite titles plus a separate Pokémon Direct presentation with news of its own to cover.  On this week's podcast, we break down the biggest news from the shows and discuss what it all means. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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. 


Next End Of Life Milestone Approaching For Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DSI think by now most everyone in the gaming community has made peace with the knowledge that the Nintendo 3DS's best days are behind it as the Nintendo Switch (and especially Switch Lite) has taken over its market in the handheld gaming space.  Now Nintendo is driving the next nail in its coffin with the announcement coming ten years to the day of the launch of the original 3DS that after March 31, the company will no longer offer repair service on the original Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL models due to a lack of replacement parts.  Service for the New 3DS and 2DS models will continue.  Nintendo already announced the end of overall 3DS production overall last year.  Kotaku translates the news

It's a shame to see the 3DS go, as it was a perfectly pocket-sized portable device with a strong library of classic games both new and old.  It can play something from every generation of Nintendo handheld system under the right circumstances.  Virtual Console releases cover the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, members of the Ambassador's Club can play select Game Boy Advance games, and it's backward compatible with the original Nintendo DS.  That's impressive!  Note to self: finish buying any remaining Virtual Console games I want before that service is retired, too.