Previous month:
June 2006
Next month:
August 2006

July 2006

PTB Appears At Retro Carnival

Nintendo Comics SystemAnother traveling blog carnival has sprung up, and this time the theme is all about retro things.  Urban Retro Lifestyle is hosting this month's festivities which includes a whole subset of video game entries and articles.  PTB is represented by an old favorite entry of mine in which I reminisce about Valiant's Nintendo comics from the era before our favorite characters had consistent character models, told corny jokes, and read the comic adventures of Dirk Drainhead.  And who can forget the classic issue where King Koopa had to assist Mario with a plumbing job?  The turtle despot even gets his own green plumber's cap with a big K on the front for the duration of the job.   Ah, good times...

Weekly Poll: Collection Overload

Weekly Poll for 7-17-2006The Katamari players and the non-Katamari players are pretty much split evenly.  I can't really decide what I expected the results to be, as I was mainly just curious about things.  I completed Katamari Damacy earlier in the week by rolling up 730 meters worth of things to make the moon.  I think I can beat my old time and roll a bigger katamari though.  Looks like it's back to Earth for me.

As for this week, there's something else that has me curious.  I recently did an entry on a 1989 Nelsonic Super Mario game watch, and while I was writing it I got to thinking about all of the Nintendo merchandise I had as a kid.  Like I've said before, I had the bedsheets, the trash can, the game watch, the storage trunk (still have that, actually), the water bottle, the towel, the t-shirt, the drinking glasses, the cup & cereal bowl set, the pencils, the stuffed Mario toy, the notebooks, the folders, the kite, the calendars, the board game, the birthday cake, the comic books, the figurines, the trophies, and the game pak storage case.  I ate the ice cream sandwiches, the ice cream bars, the fruit snacks, and the cereal.  I drank the soda.  Many of these things were discarded or used up over the years, although I kept a few things as childhood mementos.  How much gaming merchandise have you owned over the years?  Don't count games or console hardware; only the toys and cups and cakes and the like.  Cast your vote and tell us about some of your favorite things in the comments section below.

Nintendo Toys With Fans

Boo Nintendo's PR team knows we're all waiting expectantly for actual real news concerning a specific release date for the Nintendo Wii.  Now we're moving beyond the "wait and see" phase of PR encounters to the "I know something you don't know" phase.  That's right; Nintendo has started to tease and taunt us via the time honored practice of issuing a press release.

The fourth quarter of 2006 will herald a new era for Nintendo with the launch of its remarkable new Wii™ home video game system.  But that's not what this news item is about! How could that be, you ask? Perhaps the secret to the launch information for Wii is somehow encoded in the text of this news item. You might want to pore over it for a few hours before staying up all night to debate phraseology and comma placement with your friends online. Or maybe it's all just a scam to get you to read the other games we have launching this fall. One of the two.

Very clever, Nintendo.  They probably realize that anything non-Wii that the company releases this fall will be steamrolled in the press in favor of more Wii coverage.  It's smart to highlight the other games coming out between now and the end of the year before all anyone can talk about is Wii, Wii, and more Wii.

Keeping Time With Mario

Super Mario Bros. game watch Here we have another item from my private collection of Nintendo memorabilia (read: something else that I couldn't stand to part with from a long time ago).  This is a Super Mario Bros. game watch manufactured by Nelsonic near the end of the 1980s.  It's a real working functional watch that tells time plus it can play a short primitive LCD rendition of Super Mario Bros. 

The watch was a gift from a relative who hated that I enjoyed Nintendo games and who believed that the games would never get me anywhere in life (to which I now retort "Nyah nyah").  How did I wind up with a Nintendo product given by someone with such a limited mindset?  This relative told my parents to just get me something worth $X and they'd be reimbursed.  So while technically the watch was from my parents, it was paid for by the game-hating relative.  But I digress...

Continue reading "Keeping Time With Mario" »

In Search Of The Wily Portable Game Console

Phoenix Wright Fear not, citizen, for earlier today I was sworn into the greatest law organization in the land: the Justice League!  Or maybe it was just jury duty.  It's hard to tell based on the hyperbole dished out by the folks running the courthouse.  Knowing I'd have a long, mostly uneventful day ahead of me, I came prepared with my Nintendo DS and a few games.  I only had so much space in my pocket, so I picked games with multiplayer potential so I could play a game with anyone else who brought a DS to the jury room.

The majority of the 150 or so people called for jury duty this day were much older than the typical video game demographic.  Brain Age or not, the older folks had no games on hand.  Browsing around the room revealed two potential jurors around my age with DSs, and they were each playing New Super Mario Bros. alone and on opposite sides of the room.  Nobody was interested in a Tetris challenge or some Mario Kart racing.  I saw no Game Boy Advance units, nor did I see any Sony PlayStation Portables.  So, what did we learn from this experience?  First, my county needs more gamers.  Secondly, security guards manning the metal detectors at the courthouse entrance are stymied by a Nintendo DS and will examine it curiously when it shows up on the x-ray machine screen.  Finally, the next time I do jury duty I should focus on bringing single-player games for myself.  Oh, and upholding justice and so on and so forth.

CONTEST: Win Super Dragon Ball Z For PS2

Super Dragon Ball Z The marketing folks over at Atari are in full promotional swing for the new Super Dragon Ball Z for the Sony PlayStation 2, and their fervor is your freebie.  One lucky Press The Buttons reader will take home a free copy of the game mailed direct from Atari's marketing department.  What more could anyone ask for?  This contest is going to take a little work on your part, however.

In case you haven't noticed by now, I like pop culture references.  I'm especially fond of using them in blog entry titles.  For example, consider an entry from last week, Where EverybodWii Knows Your Name.  That article title is a reference to TV's Cheers, the long-running NBC sitcom set in a Boston bar "where everybody knows your name".  There are a bunch of similar references in the PTB archives.  In order to enter the contest you must pick through the old PTB entries in search of article titles that reference television, movies, songs, and video games.

Make a list of all the references you find along with a brief explanation as to just what the title references and e-mail it to [email protected] before Monday, July 31, 2006.  Whomever has the list with the most correct references wins the contest.  The usual boilerplate applies: all decisions are final, incorrect references will not be counted, I'm not responsible for lost e-mails, in the event of a tie a random number generator will determine the winner, winner must supply a North American mailing address to Atari in order to receive prize, until death do us part in perpetuity, let us make a journey to the cave of monsters.  Good luck!

You Never Forget Your First

Nintendo Strategy Guide Ever read an article and end up with a long-forgotten memory springing forward?  That's just what happened when I read this article about the history of Game Player's magazines over at GameSetWatch.  As it turns out, the Nintendo Buyer's Guide and Nintendo Strategy Guide (seen here) published by Game Player's were the first two video gaming magazines that I owned.  They were given to me by my parents before I ever had a Nintendo Entertainment System of my own.

As I've mentioned before, Nintendo once contacted the local foam production plant that my father managed to see about custom foam inserts for NES boxes.  I wound up with a "loaner" NES while Nintendo and the foam company talked details, meaning that I rented my fair share of games from the local video store.  Buying my own games was impractical at the time, seeing as how the NES would eventually have to be returned and at the age of six I didn't have much money coming in beyond an allowance and annual birthday gift money.  There was a whole sea of games available for rent.  Which were good and which weren't worth the $5 rental charge?  That's where these old magazines came in handy.

Continue reading "You Never Forget Your First" »

Barbarians And Commandos And Quarterbacks, Oh My!

GamePro Over at Retrogaming my blogging pal Racketboy has been featuring (and sometimes scanning) notable issues of old video gaming magazines.  His latest feature is the first issue of GamePro from 1989.  I had three copies of this issue at one time, as the first issue was given away by major gaming retailers (back then that was Toys 'R' Us, Babbage's and WaldenSoftware) with purchase of anything related to video games.  The premiere issue was much thinner than what the magazine would become in later years, and the highlight of the issue was a preview of the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 3.

I remember being puzzled by the fact that the preview referred to Mario's arch-nemesis Bowser as "King Kuppa", and while I recognized that supposed to be "Koopa", I didn't understand why Nintendo was changing the spelling of the name.  I asked my grandfather for an explanation (because elders know everything when you're only eight years old, right?) and he explained that since it was a fake fictional name it could be spelled however the creators wanted.  I understood that, but my question persisted: why change it at all?  My world didn't make sense again until the American instruction manual restored order with the proper "Koopa" spelling of the word.

A Minor Variation

Pikachu Nintendo 64UPDATE: And if this isn't enough, PTB reader Kat has a larger variation list that will make your wallet cry out in anguish.

Do you want the purple Nintendo GameCube or the black one?  Do you want the black Sega Game Gear or the white one?  The silver Sony PlayStation 2 or the aqua one?  Too many decisions!  Let's just buy them all and put a catalog of system variations up online.  Someone out there with money to burn and storage space to spare has put together a listing of each console's color variations and hardware configurations.  I never understood the need for a bunch of console colors.  I can see why we have the basic home electronics colors (black, white, and gray), but what is with all the purple, aqua, pink, gold, orange, and Pikachu?  All my consoles are black or gray and I likes 'em that way!  Kids these days with their crazy colors, *mumble* *mumble*, get off my lawn!

Possible Pricey PS3 Preorders

Sony PlayStation 3 controller If you're interested in preordering a Sony PlayStation 3 you had better get your wallet out.  At least, if you're shopping in the UK.  There's word going around that Sony wants to require retailers to force customers to pay a large deposit in order to reserve a console.  £150, to be exact.  The reason, you ask?  Why, it's all in the name of fairness.

The reasoning is to stop too many consumers ordering multiple units, due to very low deposit charges.  The firm is keen to limit an explosion of expensive eBay offerings, a situation that occurred in the U.S as well as other countries with the launch of Xbox 360 last year. PS3 units are likely to be equally difficult to find.

While it's admirable to want to put consoles in the hands of fans and not just eBay opportunists, this does bring to mind a question I've had for quite some time.  If Sony is aware that fans will pay megabucks (or megapounds, in this case) for hardware, why doesn't Sony skip retail and just sell PS3s via eBay in order to collect the excess profit themselves?  Not all PS3s, just a nice chunk of inventory.  It seems strange for Sony to leave money on the table like that.