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December 2006
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February 2007

January 2007

Super Paper Mario Coming Much Sooner Than We Thought

Super Paper Mario Remember when Nintendo announced Super Paper Mario for the GameCube at E3 last year?  And then remember how it just kind of "went away" soon after as new updates and information on the game came to a grinding halt?  Apparently the game has popped back up for the Wii and - get this - it's supposedly going to be released in April.  Yeah, this April.  As in, three months from now.

The newest issue of Nintendo Power also reveals some tidbits as to how the game will play on Wii. According to the magazine, most of the game will be played with the Wii remote held horizontally, NES-style. It is speculated the motion controls will play a role in the game, but no details have been announced.

I kind of figured we'd be seeing the game again this year, but I didn't expect to see it so soon.  Frankly, I'm thrilled that it's reappeared now.  Looking down the first-party Wii release list was becoming a little hollow, as the only scheduled releases up until now were mini-game collections like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Wii Play, and Mario Party 8.  It'll be great to get another major release that has some meat on its metaphorical bones.  I guess this also means I'd better get moving and finish The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.  Come April I have a new quest in which to get wrapped up.

Sonic and the Secret Rings May Actually Be Good

Sonic and the Secret Rings Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rough few years.  Recent games in the series have lost the spirit and soul of the core Sonic experience, but Sonic and the Secret Rings for the Nintendo Wii may actually turn out to be good when it hits stores at the very end of February.  IGN had some hands-on time with the game recently and has some new videos to show you, and from the looks of things this new game seems centered around speed, speed, and more speed.  No tedious treasure hunting levels.  No out-of-place mech shooter sections.  No crappy friends full of angst to get in the way.  I feel better already! 

Weekly Poll: Wario Gone Wild

Weekly Poll for 1-15-2007Donkey Kong just edged out Wario to take the top spot in last week's poll.  I've always had a soft spot for Wario.  Part of that is because of the general humor surrounding him, but I also like how a supposedly regular guy like Mario is worthy of having an evil twin (even if he is more greedy and selfish than evil).  Bowser has become a rather predictable nemesis for Mario, but with Wario you're never quite sure what you're going to get next.

And speaking of Wario, I recently put out the call for a Wario Land collection for the Nintendo DS.  Which Wario Land game is your favorite?  Don't forget to leave some comments after voting.  I'll even throw in the Nintendo GameCube platformer Wario World just for the sake of being complete.

Animated Nintendo Sports Shorts

Wario and Waluigi play golf Did you miss out on last generation's collection of sports games featuring the Mushroom Kingdom crew?  For shame, I say.  That means that you also missed out on some amusing animated shorts that introduce each title.  Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Superstar Baseball, and Super Mario Strikers all feature these short films that serve to set the stage, introduce the major confrontations in each game, show some great character moments, and provide a few laughs.  It's not too late to enjoy the shorts, however.  Everything lives on when it comes to the Internet, and that means that people who have more free time than I do have put these animations on YouTube.  Check 'em out below and brighten your day.  After all, everyone loves to see Wario get a little comeuppance.

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Bound High Bound For Glory

Bound High The complete market implosion of the Nintendo Virtual Boy precluded the opportunity for any kind of a meaningful product relaunch, and while the few high quality games produced and released for the system are still praised by those of us in the know (and with slightly damaged eyes), there are a whole bunch of unfinished games that never saw the light of day.  Sometimes you'll hear about these canceled projects, any one of which was supposed to be the system's savior.  The F-Zero racing spin-off G-Zero is mentioned sometimes, as is that mysterious Virtual Boy Mario LandDragon Hopper comes up in conversations more often than you'd think, but the Virtual Boy game with the most untapped potential that was completed and yet scraped has to be Bound High.  Virtual Boy fan site VR32 has managed to acquire a test cartridge that somehow escaped from Nintendo and has reviewed yet another game that got away.

In Bound High, Chalvo, the bouncing robot, travels through space In full 3D motion in pursuit of alien invaders that threaten the peaceful inhabitants of Earth. Angling from above, players control rolled up Chalvo, who must destroy all enemies on the playfield by landing on them and throwing them down from the playfield.

We'll never know if Bound High could have saved the Virtual Boy from its unprofitable fate, but it certainly sounds like a fun gaming adventure.  Nintendo's canceled/unreleased material tends to turn up in other places from time to time (such as Star Fox 2 evolving into Star Fox Command and the eventual release of the Ocarina of Time Master Quest) so perhaps we'll get to meet Chalvo in another format someday after all (besides the Bound High semi-sequel, Chalvo 55, that was only released in Japan for the Game Boy).

Wild For Wario Land

WarioOf all of Nintendo's game franchises one series we never seem to see enough of has to be Wario Land.  Appearing on Nintendo's various portable game systems, the five games of the Wario Land series are a masterstroke of platforming and puzzle solving with an emphasis on wacky humor and "thinking outside the box".  Since these games were for portable systems, many gamers have not had the opportunity to enjoy them seeing as how they've never been re-released over the years.  That's why I come to you today just weeks before the release of next installment in the series, Wario: Master of Disguise, to suggest a new compilation set.  It's a mere pipe dream, but I'd love to see Nintendo repackage the classic series for the Nintendo DS.

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Secret Origins: Ghostbusters 2

Ghostbusters 2All this recent talk of a possible new Ghostbusters video game for modern consoles has me thinking of the old games based on the franchise that I played as a child.  It would be far too easy to praise the fantastic Ghostbusters game for the Commodore 64 that I played relentlessly once upon a time, so instead the time has come to share the story about how I acquired what has to be the absolute worst game in my Nintendo Entertainment System library.

I was devoted to the Ghostbusters franchise in my youth.  I got my start with The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and somewhere around the age of six or so I found out that there had been an actual Ghostbusters movie that preceded the cartoon.  My parents had kept that little fact from me for quite some time, concerned that the film would be too frightening for someone of my young age.  Eventually the movie turned up on television one Saturday night, and since all movies are edited for broadcast, they decided to let me watch since the truly frightening stuff would have been removed or toned down.  After seeing the film I became even more hooked on the franchise.  I started reading The Real Ghostbusters magazine every month, and it was in an issue from late 1988 I learned of the film's upcoming sequel, Ghostbusters 2.  As you can imagine, euphoria set in.

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Advice For The Gaming Journalists Of Tomorrow

Diddy Kong plays Game BoyRecently a young gamer e-mailed me with this message:

I heard that you beta test and I would like to have some info about it like how you got stated and at what age and how old you have to be.

I always enjoy talking about myself and my work, so I answered his questions with a lot more detail than he probably anticipated.  It's a fairly standard question that I hear more and more these days, so in the interest of aiding tomorrow's gaming journalists today I thought I'd share my reply here on Press The Buttons.  If any of you have a follow-up question after reading this, feel free to ask. 

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Weekly Poll: Good To Be Bad

Weekly Poll for 1-02-2007Miis?  You all like the Miis?  Maybe it's just mii me, but I'm just not excited about the whole custom people thing.  I made a mii in my own image, sure, but now what?  I don't feel the need to visit my mii in the Mii Channel.  It's nice to have him for Wii Sports, but that's really about it at this point.  I'm more a fan of the Wii Shop Channel for the retro offerings and the Forecast Channel for just killing time in-between games.  The Internet Channel would be nice if it could stream video worth a darn.

Moving on, recently a discussion has emerged regarding video game villains that go on from being mere bosses to become bona-fide main characters.  Wario's rise to fame comes to mind immediately, but then we have characters such as Firebrand of Demon's Crest and even Meta Knight from the world of Kirby.  Tell me, who is your favorite villain turned main character?

Who Ya Gonna Call? Alleged Ghostbusters Game Manifests

UPDATE 2: Yup, it's a pitch from Zootfly.  They don't have the Ghostbusters license, however, so unless negotiations with Columbia Pictures work out, don't expect to see this in stores anytime soon.  However, the scary thing is that I have to admit that if the game was well done and a solid release, I could see myself picking up whatever console supports it.  The nostalgia draw is that strong on this one (that's a big Twinkie).

GhostbustersUPDATE: Some folks believe this is a pitch from Zootfly, a Slovenian developer (Slovenian, not Babylonian).

I'll get right to the point.  There are some videos floating around the Internet that show a new game based on Ghostbusters.  It's a 3D third-person-shooter affair with driving elements from the looks of things.  Nobody really seems to know who created these clips or even if this is an actual commercial product in the works instead of either an unofficial fan project or a failed pitch to a publisher.

Longtime PTB readers may recall how much I desperately want a modern solid Ghostbusters game.  It's not enough to arm players with a proton pack, however.  A proper Ghostbusters game has to capture the spirit and whimsy of the films.  Attention must be paid to the little details.  Simply slapping the Ghostbusters license on what would otherwise be another generic military-style team-based shooter won't do anyone any good.  Considering the sheer number of ways this potential game could go wrong has me terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.