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October 2009

It's Not Too Late To Preorder EarthBound 64

EarthBound 64 The Internet gaming community has been so crazed with getting Nintendo's Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance officially released in North America that it completely missed the news that the Nintendo 64 iteration of the EarthBound franchise, EarthBound 64, is somehow still floating around in the development cloud.  I've spent the last ten years believing that the game had been canceled, but apparently it's been in secret development all this time!  I mean, what other reason could there be for's fantastic opportunity to preorder the long-forgotten EarthBound 64 and — this is even more of a coup — the EarthBound 64 add-on for the Nintendo 64's ill-fated 64DD disc drive.  EarthBound Central has the momentous news.  Score!

The “EarthBound Expansion Disk” that’s on there is also referring to the old so-called “MOTHER 3.5″. When EarthBound 64 was moved from the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive to just a regular cart, the developers decided that they’d also have an expansion disk that you could use if you had the 64 Disk Drive. There weren’t many details given about what it would actually do, but the idea quickly vanished from people’s memories. So it’s interesting to see it here after all these years

Thanks to for providing an active example of why it's not advisable to integrate outdated product data into a modern online catalog.  While you're picking up famous vaporware of the last fifteen years from, don't forget to order Sonic X-Treme for the Sega Saturn, Star Fox 2 for the Super NES, Donkey Kong Racing for the Nintendo GameCube, Castlevania Resurrection for the Sega Dreamcast, and Vectorman for the Sony PlayStation 2.

Uncharted 2 Voice Casting Nails Genre Connections

Chloe Frazer and Karl Schafer While playing through Naughty Dog's latest creation, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the Sony PlayStation 3, I found myself paying special attention to two of the adventure's more outspoken characters, Chloe Frazer and Karl Schäfer.  While all of the Uncharted characters have great voice talent behind them, there was something about those two that I found especially familiar that I could not quite identify.  Once the game was over and the closing credits rolled, I discovered the names behind the words and everything fell into place.  Whomever handled the casting for Uncharted 2 completely nailed the job by hiring Claudia Black for the role of Frazer and René Auberjonois for the part of Schäfer, as both actors have played these same basic characters before in other media.

Continue reading "Uncharted 2 Voice Casting Nails Genre Connections" »

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Scores Limited Edition

Spirittrackstincase How does one excite the gaming community about Nintendo's upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS?  Offer a special Limited Edition of the game, of course.  Currently an exclusive package from Gamestation, £39.99 buys the new game in a tin case that includes figurines of Link and a Phantom, characters featured in — now here's a coincidence — The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.  What are the odds of that happening?  This is apparently a UK exclusive at the moment, but here's hoping we see it internationally.  Everyone loves figurines


Maybe This Whole Wii Thing Is Not For You

Mario Party 8 (some assembly required)Over the past few weeks we've had some fun with Best Buy's bizarrely pointless upsells when it comes to installing and updating Sony PlayStation 3s as well as Microsoft Xbox 360s, so it seems only fair to highlight one of the company's overpriced unnecessary services for the Nintendo Wii.  As the sticker on the Mario Party 8 box seen here promises, it's possible for a Geek Squad agent to install the game on your Wii console.  Considering that Wii games do not install to a hard drive, the full extent of this installation process must be to simply insert the disc into the Wii's slot.  Once again, if you can't figure out how to do this for yourself, then maybe this whole Wii thing is not for you.  Best Buy claims that the sticker is on the box in error, but I think that they're just embarrassed at being caught offering this needless service.

Weekly Poll: Speak Up

Weekly Poll for 10-12-2009 The vote was close on the Super Guide issue, but in the end most of you don't plan on using Nintendo's new assistance option, but you're glad to know that it's there.  As for me, I'm only expecting to use if it I'm really stuck on something.  My Metroid Prime Omega Pirate situation is old news at this point, but it's still my prime example.  Retrying a failed level is part of what make video game so enjoyable, so while I don't want the system to skip over material for me after a single failure, I also don't want to retry dozens of times and never get any closer to success.  I'll gladly let the Wii take the lead for a moment if it'll get me past that situation.

Moving on, one of this console gaming generation's advances is inspiring the mainstream use of headsets and microphones to converse with other players during online multiplayer games.  This is great when playing with friends, but speaking to the unwashed masses is usually good only for learning new kinds of profanity and slurs.  How often do you use a headset when playing online?  Let's hear your thoughts. 

Kombo Breaker - Episode 47: Phil Kollar and Dave Rudden Join Us

Kombo BreakerWhen I was a kid and young teen, I subscribed to three video gaming magazines: Nintendo Power (which was a necessity for those of us who grew up with Nintendo products), Electronic Gaming Monthly (which eventually swelled to hundreds of pages in size, god bless it), and GamePro (which never quite hit the heights that the others did for some reason, but it did have reviewer Scary Larry).  This week on Kombo Breaker we sit down with Phil Kollar of Game Informer and Dave Rudden of the aforementioned competing publication GamePro to discuss how print and online media differ and where the future of gaming journalism is headed.  Download this week's show directly from Kombo or subscribe via iTunes.  Forgive me if I sound sleepy during the show, as we recorded this episode late at night.  It was a challenge waking up to go to work the next morning, and playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves with my fellow podcast panelists Joey and Brad for a few hours afterward didn't help things either.

First Look At New 3D Koopalings

Koopalings in New Super Mario Bros. Wii UPDATE: Kombo has a major round-up of NSMBW news and videos, plus the article mentions me by name twice, so that's always appreciated.

Bowser's rowdy children are finally back on the scene in the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii from Nintendo, and the latest issue of the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has some rendered character artwork of the kids (and Bowser Jr., the latter of which is cruising around in his own flying clown 'copter reminiscent of his father's contraption from Super Mario World).  Check out the kids' new looks including Iggy's green hair, Wendy's many gold bracelets, and Lemmy's mohawky mullet courtesy of GoNintendo.  They have some other images and screenshots as well (some of the character artwork for minor enemies looks like it's been recycled from the original New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS), but let's be honest here: this news is all about the Koopalings.  I know that I've gone on a lot about the return of the kids, but as someone who always liked these characters, I'm excited to see them back in action after all this time.  I may something of a lapsed Nintendo fan these days who spends most of his gaming time with his Sony PlayStation 3, but I still come running back whenever unexpected things happen in the Mushroom Kingdom.

(via Kombo)

Sony Announces 250GB PlayStation 3

Sony PlayStation 3 If you listen carefully right now then you'll hear the sounds of buyer's remorse and the associated rage that sometimes goes with it as Sony has announced a 250 GB model of PlayStation 3 for $349.99.  If you're keeping score at home, that's just an additional $50 for a little more than double the hard drive capacity of the 120 GB PS3 released about a month ago.  Everyone who ran out to buy a slim PS3 — all one million of you, according to Sony — is now the proud owner of a brand new comparatively "lesser" model of console.  Sorry about that.   Here's Sony tooting its own horn for you:

Today, we announced the availability of a new PS3 system with a 250GB hard drive hitting store shelves on November 3. The PS3 250GB system has the same slim look, feel and features as the 120GB system, but with a 250GB built-in hard drive for $349.99. With the new, larger capacity, you’ll have even more room to store your favorite games, movies/TV shows, music, photos and PlayStation Network downloads.

I think we all knew that Sony wasn't finished tinkering with the PS3's various configurations, but releasing this new model of console so soon after the previous model landed in stores (and for a value per dollar price that's better than the previous model) really comes off like a kick in the DualShocks for all of the new members of the PS3 community.  So welcome to the neighborhood once again, and get ready to meet your new neighbor who just bought the house next door that comes with an extra bedroom for just a few dollars more.

PTB Celebrates 2,500 Entries

Wario As time and progress roll on we've come to another Press The Buttons milestone, meaning that it's time to celebrate the 2,500th blog entry with a look back at some of my favorite articles since we marked the 2,000th entry milestone.  A lot of things have happened here at PTB since we last met for this sort of occasion: a new design and layout for the blog launched, I've started twittering with new PTB articles and stray gaming-related thoughts, PTB articles are now available on the Kindle e-book reader, another E3 has come and gone, I got to wear a Ghostbusters proton pack, and someone finally made a Batman game worth playing.  Let's hit memory lane for a review of some of the best that PTB had to offer over the last 500 blog entries.

Previous Milestone Celebrations

Zero Joins The Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Fight

Zero We've known for a while that when Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars for the Nintendo Wii makes its North American debut next year in January that it will feature some additional characters compared to the original Japanese version.  With the roster filling up quickly, IGN has the news that fan-favorite hero Zero from the world of Mega Man will be a part of the action, bringing melee combat to the fight with his familiar Z-saber, trademark blond ponytail, and take-no-crap attitude.  Best of all (from my perspective, anyway) is that we're talking about the Mega Man X incarnation of Zero here (which has always been my favorite) instead of the Mega Man Zero version.  Here's some video of the red Reploid* in action.  You know that he's massively powerful because his attacks do billions of units of damage.  Those Tatsunoko anime guys don't stand a chance against him if he partners with the other blue bomber-related character in the roster, MegaMan Volnutt from Mega Man Legends.  Marvelous!

I'm glad to see that Capcom has taken my advice when it comes to adding the Mega Man X version of Zero to a Vs Capcom game (even if he's not squaring off against Marvel characters... yet).

* While Zero is technically not a Reploid, I like alliteration, so I'm sticking with the term.