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December 2009

November 2009

Fans Ponder, Pitch New Back To The Future Game

Back to the FutureThe video clip of a modification for Crysis that adds the iconic Back to the Future DeLorean time machine to the game has started imaginations spinning all over again about a hypothetical new game based on the film trilogy.  Everyone seems to have their own idea, but the folks over at MetaFilter have some very complete ideas for story and gameplay that I felt were worth bringing to your attention.  These are not actual games in development, of course, but still interesting in their own ways.  First up, an idea from MeFier Empath that does away with Marty McFly completely.

So the first thing I'm gonna do is drop Marty McFly. He already had his own story, and it's finished. And I'd make it a GTA style open world game that takes place entirely in Hill Valley, but let's switch up the eras -- the 1920s, 1960s, 2010 and 2050. I'd start with just a bunch of kids that stumble on Doc's plans for the time machine and decide to build it themselves using info they gleaned from the internet and a used Toyota Prius -- the first part of the game is just collecting parts for the time machine while learning game mechanics and getting used to the layout of the town. They you have them start time hoping, solving crimes, getting involved with gangsters during prohibition, going to a huge open air rock festival, etc, while constantly adding new abilities and stuff to the car.

Continue reading "Fans Ponder, Pitch New Back To The Future Game" » Starts Black Friday Early

Buy somethin' will ya! With the economy in tatters and consumer spending down, retailers are gearing up early for holiday shopping sales. is right there with them, offering sales on video games and related accessories all week long in advance of the ubiquitous Black Friday shopping event.  Today, for instance, you'll find sales on games such as Bioshock, Saw, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and plenty of other titles.  This looks like a great chance to pick up games that you missed out on this year for either yourself or friends and family.  Each day brings new deals and a portion of each purchase goes to help support Press The Buttons if you buy something via this green link.

Editors Give Thanks For Great Games Over At Kombo

Koopa TroopaWith Thanksgiving just days away here in the United States, it's time for the editors over at Kombo to give thanks for a stellar year of gaming.  Most everyone on staff has praise for one game or another (and we all really love Ratchet and Clank, as it turns out), so it was only appropriate for all of us to write a paragraph or two about this year's greatest gaming reasons to give thanks.  I'm in the mix too, of course.  Here's a snippet of the piece with my thoughts:

It's been a fantastic year for gaming, so much so that it's difficult to know where to begin. Do we really need someone else to echo the amazing achievement that is Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time? Yes, we do. This is a title so triumphant that I finished the game, lost all of my save data to a post-endgame glitch, restarted from the very beginning, finished that playthrough, then replayed right away to complete the Challenge Mode. That's a major rarity in my world these days. Then there's the other amazing titles found on the Sony PlayStation 3 this year with big names like Uncharted 2: Among Thievesand the multiplatform amazingness ofBatman: Arkham Asylum (finally, a game worthy of the Batman license),Ghostbusters: The Video Game (finally, a game worthy of the Ghostbusters license), and perennial underdog Bionic Commando(a great game that you didn't play and therefore killed the franchise again; shame on you!). The Wii side of the plate has been thin this year, but both New Super Mario Bros. Wii and A Boy and His Blob are welcome in my home during the cold winter to come.

The stars really seem to have aligned for me this year, as I think I played more games that I truly enjoyed than I have in years.  That's worth giving thanks for all by itself even without going into the little details.

Back To The Future's DeLorean In Crysis

DeLorean Now that Ghostbusters and Batman have been featured in current generation powerhouse blockbuster titles, let us look to the future when the next great franchise deserving of an amazing video game.  I've been hoping and suggesting a modern Back to the Future game for ages, and I'm certainly not alone in that longing.  PC gamers have been hacking and modding Back to the Future elements into the hot games of the day for a while (remember seeing Doc Brown's DeLorean in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City?), but now Crysis is the latest game to host everyone's favorite stainless steel time machine.  Check out this YouTube video of the iconic DeLorean undergoing temporal experiments.

Note how the car actually travels through time as night flashes to day and back again when the player is behind the wheel and — this is the really neat part — how when the player is an external observer, the DeLorean vanishes and only reappears when the player temporally catches up to it a moment later.  The car is even covered in ice when it reappears following the famous sonic booms.  I'm not a Crysis player, but now I think I want to be!

Weekly Poll: Lofty Mushroom Hopes

Weekly Poll for 11-09-2009So apparently pronouncing the acronym for the Super NES as "sness" is a United Kingdom thing, while "S-N-E-S" is centered in North America.  Now I'm wondering how other consoles are abbreviated and acronymized around the world.  Is there a place that speaks highly of a "Sega Genny"?  Where is the MSX actually shorthand for Microsoft's original Xbox?  What about Nintendo's "Geebee Advance"?  Now I finally understand why Nintendo chose to name their latest console "Wii" worldwide.  There's not much of a chance of messing up that pronunciation and it's already conveniently short.

Speaking of Nintendo, have you played New Super Mario Bros. Wii yet?  Is it everything that you hoped it would be?  Did it meet your expectations?  Or did the game leave you as cold as an Ice Flower?  Let's hear your thoughts (and don't even try to pronounce the game's acronym).

Bowser's Big Revenge

Bowser I've spent the past few days plowing through Nintendo's latest triumph — New Super Mario Bros. Wii — and while I haven't visited every level, collected all of the Star Coins, on blasted out of every cannon, I have made the trek through World 8 and stomped my way through Bowser's castle all the way to the fated final fight, and while my review of the adventure will be available over at Kombo in a day or three, right now I feel the need to gush about the fantastic final boss battle.  From here on are spoilers for the epic endgame encounter, obviously.

Continue reading "Bowser's Big Revenge" »

A Boy and His Blob Review At Kombo

A Boy and His Blob Before I slipped out for abdominal surgery last week, I filed a review of the recently released A Boy and His Blob for the Nintendo Wii over at Kombo

A Boy and His Blob's most impressive attribute is its heartwarmingly adorable art direction. Everything in the boy's world is smoothly animated, inviting, and charming. Some levels even make endearing use of shadows and silhouettes to help paint an emotional picture of the bond between the two heroes. Considering that the boy and the blog are silent protagonists (well, the boy does occasionally call out to the blob to hurry), all of the characterization comes from the various visual elements. The game even goes out of its way to avoid distracting the player with on-screen meters and indicators which lends a cinematic vibe to the action. Fans of the original NES game will spot the tribute to the 1989 adventure in Stage 11 immediately, too. 

This delightfully adorable puzzle platformer is fated to go ignored this holiday season, but don't let flashier games with bloodier box art get the better of you.  Fans of endearing 2D animation, puzzles solved with jellybeans, or games that feature a button that causes the two protagonists to hug on demand should not let this game get away.

Another Sonic Compilation Waiting In The Wings?

Sonic the HedgehogSega has learned that their collection of classic Sonic the Hedgehog titles from the Sega Genesis era are still the strongest parts of their hedgehog-related catalog, so it's hard to blame the company for taking those games and running with them forever and ever.  The latest rumor involving the return of the past comes via Kombo in which an unannounced Sonic Classics Collection featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles (and all the lock-on combinations therein).

It also contains a Sonic image gallery and a "History of Sonic" video, as well as a trailer for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.  It's that last component which seems to be leading people to suspect that it, unlike every other Sonic collection out there, is made for the Nintendo DS. Others, however, wonder if this could be related to the leaked SEGA document from their talks with Sony, which spoke of a "Best of Sonic" Blu-ray that would contain "all of the old Sonic games" on a Blu-ray for nearly $100.  All I can really say is that the list hardly comprises "all" of the old Sonic games, and definitely not $100 worth at that; we've seen them offer so much more for so much less, so whatever that project is or might have been, it seems doubtful this is it as it stands.

Frankly, the idea that these four games make up a $100 Blu-ray disc for the Sony PlayStation 3 is insulting to everyone.  A DS compilation would be nice and makes more sense, but it still seems like too little, too late at this point.  Does anyone who fondly remembers the Genesis set of Sonic games not already own them in some re-released format by now?  This makes me think that this set — if it is for the DS — is actually aimed at newer, younger Sonic fans that have come into the series with the Sonic Rush titles and last year's Sonic Unleashed


Dr. Mario Back after a week away, I'm out of the hospital and working through the recovery phase of my surgery.  Everything went well during the operation and I'm at home for a month of rest.  I wasn't up to tackling Mother 3 during my six days in the hospital (which ended up being for the best as the Pocket Retro Gaming Emulator doesn't seem to like it), but I've started on New Super Mario Bros. Wii and finished the Challenge Mode of Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time with a few other things still on my to-do list, so the next few weeks should be just packed.  So: glad to be back, thank you for everyone who sent messages of support, and now it's back to my recliner for either a game or a nap.

A Boy, His Blob, And You

A Boy and His BlobNow that Majesco and WayForward Technologies have finally managed to revive the mostly forgotten Nintendo Entertainment System adventure A Boy and His Blob for Nintendo's Wii in a way befitting the potential of the characters, there's a press push in progress to get the word out about the new game.  To that end, WayForward's Sean Velasco recently sat down with Nintendo's UK division to discuss the development process behind the game with a special emphasis on bringing legacy material into the new adventure, bringing the Blob to life, and animating the experience that brings the characters to life.

We had to nail down the blob’s role as the boy’s faithful companion. He’s a bit like a dog, but it’s important to understand that he’s also an intelligent alien being.  Art-wise, getting the blob’s actions across was a challenge considering we had only eyes and a gooey form to work with. We had a detailed style guide, which is a sort of cheat sheet of do’s and don’ts when drawing and animating the blob. With these materials, the blob’s whimsical nature came through in all of his actions and animations

I can’t stress enough that the programming of the blob was also a large factor in his personality. Lead gameplay programmer Larry Holdaway has a real knack for details in the blob’s AI. Larry would put in touches that no one might ever notice; but when I would see the blob running from danger or chasing down butterflies when he got bored, I knew he had crafted quite a character.

A Boy and His Blob really is a charming little game that deserves some success.  You can't go wrong with a characters that are this adorable who interact with a Hug button, and the Blob really does seem alive in the way that he moves, reacts, and explores.  Majesco and WayForward have created something really special, so don't let it pass you by.  I've been playing it for the last few weeks in little bursts and have enjoyed every bit of it.