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August 2010

Creepy Sony Survey Wants To Know Details About Your Love Life

PS3 survey

At what point in a new relationship do you introduce your intended to your game console?  Could you ever date someone who sets limits on your gaming?  Would you give up your family for one year in order to play video games?  Do you put video games ahead of your career?  Have you canceled a date in order to play more video games?  These are some very invasive, bizarre questions, aren't they?  As it turns out, these are some of the questions being asked by Sony in a new survey sent to select PlayStation owners.  What possible use could the company have for this information?  Kyle Hilliard of GamesRadar speculates.

Why does Sony want to know if I am willing to abandon my family for gaming? Am I going to receive an ultimatum soon? It's like one of those ridiculous scenario questions based around impossible circumstances, like “What would you wish for if you found a Genie?” or, “Would you kill a boat full of puppies to play Portal 2 early?” Sony also asks if you would be willing to give up trips to the gym in favor of playing video games. I think I can offer the general gamer consensus to that particular question without a survey.

Sony wants to know what year you experienced your first kiss. I think I may have figured this out. At least, this is the only reason I can come up with:  Sony is working on a triple AAA dating sim and the marketing folks need to know what age group to market it to. Well of course it’s a long shot, but what other reason could Sony have for wanting to know exactly what year it was that you received your first kiss? What other legal reason, I mean?

The whole survey is just odd. It comes with the normal requisite questions about purchasing habits, and members of your household, but those questions are only in place to distract you from the personal questions about your love life. And then there are the multiple questions about the sacrifices you would be willing to make in regard to your Playstation 3.

What evil game are we playing, Sony?  What's your endgame here?  What possible use could you have for this kind of information?  And can we see the results in aggregate format when you're done with them?

What do you think Sony is working on? Do you think the next Sony survey will ask how many sexual partners you have had in the last month to help them determine the number of women that should be present in the God of War: Ghost of Sparta sex sequence? I would say we’ll have to wait and see, but I’m guessing we may never know. Sony will probably treat the results of this survey as privileged information, and we, unfortunately, will never get to see the fancy charts and sure-to-be-thrilling Powerpoint presentation it’s sure to inspire. One thing is sure, though: Reading through this crazy question minefield makes us want to turn around and write up a survey for Sony to respond to in return. 

Allow me to make a wild, out-of-left-field guess of my own as to what this is all about: Sony is working on some sort of online dating site for PlayStation owners.  A or e-Harmony for the gaming crowd, perhaps.  Stranger pet projects have been tried before, and the company has stated that they're always considering new perks for PlayStation Plus...

Scott Pilgrim Vs The Matrix

The right trailer can make or break a movie, and considering that Scott Pilgrim vs The World ended up broken at the box office, could anything have been done with its trailer to avoid that?  What if we did away with Michael Cera and brought in Keanu Reeves to play the role of Scott Pilgrim?  Hmm, I think we're on to something here.  Check out this trailer created by AEmovieguy that combines the audio from the Pilgrim theatrical trailer with relevant scenes from The Matrix.  It won't help the box office, but it might make you chuckle.

(via /Film)

GLaDOS, Please Take A Message

Aperture ScienceWe're all searching for the next great video game-related cell phone ringtone.  From Final Fantasy victory themes to Legend of Zelda treasure chest jingles to an old fashioned Super Mario Bros. overworld theme snippet, we all want just the right sound to greet us when an incoming call happens.  What if we're headed in the wrong direction though?  What if a voice announcing a call is better?  And what if that voice belonged to Portal's GLaDOS?  Based on sound clips uploaded by someone going by the name of "beams" I found while traveling online, I think it would go a little something like this:

What, you still say that you want a musical clip of some sort? I can help with that too. Here's a singing GLaDOS imploring you to pick up the phone for the people who are still alive.

Power Button - Episode 19: How The Gaming Journalism Sausage Is Made

Power ButtonHave you ever wondered just what goes on behind the scenes at a video game news, reviews, and editorials website?  Are you curious about the time commitment and what it takes to make a site a success?  Do you want to know how the gaming journalism sausage is made?  Pull up a chair and take out your notepad, for this week on Power Button, Joey Davidson and I asked friend of the show and Kombo colleague Keri Honea to sit in for an absent Brad Hilderbrand so that the three of us can talk about what it takes to run our respective sites.  I own and operate Press The Buttons, of course; Joey is the Editor-in-Chief at Kombo and does some side work for Crave Online; and Keri owns her Strategy Guide Reviews site and co-owns the relatively new Gaming Succubus.  We spent an hour talking shop and inside baseball about how we get the work done on a day to day basis, so if you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes, here's your chance to learn all about it. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach all three of us via  and you can even follow on Twitter at @PressTheButtons or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. Note that next week's originally scheduled guest, our old pal Garth Chouteau of PopCap Games, had a last minute schedule conflict, but he'll join us in two weeks to talk about the new version of Plants vs Zombies for the Microsoft Xbox 360 as well as some upcoming titles from PopCap that you probably know little about. Meanwhile, next time Brad returns from moving across state lines and we discuss our top picks from Gamescom.

Power Button - Episode 19: How The Gaming Journalism Sausage Is Made

Halo: Reach Pirated Already

Halo: ReachOnce upon a time Microsoft had the idea to make its upcoming sure-to-be-blockbuster Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360 easier for video game reviewers to access by putting it up on the Xbox Live Marketplace service instead of sending out physical discs.  To keep those not on the list of approved reviewers from accessing the game (which is due out in stores exclusively on a disc next month), Microsoft set the supposed price of the game at 99,999 Microsoft Points (approximately $1,250).  Even if a die-hard Halo fan were willing to pay that high price to download the game, the service still requires a special code before granting access.  I'm sure that you can see where this is going, as someone out there hacked together an unauthorized code and downloaded the game.  Now Halo: Reach is running free in the wild.  Kombo has the story.

What's disappointing about this leak is the fact that Microsoft came up with a really great way to distribute the game to the press, allowing them to access it at their leisure without having to wait for the game to arrive on their doorstep, and it's doubtful they'll allow other titles to be distributed the same way. The fact is, piracy isn't good for the industry. If you don't want to shell out $60 for Reach, don't steal it. Wait. Buy it in a year when the price has come down. Don't be a jerk.

There is a select group of gamers on the Xbox 360 who think pirating games is a great idea, but it isn't. If you're caught playing a pirated game you could have your Xbox LIVE service shut down, and furthermore, there's a group of hard-working individuals who spent years working on the title that you are essentially robbing when you pirate a game. Support the industry, support the people who make the games. Don't pirate Reach or any other title.

There's a class of gamer that complains that a game never get enough sequels, and then when a sequel is released, they pirate it!  Here's some free advice to that group: instead of pirating it, buy the game, pay with money, support the talented people that created it, and show that there's a dedicated, paying audience for solid core-oriented titles.  The more successful a title is in the market, the likelier a sequel will be developed sooner rather than later (or, in some cases, at all).  Kinect and its casual-based family fare is coming, and should that turn out to be much more profitable than Halo, don't doubt for a minute that Microsoft would re-evaluate its development and publishing budgets.  If you want Halo to keep coming back often in the years ahead, support the developers and not the pirates.

Weekly Poll: See You Next Mission!

Weekly Poll for 8-16-2010 Opinions are mixed when it comes to the rumored Sony PlayStation Portable that's also a phone, but the majority are disinterested.  To be honest, I'm surprised that the vote was this close.  Like many of you, I need more information before I decide if this is something I'd want to buy into, but considering the rumors of another model of new PSP that sports touchscreen buttons, I'm wondering if this phone PSP is a half-hearted attempt or branding afterthought as opposed to a real honest-to-goodness PSP2.  Like the PSP Go, this could just be another hardware experiment.  Time will tell, I suppose.

Moving on to a product that definitely does exist, Nintendo's new Metroid: Other M is just a week away now in North America with other regions following a mere week after that.  Are you planning to play it?  If so, as a purchase or as a rental?  Let's hear your thoughts.

Fossilized Koopa Discovered In Pacific

Meiolania damelipi Say hello to Meiolania damelipi, a species of turtle that has been extinct for about 3,000 years.  Does it look familiar to you?  As if you'd seen it somewhere before?  Geekosystem explains it far better than I ever could:

M. damelipi bones were found during an archeological dig in the ancient village site of a seafaring Pacific island culture.  From Wired:

The bottom layer of the garbage pile, dated to 3,000 years ago, had many meiolaniid bones. The top layer, dated to 2,800 years ago, had none.

Truly, it is a sobering reminder of the affect that the human race has had on the planet even before we developed nuclear bombs, plastic, and carbon-based – Oh who are we kidding…

Do meiolaniids look like Bowser, or do they look like Bowser?

Yes, there's a striking resemblance to Nintendo's famous Bowser, King of the Koopas.  Moreover, there's a striking resemblance to Bowser's bleached bones variation, Dry Bowser, from New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart Wii, and Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games.  That fossil just plain looks mean.  It's a perfect facial likeness.  I feel the innate need to knock it off a bridge into a lava pit just looking at it.

Fun With Arranged Music: Relaxing With Super Mellow Mario

Cape Mario Finishing our week of fun with arranged video game music comes this album from the 1991 two-disc soundtrack to Nintendo's Super NES classic Super Mario World aptly titled — what else? — Super Mario World.  The first disc out of the set features especially mellow arranged versions of some of the more memorable Super Mario tunes, giving us a light jazz jam rendition of World's Overworld theme (called "Super Mario World" on the album in a ridiculous triplicate of title repetition) featuring the smooth sax stylings of Sadao Watanabe with Soichi Noriki on keyboard and Tsunehide Matsuki's guitar work. Give it a listen and be whisked away to Sunday brunch poolside at the Mushroom Kingdom country club.

Super Mario World - "Super Mario World"

Fun With Arranged Music

Co-Host Still Wanted For New PTB Video Project

Press The ButtonsDo you love to play video games?  Do you follow the video game industry's news and happenings on a regular basis?  Can you discuss these happenings in short segments?  Do you live in or around Orlando, FL?  These are all important questions because I'm working with a new Orlando-based Internet television network called IzonOrlando to create a video show based on the Press The Buttons brand to feature video game news, reviews, discussion, and other related segments.  I can't do it alone though!  We'll be filming a pilot episode in a few weeks and we're looking for a co-host to be part of the action to discuss gaming news and current events.  Interested?  E-mail your name, age, and the answers to the questionnaire below ASAP along with any samples of past on-camera work you may have (not required, but helpful) and anything else you think we ought to know.  This is a repeat from last month, but we're gearing up for another pass at auditions, so I thought I'd cast the net out there again. Those who applied during last month's submission window do not need to apply again. Approved applicants will be invited to a screen test set for September 4, 2010, and the pilot is slotted to shoot sometime thereafter.  Obviously you'd need to be available for the screen test and the pilot shoot to be eligible, meaning it's best that you live in the general Orlando area and have some free time on those days if you are selected.  While participation in the pilot is unpaid, if the show finds sponsorship and becomes a weekly series (a 1-2 hour per week time commitment), there will be payment involved.  This is all still in the development stage and we're still lining things up, but it's an exciting opportunity and I'm looking forward to seeing it all come together.

The aforementioned questionnaire follows:

Continue reading "Co-Host Still Wanted For New PTB Video Project" »

Mother 3 Has A Secret Hard Mode

Mother 3 hard mode It's been nearly two years since the only-in-Japan sequel to Nintendo's EarthBound, Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance, was translated into English by a group of hard-working fans.  Still, in all that time, some secrets went undiscovered.  For instance, the translators added a secret Hard Mode to Mother 3 that gives enemies an energy boost to make things more challenging and unforgiving.  Want to know how it's done and just what's changed?  EarthBound Central explains it all:

[T]o access the hard mode, you just have to call yourself (you, the player) HARD MODE when you’re asked at the forest temple in Chapter 1 or at the clay mine in Chapter 4. Type it in all caps.  This has the most obvious effect of doubling enemies’ HP, but it also increases other less-noticeable states, like Speed and some other stuff I can’t remember offhand. Basically, it makes them tougher AND a little more aggressive. I actually didn’t test it as much as I should have, so the difficulty curve isn’t as steep in the later chapters, but it’s still a neat little challenge.

My hope with all these little extra inclusions was to give the fans more ways to enjoy the game. In terms of this hard mode, my goal was for players to fully master fighting tactics, use items in creative ways, and to just try and see new things they probably wouldn’t come across normally.

The translation team really did think of everything.  I still have to finish Mother 3 on its standard difficulty level and even that's been a long time coming.  I doubt I'll have the time or the patience to tackle Hard Mode too, but I love to know that it's there.  Considering that this is likely the final EarthBound any of us — domestic or international — will ever play, it's nice to see there's an extra challenge waiting to keep hungry fans busy for years to come.