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April 2011

End Of The Road For PSPgo

PSP GoWith Sony spending resources on developing its upcoming NGP handheld system, something from the current PlayStation Portable family had to go to make room, so that means that it's time to say farewell to the maligned PSPgo.  MCV has the news that once current PSPgo stock is sold out in the United Kingdom, it's truly gone, while news from Japan suggests that the system is no longer being manufactured at all (though Sony offered a mealy-mouthed quote to half-heartedly repudiate that).  However, I'd rather quote my pal Pete Davison over at GamePro who offers this snappy summation:

According to MCV, a UK retail source has been told that "once current PSPgo stock is sold [they] will not be receiving replenishments." Unsurprisingly, when quizzed on this, Sony's answer mentioned the NGP a whole lot.

Farewell, PSPgo.  I doubt that you will be missed considering that you were less capable and more expensive than your primary PSP counterpart.  Onward and upward to the next thing.  Say, come to think of it, how many different NGPs will there be in the coming years?  What do you suppose the NGPgo will exclude from its hardware compared to a standard unit?  Yes, that was a low blow, but with the PSPgo now entering retirement, the opportunity for fresh jokes at its expense is rapidly dwindling.  I have to get these swipes in while I can.

Big Gaming Sale At Today Only

Buy somethin' will ya!I know you're all busy with Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat today, but if you're in the market for some discounted games, then has you covered today with another one of its ongoing Lightning Deal sales focusing purely on video games.  Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is the big item up for grabs at $39.99, but other games on special include Bulletstorm, Dragon Age II, Final Fantasy XIII, something from the world of Kingdom Hearts, World of Warcraft Battle Chest, and more.  A portion of every purchase you make through the green links above goes to help support Press The Buttons, so why not treat yourself and help out the site in the process?  Everybody wins that way.

Sonic Generations Reworks Classic Levels In 2D And 3D

Sonic Generations

The Sonic the Hedgehog teaser trailer from last week finally has a little context behind it as Sega has announced the upcoming Sonic Generations for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.  Commemorative the character's twentieth anniversary, Generations invokes time travel to bring the classic Genesis era Sonic incarnation together with his modernized counterpart in a game that reworks classic Sonic levels in both 2D and 3D.  Essentially, it'll be possible to zip through a level inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog in 3D or a Sonic Adventure-type level adapted into 2D.  3D levels are for modern Sonic to complete, while original recipe Sonic takes on the 2D stuff.  Here's some of the press release:

Set across three defining eras from 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog video game history, the instantly recognizable environments of Sonic Generations have been re-built in stunning HD and are now playable in both classic side scrolling 2D from 1991, as well as modern 3D style found in Sonic’s most recent adventures.  Each incarnation of Sonic in Sonic Generations comes complete with his trademark special move, Spin Dash and Spin Attack for Classic Sonic, and the Homing Attack and Sonic Boost for Modern Sonic.  An innovative new interactive menu system allows for complete immersion in Sonic’s universe with favorite characters and hidden treasures gradually being revealed throughout the game. 

Sonic’s universe is thrown into chaos when a mysterious new power creates ‘time holes’ which pull him and his friends back through time.  As a result, he encounters some surprises from his past history including Classic Sonic, Sonic as he was in 1991.  Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic must defeat this strange new enemy, save their friends, and find out who really is behind this diabolical deed…

Sonic Generations sounds like it offers something for everyone, and like most other modern titles in the series, it looks to hit all the right notes based on early concepts and screenshots.  Sonic Unleashed looked like total dynamite until we realized that most of the game was made up of nighttime brawling levels, for instance.  It certainly seems promising, and Game Informer, Joystiq, & Kotaku all like it based on an early demo.  Here's hoping that it's playable at E3 this year (and, traditionally, Sonic titles are) so that I can get my hands on it and see what all the fuss is about.  I've been burned too many times by this franchise to get my hopes up unconditionally.  In the meantime, if Sega is looking for some inspiration regarding which stages from the franchise to include in this new adventure, I believe I can offer some inspiration.

Direct from Sega, here's the first look at how the 2D and 3D stages compare.

Uncharted 3 Online Multiplayer Beta Begins In June

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception for the Sony PlayStation 3 from developer Naughty Dog is still several months away, but eager fans can get in on the action a little earlier with the upcoming multiplayer beta that's set to launch on June 28, 2011.  PlayStation Plus members get into the beta automatically, while others will have to buy a specially marked copy of Infamous 2 (which I'm betting many Uncharted fans were already planning to do) in order to join in before everyone is invited in July.  While you wait for June, Naughty Dog has debuted a new trailer to show some out-of-context scenes from the Uncharted 3 multiplayer experience as well as outline some new information about the multiplayer mode itself.  It's a very long read over at the PlayStation Blog, but here's a piece of it:

New to Uncharted 3 multiplayer is character customization. Both heroes and villains skins will have a hundreds of customizable parts, from accessories to shirts and pants to a deep weapon customization feature. Even named characters, like Drake or Sully, will get plenty of options to make your character your own. Hand in hand with customization is our emblem editor. If you’ve worked with emblem editors in other games, you’ll be pretty familiar with the one we’ve implemented in Uncharted 3. Our emblem editor extends the level of customization of your online profile with hundreds of decals, three layers, rotate and scale functions – you’ll see your final emblem on your character and even possibly in the environment during matches.

Speaking of weapon customizations – it goes beyond the cosmetic. We have weapon mods that not only change the look of your weapon of choice, but they are functional too, adding precise scopes, bigger clips and more!

I liked the Uncharted 2 multiplayer, but like so many online shooters, the advantage went to those who have the time to play for dozens of hours per week.  I'm much more interested in hearing about a return of cooperative modes for this new sequel so that my pals and I can team up and take on challenges at our own pace and at our own levels of experience.  Not all of us are made of free time, and there's a reason why I generally prefer single-player modes in my favorite games. 

Power Button - Episode 45: Anonymous Sources Spill Nintendo's New Wii Secrets

Power ButtonGreetings, my friends.  Have you heard the news?  It seems that Nintendo is preparing a new home console for launch in 2012 that sports high definition visuals, a shiny HD screen embedded in the controller, motion controls, camera technology, backwards compatibility all the way back to the GameCube era, and all kinds of other things.  At least, those are the rumors floating around the Internet right now.  This week on Power Button, join us as we analyze the rumors to see which of them just don't make sense given what we already know.  We also take shots at the game journalism industry itself for feeding into the hype and perpetuating crazy half-truths and nebulous cloak-and-dagger anonymous sources as well as some introspection regarding why most people are so eager to believe it all.  Our special guest is our industry pal Ryan Olsen, community manager for Toy Studio Games.  We have just under fifty minutes of Nintendo-centric discussion and analysis for you.  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 all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons,@aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button - Episode 45: Anonymous Sources Spill Nintendo's New Wii Secrets

Weekly Poll: Believe It Or Not

Weekly Poll for 4-11-2011Sonic's original design from the blast processing days of the Sega Genesis era is the preferred favorite among most of you out there, but the character's modernized reworking has fans of its own.  I prefer the original style, personally.  The 1999-present design is almost trying too hard to be cool and awesome.  They're both built for speed, but the original design is also built for fun.  He didn't need to constantly run his mouth to show how awesome he could be.  Present-day Sonic never shuts up to the point of annoyance at times.

Moving on, the end of last week saw a flurry of rumors hit the Internet regarding the alleged reveal of Nintendo's next home console.  Supposedly slated for E3 this year, the new machine brings Nintendo into the age of high definition visuals along with some far out ideas including a high definition screen embedded in the controller, motion controls, cameras, backward compatibility to the GameCube era, and much more.  It's all unsubstantiated rumor at this point as part of a news story that's become wilder all the time.  We tear into the hype on Episode 45 of Power Button, but I'm curious what all of you out there believe.  Do you think there's any truth to these rumors?  Let's hear your thoughts.

Battle Of The Nintendo 3DS Storage Cases: Mad Catz Traveler Bag VS Power A Expedition Case

Battle Of The Nintendo 3DS Storage Cases: Mad Catz Traveler Bag VS Power A Expedition Case

As those of us who have been hauling around portable gaming hardware for years know, keeping track of stray game cards, accessories, and even the game system itself can be a daunting task.  During the original Game Boy generation I had one of these to keep everything in its place, but modern times call for more compact solutions.  Several different companies that produce carrying cases and bags for the Nintendo 3DS have offered up review samples of their latest wares, so it seems only proper to pit them all in combat with each other in an old fashioned carrying case fight club.

Continue reading "Battle Of The Nintendo 3DS Storage Cases: Mad Catz Traveler Bag VS Power A Expedition Case" »

Next Nintendo Controller May Sport Its Own HD Screen

Tingle TunerConsidering that Nintendo made waving controllers around in the air an industry standard with its Wii console, one wonders what the company will do for an encore.  Yesterday's talk of a new Nintendo home console launching in 2012 with an E3 reveal in a few weeks has sent everyone speculating, and CVG has word that the next big controller innovation involves controllers with small embedded high definition screens.  How's that going to work?

What's most exciting about the Wii successor however is its all-new controller, which industry sources have indicated is not simply an upgraded Wii Remote, and will even feature a built-in HD screen.  Our sources did not specify whether or not the controller displays will feature any other functionality, such as that of the DS's touch screen, but it's easy to imagine the sort of innovation an extra screen could bring to Wii 2 games.

How very Dreamcastian!  Sega fans will surely remember the Visual Memory Unit's little LCD screen which could attach to a Dreamcast controller, and that's the impression I'm getting with this at first glance.  Nintendo has tried a similar concept before, too.  The Game Boy Advance could link to the GameCube to allow certain games to drop the action from the television to the handheld system (The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures immediately springs to mind), but since very few people had all of the technology required to make the most of the gimmick (a television, a GameCube, a supported game, four Game Boy Advances, four link cables, and three friends to play with you in the same room at the same time), this may be Nintendo's second strike at the idea.  Launch with this functionality right in the box and the potential audience for those sorts of games skyrockets compared to offering extra add-ons later.  Mark this one up as another "Hmm, could be" in advance of any kind of official announcement, but the possibilities are intriguing.

(via Game Informer)

Next Nintendo Home Console To Be Revealed At E3

Question BlockIf your Wii has been gathering dust lately and your new 3DS isn't quite enough to satisfy your Nintendo cravings, then stay tuned to E3 2011 as Game Informer reports that Nintendo has plans to reveal its next home console.  The new hardware takes Nintendo into the world of high definition visuals and may well dump the Wii branding, and a launch for the end of 2012 is apparently in the cards.  Here's some of the report:

In fact, Nintendo is already showing publishers the system in an effort to get them interested and allow them plenty of time to start developing titles in anticipation of the system's reported late 2012 launch. This advance support marks a change from when the Wii launched. At that time, several Western publishers were outright surprised by the announcement, and it affected the software support for the platform.

Nintendo is doing this one right," said an anonymous source. "[It's] not a gimmick like the Wii." What else, beyond graphics, this may infer about the system is unknown. What kind of controls the system will support (we imagine a need for both classic analog configurations and motion controllers) or what level of software and infrastructure Nintendo will provide for online gaming is also unknown. However, it's a positive sign that the system might be more than just an HD Wii.

It's time for Nintendo to move beyond the Wii and catch up to what the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 can offer at home in terms of HD visuals and a useful online experience.  I want to see a Super Mario title play in 720p or — big steps now — 1080p resolution.  I want a Legend of Zelda adventure that continues to evolve and grow through the use of downloadable content (without falling into the greed trap that other publishers are using as of late).  I want so much more from my home Nintendo experience than the Wii has been able to offer as the years go by, and hopefully this new hardware will make it happen.  I can't wait to see what the company has up its sleeve.  Hopefully it'll be worth the wait.  After all, no matter what happens in the video game industry, I always come back for Super Mario.

Ten Powerful Items From The Mushroom Kingdom

YoshiNintendo's famous Super Mario has collected, worn, and/or ingested plenty of interesting items during his long career, so how could one ever expect to narrow the field down to the ten best power-ups that the Mushroom Kingdom has to offer?  Over at Crave Online, Erik Norris and Joey Davidson have attempted the impossible by creating a list of the top ten power-ups from the Super Mario franchise.  All of your favorites are there including the Cape Feather, the Tanooki Suit, the Fire Flower, Yoshi, and plenty more.

Anyone who doesn’t consider Yoshi a power-up is a fool, we say. The little green dinosaur that could not only gives you extra life to work with, but he also gives you a longer reach to attack enemies with and longer jumps that look downright adorable. The character was first introduced in Super Mario World and has since become a franchise staple. Seriously, it was a big deal when Yoshi made his powered up return in Super Mario Galaxy 2. And when it comes down to it, try to name another power-up in Mario’s arsenal with booties cuter than Yoshi’s. Impossible!

One power-up that went neglected here is one of my personal favorites, the Metal Cap from Super Mario 64.  Aside from providing an excuse for the Nintendo 64 to show off its ability to render characters out of T-1000 liquid metal, the Metal Cap allowed Mario to slam into just about any obstacle without suffering damage and into any enemy with deadly results.  Better yet, the heavy metal let Mario sink to the bottom of deep water with ease.  It's not as glamorous as a Hammer Bros. Suit or as memorable as the Penguin Suit, but the Metal Cap still deserves its day in the sun.