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April 2012

Power Button - Episode 79: Joey Takes Boston

Power ButtonHello, friends.  Have a seat.  Pour yourself a drink if you'd like one.  This episode of the Power Button podcast is not only full of information about upcoming games such as Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sleeping Dogs, Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, and other games that were on display at PAX East recently, but it's also extra mellow.  Joey Davidson takes Brad Hilderbrand and I through his trip to the big Boston gaming convention put on by the team at Penny Arcade and answers our questions about what he saw and played.  Then, towards the end of our time together for this week, we divert into some insider industry shop talk when it comes to attending shows like PAX and E3.  The whole shebang is bookended with the smooth sounds of gaming jazz, so make yourself comfortable and prepare for just under an hour or discussion, humor, and curiosity.  There's plenty of time before the mosquitoes come out and we have go inside.  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 , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons, @aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button - Episode 79: Joey Takes Boston

Nintendo Plans E3 Reveal For New Wii U Super Mario Game

MarioUPDATE: The new game is based on last year's New Super Mario Bros. Mii technical demo.

In what seems like a foregone conclusion, Nintendo has confirmed to Eurogamer that the company plans to show off a new Super Mario Bros. game for its upcoming new Wii U console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.  Here's the relevant quote:

"In a recent interview, Mr. Miyamoto confirmed that a new Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii U system will be shown at this year's E3 Expo," a Nintendo spokesperson said. "We'll have more to announce about our plans for the E3 Expo at a later date."

Considering how important top quality Super Mario titles are for Nintendo's consoles, I hope that this new game is far along in development and is ready for launch with the Wii U.  The company has been taking its time to get games such as Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land out the door in recent years, launching new hardware without its famed plumber mascot ready to go.  While the original Wii didn't need Mario in the end to rocket to a stellar start (Wii Sports sold the system just fine), the 3DS didn't really take off until Mario arrived late last year.  Strangely enough, Steel Diver and Nintendogs weren't enough to move hardware at launch.  My guesses for Nintendo's plans for the Wii U launch library are just as good as yours at this point, but I really hope that whatever this Mario title may be, it's ready for launch (not that I want its development to be rushed, mind you; my hope is that everything is progressing smoothly towards a punctual release alongside the Wii U).  I'm more than ready for high definition Nintendo titles and the tablet controller, but I'm not prepared to buy a Wii U just for, say, Wii U Sports.  Barring something truly amazing and unexpected, I need something from the world of Mario, Zelda, or another AAA+ Nintendo franchise to get me on board right away.

Weekly Poll: Qored

Weekly Poll for 4-09-2012A majority of you do not want to see Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog rebooted into an open world title that apes Activision's Skylanders collectible toy business model.  I'm right there with you for reasons that I explained when I initially tackled this rumor (and I stress again that it is a rumor that I brought to your attention just for the sake of conversation).  As I said previously, I have a difficult enough time as it is talking myself into buying digital game expansions, so there's no way that I'm paying even more money for actual physical objects that have extra costs associated with them.  Gaming franchises change and evolve, and if this is what Sega has to do to remain an ongoing operation than so be it, but I just don't see it being a product for me in that format. 

Speaking of properties that need to evolve or die, Sony has cancelled its ongoing PlayStation video magazine series Qore (and quite suddenly, it seems).  Will you miss the monthly interviews with developers about the latest releases?  Or did Qore never factor into your gaming-related infotainment?  Let's hear your thoughts.

Sony's Qore Is Qaput

QoreSony has produced a monthly video magazine for its PlayStation 3 since 2008 called Qore (pronounced "Core") that features interviews, previews, and concept art for upcoming PS3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita titles.  Everything from God of War III to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow to Bionic Commando has been spotlighted on Qore, plus the series offered access to beta versions of upcoming games (beta invitations for titles such as Resistance 2, ModNation Racers, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves were all handled via Qore) and tossed out the occasional free PS1 classic download or PS3 theme each month.  This stuff wasn't free, of course; PSN members had to pay a per-episode fee to download the program or buy into a yearly subscription.  Starting in 2010, however, PlayStation Plus subscribers could access Qore for free each month.  Given that perk, why would one want to buy into just Qore when buying into PlayStation Plus offered additional extra freebies and bonuses over just a subscription to the video magazine?  It would seem that Sony realized that Qore just isn't profitable anymore as an ongoing product and has pulled the plug on the production.  Here's the PlayStation Blog quietly and underwhelming announcing the cancellation at the end of the promotion for the program's forty-eighth episode.

With this April episode, Qore concludes its run on the PlayStation Network. Our thanks to all involved in the creation and production of Qore and to the many fans who regularly watched each month.

Qore's fate is unsurprising.  Sony is having major financial problems and has to cut fat wherever it can, plus Qore's better benefits migrated over to PlayStation Plus itself not long after the latter launched.  Subscribing to just Qore only gets one the video interviews these days, and while those are interesting, they tended to be a bit high on marketing hype compared to alternative news sources.  I subscribed to Qore for over a year and enjoyed the freebies, but I let the subscription lapse when I joined PlayStation Plus.  I bet I'm not the only person to do so.  I doubt that Qore was pulling its weight at Sony anymore, and while it's a shame to see it go, I think it's time had come.

Power Button Presents Kombo Breaker At E3 2009 - Episode 3: Ghostbusters... Again?!

Power Button Presents Kombo BreakerDespite recording more than one hundred podcasts episodes together, there are only a small handful of instances in which Joey Davidson, Brad Hilderbrand, and I actually recorded together in the same room without having to rely on Internet magic to bring our melodious voices together.  This week's classic episode of Kombo Breaker is from one of those times (although I don't hear Brad in the room on this one, but I know he was around there somewhere).  This installment is from June 4, 2009 during our week of recording at E3 2009, and for this episode we invited our old friend Glenn Gamble of Terminal Reality back to give us the complete rundown on the then-upcoming Ghostbusters: The Video Game.  Glenn opens the vault and tells us all the secrets behind the making of the game without spoiling anything too significant.  You'll learn about how the game's backstory came together, what it's like to visit the real Sedgewick Hotel, which levels were cut from the finished product, and so much more.  No Ghostbusters fan can afford to miss the tantalizing stories in this hour of storytelling.  For an episode recorded after midnight on an exhausting day, I think it turned out rather well.  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 , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons, @aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button Presents Kombo Breaker At E3 2009 - Episode 3: Ghostbusters... Again?!

The History Of Nintendo

Have you ever studied the history of Nintendo?  There's more to the company than a pair of plumbers.  Let Brawl in the Family walk you down memory lane with this catchy musical lesson spanning the dawn of the company in 1889 through manufacturing love testers and owning love hotels up to early toys such as Ultra Hand on to the familiar era of video gaming.  Personally, I have high hopes for developments slated for 2013.

Extra Special Edition Of Resident Evil 6 Is Extra Expensive

Resident Evil 6Special editions of highly anticipated video games are common these days, and typically these premium versions come with an art book, soundtrack, first round of paid downloadable content, or other such fun things.  For an extra $10 or $20 over the standard edition's price, rabid fans can snag some neat bonuses.  Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil 6 for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 will come in special varieties as well, but how much would you be willing to pay for the premium pack-in items?  As Kotaku reports, the company is selling a special bundle in Japan that retails for a mindboggling ¥105,000 (approximately $1,300).

The upcoming Premium Edition for survival horror game Resident Evil 6 comes with a copy of the game, four different RE6 branded tablet covers (a Chris version, a Leon version, a Jake version, and a Secret version), and a Leon leather jacket.  An actual replica of Leon's in-game duds, the jacket comes in small, medium, large, and extra large.

While it's tempting to rail against Capcom for yet another attempt at milking fans for as much money as possible, I'm oddly alright with this offer.  If the company can convince people to pay a month's mortgage payment for a jacket and tablet covers, then why shouldn't it take advantage?  There's nothing in this premium edition that holds back content from the actual Resident Evil 6 game, so I don't see any harm here.  If the jacket was required to unlock extra levels in the game, then that would be a problem, but as it stands, this package is an easy one to overcome: just don't buy it.

Mini-Review: Mega Man X Collection

X and ZeroThis article was originally published at on February 6, 2006.

Capcom has taken a little blue robot named Mega Man and spun him off into numerous iterations and variations over the years. Want a Mega Man who lives in a data network? Check. How about a Mega Man who works as a digger? Done. Desire a futuristic Mega Man swimming in personal angst while blasting enemy robots with powerful weapons? Then you’re in luck. Mega Man X brought the Mega Man franchise into the 16-bit world way back in 1993, extending the popular franchise for the first time and starting another popular gaming series. Eventually X and the entire cast of characters – Zero, Sigma, Vile, and more Mavericks then one could shake a stick at – would become just as beloved and profitable as the original Mega Man and Rush. With nearly a dozen games under his belt, the time has come to look back on Mega Man X's gaming career. Capcom has taken the first six games in the series and loaded them into a compilation disc for the Nintendo GameCube and the Sony PlayStation 2 as Mega Man X Collection.

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Mega Man X Collection" »

First Look At Darker, M-Rated Super Mario Bros.

People without joy in their lives have complained for years that Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series of classic video games is too cheery for its own good.  Wondering what a darker, grittier, M-for-Mature Mario title would be like has been a popular conversation topic among curious, creative, and/or bored gamers for quite some time, but Dorkly has taken things to a new level with its latest original video in which Mario goes berserk.  Our favorite plumber's descent into violent madness is gory, disturbing, and profane, yet also strangely hilarious.  Nintendo should never take the franchise in this direction, but as a quick animation, the idea works.

Weekly Poll: Hedgelanders

Weekly Poll for 3-26-2012Most of you out there haven't played Thatgamecompany's Journey for the Sony PlayStation 3.  Personally, I think you are better off that way.  As I explained (and defended!) on Episode 78 of Power Button, I did not enjoy Journey.  My girlfriend and I tackled it on a recent Saturday night and came away confused and confounded by what we'd experienced, although in the end we agreed that it is not a game for us.  Listen to the podcast to hear all of the details.  I'm glad that those of you who enjoyed it truly had a fun time with it, but I think I'm going to bow out of Thatgamecompany creations in the future.  I've yet to play one of their games and come away from it satisfied.

Moving on, there's a rumor floating around that Sega wants to reboot its Sonic the Hedgehog brand to copy the business plan behind Activision's Skylanders franchise with an open world mission-based design.  Does this interest you?  Would you want to buy Sonic toys that connect with the new game?  Or is this where you bow out of the blue blur's adventures?  Let's hear your thoughts.