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July 2012

Weekly Poll: StreetPass Serenader

Weekly Poll for 6-27-2012Most of you trust Nintendo develop and sell downloadable expansions at a fair cost.  I know I do.  While some might see that as a form of blind faith, I see it more as an extension of the fact that Nintendo has never outright cheated me or made me feel as if I'd been ripped off by one of their products, so they've earned my trust.  Now, what they do to maintain that trust is entirely up to them, but somehow I doubt that we'll see overpriced add-on missions that go nowhere or bonus playable characters held back for an extra inflated fee.  Nintendo has always done its own thing in the video game industry, and I'd like to believe that philosophy extends to the world of DLC.  We'll all find out together in the weeks and months ahead.

Moving on (and speaking of Nintendo), one of the core built-in features of the Nintendo 3DS is its StreetPass ability in which 3DSs that encounter one another in the wild exchange data that can be used for fun diversions such as collecting puzzle pieces to reveal a 3D picture or fueling the progress of a little RPG called Find Mii in addition to boosting traditional retail games like Super Mario 3D Land and Sonic Generations.  For StreetPass to work, however, one must take his or her 3DS out into the world and then walk near someone else doing the same.  How often do you collect new StreetPass tags?  Do you hit the limit of ten per session?  Are you happy if you collect a few each week?  Or do you hardly ever come within networking distance of another 3DS?  Let's hear your experiences.

Manos: The Hands Of Fate Game Coming Soon

Manos: The Hands Of FateIt's not uncommon for Hollywood blockbuster films to spawn licensed video game adaptations, but how often do we see the worst movies turned into interactive adventures?  Harold P. Warren's Manos: The Hands of Fate has gone down in history as one of the worst films of all time (and was made famous after being featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1993), and now after so many decades of "entertaining" viewers, it's set to become an iOS game based on the 2D platformers of the Nintendo Entertainment System generation courtesy of Freakzone Games.  An Android version is due later in the year, and if both do well, it may even pop up on PC.  Here's the pitch and the premise:

MANOS: The Hands of Fate is an homage to the great games you remember from your childhood! Remember how every film and cartoon had it's own platform game adaptation? When every man, woman, child, animal and inanimate object were out to get your character? When the streets were filled with bats, ghosts and Frankenstein monsters? MANOS will take you back to the fantastically absurd games of the past!

Lost on their vacation, Mike and his family have wandered the desert trying to find a place to stay, only to wind up in the haunted Valley Lodge. Maintained by Torgo, an unusual man/satyr who "takes care of the place while The Master is away", the hotel is swimming with paranormal activity which Mike has to brave through to find his now missing family. Who is The Master, and what does he want with Mike's family? Armed with his trusty revolver, Mike will have to wander the haunted halls, venture out into the desert, uncover a dark temple and battle the forces of darkness to find out!

Watch the game's trailer and you'll find that there's more going on here than just Manos.  There are plenty of elements borrowed from other movies showcased on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Pay close attention and you'll spot the screaming skull, a hobgoblin, Ro-Man, and so much more.  And, of course, this wouldn't be a Manos game without the inclusion of Torgo and his haunting theme (word has it that he fills the role of Knuckles the Echidna from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, appearing at various times to trigger traps and hinder your progress).  I'm definitely going to check this game out when it hits the App Store next week.  It seems like it was made just for me.

(via Kotaku)

Upcoming Trivia Contest Awarding 3DS XL To Winner

Nintendo 3DS XLThe Nintendo 3DS XL isn't in stores yet, but website 3DS Buzz is already offering one as a prize in a trivia contest. On Saturday, July 21 at 19:00 GMT (that's 3:00pm ET / 12:00pm PT) the site will host a quiz contest covering thirty questions about video gaming from the 1970s to present in which one of the oversize handheld units will be given away to the participant with the most points once the system is released next month. Head over to the site to read all the details, and if you participate, be sure to tell 'em that Press The Buttons sent you. If you've been a PTB reader for a while then you know how much I love gaming obscurities, so if you've been paying attention to my ravings on Aero the Acro-Bat and Bionic Commando, then you might have a leg up on the competition if those topics should come up.  Knowing all of this stuff has to pay off eventually, right?

Nintendo Really Wants You To Buy Its Games Via The eShop

MarioNintendo is moving further into the digital distribution domain as it's going to sell the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Brain Age sequel Demon Training at both retail as a game card and digitally via its eShop.  The company really wants you to buy its 3DS games from the eShop, and to prove it, Nintendo is offering something of a bonus/bribe to encourage you to do so.  At least, it is in Japan.  Extra Club Nintendo points are on the table, as is a free download of Donkey Kong (the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the arcade title and not the Game Boy classic from 1994).  Andriasang has the news.

To commemorate the occasion, Nintendo will be holding a campaign.  Buy the download version of either game, and you'll receive Donkey Kong Original Edition on the 3DS Virtual Console and double the Club Nintendo points, or 40 points per game.  Buy both games, and you'll also get an addition 20 Club Nintendo points as a bonus.  The campaign runs from July 28 through September 2.

That's a great deal if you're planning to buy either game from the eShop or if you're on the fence about the whole thing.  Even if the offer came to my region though, I still think I'd stick with retail.  An extra few Club Nintendo points would be nice, but I have no need for Donkey Kong.  Still, it's a nice gesture and a great bonus for those who are going digital with these purchases.  As tempting as it is to always have New Super Mario Bros. 2 ready to go on my 3DS, the collector in me still wants a boxed product.

Mini-Review: Tomba

TombaSony PlayStation enthusiasts love to speak of a little side-scrolling platformer game developed by now-defunct studio Whoopee Camp called Tomba for the original PS1 console.  It's one of those games that developed a niche following, but never set the world on fire.  It faded into memory, but the Internet has elevated it into legendary status, and used copies of the game frequently sell for high prices based on the online mystique.  Nevertheless, the game has remained an obscure title outside of the ardent gaming community.  MonkeyPaw Games has brought the game back for the mainstream to take another crack at it via the PlayStation Network, bringing Tomba into the world of PS1 Classics playable on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (and, one would eventually hope, the PlayStation Vita).  Tomba comes home now for $9.99, but that can be a steep price for an obscure adventure from yesterday.  It's not unexpected to ask what Tomba is all about and if it's a worthwhile investment.  Thanks to a review copy courtesy of MonkeyPaw, I've had the opportunity to look into the matter and am happy to say that Tomba does live up to its reputation.

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Tomba" »

Goodnight Zelda Moon

The timeless Goodnight Moon is a childhood bookshelf staple, but it's not above a little parody at the hands of Dorkly.  Filtering the classic bedroom story through The Legend of Zelda in the style of A Link to the Past, we bid goodnight to the residents and elements of Hyrule.  Of course, when you invoke the moon in The Legend of Zelda, you don't necessarily end up with a peaceful night.  As Dorkly says, this is "a bedtime story for the next three days."

You Gotta Believe In The Pitch Video For PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

One of the best aspects of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. franchise is seeing familiar and beloved characters interacting with each other outside of traditional frameworks.  Sony's upcoming take on the mascot fighting genre, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for the PlayStation 3, realizes this and offers up its own version of hilarious exchanges.  Take a look at this pitch video for Royale's original incarnation, Title Fight, that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend in which Kratos of God of War fame meets his match.  If the finished product retains at least this level of humor, I think we'll be in for a treat.

The Listen Of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the GoddessesSometimes it's worthwhile to put the video game controller down and go out for an evening of culture.  This past weekend I put on my finest and attended a performance of the Orlando Philharmonic at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in beautiful Orlando where for one night only the concert hall was filled with the symphonic tones of Nintendo's classic The Legend of Zelda series as the Symphony of the Goddesses tour made its stop in central Florida.  Packed to capacity with Zelda fans, the two-hour performance brought classic melodies to nostalgic life.  I can't say enough nice things about the event, and should it come to your area, I highly recommend that you go.  You'll want to be in the audience when the orchestra breaks out beloved favorites like this medley of dungeon tunes recorded recently in an Atlanta, GA performance (including the mighty palace theme from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link).

Continue reading "The Listen Of Zelda" »

Ratchet And Clank Collection Arriving In North America With Surprises

Ratchet And ClankSony and Insomniac Games have been hyping the 3D high definition remastering that is the Ratchet and Clank Collection for the PlayStation 3 for some time now.  The compilation of the first three Ratchet games from the PlayStation 2 era has already been released elsewhere in the world, but the North American version won't hit stores (and the PlayStation Network) until August 28.  To compensate for the delay, Insomniac has been promising a special surprise of some sort.  General common sense implied that a voucher for the PSN-only upgraded version of Ratchet: Deadlocked would be in the box (and some were hoping for a beta for the next new Ratchet adventure, Full Frontal Assault), but that's not the case.  The PlayStation Blog explains what North Americans can expect to find as a bonus at launch:

We realize that the Ratchet & Clank Collection is arriving in North America a bit later than it did in Europe and Japan. To reward you for your patience, we’re giving you exclusive first access to the Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time demo when you purchase the Collection. If you love Ratchet, you probably love Sly, and the Ratchet & Clank Collection will let you test drive Sly’s new time-traveling adventure starting on August 28th. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a special Ratchet & Clank 10th anniversary avatar!

Say what you will about gamer entitlement, but that's a little lackluster.  While I do want to play the Sly demo, it hardly seems like the kind of inclusion that merits all of the Insomniac hype.  Personally, I find the better news to be that the expected $40 price tag for the Collection has been dropped to a mere $29.99.  I'll take a price cut over a bonus any day!  As for Deadlocked, I suppose that release will have to wait for another time.

Miniature Mario Figurines Are Adorable

Mario FigurinesI'm a big fan of video game character figurines, so you can imagine how happy I was when my wonderful girlfriend Nicole recently surprised me with these adorable Super Mario figurines.  Imported from Japan, these tiny little displayables (seriously small; all five can fit in the palm of my hand at once and the combined pair of character and base are about two inches in height) feature Mario, Luigi, Koopa Troopa, Goomba, and a Super Mushroom atop the familiar Question Block, bricks, and pipe.  Best of all, they're meant to be separated from their bases and swapped around so that Mario can be set atop the pipe or the Goomba can rest above a brick as nature intended.  They've found a home beside my computer with some of my other favorite character figurines.  Definitely look into getting a set of your own if your workspace needs a little Mushroom Kingdom mirth.