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December 2012

Where/When/Who Is Sly Cooper?

Sly Cooper: Thieves in TimeSly Cooper has been lurking around the edges of the PlayStation brand this generation having appeared in just a PlayStation 3 high definition compilation collection of his PlayStation 2 adventures and starring in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, but it's been a long time since the thieving raccoon has starred in an all-new adventure.  The next true sequel, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is headed to the PS3 and PlayStation Vita early next year, so to help pump up the marketing push, Sony and developer Sanzaru Games have put together a short trailer to reintroduce Sly and his cohorts Bentley and Murray to the audience.  Watch and remember why these characters are so much fun.

If the Thieves demo is anything to judge by, I'd say that this title is in good hands.  Nicole and I have been playing the original Sly trilogy in our spare weekend time.  It's her first time through the games and my first replay.  We're just past the halfway point on Sly 2: Band of Thieves now, so we'd better pick up the pace if we're going to finish the collection before the new sequel hits in February.

PlayStation Vita Support Coming To LittleBigPlanet 2

LittleBigPlanet 2I am rapidly coming around to the Sony PlayStation Vita way of doing things.  I enjoy playing games on the device and have become increasingly interested in new ways of using it to play since I bought one, so you can understand that I'm excited about today's announcement that Sony is bringing support for the Vita to the PlayStation 3 for LittleBigPlanet 2.  Soon players will be able to use the Vita has a PS3 controller when guiding Sackboy on his latest adventure.  Here's the PlayStation Blog with the news about the upcoming Cross-Controller Pack:

Cross-Controller lets you to use PS Vita as a controller for PlayStation 3, allowing the use of PS Vita-only features, like front and rear touch, in PlayStation 3 games. More importantly, it provides a whole second screen where action can take place! This allows for an unimaginable number of new ways to play, some of which you’ll experience with the LittleBigPlanet 2 Cross-Controller Pack!

The new downloadable content features new LBP2 levels for players to explore as well as new tools that allow for the creation of Cross-Controller-compatible levels using the game's familiar creation and editor tools.  You'll be able to download the expansion next week for a price of $4.99 which really seems like a good deal.  In the land of $15 map packs, a $5 add-on that introduces new levels and gimmicks may as well be king. Has Gold Box Video Game Deals Again

Buy somethin' will ya!In what is becoming a habit, is holding another of its Lightning Deal and Gold Box events in the run up to your gift-giving holiday of choice.  Assassin's Creed III for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 is the big deal today, as it's on sale for $33 (and Amazon will give you $9 in various kinds of credit if you buy today, too), while the Lightning Deals bring us sales on games such as TERA, the complete edition of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rhythm Thief, Need for Speed, Dishonored, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?, and many more.  Make a purchase via the green link here and a portion of Amazon's profit on the transaction goes to help support Press The Buttons (which I always appreciate).

Power Button - Episode 90: Publishers Have Attachment Issues

Power ButtonNintendo has bragged about the number of new Wii U consoles sold since the machine launched last month, but have you heard about the attachment rates?  Informed sources tell us that people buy an average of one Wii U game when picking up that new console.  Just one.  Overwhelmingly, that one game is either Nintendo's own New Super Mario Bros. U or Ubisoft's ZombiU.  If you're a third-party developer, that news isn't filling you with holiday joy.  On this episode of the Power Button podcast, Brad Hilderbrand and I discuss what that underwhelming attachment rate could mean to the future of third-party Wii U products and posit how new consoles from Microsoft and Sony could impact the Wii U's projected sales and successes.  Join us for some speculation and hypothesizing.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, 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.  Next time: As 2012 starts to wind down, we indulge in the annual tradition of discussing the best games that the year had to offer.  Call the hotline and tell us which game you think deserves to be our top pick of the year!

Power Button - Episode 90: Publishers Have Attachment Issues

Atari Pulls The Plug On Ghostbusters Online Multiplayer

GhostbustersAfter three years of maintaining the multiplayer servers required for teaming up with friends to bust ghosts together, Atari has pulled a move worthy of Walter Peck himself and announced that it has shutdown the online multiplayer modes of 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game.  Here's the short blurb straight from the source:

Ghostbusters Recruits – we regret to notify you that we have shut down the Containment Unit behind the Ghostbusters Video Game servers for all platforms.   Since the game launched in October 2009 we’ve had some great times busting ghosts online, but after three years we're seeing that player volume has dropped.  Please note, this shutdown won’t have any effect on single player or local multiplayer play.

I would say that all good things must come to an end, but the multiplayer modes for Ghostbusters felt like a tacked-on addition meant to satisfy this generation's demand that as many video games as possible feature an online multiplayer option of some sort.  I had my fun with the online portion of Ghostbusters, but it didn't really add anything to the overall experience.  The single-player story mode is the reason to play the game, after all.  I still say that you need to play it if you have not already.  Or, at the very least, watch the edited film version.

(Image via American Buddha)

Weekly Poll: Boxes Of Boxes

Weekly Poll for 11-26-2012Most of you do not own a Sony PlayStation Vita.  I can understand why.  It's expensive, it's unproven, and the hidden costs can eat your savings alive if you're not careful.  However, since buying one a few weeks ago on a Black Friday whim, I've found that I really enjoy playing games on it.  It's a capable little machine that's quickly become my pre-sleep gaming device in the evenings for a few rounds of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale or Zen Pinball 2.  If you enjoy the PlayStation brand then I would suggest that you pick one up eventually, but wait for a sale or a particularly good bargain.  The full retail price on the Vita is still a bit unreasonable (and don't get me started on the price of the proprietary memory cards).

Speaking of ownership, do you keep the boxes and cases that house your video games until you can get them home?  Games are worth more if you keep the original packaging, after all.  Do you still have a big box of Sega Genesis boxes in storage?  Are your Nintendo DS cases lined up on a shelf?  Or do you gut the packaging and dispose of the husk as soon as possible?  Let's hear about your habits.

Worlds Collide In Street Fighter X Mega Man

Street Fighter X Mega ManCapcom has two famed franchises celebrating twenty-fifth anniversaries this year, so what better way to commemorate the occasion by mixing them both together?  Coming as a free download on December 17 for PC, Street Fighter X Mega Man brings a new 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System-styled adventure for Mega Man that pits him not against Robot Masters, but against World Warriors.  Thrill as the blue bomber takes on the likes of Ryu, Blanka, Chun-li, and your other favorite fighters.  Mega Man can even copy their unique special moves in the form of eight new weapons to acquire.  Originating as a fan game, Capcom picked up the rights to the project several years ago and supplied the assets and resources required to turn it into an officially sanctioned Capcom product.  It's a PC exclusive for now, but word on the street is that it may turn up elsewhere later if there's enough demand for it.  Be sure to check it out when it debuts on the Capcom Unity website next week.  I know I will.  Check out the announcement trailer for a sample of what's to come.

Where's Nester Now?

Nester and Max

Those of us who grew up reading Nintendo Power remember the comical adventures of gamemaster Howard Phillips and his sidekick, the cocky Nintendo know-it-all named Nester.  We watched Nester conquer video games such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, and many more, but as time went on, the magazine checked in with Nester less and less.  Once Howard departed, we saw the young Nester grow to become a junior camp counselor and then, later, a college student.  The magazine last checked in with him as he introduced his son to the Wii's mighty motion controls, but now that Nintendo Power has closed up shop, will we ever see him again?  Of course!  The final issue of Nintendo Power checks in with Nester one more time as we see him and his son Max bond over the end of the magazine.  Good bye, Nester.  I hope we meet again someday.

I had all of those posters from Nester's room on my wall when I was a kid.

(via Reddit)

Nintendo Wants To Sell You Another Wii For Your Chalet

Wii MiniWe all love to point and laugh at marketing folks who are a bit out of touch with the current market, so today's example of overhedged bets and surprising hubris comes to us from Nintendo of Canada's Matt Ryan.  In an interview with Polygon about the new Wii Mini console, the company's communications director had this to say about expanding Wii sales to new markets:

"There's a consumer out there, there are gamers who have not bought a Wii yet, and there are gamers who have a Wii and want a second one for the cottage, or the chalet, or whatever, who actually don't need the online functionality. So we basically stripped all the online functionality out, and the end result is cost savings for the person buying Wii Mini at $99."

That's certainly presumptuous.  I'm reminded of another video game company that, at the height of its popularity just before it all came crashing down, made a similar comment.  Back when Atari had the rights to publish an Atari 2600 version of the popular Pac-Man, Atari management not only shipped a badly ported and rushed product, but produced more Pac-Man cartridges than there were Atari 2600s on the market.  The reason was that they believed that people would want to buy extra copies of the game for their ski houses.  Let this be a lesson to marketing professionals out there: never invoke buying extra units for a chalet, ski house, or cottage when giving interviews.  It never ends well.

Mega Man 3 Soundtrack Gets Equipped With An Upgrade

Mega Man 3Konami did something special with the Japanese version of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.  The company included a special additional microchip in the game's cartridge that allowed for enhanced audio effects.  Konami passed on using this custom VRC6 chip internationally, but its legend lives on.  That brings us to today's project in which a blue bomber fan by the name of RushJet1 has rearranged Capcom's Mega Man 3 soundtrack to make use of Konami's special chip.  It's Mega Man 3 Remade!

This cover/remix album has been in the works for 9 months now, and I'm glad to finally have released it. Enjoy all of Mega Man 3's tracks reworked in stereo 8-bit glory and with the Konami VRC6 expansion.

All of your favorite themes are here: Top Man's stage, Needle Man's stage, Snake Man's stage, and many more.  I admire how much detail has been injected into what are already classic and timeless 8-bit compositions.  There's an additional urgency to the boss battle theme, added ominousness to the Dr. Wily stages, and even a bonus Mega Man Game Boy theme slipped into the mix for good measure.  I would love to see more game soundtracks reworked in this manner.  Can you imagine what could be done with the original Castlevania themes?  Or Super Mario Bros. 2?  How about Bionic Commando?  What about the high pedestal of all Nintendo Entertainment System music, Mega Man 2?  The possibilities go on and on.