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December 2012
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February 2013

January 2013

Don't Miss Brad Hilderbrand On The Press Row Podcast

Press Row PodcastWhen my pal Brad Hilderbrand isn't verbally sparring with us on the Power Button podcast or working his day job at Electronic Arts, he's off handling other projects and making guest appearances on other podcasts such as Episode 9 of the Press Row Podcast over at Operation Sports.  Check out Brad giving his top three sports game picks of 2012 to Richard Grisham along with other sports and video gaming figures such as ESPN's Jon Robinson, Active Time Babble's Kat Bailey, and 4th String's Ryan Lewis.  The show runs nearly two and a half hours, but you can find Brad's segment starting at around the 1:28:20 mark.

Nintendo Announces Next Wave Of Pokémon Games

Pokémon XPikachu fans everywhere heard the call this morning when Nintendo announced the next pair of titles in the popular and profitable Pokémon franchise.  Coming for a worldwide release in October 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS are Pokémon X and Pokémon Y which brings the series into full 3D action territory.  I'm not a Pokémon fan, so I hope the following statement from Polygon means more to you than it does to me.

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will feature three starter Pokémon: Froakie, Fennekin and Chespin.

With a near-simultaneous release in key world markets, this is apparently the first time that Pokémon players will be able to compete globally with one another online in a timely fashion.  Getting players involved sooner rather than later works for everyone: fans can play sooner and Nintendo sells more copies of the games if it's riding that wave of "new thing" excitement.  Everybody wins (especially Nintendo, as Pokémon is the company's big earner at a time when it needs a major sales winner to combat perception that it's struggling with the Wii U and 3DS markets).  Here's the announcement trailer:

Power Button - Episode 92: New Super Mario Brothers, Too

Power ButtonWhile we wait for our annual podcast episode focusing on the best games of the last year to be recorded, this week's interim episode brings Joey Davidson back into the fold to discuss Nintendo's two major Super Mario titles from 2012: New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS and New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U.  He and I dig into rather or not these games are worthy of the Mario lineage and how they both impress and fail in their own respective ways.  For all your recent Mario needs, here's Episode 92 of Power Button!  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.

Power Button - Episode 92: New Super Mario Brothers, Too

Finish Him With A Fergality!

FergalityThe Mortal Kombat franchise is famous for its gory Fatality finishing moves in which characters are ripped into bloody pieces, but the series also has a selection of alternative ways to end a match.  There's the Babality in which the loser of the fight is regressed back into infancy and, of course, the Friendship which ends the conflict without bloodshed.  Animalities transform kombatants into fierce beasts to inflict pain.  One of the more obscure finishing moves, however, must be the rare Fergality.  This finishing move is only found in the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat II as an in-joked placed there by the studio that ported the arcade smash, Probe, to honor company employee Fergus McGovern.  Unlocked via a special code and then a unique Rayden finishing move input sequence, the Fergality is the most obscure Mortal Kombat attack of them all.  Check it out in action below courtesy of YouTube.

A Fond Farewell To The Sony PlayStation 2

Sony PlayStation 2After twelve years of success and more sales than anyone could have expected, Sony has ended production of its popular PlayStation 2 console.  Once the existing stock sells out, that will be the end of new PS2 consoles available at retail.  Here's The Guardian with a respectful obituary:

Launched in 2000, the successor to the original PlayStation ended up with a library of more than 10,000 games titles by 2011, with 1.52bn individual games sold since launch. "At the height of the PlayStation 2's success, the word effectively came to mean video games for a lot of people," said Anna Marsh, a game designer who worked on Tomb Raider and Hitman.

Its success was down to three factors: cunning design, excellent games and great timing. Sony's decision to include a DVD player meant the machine found its way into living rooms, exposing many more to gaming. It trounced its underpowered rivals, the Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast, and became the exclusive home of must-have games such as Grand Theft Auto III, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid – dominating an era in which developers were changing the rules of game design, crafting ambitious cinematic experiences and vast open-world adventures.

Many of the best PS2 titles live on as high definition remastered collections or straight digital downloads for the PlayStation 3: Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, God of War, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and plenty more are still out there for your modern enjoyment, but as the PS2 heads off into the sunset, it's worth revisiting these classics in their original format.  So, hook up your old fashioned composite video cables and fire up the... oh, good lord; it's so blurry!  Quickly, let's go back to the PS3 versions!  But seriously, I bought my PS2 in 2006 and while it's still hooked up to the television for that sudden Katamari craving at a moment's notice, it's been a while since I played it.  Perhaps I should revisit some of my old favorites that haven't made the jump into high definition.  I can't imagine that Mega Man X7 or Castlevania: Lament of Innocence will be dusted off and remastered any time soon.

So Here's Donkey Kong Country For Sega Genesis

Super Donkey Kong 99Pirated knock-offs of popular video games are nothing new, but it's always nice to point and gawk at classic unlicensed games designed to take a famous and profitable property associated with one game console and adapt it for a different console.  Consider this take on Nintendo and Rare's fabulous Donkey Kong Country for the Sega Genesis, for instance, which goes by the name Super Donkey Kong 99.  It's made of pieces and parts of the source games, but chopped up and broken down for competing hardware by a small group more interested in quick sales than quality.  Donkey Kong is the only playable character across ten levels taken from Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble.  Enemies are snatched up from across the trilogy and the music is mostly from Super Mario All-Stars (albeit in an off-key, truncated form), and while DK's jumping and barrel-tossing abilities are present, his trademark rolling attack is not included.  Like most pirated products, the game is incomplete even by its own standards, as the ending does not access the text that ends the story (for as much of a story as there is, anyway).  Thanks to YouTube user arronmonroe, you can watch all twenty minutes of Super Donkey Kong 99 action rather than suffer through it for yourself.  It's very nice when someone on the Internet takes one for the team.

Eleven Remarkable Things About Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.: The Movie2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the great Bob Hoskins / Dennis Hopper cinematic tour-de-force that is Super Mario Bros.  Despite just about everyone involved with creating and actually watching the movie openly admitting that it just didn't turn out as one would hope, Den Of Geek has chosen to trust the fungus and came up with ten remarkable things about the movie that everyone loves to admonish.  Yes, there are silver linings in what most would consider dark clouds.  For instance, it's a good thing that the film is surprisingly murky:

For the army of kids who played Super Mario Bros through the 80s and 90s, setting eyes on the movie adaptation must have been a bizarre childhood moment. The blue skies, cartoon landscape and bouncy effervescence of the game are nowhere to be seen. Instead, there are animatronic dinosaurs, long shadows and strange hints of sexual menace.

As in the game, Mario and Luigi are a pair of Italian American plumbers based in Brooklyn. They're played, respectively, by Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. Unlike The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a late-80s/early 90s attempt to turn the videogame into a sitcom, the movie makes no attempt to replicate the colours of the game or its suggestions of cartoon humour. Instead, Mario's a sullen, somewhat cynical middle-aged man, while Luigi is in his 20s, idealistic and oddly fascinated with pseudo-scientific TV shows.

I still have fond memories of seeing the movie with a small group of friends way back when I was in the sixth grade.  I haven't followed up to see it again as an adult because I don't want those memories tarnished.  The world tells me that it's a bad film and I believe them because I know it has some shortcomings (though it has its defenders), but I loved the movie back in the day and I want to hang on to that childlike optimism. 

By the way, I promised you eleven remarkable things about Super Mario Bros.  Den Of Geek delivered ten.  Here's the bonus extra one: Luigi himself, John Leguizamo, is interested in attending a special anniversary screening of the movie.

Not everyone involved with the production wants to see it cast down the memory hole after all, it seems.