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April 2013

Wii U Virtual Console Launch Lineup Is Very Familiar

Ice ClimberNintendo is poised to officially launch its Virtual Console service for the Wii U, continuing the proud tradition of bringing classic Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES games back into the spotlight for another dance.  The company announced the first round of famous games that will be available when the time comes.  Polygon has the list.  You'll find that it's very familiar.

  • Balloon Fight (NES)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. (NES)
  • Excitebike (NES)
  • F-Zero (SNES)
  • Ice Climber (NES)
  • Kirby's Adventure (NES)
  • Punch-Out!! (NES)
  • Super Mario World (SNES)

It's rather underwhelming that Nintendo is trotting out the same lackluster games from the Wii Virtual Console days (and, in some cases, the 3DS Virtual Console) as part of the first wave.  Is anyone really clamoring to play Ice Climber again?  Balloon Fight?  Some of those games have aged much better than others; Super Mario World and F-Zero are still worth your time, for instance, but who is eager to play the watered-down NES version of Donkey Kong Jr. yet again?  I'm sure there must be a business reason to mix true classics with "this again?", but as a fan and potential customer, it's a bit frustrating to see.  Is Nintendo concerned that some of their greatest hits would be buried by one another if they released at the same time?  I hate to be one of those people who believes he's entitled to all of the great games immediately and I certainly don't expect Nintendo to turn on the fire hose, but I'd think that Nintendo would want to start this party with a bang.  The company needs to bring some excitement to the Wii U until the really big new Wii U games hit stores, and Ice Climber isn't the way to do that.      

EvilCast Recap - Episode 173

EvilCastWhenever a chair goes empty on the EvilCast podcast, I'm invited to sit down and fill it.  I'm doing that again this week on Episode 173 in which I join Blake Grundman, Ross Polly, and Chris Nitz to discuss the news of the week and the games that have been consuming our free time.  I was recovering from a cold at the time, so please pardon the occasional cough.  Listen to us talk about layoffs at studios, the mysterious disappearing XCOM sequel, big news from Nintendo including re-releases of twin Legend of Zelda games and the triumphant return of EarthBound in addition to new 3DS and Wii U releases, and more.  Ross has his weekly Top 5 for us, then I talk about Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Sonic Dash, and Wario Land 2.  Blake says that the EvilCast's audience grows whenever I show up, so bring the force of PTB over to Games Are Evil and check out the show.

Ratchet And Clank Theatrical Movie Coming In 2015

Ratchet and ClankThe world of Ratchet & Clank has felt cinematic right from the franchise's Sony PlayStation 2 debut, so it's only natural that someone would want to turn the game into a proper theatrical movie.  The PlayStation Blog proudly announces that a Ratchet & Clank movie is in the works and is due out in theaters in 2015.  IGN reports that it's an origin story that retells the plot of the original game as the duo meet and then take on Chairman Drek.  Here's some of the announcement:

We’ve been looking for the right partner to help us bring a Ratchet & Clank movie to life, and we’re thrilled to announce that Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment are currently in production on Ratchet & Clank’s first cinematic adventure. Insomniac is honored to play a hands-on role with the film’s production, screenplay, character development, and animation consulting. Furthermore, our own Ratchet & Clank writer, T.J. Fixman, who has written all of the recent Ratchet & Clank games, is writing the script for the film as well.

The Ratchet games are fantastic fun and can always be counted on for great humor, so I can see the series transition to film easily.  I just hope that the team behind the production remember that Ratchet has many adult fans.  I'd hate to see the movie watered down to appeal only to children.  Keep it smart, aim for the all ages appeal of the games, capture the high quality that helps make the series famous, and I'd bet that this movie will be a smashing success.  I'll be a kid-magnet regardless, but if it has adult appeal, then I'll have to see it, but will end up waiting for the home release so as not to have to endure an audience of rowdy kids.  But I digress. Have a look at the announcement trailer which tells us nothing about the movie other than the fact that it's currently being produced.

Amazon Offers Big Gaming Deals Today

Buy somethin' will ya!Is it Tuesday?  Then Amazon must have another day of gaming Gold Box and Lightning Deals planned once again.  All day long you'll find a variety of new video games on sale for absurdly low prices.  Today's major sale is for God of War: Ascension which is up for grabs at $39.99 as well as the God of War special edition PlayStation 3 console which includes all six games in Kratos's portfolio for $279.99.  Those are some amazing deals.  Also on sale today are Gears of War: Judgment, Halo 4, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Dead Space 3, Hitman, and much more.  A portion of every purchase you make via the green link here goes to help support Press The Buttons which is just as important as ever.  Thanks for your continued support and good luck snagging a deal!

Power Button - Episode 98: Enraptured With BioShock Infinite

Power ButtonAfter exploring the floating city in the sky that is Columbia, Brad Hilderbrand and I have come back down to Earth to share our thoughts on BioShock Infinite.  Join us for an hour of spoiler-filled discussion about the game's controversial ending, Elizabeth's characterization, the Comstock paradox, the inventive (and stolen!) soundtrack, fun moments, standout elements, frustrating boss battles, padding, and especially memorable encounters.  Columbia is waiting for you!  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 us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @aubradley84, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button - Episode 98: Enraptured With BioShock Infinite

New Yoshi's Island Coming To Nintendo 3DS

YoshiI missed mentioning this last week, but it certainly deserves a moment in the sun.  Yoshi's Island is one of the shining gems of the Super NES era, and while the Nintendo 64 sequel, Yoshi's Story, was divisive and the Game Boy Advance entry in the franchise did its own unique thing with an in-cartridge tilt sensor, the Nintendo DS sequel, Yoshi's Island DS, helped to get things back on track.  Now Nintendo has announced that the next game in the series is coming to the Nintendo 3DS and based on an early look at the art direction and gameplay, it seems as if the new game is mixing the baby-on-board scenario of Island with the rendered look of Story.  Take a look at the first video footage and see for yourself.  I prefer the old hand-drawn quality of the original Island game, but I think I could learn to like this if the 3D makes it all worthwhile.

Weekly Poll: Hypotheticals

Weekly Poll for 4-02-2013An overwhelming number of you are interested in Capcom's upcoming DuckTales Remastered.  I know I am.  The original game was an oft-played game in my home when I was a kid and I still bring it back out every now and then for another run.  I can clear it in under an hour and those muscle memories never really go away.  I can't wait to see what developer WayForward can do with the old classic.  From what I've seen so far, DuckTales is looking fantastic.  Sidequest for you: as it turns out, Amazon has the first season of the original cartoon streaming free for Prime members, so Nicole and I fired it up a few weekends ago to see if it held up from our memories.  The original five-part premiere is available that sets up the entire premise of the series and introduces the characters.  Neither of us remembered seeing it, so we thought we'd watch an episode.  And then another.  And another.  Long story short, it's held up well and it's worth revisiting for a bit if you're an old fan.  There are jokes buried in there that you probably didn't catch as a kid.  That was certainly our experience.

Changing subjects, let's talk a minute to talk about games that don't exist.  Or, rather, games that could exist.  In the past few weeks we've learned that Capcom was considering a first-person shooter reboot of Mega Man X.  There's a pitch for an Assassin's Creed fighting game floating around out there.  The Internet loves to joke that Naughty Dog's next Uncharted game will be a kart racer.  Wario fans clamor that he should have his own RPG to stand against Mario's adventures.  Which of these games, if real, would you most want to play?  Have some fun with this one.  Let's hear your thoughts.

Microsoft May Bring Back TV's Heroes

HeroesDo you remember Heroes?  It was a sci-fi series that ran on NBC for four seasons (the first of which was quite good and then it was all downhill and diminishing returns from there) centered around a group of people who discovered they had a variety of amazing powers that changed as the plot demanded.  NBC cancelled the show in 2010, but now TVLine is reporting that Microsoft is interested in reviving it as part of a planned Xbox programming slate.

MSN, which is making a big push into original programming via Xbox, is in talks to revive NBC’s superhero drama Heroes, TVLine has learned exclusively. Details remain sketchy, but sources confirm that MSN is interested in relaunching the once red-hot NBC Universal franchise with new stories and heroes, while mixing in cameos from the original series’ cast (schedules and interest permitting). The talks are said to be in the preliminary stages.

There are worse shows to bring back, but Heroes is not the best choice if it would return to tell the same stories it was trying to tell when it wrapped up.  I stayed with that show to just shy of the bitter end when narrative logic went out the window and it became obvious that most of the cast was just sticking around for their paychecks.  However, there's still a good idea in the Heroes concept, so if it were to return, I'd hope for a mostly clean break from what came before.  Start fresh with new characters, but let them live in the world that the show established.  Tell new stories with new characters set against the legacy left behind by the original cast.  There's potential here, but it would take a very talented group to make it happen in a way that's worthwhile.

Zelda: A Link To The Past Sequel Coming Soon

The Legend of Zelda

Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda 1992 sequel A Link to the Past is well remembered, but it seems as if it's been overshadowed by later sequels such as Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and even Skyward Sword.  Despite the greatness of Past, Nintendo has never found the time or worthy idea needed to return to that iteration of the series when top-down perspective gameplay was king.  That all changes this holiday season, thankfully, as the company has announced a new Legend of Zelda title for the Nintendo 3DS that follows on from the Link to the Past formula with some new tricks and gimmicks including variable height levels and a new talent for Link that allows him to become a living 2D drawing embedded in a wall (think Paper Link, I suppose).  A Link to the Past is still my favorite Zelda game (Wind Waker is a close second), so I'm very glad to see a new title that plays in that world.  I hope the new game can live up to Past's legacy, as it has some big Pegasus Boots to fill.

EarthBound Coming To Wii U In North America And Europe

EarthBoundAfter years of fans (and would-be fans) begging and demanding, Nintendo has seen the light.  This morning the company announced that it's bringing the long-demanded Super NES classic EarthBound to the Wii U Virtual Console by year's end.  That's really all there is to this announcement, but I know it's enough to energize the Nintendo audience.  This is the first time that the game has been re-released outside of Japan, and it seemed for years as if legal issues were keeping it from returning, so this is certainly cause to celebrate.  I still have my old game pak from years ago and even I'm thrilled about the news.  I'll gladly kick in a few dollars to buy the game again in this new format to show that there's still interest in EarthBound out there.  Who knows?  We may yet see the game's sequel, Mother 3, outside of Japan yet.  But that's getting ahead of things.  For now, be glad that EarthBound is on the way and defintely set aside some time to play it when it's available.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.  EarthBound is a very special game and your gaming career is not complete unless you've experienced it.