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May 2013

Power Button Presents Kombo Breaker - Episode 32: Pre-Natal Vitamins!

Power Button Presents Kombo BreakerConsidering that Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One with enhanced Kinect camera is causing so much stir lately in the gaming community, it seems only appropriate to revisit Episode 32 of the classic Kombo Breaker podcast in which we were joined by Dave Rudden (now with the Official Xbox Magazine, then with the now-defunct GamePro) to discuss the Kinect accessory back when it was still just called Project Natal and whether or not we thought the product had a chance at catching up with what the Nintendo Wii already accomplished in that general control-type arena.  In the end the Wii and the Kinect offered difference experiences, but at the time when this episode originally aired — June 19, 2009 — this was all fresh, unexplored, and unknown territory.  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 - Episode 32: Pre-Natal Vitamins!

3DS Zelda: Oracle Games Missing Advanced Secrets

Advance ShopIf you explore the realms of Holodrum and Labrynna in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, you'll eventually find a special shop that sells exclusive magic rings.  If you're playing the games on a Game Boy Color, this shop remains closed throughout the adventure.  If you play on a Game Boy Advance, then the secret Advance Shop opens for business and offers the GBA Nature Ring or GBA Time Ring for sale.  It's a neat special thing for GBA owners to discover back in 2001 when these games and hardware were new.  Unfortunately, if you play the Oracle games on a Nintendo 3DS (which, we can all agree, is much more advanced than a GBA), the Advance Shop remains closed since the 3DS is emulating the GBC, not the GBA.  No GBA rings for you, weary adventurer!  Thankfully, it's been discovered that you can manipulate the game's password which tracks your cross-game inventory to give yourself the two rings when moving your progress from one Oracle game to the other for a Linked Game session.  Sound complicated?  It's not so bad.  Kolma at GoNintendo sums up the process.

Once you have beaten one of the games, either Ages or Seasons and you transfer your password from one game to the other you can visit the Ring Appraiser and talk to his Red snake to get the password from the first game and transfer it into the second. This will allow the transferring of collected rings. Using this chart you can find out the exact characters to edit in order to  not only transfer your current ring collection, but also to transfer the GBA Nature Ring, and GBA Time Ring from Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages respectfully.

It's not perfect, but it can be done (and this also works if you're playing the games on an actual GBC).  It just takes some time and a little effort.  Of course, the GBA rings don't actually do anything in-game other than add to your inventory, but you can't achieve 100% completion without them.  I plan to add the rings to my inventory through this method when the time comes (I've only just begun Oracle of Seasons) even though there's no real benefit to doing so.  The way I figure it, I've spent enough money on Nintendo stuff over the years that I am entitled to this old retro bonus meant to reward those who spent a lot of money on Nintendo stuff.  I'm not normally one to be part of the entitlement culture, but in this instance I can make an exception.

PlayStation 4 Games Must Support Remote Play On PS Vita

PlayStation VitaThe Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable can link up wirelessly in a wonderful way called Remote Play that enables certain PS3 games to be playable on the PSP.  The PS Vita continues that function now with the PS3, bringing more advanced games like God of War to the Vita via network connectivity.  It's a fantastic function and extends the PSP and Vita libraries.  The key problem is that only a few games support Remote Play.  A feature is only as useful as the software it supports.  Thankfully, Sony is working to improve Remote Play between the PlayStation 4 and the Vita.  The company's Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed on Twitter that all PS4 games (within technological reason) must support Remote Play.

This is spectacular news.  I've spent many evenings before falling asleep playing games on my Vita, and while Remote Play is a great feature, many games that I would expect to support it do not.  Knowing that the future PS4 library will be ready to go for the Vita is a great thing and I applaud Sony for pushing developers to make this happen.  It must involve some extra work, but I believe the audience will appreciate and reward it. 

Nintendo Brings Wii U E3 Demos To Best Buy Stores

Nintendo logoIn a bid to expose as many prospective customers to its Wii U console as possible, Nintendo has struck a deal with Best Buy to bring playable demos of unreleased titles to stores across the United States and Canada during E3 week.  It's all part of Nintendo's plan to expand its reach during this year's expo to send its message more into the world at large and less in Los Angeles.  Polygon has a list of which U.S. cities will see the Nintendo/Best Buy E3 road show.  Be sure to plan your time carefully; the games will only be playable 4-8pm Wednesday, June 12 and 1-5pm on Saturday, June 15.  Sadly, you may not be near one as only 110 stores will see that sweet unreleased Wii U demo action.


Fort Smith
North Little Rock


Culver City
Elk Grove
San Jose




Fort Myers


Cedar Rapids
West Des Moines



Overland Park




Glen Burnie

Ann Arbor
Grand Rapids
Rochester Hills

Eden Prairie

St. Louis

North Carolina

New Jersey
West Paterson

New York
Long Island City
Valley Stream
West Nyack

North Olmsted

Oklahoma City


King of Prussia

South Carolina
North Charleston


The Woodlands


Glen Allen
Virginia Beach




It seems like a lost opportunity to not cast this net wider.  Best Buy has 1,055 stores operating right now.  The demo tour is coming to just 10% of them.  How is that bringing the Wii U experience to the masses at large?  Some states contain only a single store that will host the demos.  This public E3 demo thing is a great idea, but it should be expanded to attract as many interested people as possible.  If this venture is a success and Nintendo repeats it next year, perhaps the list of stores offering the experience can increase and the operating hours can expand.  The more people that can play and experience the Wii U, the better.

Sonic Lost World Takes Familiar Inspiration

Sega has managed to reinvent Sonic the Hedgehog in the past few years, turning the once maligned fallen hero into a mascot that we can all care about once again.  Using solid games like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations as a springboard, the company seems to have realized what makes Sonic works and what does not.  That's why I'm happy to be excited about a new Sonic game again as the first trailer for Sonic Lost World for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS has launched.  Watch as Sonic takes inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy and his own unreleased adventure, Sonic X-Treme, to navigate a series of curiously shaped world that use physics in unusual ways.  The games are due out later this year.  Let's hope that Sega can keep the streak alive.  Trailers always deceive in some way or another, but based just one a first look, I like what I see here.  Hopefully you do too.

I Don't Even Speak Cantonese!

Sleeping DogsI did something very stupid recently and feel the need to share it with you.  I recently started playing Sleeping Dogs, a third-person action game in the style of Grand Theft Auto IV from Square-Enix and United Front Games.  When I started the game for the first time, I was prompted to set the game's options before anything else: brightness, screen dimensions, volume, etc.  The final option was to enable subtitles with my choices being OFF, ON, and CANTONESE.  Now, when it comes to games like these, I like to leave the subtitles turned off and let the characters speak for themselves.  I want to listen to the voices and watch the action unfold like a movie, so I turned the subtitles off and confirmed my choices.  I did find it admirable that the game offered a setting for Cantonese subtitles, but since I don't speak Cantonese, there's no way I'd ever need that option.

The game began right away after that.  The story is set in Hong Kong and, as one might expect, features largely Chinese characters.  In the opening scene, a pair of security officers watch events on a surveillance camera feed.  They speak to each other in Cantonese... and I have no idea what they're saying.  That's when it hits me — that subtitle option for Cantonese wasn't for subtitles in Cantonese, it was for subtitles for Cantonese presented in English.  I went back into the options menu and turned the proper subtitle setting on and now I can read what the characters say when they speak their native language, but I really hope that nothing important was said in those first few moments of the game because I completely missed it.  After all, I don't speak Cantonese (or understand game option menus, apparently). 

Amazon Offers Big Gaming Sale Again Today

Buy somethin' will ya!It's Tuesday?  Then it must be time for another of Amazon's major gaming-only Gold Box and Lightning Deal events where items go on and off sale for impressive discounts all day long.  The big game on sale today is Injustice: Gods Among Us for the Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Xbox 360.  The game is selling for just $34.99 today, while the limited Collector Edition costs just $64.99.  I've been increasingly impressed with Injustice and I highly recommend it (especially at these prices!).  Other games on sale today include Dead Island: Riptide, Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon: Limited Edition, and headsets & carrying cases for a variety of systems.  There's some great deals happening here, so don't miss out.  A portion of every purchase made via the green link above goes to help support Press The Buttons which, as always, is definitely appreciated.  Also, don't forget that we're in the final days of Amazon's other major gaming sale: spectacular deals on hundreds of PC games.

EvilCast Recap - Episode 178

EvilCastMy friends Blake Grundman and Ross Polly at Games Are Evil turned on the Matt-Signal and summoned me to guest on the EvilCast podcast once again, so I arrived in style to discuss some of the week's big news stories and goodness there were some big news stories this week.  We talk about Electronic Arts dancing back and forth across the Nintendo Wii U development line and wonder what is in store for the tablet-based console, then shift gears to Batman: Arkham Origins and what role Kevin Conroy may play in it (if any).  After that we get into a heated discussion about Microsoft's Xbox One and what the new console will mean to the industry, customers, and the used game business.  Finally, we wrap it all up with a discussion of what we've been playing lately.  I talk up God of War: Ascension and Injustice: Gods Among Us.  Lots to talk about, so spend a few hours with us.  Head over to Games Are Evil to download Episode 178.

Saints Row IV Box Is Very Chic, Very Purple

Sr4boxVolition and Deep Silver have revealed the box art for the upcoming Saints Row IV due to be released this August for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC.  I don't normally comment on box art just for the sake of commenting, but I have to share how much I like this image.  The protagonist character has climbed the political ranks to become the President of the United States by the time Saints Row IV opens, so it's a stylish choice to use the image of the character's purple suit on the box.  Normally these open world action games thrive on overuse of the stereotypical blue/orange color combination, so it's a breath of fresh air to see so much purple in this image.  It adds a distinctive flair that will help the game stand out on the already packed store shelf.  There's a bit of orange fire reflected in the sunglasses (and snapshots of the action to show some of the mayhem), but on the whole the image is nicely subdued.  I like it and wish that more publishers would follow suit (no pun intended).

Grand Theft Auto V Special, Collector Editions Revealed

Grand Theft Auto V

Big blockbuster games come into this world as Special and Collector editions these days, so it's only natural that Rockstar's upcoming Grand Theft Auto V for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 should do the sameThe PlayStation Blog is hyping the bonus versions of GTAV today by listing all of the extra stuff that comes with the game if you choose to pay more money.  There's some physical items and digital content available, but the prices are steep: $79.99 for the Special Edition and $149.99 for the GameStop-exclusive Collector Edition.  Preorders for any version (including the standard $59.99 edition) also include free access to the game's blimp.  Here's what that'll get you come September 17, 2013 with all of the marketing hyperbole stripped out:

  • Special Edition includes:
    • Grand Theft Auto V in a steelbook case decorated with new artwork
    • Blueprint map of Los Santos and Blaine County
    • Downloadable content to activate stunt plane trials, special ability boosts, bonus outfits & tattoos, and additional weapons
  • Collector Edition includes:
    • The aforementioned items and DLC
    • GTAV hat
    • Security deposit bag with key modeled after its in-game counterpart
    • Downloadable content to activate custom characters for the online portion of the game and unique vehicles & garage property

I love a good Special Edition, but I find it easier to talk myself into paying the extra money for properties I feel are a part of my pop cultural identity.  I also appreciate a solid displayable item.  The blueprint doesn't do much for me, but I do like the DLC options.  Maybe you could talk me into the Special Edition under the right set of circumstances, but I'll sit out the Collector Edition with its $150 price tag, thanks.  However, here's a little tip: if you don't mind waiting these things out, you can usually find Special and Collector Editions of games massively discounted a few weeks or months after release.  Today's $80 hot item is destined for tomorrow's $20 clearance sale if any stock remains.  You take your chances with that; after all, if these editions sell out right away, then you miss out, but I've scored some great deals with luck and patience.  It's a gamble and you do have to wait a few weeks to play the game, but it's worth the savings.