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October 2013

Remastered Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Coming To iOS, Android

Sonic the Hedgehog 2Earlier this year Sega treated owners of a very basic iOS version of Sonic the Hedgehog to a free update that essentially remastered the game and updated it to run on the same engine that powers the stellar iOS port of Sonic CD.  Knuckles and Tails were added as playable characters and other enhancements made playing the 1991 game a new experience all over again.  Next month the company plans to release a similar upgrade to Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  Offered a free update ($2.99 to newcomers), I'd expect this revised edition of the game to sport its own secrets.  An Android version is on the way as well.  Here's TouchArcade with the news:

What's possibly more exciting than the enhancements we know about are those which we don't. The first Sonic The Hedgehog remake was chock full of awesome secrets, and I'm fairly certain we'll see the same from the sequel. I tried out an early build and can confirm that this remaster is just as polished as the first, so I'm more than a little excited to get my hands on it when it launches next month.

I say, bring it on!  I'm not normally a fan of playing platformers with touch-based controls, but Sega's iOS Sonic offerings have won me over.  There's something about Sonic's simple controls that adapt well to the iPhone and I'm looking forward to seeing what the company has done with its 1992 hit.  I bought the existing version of the iOS app months ago when it was on sale for $0.99 in anticipation of this free update, and it's times like these that I'm glad to have a little foresight. Would it be too much to hope for a similar upgrade to Sonic the Hedgehog 3?

PS4 Launch Title DRIVECLUB Delayed

DRIVECLUBPositioned as one of the premiere launch titles for the PlayStation 4, Sony's DRIVECLUB (do we really have to do the all-caps thing like Sony wants?) has been delayed from its November launch into next year.  Needless to say, there's lots of disappointment all around, but I don't think it's related so much to a demand for DRIVECLUB (yeah, I'm not going to be able to keep this all-caps thing up for long), but because the game was slated to be available in a slightly stripped-down form as a free PlayStation Plus download.  Puzzle platformer title Contrast is taking the free slot in the Plus lineup.  Here's the PlayStation Blog to crush your launch day dreams:

SCE Worldwide Studios and the team at Evolution Studios have made the difficult decision to delay the release of DRIVECLUB and DRIVECLUB PlayStation Plus Edition until early 2014. DRIVECLUB will be a truly innovative, socially connected racing game, but the team requires more time in order to deliver on their vision — and I’m fully confident the game will surpass your expectations.

This decision also affects PlayStation Plus members’ Instant Game Collection for launch. To be clear, DRIVECLUB PlayStation Plus Edition will still be part of the Instant Game Collection when it is released. For the PS4 launch, in addition to Resogun, I’m pleased to announce that Contrast, the highly anticipated game from Compulsion Games will also be available to PlayStation Plus members for free as part of Instant Game Collection. If you’re not aware of Contrast, it will whisk you away to a surreal vaudevillian, film-noir inspired reality full of performance, intrigue, shadow-play and drama.

I was looking forward to the Plus version of DRIVECLUB (remember when Sony used to insist we spell Cole MacGrath's game as inFAMOUS and how that didn't last either?) as well as Ubisoft's now-delayed Watch Dogs, so my revised launch plans now are to enjoy the two free Plus games and rent Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  It'll still be a busy gaming season, but just with a bit of a shuffle.  It's a major blow to those who were specifically looking forward to Driveclub (enough already with the caps), but buying new hardware at launch is always a risky proposition. 

Microsoft To Continue Giving Away Free Xbox 360 Games

Games with GoldCelebrating success with its Games with Gold program in which it gives away aging (but still memorable) Xbox 360 games to Xbox Gold members each month, Microsoft has announced that it's extending the initiative beyond the originally planned end date.  Easily compared to aspects of Sony's PlayStation Plus program, Games with Gold has been overwhelmingly embraced by a large majority of Xbox 360 players.  GamesRadar sums things up:

Microsoft’s Games with Gold promotion will no longer come to an end on December 31, the company announced today. Instead, Games with Gold will be offered “as an ongoing benefit for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360”.  Games with Gold was originally announced as a limited-time promotion offering every Xbox Live Gold member two free Xbox 360 game downloads per month until the end of 2013.

No word on the addition of Xbox One games to the program, but did you really expect that?  I think it's great that Microsoft is going to continue giving away free games.  Early criticisms of the program mostly revolved around the dated nature of the freebies (Halo 3 is the current title available for free and it was originally released in 2007), but if you haven't played these games, then they're new to you and an excellent value.  Considering that Microsoft expects to continue to sell new Xbox 360 consoles well into the Xbox One's life, newcomers to the X360 are primed to enjoy a free library of titles.  What's not to like about that?

Power Button - Episode 108: Raiders Of The Lost Handheld Gaming Box

Power ButtonBlake Grundman recently unearthed a lost box from his youth inside which he found his collection of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games.  This box has not been opened in many years, so in an event rivaling the time that Geraldo Rivera found Al Capone's vault, this episode of Power Button focuses on the secrets inside the game storage box.  It's really all just an excuse for us to talk about our favorite handheld games from over the years spanning a number of systems and hardware generations from Nintendo, Sony, and beyond.  Joining us to add to the fun is my fiancée Nicole who sits in this week as our guest (be sure to visit her blog, Books Without Pity).  Charge up your batteries and spend an hour with us as we take you through our favorite portable games.  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 @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Danger Mouse Wins A Free Game Of Space Invaders

Danger MouseOne of my favorite cartoons when I was growing up was a British animated production that was picked up by cable channel Nickelodeon in the United States.  Following the adventures of the world's greatest secret agent, Danger Mouse was adept at wordplay and unique visual humor.  Recently I rediscovered the show on YouTube and had to indulge in a few episodes.  That led me to what I remembered as one of my favorite episodes, 1982's "Custard", in which the evil Baron Silas Greenback floods the planet with weaponized custard.  Danger Mouse and his assistant Penfold must go to space to find a legendary creature that thrives on custard in order to solve the problem, and along the way the heroes explore a custard mine guarded by alien robots. While fleeing from the onslaught, the duo end up in the middle of a thrilling space battle that should look very familiar to anyone experienced with Taito's Space Invaders.  Watch Danger Mouse win a free game in this fun clip.

Infamous: Second Son Offers Limited Edition DLC

Infamous: Second SonIf you were planning on just waltzing into the retailer of your choice next year and buying Infamous: Second Son for the PlayStation 4 off the shelf on a whim, then Sony wants you to know that you're missing out on some exclusive content.  Like every other major release these days, Second Son is getting the Limited and Collector Edition treatment, and while the latter offering is overpriced and contains a handful of junk you'll most likely never use, need, or want (premium beanie replica!), the Limited Edition intrigues me.  Preorder the game (existing preorders included) and you'll get the free Cole's Legacy DLC expansion that will not be sold separately later.  Here's the PlayStation Blog with the information:

But what’s this Cole’s Legacy DLC we mentioned? For one, it won’t be available for purchase when Infamous: Second Son launches. It’s only available through these offers here. It’s additional downloadable content you’ll be able to play that uncovers what happened between the devastating events of Infamous 2 and Infamous: Second Son.

Cole MacGrath’s actions in New Marias set in motion a chain of events leading to the now forceful occupation of Seattle by the oppressive Department of Unified Protection. Cole’s Legacy bridges this gap in time with a series of missions Delsin Rowe must complete that reveal unique insights into how the world of Infamous: Second Son came to be.

More playable content?  I'm in for that.  My cynical side says that Sony will eventually sell this DLC separately long after most people still care about it, but ever since Sega burned me by not selling its Sonic Generations PS3 DLC separately outside of preorders, I don't take chances on missing out on content I want to play.  I can be swayed to preorder Infamous: Second Son if there's extra missions available for it.  Maybe that makes me part of the problem, but the Limited Edition is a better deal than the Collector Edition's vest pins and patch.  I love a good tchotchke as much as the next person, but there's a line between nostalgic neatness and useless marketing.

Health Update

Dr. MarioFollowing on from last week's announcement that things have slowed down here at Press The Buttons due to my continued failing health, I'm happy to say that things are slowly improving.  I'm taking new short-term medication that is starting to work, but my nutrition levels are still critically low and I must take weekly injections and prescription vitamin supplements several times a day to try and raise those levels back towards normal.  I have to go have some scans done next week to see just how bad the damage to my small intestine has become since my last surgery four years ago and then I'll probably have to change my long-term treatment plan.  On the plus side, I am keeping food down again and am trying to build myself back up.  I've lost over thirty pounds in the past two months due to malnutrition and digestive problems.  It's great to lose weight, but this isn't exactly how I wanted to do it!  I want to thank everyone that has left comments, tweeted to me, and sent e-mails wishing me a speedy recovery.  I really do appreciate hearing from you all and I'm going to try to get back into something of a routine this week with creating new content.  I miss writing too much to stay dormant for too much longer.


Mario hurtIf you've been reading Press The Buttons long enough, then you're familiar with my ongoing struggles with Crohn's Disease.  As happens every so often, my illness is flaring up again and has prevented me from doing much of anything both online and off.  For the past week I've been unable to keep food down and have been fighting off dehydration.  I spend most of my time asleep.  I hope you'll excuse the absence here; more content is in the pipeline, but I just can't sit at the computer for long enough to write it all up.  There's a new episode of the Power Button podcast waiting to be edited regarding the best handheld video games of all time, a review of the Mario & Luigi: Dream Team strategy guide in the works, and I did manage to finish Grand Theft Auto V's story over the weekend, so you know I have a lot to say about that.  Stick with me and hopefully my health will turn around in the right direction again soon so I can get back to work.  Thanks for your patience and continued support.  It's been a tough time for me, but I really hope that the worst is over for this round.