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December 2013

November 2013

Watch The EvilCast Team Play Ghostbusters: The Video Game With My Live Commentary

Watch live video from GamesAreEvil on TwitchTV

UPDATE: Did you miss the broadcast? Watch the archived recording here. Skip ahead to 2:29:00 for the start of the Ghostbusters segment.

At 8:00pm ET tonight or thereabouts I'll be piped in via Skype to the EvilCast podcast team's Extra Life livestream charity event.  The guys will be playing my personal favorite, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, while I offer live commentary on the game and their performance.  It'll be an hour of fun, facts, and chatter.  For more on the charity event and how you can get involved, read yesterday's article.  Join us, won't you?

Power Button - Episode 111: Superheroes And Superzeroes

Power ButtonThis week's episode of Power Button centers on a discussion of our favorite video games starring superheroes.  Blake Grundman and I spend an hour talking about the best and worst digital moments featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, and many more.  We hit the Arkham trilogy (including the recently released Batman: Arkham Origins), take on the infamous Superman 64 while wondering what it would take to make a good Superman game, focus on the open-world PlayStation titles focusing on Peter Parker's web-slinging adventures, and recall Sega's glitchy Hulk: Ultimate Destruction among other things.  Meanwhile, Blake has a special charity livestreaming event coming up this weekend that he'd like you watch. : Join us, true believers!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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 Next week: We had to delay the episode a week due to a change in announcement plans, but Mel Kirk of Zen Studios joins us to talk about the recently released Balance of the Force pinball tables for Star Wars Pinball, gives us a preview of the upcoming Dr. Strange table for Zen Pinball 2 / Pinball FX 2, and shares details about a brand new table due to be announced very soon.  We have the exclusive on this new pinball table; Mel isn't doing any other pre-announcement interviews.  Hear the news first on Episode 110 of Power Button! Alas, we're told that this announcement has been delayed again, so next week's show will need to be edited to remove the news for now. Thanks for your patience!

Join The EvilCast Crew For A Charity Gaming Event

Extra Life

My pals over at the EvilCast from Games Are Evil — Blake Grundman, Ross Polly, Chris Nitz, and Keri Honea — are all participating in the Extra Live gaming charity campaign this weekend by playing video games for marathon lengths of time.  Keri's doing her own thing considering that she lives away from the three guys, but Blake, Ross, and Chris are uniting in the same room at the same time to play for twenty-five hours straight (the extra hour comes from daylight savings time).  They'll livestream parts of the marathon (bandwidth caps put a damper on things, sadly) and it's all for charity.  Games will be given away as prizes during the event, too.  Here's a summary:

Our team is on a mission to save kids through video games, and we need your help.

Each of us has chosen our local Children's Miracle Network Hospital  where thousands of children are treated each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay.  These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few.

On November 2nd, 2013, we'll be part of a huge international celebration of the social impact of gamers with Extra Life and it's our sincere hope that you'll find it in your heart to support us with a monthly pledge or one-time gift that will go directly to that team member's chosen hospital.

As part of this program we would also like to give a little bit back to you. If you are willing to donate $10 towards our cause, you will be instantly entered to win one of the following games for PC:

     - Alan Wake Collector's Edition
     - Alan Wake's American Nightmare
     - Bastion
     - Cave Story+
     - Dear Esther
     - Dungeon Defenders + All DLC
     - FTL: Faster Than Light
     - Hotline Miami
     - LIMBO
     - Mark of the Ninja
     - Shank 2
     - Shattered Horizon
     - SpaceChem
     - Toy Soldiers
     - Trine 2: Complete Story
     - The Binding of Isaac + Wrath of the Lamb
     - The Walking Dead: Season 1
     - Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
     - Zeno Clash

Additionally, if you were generous enough to donate $20, you will earn the right to name one of the games that the EvilCast team will play during their 25 hour livestream, on top of being entered to win a free game!

Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.

You can donate to the team's individual members at their respective personal pages through Extra Life.  As if you already don't have enough incentive to watch and donate, I'll join the crew live via Skype on Saturday evening (exact time and link to the video to be announced on our respective Twitter feeds and this article will be updated with the information) to offer some commentary as the guys play my personal choice of Ghostbusters: The Video Game.  You won't want to miss that.  Tune in for some fun times and help the team meet their goal.  The kids are counting on it.  For more on this event, listen to Blake explain it on Episode 111 of the Power Button podcast.

Nintendo Cripples SwapNote, Cites Inappropriate Sharing

SwapNoteNintendo has created quite a legacy for itself.  Sure, it's best known for its popular characters, memorable games, talented developers, and so much more on the creative side of the business, but it's also known for its hard line family-friendly policies.  The company would rather sacrifice functionality and, at times, revenue to avoid offending audiences.  Now Nintendo has acted once again in the interests of thinking of the children by discontinuing SpotPass support for its Nintendo 3DS SwapNote app.  This basically cripples SwapNote, as its primary use involved sending handwritten messages and photos via the Internet.  Want to send a fun message to someone on your Friend List via the Internet instead of meeting in person?  You can't anymore.  Sending messages via local StreetPass remains an option, but how often has anyone used that?  Stephen Totilo at Kotaku explains:

Nintendo just turned off one of the online features of the 3DS, seemingly forever, deactivating the online support for its note-sharing SwapNote service on systems worldwide. The company did this, effective 10pm ET today, after saying SwapNote was "actively misused" to transmit "offensive material" among system users, including minors.

According to Nintendo, that service was exploited to send offensive material. The gaming giant specifically calls out the app's support for the sharing of photos, so this doesn't seem like just a case of people sharing naughty drawings.

The company is saying the only way to stop the problematic photo-sharing is to deactivate SwapNote's online functionality. This is effective around the world and, notably, Nintendo was able to do this without requiring users to make any changes on their end.

Those fun special SwapNote messages from Nintendo developers have also been discontinued.  I can think of other ways to protect children from rogue SwapNope messages besides turning off the service.  There's moderation options to consider, the much-lauded parental controls, terminating the photo sharing option while leaving the text messages intact, or requiring some additional authentication in order to send SwapNote messages online.  It's just easier for Nintendo drop the whole thing though, as expecting parents to be involved with their kids' 3DS activities is apparently a step too far.  I've used SwapNote at times to send [appropriate!] messages and photos to friends and while I haven't used to much lately, I'm sad to see the feature go.

There's no shortage of ways to send messages to friends in our online world, but seeing Nintendo retreat from online communication once again in the name of the children is head-shakingly disappointing.  Other companies and services have implemented ways to police inappropriate content, but Nintendo doesn't dare want its name linked with children seeing naughty things.  The media loves to come down hard on the company at any sensationalistic opportunity, and to that end I understand why Nintendo made this decision.  Still, if the company didn't want to risk offering online communication tools like SwapNote, why develop and release them at all?  Surely they realized the risk was there.