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November 2013
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January 2014

December 2013

Cranky Kong Bounces Into Action For Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

When Donkey Kong returns for the upcoming Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U, he won't be alone.  Diddy and Dixie Kong will be at his side as additional playable characters, but old timer Cranky Kong is finally coming out of retirement to join the fray.  Nintendo's new trailer shows the ape clan in action as they take on a chilly band of vikings and showcases a variety of team moves that transform all on-screen enemies into power-ups and assistance items.  Tropical Freeze looks gorgeous in motion and looks like a further evolution of what developer Retro Studios accomplished with Donkey Kong Country Returns.  It's always great to see continued development on solid ideas to make them better.  I know that sounds so simple and reasonable, but it seems so many developers are ready to remake, reboot, or abandon rather than grow and change.

New Mario Kart 8 Trailer Shows Off Speed

Mario Kart 8 is headed to the Wii U in the spring of 2014, so to keep interest going and show off some of the racing action, Nintendo has released a new trailer of Mario and friends speeding around new tracks such as an airport (with planes coming and going!).  Lots to like here even if it seems like more of the same at first glance.  Still, it's Mario Kart and that's always fun.  There are some new additions here: UFOs and ATV buggies join the traditional karts and bikes, while Rosalina and the various baby characters are confirmed to return.  It's something else to look forward to in what is already looking like an expensive year.

NES Remix Brings New Twists To Old Classics

Nintendo fans have been tweaking classic games for years in the form of hacks and reworkings meant to run on emulators, but now the company itself is getting in on the act.  Arriving on the Wii U eShop today for $14.99, NES Remix takes sixteen early Nintendo Entertainment System games, extracts the most memorable parts of them, and twists them up in new ways as a series of WarioWare-type microgame challenges.  Can you climb the first level of Donkey Kong as Link?  Can you defeat a Bowser twice as large as the usual one at the end of World 8-4 of Super Mario Bros.?  Can you drive an Excitebike motorcycle in the dark?  These are the kinds of demands placed on your by NES RemixNintendo has a released a trailer showing what to expect and as an old school Nintendo fan, this looks like a blast.  Sure, ROM hacks have been doing this kind of thing for years, but it's great to see it in an official capacity masterminded by some of the original creators.

Yoshi's New Island Taking Shape For 3DS

Nintendo is planning a knock-out 2014 when it comes to new games, one of which is a return to form for Yoshi's Island in a pastel-flavored adventure for the 3DS.  Announced earlier this year, Yoshi's New Island is featured in a new teaser trailer that shows off Yoshi scarfing up Shy Guys, escorting Baby Mario on his back, and doing all of the dinosaur things we expect from the character.  The game is due out next year and while early previews at E3 weren't exactly promising, I want to believe this will turn out properly.  I mean, look at this video!  How could this game not be fun?  The Yoshi formula is nearly a slam dunk in the right hands. 

Power Button Arrives On Stitcher

Listen to StitcherAs part of our continued efforts to promote the Power Button podcast and expand the size of the show's audience, Stitcher is now carrying the program.  You'll always find the latest episode embedded on the main Power Button page, plus the show has its own spot on the Stitcher directory now, too.  Be sure to share the podcast with your friends and online community via the usual social media channels and help us continue to grow.  Blake Grundman and I do this show all for you, and the more of you that are listening and telling others about it, the more we're able to do with the format: more guests, bigger giveaways, and other neat things we have in the pipeline.  Help us grow!

Multiplayer Comes To Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2One of my favorite games from the last few years (and the one I've spent the most time exploring) is Just Cause 2 for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC.  The island of Panau offers so much land to cover, so many places to see, and all kinds of objects to destroy.  It's nearly perfect, but imagine how much more insane it would be if friends could come along for the carnage?  Developed by a team of fans, a new add-on mod for the Steam version of Just Cause 2 brings multiplayer madness to the game.  The first official release happens today.  It's tourist season on Panau!  Check out the launch trailer.

My Just Cause 2 exploits happened on the PS3 version of the game, but I may have to double dip for the Steam version of the game just to try this expansion.  It's great to see new life come to such a fantastic game so long after release.  This is the kind of love and dedication that I enjoy seeing from the gaming community.  And it's here just in time for the holiday break, too!

Marvel Vs Capcom Games, DLC Leaving PSN And XBLA

Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate Of Two WorldsIf you've been holding out on picking up Marvel vs Capcom 2 or Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (or any of the downloadable content for the latter two) for the Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360 and you're still interested in throwing down with Ryu or Iron Man, then time is running out.  Capcom has announced that the games and DLC are to be removed from both the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live's marketplace very soon.  Tracey Lien at Polygon summarizes:

The last day the DLC can be bought on PSN is Dec. 17 in North America and Dec. 19 in Europe. The last day the DLC can be bought for XBLA globally is Dec. 26. The removal of the games from the store will not remove the games from the libraries of those who have already bought them.

Have Capcom and Marvel gone their separate ways once again?  Bringing the two brands together again after so long was like catching lightning in a bottle, and with changing license agreements and the increased popularity of certain Marvel characters since the release of additional films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'm not surprised that the current deal is over and the digital versions of the games are headed back into the vault.  Discs will still be around, of course, but for content that was only available online, it's either buy it now or let it go.  The MvC3 DLC is on sale up until the end of availability, and while I've groused plenty about the money I've burned on that game over the years, I turned out the lights by buying the value costume pack with some lingering store credit.  Thanks for everything, Capcom, and hopefully we'll see everyone back someday for Marvel vs Capcom 4.

Power Button - Episode 116: VGX Unbound

Power ButtonTwo years ago in Episode 71, the Power Button crew discussed how Spike and Viacom could improve the Video Game Awards event.  Now the media conglomorate has rebranded the VGAs as the VGX, updating the format and trying something different that still failed to live up to the potential of a gaming award show.  On this episode of the podcast, Blake Grundman and I talk about how the VGX failed in many places, succeeded in a few others, and managed to embarass us all.  Here's an hour of criticism for you.  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: With 2013 coming to a close, we look back on the biggest gaming news stories of the year.

Adding The Spin Dash To Sonic The Hedgehog Is Easy

Spin dashThe original Sonic the Hedgehog title for the Sega Genesis introduced lots of elements that would go on to define the franchise's 16-bit years such as immense speed, crazy loops, and drowning, but one of Sonic's signature moves — the spin dash — didn't debut until the sequel.  Whenever Sonic is ported to modern systems, it feels slightly incomplete without Sonic's quick burst of speed.  The recent iPhone and Android ports include the move, as does the new 3D Sonic the Hedgehog for the Nintendo 3DS.  How difficult is it to add the spin dash to a game that was not designed for it?  Siliconera has an interview with the designers behind the 3D Remaster Project that has brought Sega classics like Sonic, Ecco the Dolphin, and Altered Beast to the 3DS in newly realized 3D which details the challenge of bringing the spin dash to Sonic's first outing.  As it turns out, Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn solved many of the problems years ago and the team had to look back in time for their answers.

NH: First off, we wanted to find out if there was some data in Sonic Jam that resembled the MegaDrive version of Sonic The Hedgehog, and if there was, we could just do a comparison to the original game, note the differences, and analyze them. But as we got deep into the code, we realized “there’s nothing like that here at all”, and that’s where the story starts.

YO: M2 told me: “we looked over Sonic Jam’s source code, but we  don’t get it.”

NH: Well, it wasn’t so much that we “didn’t get it” but rather that looking through a couple gigabytes of data and picking out what we need would be super  exhausting. So I asked Okunari-san, “We need to know where to start looking, so please let us talk with the original development staff.”

Eventually the team had to reach out to Sonic's original designer, Yuji Naka, for the solution, and his tips revealed a collection of other unintended issues that nobody involved expected.  It's a long, fascinating interview that details the effort that went into what could easily be seen as just another Sonic port in a market packed with them.  I just know I'm going to have to spring for this version eventually despite owning the game in many other formats.  As long as Sega keeps making a great game better, I'll continue to show up with my support.

Super Mario On Ice

Super Mario On IceThis is as old as the hills in Internet terms, but it makes the rounds as a "new" discovery every few years.  I've never mentioned it here before, so let's spend a moment with an old recording of a 1988 Ice Capades show for children featuring the cast of the original Super Mario Bros.  When King Koopa (portrayed by Mr. Belvedere's Christopher Hewitt in plaid pants) invades the Mushroom Kingdom with his army of Koopa Troopas, Princess Toadstool calls out for a hero in the form of plumber brothers Mario and Luigi who appear to skate circles around Goombas and the Hammer Brothers before taking on the mad king himself.  Some of the kids in the audience are made part of the show thanks to modular skating carts decorated like traditional Mushroom Kingdom bricks.

The Internet loves to heap snark on this clip.  People absolutely love to tear it apart as stupid retro cheese.  Here's the truth though: for the time this was produced and considering that its target audience was small children infatuated with Nintendo, this is pretty good.  It's familiar, includes the familiar elements of the Mario world that had been set down at this point in the series, and the characters are recognizable.  Bringing the kids into the action really drives home the intent of the show and they seem to have fun.  The clip is a definite time capsule of the era, but I don't see how it's a failure, an embarassment, or a mistake.  Not all interpretations of Nintendo's characters are successful, but I'd say that Super Mario on Ice succeeded where it counts.