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September 2014

Mega Man Is Running At You From First 4 Figures

Mega ManGaming statue manufacturer First 4 Figures is adding to its library of licenses, following up its work on The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Sonic the Hedgehog with a statue of Capcom's famous Mega Man.  The blue bomber is depicted running through Metal Man's stage from Mega Man 2, arm cannon at the ready.  There's even a special lit version of the piece that allows key parts of the design to glow with power.  They're not cheap ($199 for the regular version and $229 for the model with the lights) and they're not easy to find (only 1,000 of the regular version will be made), but it's something neat for the fans with some extra shelf space.  Like me!

The entire statue is cast in high quality polystone, and uses a variety of painting and finishing techniques to achieve a remarkable appearance to the statue. From the bottom of the base to the top of Mega Man’s head, the statue measures 15 inches tall.

Comes in deluxe full color packaging, hand numbered base, and includes an authenticity card which allows you to purchase the same number of the model next in the Mega Man series.

I've bought a F4F statue before: Ocarina of Time Link.  I've been very happy with it and it's decorated my bedroom for the past five years.  Link always draws impressed comments from family, friends, and dates alike; I think there's a shared link (no pun intended) between people who recognize a familiar character depicted in such detail.  I don't buy many things like these statues, but when it's a character in a form that I consider important to my past (as are Link and Mega Man), I have to indulge.  So I ordered Mega Man (non-lit; I'd never use the light where I'm planning to put it).

The face on the model is a little off though.  I think it's the black lines near his eyes that aren't working for me.  I'm OK with it though.  It's close enough.  However, if F4F were to improve it, I wouldn't complain.  I remember that the Link statue drew similar comments when it was first announced and the company did improve it.  Of course, it also took three years for them to deliver the finish product.  Fortunately, I'm patient.  So is my shelf.

F4F is planning a series of statues based on the Mega Man license.  I'm not interested in different colors of Mega Man (red Item-2 variation, gray Bubble Lead version, etc.), but if the company unveils a line of Robot Master statues, I hope they announce it with plenty of time before shipping.  I'll need an opportunity to make shelf space and bank loan arrangements!

Let's Get These Wii Games To 3DS

Super Paper MarioWhen Nintendo brought Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii to the 3DS, it opened the speculative door to porting other Wii games to the handheld.  As DKCR proves, some Wii games are better when their motion controls are stripped away in favor of buttons.  Surely there are other games from the Wii catalog that has just begging to become handheld sensations.  GamesRadar has put together a list of ideal candidates including Wario Land: Shake It! and Super Paper Mario.

[P]erhaps Shake It is underrated because the Wii game was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Wario Land series had only been on portables up to that release, so the franchise might have been hurt by the transition, meaning it could reclaim its place as a handheld gem via some port work. The New 3DS should have no trouble making the intricate line art pop, meaning all the long hard hours of the animators won't have been wasted on a small percentage of the Wii's audience.

I'd replay many of the games on the list if they were given a little extra work as DKCR enjoyed.  Super Paper Mario may actually be better on the 3DS where the game's longer missions can be cut into easier to manage pieces thanks to the handheld's sleep mode.  The perspective changes would really pop in 3D, too.  I don't want to see the 3DS library (or the New 3DS library) become a never-ending list of Wii ports, but dropping in a few underrated classics from time to time would be nice.

Microsoft Buys Minecraft, Mojang

MinecraftAfter years of being pitched on its potential and popularity, I have to admit that I still don't understand the fuss behind Minecraft.  I remember back in 2010 when Robert Alsbrook and I were still hosting the short-lived Press The Buttons show for Internet television where in between shooting segments, he'd try to sell me on the game and how I needed to be involved with it.  I didn't see the point; it's just digital LEGO bricks, right?  Where's the story?  Where's the gameplay?  Not my thing.  Not everything is.  Microsoft sees the value in Minecraft though, as the company has announced that it's bought Minecraft and its developer Mojang for a rumored $2.5 billion dollars.  That's a lot of digital building blocks.  Polygon has the story.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer said that the relationship with the studio began when the two companies started talking about bringing Minecraft to the console.

"Minecraft quickly became the top online game on Xbox Live, with over two billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the last two years. That working relationship set the ground work for other opportunities. We've long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft," he said. "At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms - including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC."

I especially like the line "We've long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft."  Translation: "Someone was making a lot of money and it wasn't us."  Microsoft pledges to keep the Minecraft community spirit alive and won't clamp down on the property.  Minecraft will continue to exist on competing ecosystems like the Sony PlayStation and mobile platforms.  The Minecraft convention Minecon will go on.  Beyond that, I'm curious to see what changes the new management makes in the popular game especially since Mojang's current leadership is departing.  You don't spend billions of dollars on a property just to sit back and do nothing.  Like Minecraft players, Microsoft will surely want to play with its new toy.

Power Button - Episode 146: Introducing Destiny

Power ButtonBungie and Activision have gambled a lot of money on the development and marketing of Destiny, so now that the game is available to purchase, it's time for us to discuss our first impressions of the game and how we're adapting to our role as Guardians.  Blake Grundman and I talk about our early thoughts regarding the game, how its online requirement impacts play, actor performances, leveling up challenges, enemy intelligence, future downloadable expansion possibilities, and so much more.  Is Destiny worth the time and expense?  Let's find out together.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, 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.

PlayStation Store Access Ending For PSP In Some Regions

Sony PlayStation PortableIf you needed additional evidence that Sony really wants to move on from supporting the PlayStation Portable, look no further than IGN which is reporting today that the company plans to suspend PlayStation Store support for the aging handheld in Europe, Oceania, Asia, and Africa.  While access to the store will become just a faded memory, players will still be able to purchase PSP software through the online web interface and previous purchases will still be available via the PSP's download list.  If you bought content before, you can still access it.  Sony isn't cutting the cord entirely.  Here's Cassidee Moser at IGN:

At this time, North American PSP users will still have access to the PlayStation Store as Sony continues to "evaluate market trends" in order to determine what is best for all other regions.

This is likely all part of Sony's shift to focus solely on the PlayStation Vita handheld, which they began moving toward earlier this year when it was announced that they would no longer be shipping any more PSP units worldwide.

As Sony moves further away from the PSP years, it's natural that the company would want to focus its resources on other projects rather than keep the PSP side of things up and running if hardly anyone is using it.  So long as past purchases are still accessible in some way, I'm alright with this.  It's always disheartening when the lights start to dim on supported services for older hardware, so while I haven't been on the PSP store in ages, I'm sad to see it go.  For those of you looking further into the future, perhaps this method of discontinuation is how the PlayStation 3's store will go quietly into the dark one day.  To everything there is a season, ashes to ashes, requiem in terra pax, amen. 

EA Is Interested In Games For Apple Watch

Apple WatchNow that Apple has announced its upcoming Apple Watch wearable computing product that ties in to the iPhone for complete connectivity, video game publishers are interested in exploring how their products can work with the device.  Electronic Arts is just one of the major third-party publishers investigating how to bring new ways to play to the Apple Watch and devices like it.  CVG explains:

"Now with Apple's big announcement with the watch, there's a trend here where wearables are going to increase in performance, capability and unique functions over time that we believe will enable gaming experiences.

"In fact," [Executive vice president of EA Mobile Frank] Gibeau added, "we have two teams prototyping wearable experiences that are not only standalone, but also some ideas where you can actually use the fitness component in the watch that can unlock capabilities in the game that might be on your iPhone.

"Or you could do crafting or some other auction trading on your watch that goes back into your tablet game that you might check out later when you get home.

I'm curious about the Apple Watch and would definitely find ways to use it if I owned one, but I'm not rushing out to buy one on the first day it's for sale.  As for gaming, while the obvious first step is to try to bring popular app games to it, I'd like to see console games integrated with it.  It could be a much more useful second screen experience.  Imagine if an important key statistic or two was displayed on the watch such as remaining hit points or ammo left in a weapon.  You'd have to turn the watch around on your wrist so it faced you while holding the controller, but it'd be easier to juggle that holding a tablet or PS Vita in your lap while playing.  There's definitely potential here, but like with all new ways of interacting with technology and information, it'll take time and testing to fully understand what works and what does not.  Still, I'd like to believe that there are more useful and compelling ways to use the watch for gaming than just crushing candy.

Hyrule Warriors Boasts Impressive Zelda Remixes

While everyone is waiting to hear the Nintendo remix goodness coming soon in Super Smash Bros. for both the Wii U and 3DS, let's not overlook another game due out soon that is packed full of remixed music.  Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U takes a number of memorable songs from past games from The Legend of Zelda franchise and give them a hard rock and metal influence.  There's a full playlist over at YouTube for sampling which features music that originated in games such as Twilight Princess, Ocarina of TIme, and Skyward Sword.  There's lots to hear, lots to like, and lots to anticipate in advance of the game's North American release later this month.

Power Button - Episode 145: The New 3DS Is Coming

Power ButtonNintendo surprised us all with the announcement of the New 3DS which adds new buttons, enhances the technology, and includes some other goodies compared to the existing 3DS models.  What does the New 3DS mean for current 3DS owners?  Is it worth upgrading to the new hardware?  Where do the Amiibo fit into all of this?  Will the "New" name needlessly confuse people?  And will those Game Boys confiscated in 1993 ever be returned?  Answers to these and more will be revealed on this week's episode of Power Button.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, 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.

Simon Belmont Deserves A Shot At Smash Bros.

'Pixel' Simon Mini Figure A crossover franchise like Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. practically invites fans to pitch their dream roster inclusions; ever since rumors of Sonic the Hedgehog appearing in Super Smash Bros. Melee spread years ago, players have asked for plausible inclusions (Mega Man, Solid Snake) and unlikely choices (just about any anime character).  One of my favorite characters who has yet to appear in Smash but has clearly earned the right is Castlevania's Simon Belmont.  The famed vampire slayer has been left out of the action so far, and I'm not the only one rooting for him to appear in some future installment.  David Oxford over at Poison Mushroom has assembled seven reasons why Belmont deserves a shot at Smash.

The Castlevania titles have featured many, many protagonists over its 28-year history, so who could– who should be the one to have the honor? Though opinions have differed strongly, many have gravitated towards none other than Simon Belmont for one reason or another.

Arguments against range from there being more prominent protagonists over the years, and also that there have been more consistent members of the cast, including Dracula himself (around whom the series always tends to revolve in one way or another), who could also be represented by his alter-ego, Soma Cruz, or even his son, Alucard, who has some shared abilities and starred in one of the franchise’s most beloved entries, Symphony of the Night. Conversely, seeing as that beloved entry has never graced a Nintendo platform (Sony, SEGA, and even Microsoft, yes; Nintendo? Never), Alucard feels more like he belongs in the “maybe” pile.

Here's hoping that Belmont is hidden away inside the new Super Smash Bros. titles for Wii U and 3DS somewhere and that people who have been leaking information about the game just haven't found him yet.  Considering Castlevania's history with Nintendo platforms and how Belmont is still, after all these years, the face of the classic incarnation of the franchise, he deserves to stand alongside other iconic characters like Mario, Pac-Man, and Mega Man.  C'mon, Konami.  Help make it happen!

Mini-Review: Plok: The Exploding Man - Volume 1

PlokAs I've discussed in the past, I'm a fan of Ste and John Pickford's 1993 Super NES action platformer title Plok.  I've hoped for years that the character would return in a sequel or high definition remake of that original 16-bit game, and while the Pickford brothers are interested in bringing him back in a video game, it hasn't happened yet.  I like to believe that a revival is in the cards though, and the recently released print and ebook volume of new, original Plok comics is a step in the right direction of reviving the franchise.  Consisting of the first twenty-six strips of the Plok comic published at, Volume 1 follows Plok as he awakens from a very long sleep and discovers that the video game world has passed him by.  There's no sequel waiting for him after his nap and his amazing exploding limb powers aren't exactly needed anymore.  Instead he must learn how the gaming world has changed and prime himself for new adventures alongside other of the Pickfords' gaming creations such as Plok's former nemesis Rockyfella and his new sidekick Wubba Ducky from Wetrix.  As he quickly learns, Plok has a lot of catching up to do.

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